You sort of get the idea that television in the seventies, back when they were making shows that could be run in whatever random order any goon at a TV station could show it, simply didn’t try very hard to find any internal consistency from episode to episode. This is only the second installment shown, but just like you could tune into any random episode of The Fugitive and understand the premise and watch David Janssen look like he’d been on the run forever, all the characters act like they’ve been looking for Sanctuary for many months and had all sorts of adventures we didn’t see.
Logan and Jessica also act far more intelligently and with more awareness than anybody who’s lived their lives in the sheltered upbringing that they’d had. They get caught by humanoid-looking aliens who are collecting specimens two-by-two throughout the galaxy, which I’d have thought would be the sort of premise that our heroes would have considerable trouble understanding. I guess Rem gave them a crash course in juvenile sci-fi sometime in those many months of stories we never saw, because Logan’s plan to make the baddies’ home planet believe this ship couldn’t escape Earth’s gravity is a pretty tall order for somebody who only learned the air outside his city wasn’t poisonous just a week previously.
Anyway, this is pretty silly and didn’t engage me very much, except for Rem, who is by far the most interesting, curious, and resourceful of the trio. The story is by James Schmerer, who had produced the final two seasons of the western drama The High Chapparal for NBC, but may have become acquainted with D.C. Fontana by contributing a script to the Star Trek cartoon in 1973. Among the guest stars playing the disguised-as-Earthings aliens, there’s Leslie Parrish in one of her final acting roles (she retired in 1978), and Angela Cartwright, who had played Penny in Lost in Space.
Did you know that Batman keeps live fish in his utility belt? Now you do.
This is dire. It’s the end of the season and there’s no money left. There’s stock footage with voiceovers and old film clips of icebergs. The most entertaining thing that happened tonight was that Daniel repeated his “iceburglars” pun, which really wasn’t funny last night.
It is kind of unfortunate that each Mr. Freeze was less entertaining than the previous one, but Eli Wallach’s “daffy old scientist” take got really old really quickly. Elisha Cook spent all of this part recovering from having dry ice injected into his veins (!) and frozen at 200 below zero (!!), because this show doesn’t make any sense, and fumbled around with a goofball expression and his mouth hanging open and his eyes all bugged out like the producers actually wanted Don Knotts for the part. It’s pretty awful.
We did learn that Bruce Wayne has a municipal ice rink named after himself, which is kind of surprising. We were also reminded that Commissioner Gordon has a daughter at college. Her name is Barbara. Are you listening, audience? This might turn out to be important one day.
My wife and her father share this disquieting, horrible habit of making terrible, terrible puns. Every so often, I get a little evidence that genetics are passing this down to my son. Tonight, summoning his troops for the fight, Mr. Freeze calls them “icemen.” Daniel replied, “He means ICEBURGLARS!” He then repeated this about ten times during the brawl, because four year-olds do that when they come up with something that they think is clever.
Mr. Freeze is played by Eli Wallach for this installment, making him the third actor to play this villain. Allied with him is a besotted ice skater, Glacia Glaze, played by Leslie Parrish. We saw her back in season one as Dawn Robbins in the very first Penguin story. Rounding out the notable guest stars, none other than Elisha Cook Jr., who had played Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon 25 years previously, and had been doing a heck of a lot of television in the mid-sixties.
This episode features one of the all-time goofy phone gags, in which Commissioner Gordon rings Batman at the same time that Chief O’Hara rings Bruce Wayne, and the cops listen in while Adam West talks to himself in slightly different voices into each receiver, and the police are clueless, as usual. When I do go bad and turn into a criminal, I’m moving to Gotham City.
Daniel had a moment of panic as last night’s cliffhanger was continued, and it looked for a couple of moments as though Bruce Wayne would be pitched into a furnace with temperatures reaching 10,000 degrees. We know that, because the sign above the furnace door warns us of this grim fate. That’s a very, very hot furnace. The surface of the sun is 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but Batman is, of course, prone to exaggeration.
This story is a loose adaptation of Batman #169, which was published in February 1965, with one notable change. Well, several changes, actually, but in the comic, Batman unwittingly suggests the plot to steal a jeweled meteorite, which the Penguin carries off. In the show, Batman concludes that the museum is too heavily guarded and burglary-proof (in Gotham City? Really?), and suggests instead that the Penguin is out to kidnap a movie star named Dawn Robbins, who’s played by Leslie Parrish. She had played Daisy Mae in Li’l Abner, and come to think of it, we’re watching another Abner alumnae, Billie Hayes, in H.R. Pufnstuf. Hayes had played Mamie Yokum. And of course, the actress who played Stupefyin’ Jones will be popping up on our screens in a few weeks!
Apart from the minor whimpering at the beginning of the episode, Daniel was kind of indifferent on average. He lost focus a little bit and rolled on the floor, and a brief moment of kind of obviously phony fear ended up with him sitting in Mommy’s lap for a moment before he started wallering on her and was, briefly, behind her. But he paid attention to the final fight, and told us that he liked it best “when they whirled and twirled and then they cracked their heads!”