I love King Tut. He’s such a fun villain, a loudmouthed and immature tantrum-throwing bonehead. Victor Buono plays him starting at 10 and ratcheting up to 11 by the end of every scene. It’s a huge, huge shame that the producers never teamed Tut up with any other Batvillains. It would have been so fun to watch him reach for grandiosity around somebody downright crooked and competent like the Penguin only to get barked down. I can just see Tut leaving a room, extemporizing loudly, only to have the Bookworm or somebody shake his head over what a complete wacko this guy is.
Anyway, in his second outing, he’s brought some trapped-in-amber scarabs back to life to use in an ancient formula that saps people’s will. Funny how the writers could come up with a concept that I believe was then on the edge of speculation, proving that they read the same journals that Michael Crichton would, and then bungle such basic science like agitating the preserved scarabs with 200,000 volts. I think that if you want charcoal scarabs, that might work.
King Tut has a Royal Apothecary to help create his elixir from the scarabs, and he’s played by the great Sid Haig, and I’m pretty sure we’ll see Haig many more times in this blog. He’s completely unrecognizable without facial hair! He also has a dame, of course, who is revealed to have the terrific name of Cleo Patrick. She’s played by Marianne Hill and her betrayal, about four minutes before the end of the episode, is pretty darn obvious from her first scene in Commissioner Gordon’s office, even before we know her full name. One of the laws of conservation of TV characters informs us that pretty girls in throwaway parts in the beginning of the episode often show up in a meatier role by the end.
This law isn’t for celebrity cameos, of course. Already this season we’ve seen Dick Clark and Phyllis Diller in little walk-ons. This time, the Green Hornet and Kato interrupt our heroes’ batclimb to let everybody watching who may not have heard know that their own program aired Friday nights on the same network. Well, they’re a little less subtle than that, but nobody was really watching their show – about which, more another time – so they had to get their faces in wherever it was possible.
I thought that the cliffhanger might have frightened Daniel, but he handled it okay. Robin gets stuck on a plank above a pit of hungry crocodiles. Since he never likes it when Robin is in trouble, and since the giant alligators in Thunderbirds alarmed him a few weeks ago, I was a little concerned for him, but he did just fine. He really enjoyed this week’s batfight, especially when one of the henchmen throws a barrel across the room, Robin ducks, and it smacks King Tut in the chest!