So here’s the one and only scrap between the Dynamic Duo and Miss Max Black, Widow, who is played by Miss Tallulah Bankhead – that is how she’s credited onscreen, “Miss Tallulah Bankhead” – and it’s pretty awful and not as amusing as it thinks it is, other than a reference to a company called Black Widow Weeds Removal Service. In the 1920s and ’30s, Tallulah Bankhead, native of Huntsville AL, was probably among the most beautiful women on the planet, but years of boozing and smoking – legend held that she smoked two entire cartons a day – had done their work on her. By age 65, she looked three times that and sounded worse.
Really, the most interesting thing about this story from a world-building perspective is that it’s established that Black Widow is a villain from Gotham’s long-distant past. Commissioner Gordon remembers her, but tells Chief O’Hara that her last caper was before his time. And the most interesting thing from a “hey, I’m looking at old TV” perspective is that one of her henchmen, shown on the right in the picture above, is Michael Lane, who’d later play Frank on The Monster Squad, and that the teller, below, is Walker Edmiston.
Edmiston, of course, many people know of for his voiceover work. He did character voices for the Kroffts, for Hasbro, for Keebler, for everybody, before donning a costume and playing Enik on Land of the Lost. I’ve always been curious what he looked like without lots of makeup – he actually did an on-camera role on that show before he played Enik, but looked so odd that one of my cousins could have played that role and I wouldn’t recognize him or her – and so there you go, that’s Walker Edmiston.
Black Widow’s hideout is underneath an old house, and she has two lifelike dummies on the porch to shoo away any snoopers. When I was a kid, those old folks unnerved me incredibly. But Daniel watched the whole thing without incident until Black Widow traps our heroes in a web (of course) and unpacks two ginormous spiders about the size of softballs, which prompted a gasp and a desperate clutch of the security blanket. The props people didn’t even try to make these look alive or dangerous, but when you’re four, “realistic” isn’t the problem; it’s that they exist at all.