“Same bat-time, same bat-channel” is so firmly implanted into the cultural storehouse of catchphrases for a very good reason. The two-part cliffhanger format of the 1960s Batman is a big part (along with how it’s perfect in every way) of why this kitschy show worked. But even serious Batman fans might not be aware of some of the more ridiculous methods of doom super villains cooked up throughout the years…
1. Mr. Freeze Tries to Turn Batman & Robin Into Frosty Freezie Drinks
This is probably the one I love the most. After Mr. Freeze captures the dynamic duo in the episode “Green Ice” he sticks them into two giant frozen beverages. I guess a Frosty Freezie is sort of like an Icee? Or is it like a Sno Cone? Or is it more like a Slurpee? In any case, what I never understood was what Mr. Freeze was going to do once they were turned in giant Frosty Freezies. Drink them? How? Luckily Batman and Robin get out of this one by using their feet to do something with a valve.
Bonus fact: The flavor of frosty freezie Batman was being turned into was pineapple. Gross.
2. Batman Almost Has to Marry the Queen of Diamonds
In what is one of the creepier messages sent by the 60s Batman show, the cliffhanger of “Marsha Queen of Diamonds” doesn’t involve death, but instead something worse: marriage. The reasons for Marsha, The Queen of Diamonds marrying Batman are all pretty far-fetched, not to mention the giant Bat-Diamond—which supposedly powers everything in the Bat-Cave—is never seen again. But really, do we love the Adam West Batman for its super-consistent continuity? Also, of all the teaser narrator lines this one might be the most homo-erotic/suggestive: “Mr. and Mrs. Batman??!! The dynamic duo may become a trio!!” What this implies is…oh you get it.
3. The Lady or the Tiger?
“The Purr-fect Crime” is a great Bat-cliffhanger because it features a choice. Behind door number one is Catwoman, presumably waiting to make out with Batman. But behind door number 2 is a man-eating tiger. (Note: This tiger is man-eating.) Which door is which and what does it lead to? Meanwhile, Robin is being fed to a pack of hungry tigers. Being the animal-hater that he is, Batman deafens the tiger with a high-pitched noise in order to pacify the beast.
4. Egghead Copies Bruce Wayne’s Brain
Vincent Price as Egghead continues to be one of the most pure delights a human being can have in the world. In “An Egg Grows in Gotham” he manages to kidnap Bruce Wayne and hooks him up to Egghead’s Electro Thought Transfer Machine. (We have one of these in the office.) This cliffhanger is two-fold because not only will Bruce Wayne have his mind-erased but Egghead will also discover his secret identity! As the man says: “Will the world’s greatest criminal mind EGG-stract the true identity of Batman?” (The answer is no.)
5. Louie the Lilac’s Deadly Plants
Feed me, Louie! Batman and Robin face man-eating plants in the only Louie the Lilac episode. The fact that these plants are clearly just people’s hands with plant-like gloves on is what makes this show the perfect piece of art that it is. Again, proving he dislikes nature, Batman kills the hell out of these plants. And he doesn’t even need Hermione Granger’s help.
Say “Louie the Lilac” out loud right now. You’ll feel better.
Any other favorites 60s cliffhangers, Bat-Fans? The Puzzler? King Tut?
Also check out my tribute to wacky Bat-villains here.
This post originally ran on July 18th, 2012.
Ryan Britt is a longtime contributor to Tor.com