Batman 1.21 & 1.22 – The Penguin Goes Straight / Not Yet He Ain’t (take two)

So, a lot of very silly reasons why we rewatched this classic episode of Batman tonight. I was reminded of its cliffhanger a couple of months ago when some villain in an episode of Brisco County, Jr. tied up Lord Bowler to suffer getting shot by his friends behind the bull’s eye of a target practice. And I’m also reminded of my promise, ages back, that I was going to get this kid to recognize character actors if it’s the last thing I ever do. I know that Burgess Meredith is coming up in an episode of Night Gallery soon – it’s one of two things I know about that program’s first season, as I mentioned yesterday – and it really would warm my heart if my kid would recognize this foul bird of prey in another role.

But it was also worth revisiting this one because the second part of the story left him in tears when we first looked at it four years ago, despite my assurances that this was part of Batman’s plan, inconsolable because his heroes were gunned down unceremoniously in an alley by the Gotham police. This seems to be what the Gotham police would like to do to his hero every blasted week in modern movies. Happily, he really got into the spirit of the show and enjoyed the blazes out of so many things that he’d forgotten, like the fights and the onscreen sound effects and the comedy. And, older and wiser, he knew Batman and Robin weren’t dead. In fact, he either triggered an old memory or he figured it out. “I bet they didn’t shoot them with bullets, they used pellets!” And that’s actually a very neat inversion of something I’d never really hit on before. At the cliffhanger, the Penguin substitutes pellets in his umbrella pop guns for bullets in order for Gordon and O’Hara to gun our helpless heroes down. Helpless, that is, but for the bulletproof soles of their boots.

In fact, the only disappointment at all from watching this again was our son’s frankly troubling announcement that he doesn’t like this show’s Batmobile. I told him he may fairly argue that he might like other actors in the roles of Batman or the Joker, or that he prefers the tone of other productions, but George Barris’s Batmobile is the greatest of them all, without argument.

He said sure, but this Batmobile doesn’t turn into a jet, now does it? Kids!

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