“The Unkindest Tut of All”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episodes 6
Production code 1709
Original air dates: October 19, 1967
The Bat-signal: Bruce and Barbara return from a date in Bruce’s limousine. They turn on the TV in the limo to see that King Tut has made the latest in a series of predictions of crimes before they happen. Supposedly Tut is reformed and is now in the crime predicting business. Gordon goes for the Bat-phone, and Dick answers it, signaling Bruce on his wristwatch. Bruce makes excuses and drops Barbara off at her beauty salon, and then returns to Wayne Manor to change into costume and head off to GCPD HQ, where Gordon informs our heroes that Tut has set up in a tent in a vacant lot.
They arrive at the tent to find Tut going through a ritual involving calling to evil gods and such in front of the press to make his next prediction. Batman and Robin think he’s full of it, but he nonetheless prognosticates that the soccer stadium box office will be robbed. Tut hasn’t actually committed any crimes, so the Dynamic Duo leave him be and head out, as does the press.
Once alone, Tut reveals his plan: he’ll “predict” enough crimes that the police will trust him, and then he’ll pull a nasty crime.
Batman and Robin arrive at the soccer stadium to find the box office being robbed. Fisticuffs ensue, though while they fight, a bystander puts a tracker on the Batmobile. Tut is therefore able to determine that the Batcave is located right under Wayne Manor.
Tut calls Bruce’s phone number and asks for Batman. Batman insists that he and Bruce are totally different people, but Tut isn’t buying it and insists that he see Batman and Bruce together in public.
So Bruce shows up at Tut’s tent, as does the Batmobile, which has a dummy that looks just like Batman in the driver’s seat, which Bruce operates by ventriloquism and remote control. Stymied in his attempt to expose Batman, Tut goes back to Plan A: stealing a set of Egyptian scrolls from the Gotham City Library.
In the Batcave, Alfred slides down the bat-pole for the first (and last) time, just for a thrill, and then separately both Batman and Barbara deduce that Tut is going after the scrolls in the library.
Unfortunately, Batman and Robin arrive too late to stop the theft, though they do save the life of the librarian on duty. So did Batgirl, but she stayed out of sight and followed Tut to his secret headquarters. Fisticuffs ensue, but while Batgirl takes out his two henchmen, Tut’s moll hits her with a vase.
Then Batman and Robin show up and more henchmen show up out of nowhere and more fisticuffs ensue, and Tut is defeated.
However, Louie the Lilac is back in town…
Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! The Bat-dummy works with the pocket bat-synchronizer to look active. The Batmobile can be preprogrammed to drive on its own and stop at red lights. Also Batman has a two-way wrist radio—just like Dick Tracy!—that communicates with a lamp in the study. (Yes, a lamp. You can’t make this shit up. Well, that is to say, they made this up, but you know what I mean…)
Holy #@!%$, Batman! When Tut calls Bruce’s number but asks for Batman, Robin mutters, “Holy heart failure!” After they use the Batman dummy to fool Tut, Batman asks Robin if the dummy was any trouble, and Robin says, “Holy Gemini, it went great!”
Gotham City’s finest. Because Tut “predicts” that the Riddler, Penguin, Egghead, and Siren are all going to break out of prison, Gordon sends all of the city cops to guard the prison, leaving Batman and Robin to protect the rest of the city, at which point they utterly fail to stop Tut from stealing the scrolls.
Special Guest Villain. Victor Buono returns for the first of two appearances this season, the next being “I’ll Be a Mummy’s Uncle.” Stanley Ralph Ross originally wrote this episode and “…Mummy’s Uncle” as a single two-parter, but he rewrote it as two separate episodes when it was decided to go with mostly single episodes for season three.
No sex, please, we’re superheroes. Barbara and Bruce go on a date to see an accordion recital. Apparently, they were captivated by eight straight renditions of “Lady of Spain.” Later when Bruce asks Barbara in Gordon’s office if they’d want to continue the date, Tut scoffs, saying Bruce is incredibly dull. And when alone with a beautiful woman in the back seat of a limo with the curtains drawn, the only thing Bruce can think of to do is turn on the TV. Yeah…
Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.
“Come off it, Tut. Your predictions are nothing but phony fatuous flimflam.”
“Who dares impugn the veracity of Tut—nabob of the Nile, moon god of Thoth, and stuff like that? By the instep of Ramses, I’ll have his head!”
–Batman accusing Tut of mendacity by using alliteration, and Tut invoking a body part of Ramses that is rarely invoked.
Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 53 by host John S. Drew with special guest chum, Richard F. Lee, host of the Shazam/Isis Podcast.
Apparently, Tut was in his Yale professor persona, but was hit on the head with a brick during a love-in. Just a little something to remind us that it’s 1967…
The title derives from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, when Marc Antony is eulogizing Caesar in Act 3.
Cathleen Cordell plays the librarian whom Tut ties up in a strangling knot pattern that Batman identifies as being indicative of the Thugees, even though they’re Indian rather than Egyptian.
Pow! Biff! Zowie! “Balderdash, say I—stuff and nonsense and fooey!” When Victor Buono shows up as King Tut, you know you’re going to have a good time. His zany overacting and W.C. Fields-esque delivery always promises a good time, and Stanley Ralph Ross writes perfectly for him, giving him lots of over-the-top dialogue to spew. It’s a joy.
The plot is actually not bad, if a bit thin. It’s out of the Penguin’s playbook—seem reformed and use it as a cover for a new crime wave—and I like the fact that both of our heroes figure out what Tut’s up to, but arrive too late to actually stop him. (I love the bit when they see the librarian tied up in a manner that will strangle her shortly. First Batman declares that she’ll strangle to death very quickly if they don’t untie her—but then he pauses to lecture Robin on the importance of saving a life over stopping a theft while the poor woman gurgles on the brink of dying. There were times when Adam West’s Batman really was a goddamn sociopath….)
Bruce and Barbara going on a date is a source of great humor and absurdity, and Batman’s solution to Tut’s discovery of his secret identity with the animated dummy is right out of the doofy Silver Age comics that inspired William Dozier in the first place. I like the fact that Tut still thinks Bruce and Batman might be one and the same at the end (the Batmobile did go under Wayne Manor, after all).
And then at the end, Neil Hamilton does a delightful rendering of the old “You don’t say” joke when he’s on the phone with the officer who sighted Louie the Lilac. (“You don’t say. You don’t say? You don’t say!” Hangs up. “Who was it?” “He didn’t say.”)
Just a total delight.
Rewatcher’s note: We’ll be doing something special next week to close out this 50th anniversary of both Star Trek The Original Series and Batman ’66: Four rewatch extras that deal with stuff related to one or both of the shows in question, which will run on Monday through Thursday of next week (the 26th to the 29th of December). The regular rewatches will re-commence in the first week of January 2017. Have a wonderful bat-holiday, everyone!
Keith R.A. DeCandido‘s latest release is the Super City Cops novella Avenging Amethyst, from which you can read an excerpt right here on this site. This is the first of three novellas about police in a city filled with costumed heroes and villains published by Bastei Entertainment. Full information, including the cover, promo copy, ordering links, and another excerpt can be found on Keith’s blog. The next two novellas, Undercover Blues and Secret Identities, will be released in January and February.