“King Tut’s Coup” / “Batman’s Waterloo”
Written by Leo & Pauline Townsend and Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 2, Episodes 53 and 54
Production code 9755
Original air dates: March 8 and 9, 1967
The Bat-signal: At Yale University, a professor of Egyptology is talking to two students who ask about his past as the criminal King Tut. The professor sighs and with a muttered grumble about the damn school newspaper, explains his suffering from a case of amnesia and identity transference. Since it’s prompted by cranial trauma, he wears a bowler hat with heavy lining. He shows that lining to the students just as a klutzy window washer knocks three potted plants off a ledge. Two hit the students, one hits Tut, and we suddenly not only have Tut back, but he’s got two lackeys who pledge allegiance to him.
His first order of business is to steal a sarcophagus from the Gotham City Museum’s Egyptian section. The theft prompts Gordon to call—Bruce Wayne? Turns out he’s heading up an Egyptian ball for charity, which makes him apparently qualified to consult on matters of Egyptology. Sure. Bruce assures Gordon that the sarcophagus was from the time period of King Tutankhamun (and it actually was! the real Tut reigned from 1332-1323 BCE, and the sarcophagus is from ca. 1300 BCE), and advises that he call Batman.
(Making this whole thing hilarious is that Bruce, Dick, and Harriet were all in costume for the ball, Bruce as Caesar, Dick as a Roman centurion, and Harriet as a Roman woman.)
They slide down the bat-poles in costume in order to come out the other side in different costumes, and head to GCPD HQ, where Gordon gets a call that the Middle Eastern pantomimist Fouad Sphinx has been found beaten and tied up as if to be hanged. Batman has Gordon tell the cops on the scene leave everything as it is—which means Sphinx is stuck tied up until the Dynamic Duo arrive. And it never occurs to Batman to have him be untied until Sphinx himself mentions it. Nice job, hero.
He left a note for Batman in Tut’s “native” tongue, which translates to a declaration that he will claim his own. His own what is unclear, but Batman figures the Egyptian ball will be a target. Gordon has O’Hara send a bunch of cops to keep an eye on the ball undercover. Those cops see Deputy Mayor Zorty dressed as King Tut—which Tut knew about going in—and assume he’s the criminal, taking him away. Bruce and Lisa Carson—the daughter of multimillionaire John E. Carson—arrive as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, and Tut himself arrives soon thereafter.
Tut’s thugs pretend to be the undercover cops and ask Bruce to convince Lisa to dance with Tut and move him discreetly toward the exit. Bruce falls for this, up until the real cops—having discovered that they arrested Zorty by mistake—return, but by then Tut has gotten away with Lisa.
In the Batcave, Batman and Robin track Lisa to Tut’s HQ, as Bruce put a tracking device on Lisa, which isn’t at all creepy. They head to the Pyramid Club, where Lisa isn’t thrilled to be queen to Tut’s king. Her stubborn insistence on being Lisa Carson rather than Cleopatra Queen of the Nile results in Tut throwing her in the dungeon.
The Dynamic Duo split up—Robin stays by the door while Batman goes to the roof. The two student thugs open the door right on Robin’s head and bring him, insensate and tied up, to Tut. However, Batman then comes in from the roof, and fisticuffs ensue. Batman is stopped by Tut crashing a vase over his head.
Batman is placed in a sarcophagus, which is suspended over what looks like a kiddie pool. Tut gives a speech that riffs hilariously on Marc Antony’s funeral speech from Julius Caesar, and then lowers the sarcophagus into the pool. If he stays in the sarcophagus, he’ll suffocate, and if he escapes from it, he’ll drown. Robin, still tied up, looks on in horror.
Lisa’s time in the dungeon has done nothing to make her more willing to be Cleopatra, so they adjourn to the royal oil boiling room to take care of Robin.
Alfred shows up, having received a transmission from Batman from within the sarcophagus, and frees Batman from his watery grave. He went into a trance to slow his metabolic rate enough to survive.
Lisa finally agrees to marry Tut, but only if he calls her father. He does and promises to keep her safe if Carson pays him $8,300,487.12—it’s the mortgage on the pyramids, thanks to three millennia of interest. Carson agrees, arranging to send a message to Tut via a radio show—but as soon as he hangs up, he calls Gordon. Gordon has Batman call the same radio show and provide a message for Tut, knowing that he’s listening for Carson’s message that the ransom’s together. We don’t hear Batman’s message to Tut for some reason, but Tut replies by telling Batman to bring the money to the royal oil boiling room, thus providing Batman with the location of same. He gets the money from Carson and heads to the royal oil boiling room.
Robin and Lisa are tied to a pole in the royal oil boiling room while Tut waits impatiently for the oil to heat up. Neila—who views Lisa as competition—frees the two of them, but they’re caught before they can escape. Just as Robin’s about to be tossed into the boiling oil, Batman bursts in, tossing a chemical compound into the oil that turns it into foam rubber. Fisticuffs ensue, during which Tut is clubbed on the head, reverting him to his professorial persona.
Bruce and Lisa finish their date that was interrupted. He walks her to her apartment, but declines her offer to come in for milk and cookies, which probably isn’t a euphemism. He explains that he isn’t really husband material for her, but she doesn’t seem to care. After one goodnight kiss, Bruce decides that man cannot live by crimefighting alone, and goes in for the milk and cookies, which totally isn’t a euphemism, honest.
Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! The Batcave has an electronic translator, which is useful when you’re handed a note in an ancient tongue. Batman has a vast storehouse of chemical knowledge in his brain, though he also has no idea how the chemical concoction he’s putting together will actually work. Bruce placed a tracking device on his date, which isn’t at all creepy, and he tracks her on what looks like the Giant Lighted Lucite Map of Gotham City! Later, we see Alfred polishing what seems to be the same thing, but is labelled as the Batmobile Tracking Map. Very confusing. The Bat-cycle returns, this time outfitted with a bat-tering ram allowing Batman to crash into the royal oil boiling room. We also see the Wireless Bat-transmitter in action once again, with a sign indicating that it’s “FOR BATEMERGENCIES ONLY.” Batman has also developed something called “Morse Bat-code,” which is just weird, since either it’s Samuel Morse’s Code or it’s Batman’s code…
Holy #@!%$, Batman! Only one religious uttering from Robin this time: “Holy jet-set” when he thinks that they might appear in a Suzy Knickerbocker column.
When Batman learns the location of the royal oil boiling room, Alfred says, “Holy steam valve!” and punches his palm, picking up the slack for the kidnapped Robin.
Gotham City’s finest. The cops arrest the deputy mayor by mistake. Zorty forgives this first infraction, but warns that Gordon and O’Hara will be pounding a beat if they screw up again.
Also reference is made to Gordon’s daughter Barbara for the first time, setting up her appearing in season three as a regular.
No sex, please, we’re superheroes. Neila thought she was Tut’s girl until he started getting obsessed with Lisa, thinking her to be Cleopatra reincarnated. Meanwhile, Lisa and Bruce end their date by going into her apartment for milk and cookies, which totally isn’t a euphemism at all, no really, honest!
Special Guest Villain. Victor Buono makes his second appearance of the season as King Tut following “The Spell of Tut” / “Tut’s Case is Shut.” He’ll be back in the third season’s “The Unkindest Tut of All.”
Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.
“I guess millionaires aren’t so dumb after all.”
“Otherwise they never would have become millionaires.”
–O’Hara and Gordon assuming incorrectly that smarts always play a role in becoming a millionaire.
Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 43 by host John S. Drew with special guest chum, independent filmmaker Robert Long.
Leo Townsend, who co-wrote the original draft of the story with his wife Pauline, is the writer of Beach Blanket Bingo and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini. The Townsends’ original story involved Mayor Linseed, but Byron Keith was unavailable, so Stanley Ralph Ross had to rewrite the script. (Linseed’s excuse for being out of town was that he was visiting the Asian front.)
The window cameo is Aileen Mehle, a.k.a. Suzy Knickerbocker, a well-known newspaper columnist, who also appeared regularly on the panel of What’s My Line? (including one episode where the special guest was her son).
Pow! Biff! Zowie! “When we get to the royal oil boiling room, be sure to prepare some real boiling royal boiling oil, to boil the Boy Wonder in, royally.” What an absolute delight of an episode. As usual, Stanley Ralph Ross can be counted on to get back to the basics: Batman being the straitlaced hero, the GCPD being spectacularly incompetent, and the villain being over the top and delightful.
Victor Buono was never not great as Tut, but this may be his best outing, as he goes full-on W.C. Fields here. He’s aided by a metric buttload of wordplay and snark, a constant barrage of lunacy that is a joy and a delight.
The wealth is shared, of course, as we get lots of people dressed in absurd Egyptian (or Roman) garb, including Bruce in a toga and Dick in centurion armor. Alfred gets to save the day, which is always fun, and he even gets a “Holy!” exclamation! The cliffhanger deathtrap is kinda weak, but overall this episode is huge fun, a welcome return to the grand insanity of the first season. Plus Lee Meriwether is excellent as Lisa, since her insistence on Tut calling her father is what leads Batman to be able to save the day. And at the end, Bruce actually gets laid! Woohoo! (C’mon, “milk and cookies” is totally a euphemism you guys!!!)