One of the great fun sidebars in watching this zero-budget show is watching how, with no extra money to spend, the Kroffts and their directors avoided spending even the little that they have. This time out, our heroines have a new gadget called Electra-Freeze – I’m pretty sure that’s the brand name of a soft-serve ice cream dispenser – and the villains, Ali Baba and the Genie, have a gong that creates illusions. In order to “freeze” the prop and make it shatter, the director zoomed in on Sid Haig, playing the Genie, as he reacted to what we couldn’t see, dubbed on a sound effect of a crash, and then Malachi Throne got to pick up some clear plastic, representing the frozen metal. There’s cheap and then there’s this.
And it doesn’t matter at all, because the villains are played by Malachi Throne and Sid Haig. Haig is more of a legend to fans of grindhouse horror films, but Throne also had a pretty terrific career, and was the only actor to appear as both an Electra-villain and a Bat-villain. He was False Face in 1966.
The absolute joy in this episode is watching really good actors having a ball overacting amazingly. The plot this time revolves around a Professor Nabokov, who invents a formula that makes you your opposite. Ali Baba sprays Dyna Girl with it, making her evil. Do you remember that episode of The Young Ones where Vyvyan invents a formula that turns you into an ax-wielding homicidal maniac? (“It’s basically a cure… for not being an ax-wielding homicidal maniac.”) It’s about like that. So Judy Strangis gets to join in and have a ball rolling her eyes and going nya-ha-ha-ha. Sure, it’s stupid, but how can you object when they’re having so much fun?
Daniel spent the episode running from in front of the sofa to behind it, largely unhappy about Dyna Girl turning evil, but he started singing the theme song in the bath, so I figure the world really didn’t end. But we’ll take a break from this show for a few months and finish up Batman all the same. Until then, keep your Electra-comps charged!