Batman 3.26 – Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires

Well, it’s not as though anybody was expecting this show to do much more than limp across the finish line, but this is one of Charles Hoffman’s very few scripts to impress me a little. With cancellation assured by this point, they messed with the formula just a little more than usual, and had the villain be a character known and trusted throughout Gotham City.

Her name’s Minerva, played by Zsa Zsa Gabor, and she runs a spa. She’s begun extracting secret information from all her millionaire clients, and, in a great little bit of continuity, has enlisted Freddie the Fence to move the stolen goods. We saw Freddie, played by Jacques Bergerac, once before in a season two episode. I like the idea of a villain who’s hiding in plain sight, but that’s about all I liked.

It’s a weak, smug, dull episode, and even the final Batfight is boring, but it does have a tremendously colorful corridor set, and I was very pleased by an observation that Daniel made. As Minerva extracted the “deep secrets” of two of her clients, who are producers William Dozier and Howie Horwitz playing themselves, Daniel said “Hey, I know who she is! The Queen of Diamonds!”

This was a remarkably neat thing to say, because Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, whom we saw in five episodes of season two, was written for Zsa Zsa Gabor to play, but they couldn’t work out the schedule and Carolyn Jones took the part instead. It was nice for Gabor to get the chance to join the show in the end as a different character (albeit one who calls everybody “DARLING!” as often as possible), but oddly, Joel Eisner’s Official Batman Batbook says that Minerva was written for Mae West, of all people! West ended up being unavailable, and Gabor appeared after all.

So that’s it for the 1960s Batman, but that’s not quite it for Adam West and Burt Ward… and for Frank Gorshin…

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