Second Thoughts: "Death in Slow Motion/The Riddler's False Notion"


Take a listen to our original podcast review with author/editor Robert Greenberger.

The Riddler has been an odd duck to me as I now complete watching the original four Frank Gorshin episodes for my second watch. The thing is, Gorshin was very good as the Riddler and it is clear it is his portrayal that elevated this B list or even C list villain to the main stage of A list villainy. But I can't say he was always given consistent material despite the stories you may hear that he insisted on it in order to be worth his time. There are also the odd situations after this season where he continued to make appearances as the Riddler with Adam West as Batman to stadium crowds (including one at my own Shea Stadium in New York around the time of the second season opener). But as we come to the end, I have to admit, this is most likely my all time favorite Riddler story, surpassing even his first appearance.

So, what did I catch in this second viewing?

- As much as we might say that some of the sets are small, in the first season they are magnificent compared to what we get for the third season for it's paired down budget. The lobby of the movie theater is sprawling and well detailed.

- Van Jones doesn't look happy throughout the Riddler's performance, but he is smiling during the wide shot.

- Oddly enough, Bruce and Dick are in the den as the call from Gordon comes in. Foreshadowing for the forthcoming third season.

- Oddly enough, my favorite Riddler episode was written by Dick Carr, known to Six Million Dollar Man fans as Richard Carr, who wrote the infamous "Lost Love" episode.

- Love the fact that Riddler is wearing the suit in the bakery scene. He should have just worn that, but I guess he was more recognizable, even then, with the leotards he wore in the few comic appearances the Riddler made.

- Sherry Jackson looks incredible as the poor woman in the bakery scene. She has incredible legs. (What? Like we weren't supposed to notice?)

- Batman never questions how a truck has diplomat plates? Since when would a diplomat need a truck? He's too distracted by the library being closed due to lack of funds.

- I wonder who has the Batkey prop? Or the giant book for that matter?

- There is something funny about watching the duo in black and white. It reminds me of the movie serials. And yet, this is how I think I first watched the series as a kid on my little black and white television set.

- Never did look into what Gordon was talking about when he said, "Maury Wills better than Honus Wagner?" for the podcast. Wills was a then current baseball player who played for the Dodgers, but Wagner was a player at the turn of the century.

- Gunshots! This is still a much more grown up show.

- The deathtrap was a feint not only for Batman, but for the audience as well.

- Batman talks about Gordon being tortured should he be captured so he has to make sure Gordon doesn't know anything about who Batman is. The Bat-gas is pretty potent stuff as Gordon gently sniffs it and is out.

- Jim Beard must love the shot of Gordon and Batman together in the Batcave.

- I love when Batman announces himself with the Bat Shadow. It was nice to see they kept it for the animated movie. I have to wonder if they ever used it in the comics pre-TV show?

- It's a sweet ending with Batman and Robin visiting Aunt Harriet on her birthday.

Yep, still the best, even after all these years. So, where does it stand as it clearly makes the top ten.

1: The Joker is Wild

2: True or False Face

3: The Joker Goes to School

4: The Bookworm Turns

5: Death in Slow Motion

6: Hey Diddle Riddle

7: Instant Freeze

8: The Curse of Tut

9: The Purr-fect Crime

10: The Joker Trumps an Ace

And next time we come to the end of the first season with the Penguin and what has to be one of the most sexually charged episodes of the entire series.

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