“The Ogg Couple”
Written by Stanford Sherman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 3, Episode 15
Production code 1705-3
Original air dates: December 21, 1967
The Bat-signal: Once again, Olga rides down the streets of Gotham City with her Cossacks on horseback, Egghead trailing behind on a burro. We only see Egghead, because horses are beyond the means of the third season budget…
They arrive at the Gotham City Museum (clearly labelled, “LOS ANGELES COUNTY HISTORICAL AND ART MUSEUM,” cough cough) where they keep the Silver Scimitar of Taras Bulbul, which is only to be pulled out of the golden Egg of Ogg that it’s embedded in by the rightful queen of the Cossacks. Olga yanks out the scimitar (which only comes loose after Egghead applies some Egg of Ogg Acid), while Egghead keeps the golden egg.
Gordon gets the report that Egghead and Olga are back to their old tricks—apparently after the last time, Egghead got out on a legal technicality and the Bessarovians refused delivery of Olga and her Cossacks when GCPD tried to extradite them—and immediately goes for the red phone.
Dick cuts short his study of the life of Genghis Khan and our heroes slide down the batpoles and head to GCPD HQ, where Gordon offers to compile a list of egg-related items that Egghead might go after.
At their hideout, Olga and Egghead discuss plans while the Cossacks do their victory dance. Egghead intends to steal lots of things to serve as Olga’s dowry so they can be married. His first target: a shipment of five hundred pounds of caviar that was a gift to the people of Gotham City from the Czar of Samarkand. Said fish eggs are worth two hundred bucks an ounce.
Gordon takes a rain check for lunch with Barbara because of the danger from the bad guys. He also urges Barbara to keep this to herself, as there might be panic in the streets (never mind that the bad guys in question are riding down the street on horseback in front of everybody). Barbara goes home and changes into Batgirl.
In the Batcave, the Dynamic Duo go through possible targets of Egghead’s thievery and warn them—among them the Lo Hung Company, makers of egg-drop soup, and Canes Candy Company, manufacturers of chocolate Easter eggs. They then recall that (a) Samarkand is adjacent to Bessarovia and (b) Samarkand donated all that caviar. They head out to the bank where it’s being stored.
At the Gotham City National Bank, the manager is quite proud of the fact that he had all the bank’s cash shipped upstate—but it never occurred to him to do likewise with the caviar, so Olga and her Cossacks steal it. Egghead shows up long after they’ve gone (because his ass is slow, ahem), and the security guard holds Egghead at gunpoint—right when Batgirl shows up. Rather than get shot, Egghead agrees to take Batgirl to their hideout. Egghead reluctantly climbs onto the back of the Batgirl-cycle and leads her there. Fisticuffs ensue, but while Batgirl holds her own against the Cossacks, Olga tosses some caviar on the floor that she slips on.
Batman and Robin arrive at the bank, where the bank manager fills them in. They head over in time to see Batgirl tied up and dancing the saber dance, which involves the Cossacks attacking her with sabers, and Batgirl using Yvonne Craig’s dance training to keep from being impaled.
More fisticuffs ensue, but Olga and Egghead dump the still-bound Batgirl in the cold caviar, and they use the distraction of our heroes rescuing her to make their escape. But at least they recovered the caviar…
Luckily for everyone, Batman had O’Hara surround the building, so they GCPD was able to capture Egghead, Olga, and the Cossacks. Batman and Robin confer with Gordon and O’Hara in the commissioner’s office about how they’ll get a more well-balanced diet than eggs and caviar in prison when Barbara enters, saying that she saw Catwoman and Joker driving down the street together…
Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! Batman is able to trace the Batgirl-cycle with the Bat-Geiger counter, as the cycle uses radioactive spark plugs. Why Batman has never used this method to track down where Batgirl goes after she routinely disappears is left as an exercise for the viewer.
Batman also apparently keeps a small broom in his utility belt, handy for brushing bits of caviar off a costume…
Holy #@!%$, Batman! Robin grumbles, “Holy Tartars” when they are told that Egghead and Olga are back, prompting Batman to reply, “Unholy Tartars, Robin.” After they rescue Batgirl from the caviar, Robin complains, “Holy cold creeps.” And when they learn that Joker and Catwoman are teaming up, Robin sighs, “Holy here we go again.”
Gotham City’s finest. For some reason, Gordon agonizes over having to call Batman in, feeling a certain amount of guilt and reluctance. This is wildly out of character, as Gordon tends to default to the Bat-phone when someone litters, but whatever.
Special Guest Villains. Vincent Price and Anne Baxter are back as Egghead and Olga, Queen of the Cossacks. This was actually originally planned as the second part of the three-part story featuring Egghead and Olga, but this one was carved out and shown later.
No sex, please, we’re superheroes. Batgirl gets dipped in caviar. I’ll be in my bunk…
Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.
“I believe you overestimate your undertaking abilities, Egghead.”
–Batman’s clever response to Egghead’s threatening to kill him.
Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 59 by host John S. Drew with special guest chum, Kevin Lauderdale, author, podcaster, and gadfly about town.
The title is a play on The Odd Couple, which at the time of this episode was only a well-regarded, award-winning play. The following year, it would be adapted into a movie starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and it has been adapted into four different TV series between 1970 and the present.
The scimitar that Olga steals is a play on the 1835 novel Taras Bulba, another romance involving Cossacks, which was adapted to film numerous times, most notably one starring Yul Brenner in 1962.
Pow! Biff! Zowie! “Bessarovia didn’t want the Bessarovians.” This episode would have worked far better in its proper place between “The Ogg and I” and “How to Hatch a Dinosaur.” Egghead’s desire to collect a dowry follows on nicely from the attempted wedding in “The Ogg and I” and stealing the dinosaur egg continues Egghead’s theme of egg-related thefts to build up a dowry, and stealing the scimitar goes along with Olga’s desire to be the legitimate ruler of the Cossacks. Not to mention Dick studying up on Genghis Khan, which previews the conqueror’s samovar in “How to Hatch a Dinosaur.”
As it stands right now, it feels oddly incomplete and disjointed. The theft of the scimitar doesn’t pay off, and the bad guys wind up being captured off-camera in the lamest of possible climaxes in order to make it all work. Sadly, this just turns Batman into an even bigger dick with his lecturing Batgirl about how superheroing isn’t really women’s work, when he knows full well that O’Hara and his men are outside rounding up the Cossacks.
Batman and Robin figuring out that the caviar is next on the egg-themed hit parade actually makes sense, but we never find out how Batgirl figures it out (possibly the same way, but maybe show us more of that and less unconvincing footage of Batgirl riding down the street?). And Batman can trace the Batgirl-cycle through its radioactive spark plugs? Really? Never mind the can of worms this opens with regard to the Dynamic Duo continuing to be stymied by who Batgirl is, there’s also the fact that Batgirl is riding around with radioactive spark plugs. She’s gonna need that wig for both identities once her hair starts falling out. (Maybe Egghead can give her advice on how to live with baldness……)
Vincent Price and Anne Baxter are a delight as always. Baxter apparently went to the trouble of learning some actual Russian (including bunches of profanity) to make the role more convincing, and Price is never not wonderful (his interplay with Yvonne Craig is actually a lot of fun), but the whole episode is just off-kilter.
Keith R.A. DeCandido‘s latest work was just released this week: the third Super City Cops novella, Secret Identities, following up from Avenging Amethyst and Undercover Blues. Telling the story of cops in a city filled with superheroes, these novellas are published by Bastei. You can get the eBooks from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo, and read an excerpt from Avenging Amethyst right here on Tor.com.