Holy Rewatch Batman!

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Ogg and I” / “How to Hatch a Dinosaur”

“The Ogg and I” / “How to Hatch a Dinosaur”
Written by Stanford Sherman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 3, Episodes 8 & 9
Production code 1705-1 & 1705-2
Original air dates: November 2 & 9, 1967

The Bat-signal: Olga, Queen of the Bessarovian Cossacks, and Egghead kidnap Gordon from his office in a hot-air balloon, under the guise of delivering a sandwich. Gordon realizes it’s Egghead when it’s an egg sandwich rather than roast beef, but by then it’s too late.

O’Hara enters the now-empty office, where Gordon managed to scrawl a note that says “KIDNAPPED.” Batgirl shows up—concerned that Gordon wasn’t answering his phone, no doubt, though she can’t say that out loud in order to preserve her secret ID—as do Batman and Robin, who saw Olga and Egghead at the end of last episode, and are now at GCPD HQ.

Egghead asks Olga to get her Cossacks to stop their victory dance so he can call in the ransom: ten cents for every egg consumed in Gotham City, and he tasks the GCPD with counting them and collecting the “egg-cise” tax.

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Batman has a plan that he says is a long shot. Batgirl has one of her own, and she suggests they both approach from different angles in the hopes that one of them will succeed.

Batgirl knows that Gordon wears a distinct aftershave, but she can’t reveal that to anyone but Alfred. Meanwhile, the Dynamic Duo visit the Bessarovian ambassador at their embassy, where the Brass Samovar of Genghis Khan (really!) is being hidden for safekeeping. Whoever possesses the samovar rules Bessarovia.

Sure enough, Olga and her Cossacks show up to steal the samovar, which they bring to her hideout. However, it’s a Trojan samovar! Batman and Robin were hiding in the samovar, and when they emerge, they find Gordon tied up in a nearby birdcage. But Olga saw it coming, and gasses the Dynamic Duo.

Robin is put in the cage with Gordon, while Olga and Egghead reveal that the ambassador is also a Cossack—and a chef. He intends to cook Robin and Gordon in his Bessarovian borscht, but Olga wants to keep Batman for herself. That makes Egghead jealous, which leads a Cossack to knock Egghead out. It turns out that Bessarovian queens can have up to six husbands, so she can marry both Batman and Egghead.

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Meanwhile, Alfred and Batgirl are sniffing their way around Gotham City in search of Wellington #4, Gordon’s aftershave. Alfred detects the odor at a warehouse, and calls Batgirl, who rides over on the Batgirl-cycle and enters just as Olga’s about to get married twice over.

Fisticuffs ensue. Alfred socks the ambassador in the jaw (take that, Sean Pertwee!) and frees Gordon and Robin so they can join the fray. However, while they take care of the Cossacks, Egghead attacks with eggs hatched by hens that have been fed a steady diet of onions, so our heroes are forced to cry when the eggs shatter at their feet.

The bad guys beat a hasty retreat, but at least Gordon is free.

Olga and Egghead’s next target is the Gotham Radium Center, where they steal two pounds of radium. The center calls Gordon and Gordon calls Batman, who high-tails it to GCPD HQ, where they try to figure out the bad guys’ plan.

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Barbara delivers a library book to Professor Dactyl at the Gotham Museum of Natural History, where she sees a neosaurus egg. She wonders if Egghead might want to steal it, but Dactyl thinks it has no value to anyone save a paleontologist.

It turns out that Egghead and Olga were hiding behind a fossil to steal the egg in question. Barbara and Dactyl discover that the egg is missing and Barbara reports it to Gordon, who informs her of the radium theft.

Batman thinks an article in the Southeastern Journal of Applied Radiology might be of help, and Barbara separately thinks the same thing. Unfortunately, the library no longer subscribes, but Bruce Wayne does. Barbara calls Alfred at the same time that Batman calls his butler upstairs, and he provides the article’s title to them both: “Revitalizing Fossil Forms by the Use of High-Energy Radioactive Energy Sources.” Egghead wants to use the radium to irradiate the egg and hatch the dinosaur inside, and then feed it a three-course meal of Batman, Robin, and Batgirl—with Gordon and O’Hara for dessert.

The Batmobile and the Batgirl-cycle both arrive at the warehouse where Olga and Egghead are hiding out and trying to hatch the forty-million-year-old egg. Fisticuffs ensue—but only with Robin and Batgirl. They’re captured, and then another burst of radiation causes the egg to hatch.

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A neosaurus bursts out and menaces Olga and Egghead so much that they and the Cossacks run scared out of the warehouse—right to the waiting arms of O’Hara and the GCPD. But the “neosaurus” was actually Batman in a dinosaur suit. Batgirl slips away, and Batman refuses to follow her, as he’d be conspicuous in his neosaurus suit.

Later, Bruce, Dick, Barbara, Gordon, and O’Hara are discussing the incident over tea, when Barbara gets a call from her old buddy Skip Davis inviting her on a surfing trip—but Joker’s already at Gotham Point with surfing plans of his own…

Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! Batgirl has walkie-talkies that have doilies for trim, because she’s a girrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl. Radium being stolen and dragged around the city in a lead case somehow affects the Bat-computer 14 miles away. Sure. But Batman can trace the radium with the Bat-Geiger counter, and Batgirl can do the same with the Batgirl-Geiger counter. Batman has a voder of some sort that allows him to roar menacingly like a neosaurus.

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Holy #@!%$, Batman! “Holy eggshells!” is Robin’s obvious rejoinder after hearing the ransom demand. “Holy crying towels” is Robin’s inexplicable utterance after they’re hit with the onion-y eggs. “Holy understatements” is Robin’s reply to Batman’s exposition regarding Part 1 in Part 2. “Holy anagrams” is Robin’s equally inexplicable utterance when they’re trying to figure out what the bad guys will be doing with the radium.

Gotham City’s finest. The cops are tasked with counting the number of eggs eaten in Gotham in order to ransom their boss, then have the easiest collar ever when Olga, Egghead, and the Cossacks all run into the paddywagon willingly to avoid being eaten by a neosaurus.

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Special Guest Villains. Vincent Price returns as Egghead, following his debut in “An Egg Grows in Gotham“, this time alongside Anne Baxter as Olga. Last seen in the title role in “Zelda the Great“, Baxter is the only person to appear as two completely different special guest villains in the series.

No sex, please, we’re superheroes. Olga decides Batman is dreamy and wishes to marry him as well as Egghead.

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Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.

“No troubles, Batushka, or we are making shashlik out of little malchik and old commissionar!”

–Olga threatening Robin and Gordon in order to keep Batman in line, speaking in broken English and broken Russian.

Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 55 by host John S. Drew with special guest chum, Kevin Lauderdale, author, host of Presenting the Transcription Feature and It Has Come to My Attention, and cohost of Mighty Movie: Temple of Bad.

Originally written as a three-parter, this storyline instead uses what was originally parts 1 and 3, with part 2 to be shown later in the season as a standalone episode, “The Ogg Couple.”

Part 1’s title is a play on The Egg and I, Betty MacDonald’s 1945 memoir that was made into a 1947 movie featuring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.

Vincent Price and Anne Baxter previously starred together in The Ten Commandments and A Royal Scandal.

Alan Hale Jr. has an uncredited cameo as a restauranteur named Gilligan, a play on both Hale’s owning a restaurant and his starring role as the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island.

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The neosaurus costume was borrowed from the Lost in Space prop department, where it had been used in the episodes “The Questing Beast” and “Space Beauty.”

Robin guesses that Olga and Egghead might want to use the radium to poison the water supply, which O’Hara recalls has been done before, specifically by the Joker in “The Joker’s Provokers.”

Pow! Biff! Zowie! “Think they can crack it, Commissioner?” Vincent Price and Anne Baxter are both charming and delightful and wonderful actors. They even have decent chemistry together.

But this two-parter that throws the two of them together is a total disaster.

Baxter’s Olga has her moments—her comedy Russian accent is actually kind of entertaining—but Zelda was, frankly, a much more complex and interesting villain.

The biggest problem is that the teaming of Egghead and Olga doesn’t really make any sense on the face of it, as there’s nothing really linking Egghead’s egg fetish with Olga’s desire to rule Bessarovia. As a result, Egghead is all but irrelevant to the first part and Olga is even more irrelevant to the second.

And the story is just a mess. Kidnapping Gordon and stealing the Brass Samovar of Genghis Khan don’t seem to be related to each other and feel like they’re happening in two entirely separate stories. What does Egghead hope to gain by hatching a dinosaur egg? Not that it could possibly work, as everyone but him knew, but still. And then there’s the question of how, exactly, Batman got into an unhatched egg in order to burst out of it. Plus, our three heroes are standing outside the warehouse together, and the next thing we see is Batgirl and Robin engaging in fisticuffs. When Batman unmasks himself from the neosaurus suit, Robin and Batgirl are surprised, yet they had to have known—especially given how elaborate the setup was.

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There’s also a big plot hole, as Gordon sees Alfred come in with Batgirl. He asks what the Wayne butler is doing there, but Alfred puts him off so more fisticuffs can ensue. But shouldn’t Gordon have asked the question again later?

With all that, though, the worst sin committed by this two-parter is forgetting the fact that Egghead is supposed to be a genius. There’s no evidence of any smarts on his part. He’s reduced to following behind Olga and her Cossacks on a donkey while they traipse through Gotham on horseback (we only actually see Egghead on his ass—apparently they blew their horse budget on the Penguin/Lola Lasagna two-parter, so we never actually see Olga and the gang ride) and whining at Olga when she decides to marry Batman. Not to mention the fact that his plot rides on him being too stupid to realize that an egg would not remain fertilized and viable for forty million years, and stupid is the exact opposite of what Egghead is.

It’s fun to watch Baxter chew the scenery, and Price is never not fun, and there are a few other good moments—Alfred doing the telephonic watusi to get info to both Batman and Barbara, the Brass Samovar of Genghis Khan being roughly the size of Rhode Island, the fact that Bessarovia’s object of monarchial power is a samovar that was supposed to have been used by Genghis Khan, Adam West in a dinosaur outfit, Alan Hale’s cameo as a character named Gilligan—but ultimately, this is an egg-scruciating mess that one can’t help but egg-scoriate, as it serves to egg-cise any good feeling engendered by Egghead’s egg-cellent first appearance.

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Bat-rating: 2

Keith R.A. DeCandido will be making his first public appearance of 2017 this weekend at Arisia 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts, alongside Guests of Honor Ursula Vernon, Stephanie Law, Greykell Dutton, and Susan Fox & Gene Turnbow from Krypton Radio, and tons of other neat folks. Keith’s schedule can be found here.

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