“The Clock King’s Crazy Crimes” / “The Clock King Gets Crowned”
Written by Bill Finger and Charles Sinclair
Directed by James Neilson
Season 2, Episodes 11 and 12
Production code 9711
Original air dates: October 12 and 13, 1966
The Bat-signal: At Harry Hummert’s, the finest jewelry shop in Gotham City, a wealthy woman admires the new clock Hummert has bought for the shop. But it’s not for sale, it’s just a shop piece. However, it also has a camera inside it, one that feeds to the villain known as the Clock King. It also emits gas that renders Hummert, the wealthy woman, and another employee unconscious, allowing the place to be robbed by the Clock King’s henchmen.
Gordon calls Batman, thus interrupting a chess game in which Dick makes a move, thus putting Bruce in check—and then when Alfred says the Bat-phone is ringing, Dick makes a second move in a row, which is totally illegal.
They forego GCPD HQ and go straight to Hummert’s, as time is of the essence when facing the Clock King (har har).
At his secret hideout, the Clock King admires his loot and compliments his henchmen. Then it reaches the hour and his moll and henchmen all cover their ears as dozens of clocks all chime that the hour has been reached.
Hummert tells Batman and Robin that he bought the clock from the Parkhurst Gallery—he buys stuff there every Wednesday. Clock King probably learned of Hummert’s habit of buying from Parkhurst at midweek. They head there—but Clock King is heading there also…
Parkhurst checks his auction book, and determines that a person named Mr. Chronos who matches the physical description of Clock King brought the clock to be auctioned.
Even as Batman and Robin head to seek out their next lead, Parkhurst heads upstairs to lead the gallery’s first exhibit of pop art, which is getting TV coverage and everything. Clock King shows up at the opening, disguised as the self-described “king of pop art,” Progress Pigment, and he reveals his mechanical sculpture Time Out of Joint.
Parkhurst tries to kick him out, but Clock King insists it’s the finest piece of pop art extant. But even as he demonstrates his sculpture, the sculpture is secretly carving a hole into the gallery wall.
The Caped Crusaders head to Dunbar’s Drive-in to question one of Clock King’s previous molls, who works as a waitress there—or, rather, she did, she quit and moved back home to the Midwest. However, they decide to get lunch and also see what’s on the news. They view the coverage of the pop art opening, and see “Pigment” and deduce that it’s Clock King. They head over, but by the time they arrive, Clock King has already rendered the patrons unconscious with “supersonic sound” and stolen a painting.
But before he can get away, Batman and Robin show up and fisticuffs ensue. But while they take care of the henchmen, Clock King is able to ensnare them in evil slinkies of doom that get shot out of the sculpture. However, they get away when they see the cops arriving. (Batman explains to Robin that he called O’Hara from the mobile bat-phone, even though Robin had to have been right next to him when he did that…)
Clock King dropped a watch and Batman analyzes it to determine that the bad guy’s HQ is a closed watchmakers. They climb up the wall and try to ambush Clock King, but he was expecting them and manages to take them down, trapping them in a giant hourglass, having taken the precaution of removing their utility belts first. Sand pours down into the bottom of the hour glass. Clock King’s alarm goes off, so he must go to his appointment with Mr. Smith, who will help them at precisely 5pm.
After the bad guys depart, our heroes manage to knock the hourglass onto its side and then roll it out the door, where it gets hit by a truck, which finally shatters the glass.
Aunt Harriet stops by GCPD HQ to invite Gordon and O’Hara to a surprise birthday party for Bruce at Wayne Manor that evening. She also bought a clock for Bruce for his birthday—one that comes from the Clock King as well, and also has a camera in it, allowing Clock King to spy on Bruce so he can steal the millionaire’s collection of pocket watches.
Unfortunately, one of the henchmen screwed up. Instead of knockout gas, he put the atomic energy directional control switch on the clock in Wayne Manor. This is bad, as that switch is supposed to be on the device in Clock King’s HQ that he’s using on the big 5pm job. Clock King breaks into Wayne Manor and clubs Alfred on the head (while Batman and Robin are downstairs in the Batcave getting sand out of their boots and trying to figure out where Clock King will strike next) to take the clock back (since he needs that atomic energy directional control switch) and also to steal Bruce’s pocket watches, since they’re there anyhow.
However, Harriet catches them red-handed, and Alfred wakes up long enough to sound the alarm and summon Bruce and Dick. They can’t stop Clock King from leaving with the clock, but they do save the pocket watches, and also keep Harriet from being kidnapped.
Batman and Robin go through the Smiths in the Bat computer, but then they think that maybe he was referring to smiths, as in blacksmiths. A clock tower in Gotham has a statue of a smith that strikes the bell on the hour. Across the way from the clock tower is the heliport. Batman calls Gordon to see if anyone is arriving on the heliport at 5pm—two physicists will be delivering a cesium clock to the Gotham Institute. The Clock King no doubt wants to steal it.
They head to the tower. Clock King, and his moll and henchmen are already there, getting ready to steal the cesium clock. Batman and Robin arrive, stunning Clock King, who thought they were dead.
Fisticuffs ensue, and the bad guys are captured, the cesium clock safe.
Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! The Bat-Photoscope can transmit a photo of the Clock King to the Batmobile. A pity that the best he can do for facial recognition software is a grease pencil…
The Bat Chemical Analyzer enables Batman to determine what kind of dust is on Clock King’s watch. And the Bat Computer can spit out all kinds of information about criminals. Also Alfred has a burglar alarm in his belt buckle that sounds in the Batcave.
Holy #@!%$, Batman! Upon realizing that “Progress Pigment” is Clock King, Robin cries, “Holy masquerade!” Upon being caught by Clock King’s evil slinkies of doom, Robin cries, “Holy mainspring!” Upon figuring out where Clock King’s hideout is, Robin cries, “Holy sundials!” Upon failing to break the hourglass when it falls over, Robin cries, “Holy squirrel cage!” for no good reason except to give Batman the idea of using the hourglass like a hamster wheel. Upon seeing Clock King in Wayne Manor’s living room, Dick cries, “Holy hijacking!” Upon realizing that “Mr. Smith” is a blacksmith, Robin cries, “Holy horseshoes!” Upon learning that cesium clocks are used in space, Robin mutters, “Holy liftoff!” Upon seeing that a henchman’s errant gunshot has started the clockwork going, Robin cries, “Holy merry-go-round!”
Also in the “previously on” segment in “The Clock King Gets Crowned,” William Dozier says, “Holy Sahara!” when they show the Caped Crusaders being inundated with sand in the giant hourglass.
Gotham City’s finest. O’Hara says at the end of the episode, after Batman and Robin have captured the Clock King, that “I couldn’t have done it better meself.” Batman manages to keep a straight face when he replies that that’s high praise indeed.
Special Guest Villain. Walter Slezak is the latest one-off villain to debut this season and never be seen again, though at least the Clock King—unlike the Archer, the Minstrel, and Ma Parker—does originate from the comics.
No sex, please, we’re superheroes. One of the customers at the drive-in thinks that Robin is “too much.”
Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.
“Oh! I didn’t know you could fly a helicopter.”
“Millie, for a million dollars, a man can do almost anything.”
–Millie being inappropriately impressed with Clock King, and Clock King underestimating the difficulty level in flying a helicopter.
Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 24 by host John S. Drew with special guest chum, me! Yup, your humble rewatcher talked about this episode on the podcast…
This episode was co-written by Bill Finger, Batman’s co-creator. Only recently has Finger officially been given the credit he deserves for the work he did with Bob Kane to create Batman in 1939.
The window cameo is Sammy Davis Jr., who is inexplicably rehearsing in the same abandoned clockmakers that Clock King is using as a hideout.
For the second week in a row, and the third time this season, the titles don’t rhyme, though they do both start with the name of the villain, so there’s that.
The Clock King originated in the comics as a Green Arrow villain in World’s Finest in 1960, and later would appear in Justice League International and Suicide Squad. He is only a Batman villain in this TV show and later in Batman: The Animated Series (in which he is voiced by Alan Rachins).
Pow! Biff! Zowie! “Some people kill time, but this time, time is going to kill you.” About all this episode has going for it is the nice send-up of pop art. Seeing Clock King set himself as a latter-day Claes Oldenberg is hysterical, as are the Batman-themed pieces of art that “Progress Pigment” decries as awful. It’s a delightful dig at the pop art world’s embracing of Batman.
Unfortunately, the rest of the episode is a meandering mess. Aside from his fascination with clocks, there’s nothing particularly interesting about the Clock King. Walter Slezak seems to be having fun with the role, but the script has him talking about planning things to the second and timing and whatnot, but absolutely nothing in any of his crimes require that level of split-second timing. In fact, the only occasion on which timing comes up is when he decides to steal Bruce’s pocket watches, thus giving Harriet time to catch him in the act.
And even that scene gives us one of the most ridiculous moments in a show full of them, the constant cutting back and forth between the Batcave and the living room, with William Dozier intoning, “Meanwhile, in the Batcave” and “Meanwhile, in the Wayne living room” over and over and over again.
The entire diversion to the drive-in is the textbook definition of “pointless,” especially since the “Batburger” thing is just head-scratching. The cliffhanger resolution starts out promising—tilting the hourglass onto its side is actually quite clever—but then just gets silly with the hamster wheel thing and the truck.
A very disappointing contribution from Batman’s co-creator.
Keith R.A. DeCandido is the Author Guest of Honor at Treklanta 2016 this coming weekend, alongside actors Carel Struycken, Tracee Lee Cocco, Jack Stauffer, Java Green, and Lynn McArthur; fans Bjo & John Trimble; and numerous other authors, performers, and fan film folk.