“I’ll Be a Mummy’s Uncle”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 23
Production code 1725
Original air date: February 22, 1968
The Bat-signal: King Tut is being treated at the Mount Ararat Psychiartric Hospital. Tut has gone on and on and on and on about his problems for so long that his shrink falls asleep, giving Tut the opportunity to make his escape. He immediately hits the Rosetta Stone Company (according to their sign, they are manufacturers of cornerstones, curbstones, cobblestones, and milestones) and steals $47,000.
The sleepy shrink calls Gordon to inform him of his somnabulent screwup, and Gordon heads straight for the red phone. Batman and Robin hie themselves to GCPD HQ, where Barbara is visiting her Dad (does she ever actually work in the library anymore, or just loiter in her father’s office?).
Tut believes there is a vein of nilanium—the hardest metal in the world—under Wayne Manor. He intends to buy the land next to Bruce’s house (which Bruce has put on sale for $47,000 to aid in the property shortage) and then dig for the metal.
The Bat-computer provides the lot Bruce is selling, but Batman assumes that the computer’s off-kilter, as he’s selling that for $48,000. However, Tut is friends with Manny the Mesopotamian, an unscrupulous real-estate dealer who will sell it to Tut for $47K.
Tut arrives at Manny’s just as Barbara is about to leave—she’s there to look for a place in the suburbs for her father, who’s tired of city congestion—and she observes the transaction as Tut buys the property.
Barbara, as Batgirl, calls Bruce to warn him, and Bruce passes on a message to Batman for her (cough) to meet at Gordon’s office in half an hour. But then the Bat-computer reveals two things: that there is nilanium under Wayne Manor (why this fact was never revealed previously is left as an exercise for the viewer) and that Tut is digging for it—and his mining operation will lead him right to the Batcave!
After calling Batgirl in Gordon’s office to tell her to meet them on Tut’s new property, Batman and Robin hoof it to the mine. (The Batmobile might be seen with all the miners wandering about. Why Batman didn’t consider the possibility of people seeing the Batmobile when he put the property up for sale is also left as an exercise for the viewer.)
Tut’s miners hit the titanium shell around the Batcave, and they’re afraid to blast it due to the danger. Tut laughs in the face of danger, and he volunteers to do the blasting himself. That’s when Batman, Robin, and Batgirl all show up. Tut and his gang retreat down the shaft in a minecart, with the heroes following on foot. Batman asks Batgirl to stay behind and guard the entrance in order to protect the secret of the Batcave, and Batgirl inexplicably goes along with it even though Batman can’t provide a convincing reason.
Tut and his people burst into the Batcave, and Tut is overjoyed to realize that he has discovered Batman’s secret. Batman and Robin arrive and fisticuffs ensue, trashing the Batcave something fierce. Tut gets away, though, but before he can reveal his secret, a rock falls on his head, the cranial trauma reverting him to his other personality of a Yale professor of Egyptology.
Tut—or, rather, Professor McElroy—returns to work at Yale, but then a flying saucer containing the Joker is sighted over Gotham…
Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! The Dynamic Duo use the Bat-directional finder to track Tut’s mining movements. Batman requires a bat-compass to inform him that north-northeast is in a north-northeasterly direction. Yeah. Batman has bat-nesia gas that erases short-term memory, thus keeping the henchmen and moll from remembering that they learned Batman’s secret. He runs out of it before getting to Tut, and so must rely on his being thunked on the head to save the secret of his real name.
Holy #@!%$, Batman! Upon learning that Wayne Manor is sitting on a vein of nilanium, the hardest metal in the world, Robin’s response is to cry out, “Holy hardest metal in the world!” Upon discovering that Tut and his gang are riding down the tracks to the bottom of the mine (and the Batcave), Robin’s response is, “Holy journey to the center of the Earth!” Upon arriving at the end of the mineshaft after running up it, Robin grumbles, “Holy waste of energy.” Upon discovering that Tut has reverted to his professorial persona, and won’t reveal their identities, Robin sighs, “Holy razor’s edge.”
Gotham City’s finest. Gordon is no longer satisfied with his brownstone in Gotham City and is looking for a place in the ‘burbs.
Special Guest Villain. Victor Buono makes his final appearance as King Tut. Of the villains created for the show, he was the first and the most successful, having appeared in eight episodes all together.
Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.
“Very good, Robin, I didn’t know you were a student of the classics.”
“Batman teaches me a little poetry in between remanding criminals to jail.”
“Enough prose and cons, Robin.”
–Barbara complimenting Robin on a literary citation he made, Robin accepting the compliment, and Batman making an awful pun.
Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 65 by host John S. Drew with special guest chums, Robert Greenberger (author of The Essential Batman Encyclopedia) and Jim Beard (editor of Gotham City 14 Miles).
This episode was originally written to be part two of the story begun in “The Unkindest Tut of All,” but Stanley Ralph Ross rewrote it as two separate episodes, with the secondary roles rewritten and recast as different people. The one link between the two is the general theme of Tut learning Batman’s secret identity, and also Tut finding the life-sized dummies of Batman and Robin that were used to show Batman and Bruce in the same place at the same time in the other episode.
King Tut’s real name is revealed to be William Omaha McElroy, which is a tribute to executive producer William Dozier, who was born in Omaha and whose dog was named McElroy. In addition, H.L. Hunter is a play on oil tycoon H.L. Hunt.
Henny Youngman is the latest comedian to make an uncredited cameo, in this case as Manny. Playboy Playmate Victoria Vetri, credited as Angela Dorian, plays Florence, and unlike the last time I thought she was in something I was rewatching, this time it’s really her.
Pow! Biff! Zowie! “I prefer not to think about those things, Robin, they depress me.” A fitting finale for the fake pharaoh, as Victor Buono remains his usual spectacular self, the plot is pretty straightforward Bat-stuff, and a good time is had by all. Batgirl is sadly underused in this one, though this time it’s mostly due to her not being able to know what’s at the end of the mineshaft.
Amusingly, the script itself plays with the absurdity of the secret-identity thing, as Tut just assumes that Batgirl, Gordon, and O’Hara already know that Batman is Bruce Wayne—which is a reasonable assumption, since it makes no sense that there’d be so much trust there without that secret being known. But whatever.
What’s particularly hilarious about this one is that, aside from the fight at the very end, the Dynamic Duo don’t actually accomplish anything. (Well, okay, they break the world-record for running the mile three times over, but big whoop.) Batgirl does more actual useful superheroing as Barbara when she learns of Tut’s real-estate purchase, though the Bat-computer also informs Batman of it, so she isn’t all that useful either. Basically, Tut succeeds in everything he wants to accomplish, and only loses in the end because a rock falls on his head. (Batman claims that he deliberately taunted Tut so that he’d raise his voice loud enough to shake loose the rock.)
The wordplay is a delight in this one, from the prose and cons pun to Tut referring to Batgirl as the Dynamic duenna to all the nomenclature references (Manny the Mesopotamian, Mount Ararat Psychiatric Hospital, Rosetta Stone, etc.). Just tremendous fun.
Keith R.A. DeCandido will be a guest at (Re)Generation Who 3 this weekend in Baltimore, Maryland, alongside Doctor Who actors Sylvester McCoy, Ingrid Oliver, Katy Manning, Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart, Peter Purves, Terry Molloy, and Richard Franklin; fellow writers Andrew Cartmel, George Mann, John Peel, and Paul Magrs; and tons more cool folks. Keith will have a table, where he will be selling and signing books, and will also be doing a one-hour presentation Saturday at 4pm and a panel on writing science fiction with Peel and Mann Saturday at 7pm.