…oh yeah, and Marsha’s aunt, who lives in the basement, is a witch. Seriously. She used to be a chemistry teacher at Vassar, but now she’s a witch.
This episode is bugnuts. The climax is the silliest thing in the universe. Aunt Hilda has shelves of chemicals which are meant to turn men into various animals. It turns out that while she can brew up love potions, this alchemy is a little above her station, and during the Batfight, she unsuccessfully splashes various beakers of colored chemicals on our heroes, the last one, after they’ve been felled by gas, meant to turn them into toads.
In the next scene, Marsha and her right-hand man march into Gordon’s office with a small cage containing two toads in superhero costumes. There was a moment of absolute astonishment in our house. No way. No way this show’s gone this silly, has it? Really? Mercifully, no. Marsha, absent any better idea – you’d think that’s what screenwriters are for – has decided to try and bluff the location of the Batcave out of Gordon, threatening that she’ll feed them to her cat if he doesn’t spill.
You wouldn’t imagine I’d ever forget something so amazingly silly. This story, however, is one that I had never seen. I remember reading The Official Batman Batbook in the late 1980s and being utterly amazed by two things: an episode where Batman almost gets married, and the existence of a three-part adventure that I did not recall. I remembered “The Zodiac Crimes” (and I seriously, desperately, hope that it’s as fun as I recall) and the Lord Ffogg one, but in between there is another three-parter, also with the Queen of Diamonds. Despite watching this show as often as I could as a child, between errands or vacations or occasional agonizing long waits at the Atlanta Allergy Clinic for shots, we would often miss episodes, but we’d get another chance the next time WGNX-46 (or perhaps still WANX) broadcast the series. Somehow, circumstances just worked against me, and I managed to see 115 of the 120 episodes of Batman at least once, but never before saw the five with the Queen of Diamonds in them. I’m not going to hold my hand to my heart and say this was worth the wait, but it was amusing.
Daniel, meanwhile, man, for a minute there, they totally had him convinced our heroes were toads. He just about got upset over that!