“Minerva, Mayhem, and Millionaires”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 3, Episode 26
Production code 1726
Original air date: March 14, 1968
The Bat-signal: Bruce is getting a vigorous massage at Minerva’s Mineral Spa, the masseuse commenting that, for a millionaire who spends all his time counting his money, he’s in pretty good shape. (Ahem.) Bruce chalks it up to falconry and spelunking. He passes up one of Minerva’s famous scalp massages, as he needs to get going.
However, other millionaires take her up on it, thus allowing them to succumb to Minerva’s Deepest Secret Extractor, which reveals to her where they keep their filthy lucre.
As Bruce gets ready to leave and retrieves his personal items from the lockbox, he encounters yet another millionaire, Sam Shubert, who thanks Bruce for the invite to the Wayne Foundation dinner that will include a display of the world’s largest diamonds. While they talk, Minerva lifts Bruce’s watch from the lockbox. Bruce figures he’s misremembering and didn’t wear it today, and heads out.
Minerva meets with her henchmen (Apollo, Adonis, and Atlas) and moll (Aphrodite) and French Freddie the Fence and promises the Wayne Foundation diamonds. She calls Bruce to say she “found” his watch, and can he come pick it up? Right after that, Gordon calls on the bat-phone, reporting that several millionaires have had their secret stashes stolen. Bruce realizes that all the victims are also clients of Minerva’s.
Bruce heads to Minerva’s in his own car to retrieve the watch, while Robin takes the Batmobile and a spare batsuit to the spa separately so they can head to GCPD HQ afterward. However, Bruce decides to accept a free scalp massage. Minerva hits him with the Deepest Secret Extractor (which makes Adam West go delightfully bug-eyed). Luckily, the DSE only provides Minerva with what she actually asks for, and she only thinks to ask for the combination to the Wayne Foundation vault.
However, Bruce knows something is up, so he meets up with Robin and changes into costume. He asks Minerva for the full treatment for him and Robin. They refuse to disrobe, as it would compromise their secret identities. Minerva says they can’t get the full effect of her treatment while clothed, but Batman assures her that their outfits—including even the utility belts—are more permeable than you might imagine. Okay, then.
Minerva thinks something’s up, as she saw Bruce talking to his watch earlier (he was relaying instructions to Robin), so she has her henchmen put the Dynamic Duo in the persimmon pressurizer while she pootles off to the Wayne Foundation to open the vault and steal the diamonds, changing the combination of the vault.
Batman and Robin—wearing towels over their full uniforms—are manhandled and put in the pressurizer. When Minerva returns, the pressurizer is empty. Minerva assumes that they’ve been pressurized into teeny tiny bits, but in fact they escaped and returned to the Batcave. Batman has Gordon bring Minerva in. She denies trying to kill Batman and Robin—she chalks it up to equipment failure.
Lord Easystreet—one of the richest men in the world—has an appointment with Minerva at 4:30, and Minerva heads off to it. Batman wants to send a decoy in Easystreet’s place—Alfred looks a lot like the lord in question—and Barbara (who is once again visiting her dad in his office) says that she actually found a book Easystreet was looking for in the library earlier that day, and can call him and tell him so, thus distracting him from his spa appointment.
The head of security for the Wayne Foundation calls Gordon to report the tampering with the vault. Batman, Robin, Gordon, and O’Hara head to the Wayne Foundation, where Batman gets the vault open, and they learn that the diamonds are all gone.
Batman and Robin head to Minerva’s—as does Batgirl, who wants to make sure that Alfred is safe. This is a legitimate concern, as she arrives just as Minerva realizes that Alfred isn’t Easystreet. He manages to resist providing his real name for several seconds—take that, Sean Pertwee!—and then Batgirl rescues him. However, the henchmen come in and manhandle both of them, tossing them into the pressurizer. Batman and Robin show up, then, and fisticuffs ensue. Robin is able to free Batgirl and Alfred, and then the pair of them join the donnybrook.
Our heroes are triumphant. Minerva almost makes her escape, but then Gordon and O’Hara show up with Freddie the Fence, who was captured and who immediately gave Minerva up. Everyone is trundled off to jail, and Batgirl disappears without anyone noticing. Just like usual.
Fetch the Bat-shark-repellant! Batman and Robin escape the pressurizer by taking Steam-Neutralizing Bat-pellets. Batman has a Three-Seconds-Flat Bat-Vault Combination Unscrambler, which apparently can unscramble a vault combination (bat- or otherwise) in three seconds flat. Good thing he’s on our side…
Holy #@!%$, Batman! Upon being informed that they’d be put in the persimmon pressurizer, Robin on-the-noses, “Holy astringent plum-like fruit!” and then grumbles, “Holy human pressure cookers” when he and Batman are put in the thing. “Holy skull tap!” is Robin’s response to realizing that Minerva extracted the combination from Bruce during his massage.
Gotham City’s finest. O’Hara apparently sprained his ankle playing ping-pong, and limps through the episode aided by a cane. In reality, it was likely that Stafford Repp hurt himself and they just wrote it in, since it plays no role in the plot.
No sex, please, we’re superheroes. Among the many double entendres provided by Minerva, we have her not recognizing Batman by his costume, but remarking that his physique looks familiar, her repeating the “feel like a new man” line from last week’s tag, her haughtily telling Batman that she doesn’t pick up men, men pick her up, etc. Wah-HEY!
Special Guest Villainess. After being considered for the role of Zelda the Great in the first season, and after being hired for the role of Marsha, Queen of Diamonds, but being forced to pull out, in the second season, Zsa Zsa Gabor finally makes it just in the nick of time in the third season. Ironically, given what happened with Marsha, Minerva was intended to be played by Mae West, but she was unavailable due to her filming of Myra Breckinridge, so Gabor was cast.
Na-na na-na na-na na-na na.
“Would Minerva stoop to something like that?”
“It’s hard to believe, Dick. She’s so beautiful—and worth investigating.”
–Dick amazed that the owner of Bruce’s favorite spa might be evil, and Bruce being somewhat creepy in response.
Trivial matters: This episode was discussed on The Batcave Podcast episode 66 by host John S. Drew with special guest chum, independent filmmaker Robert Long, manager of a Facebook group for the series.
This was the final episode of the series. There was talk of trying to move the show to NBC, but that never went anywhere, and also at the very least Adam West was rather burned out on the role—though that was more due to the reduced budget, reduced script editing, and general reduced giving-a-damn of the third season.
West and Ward will return to the roles of Batman and Robin several more times after this: in two Legends of the Superheroes specials in 1979, and in voice form in Filmation’s The New Adventures of Batman in 1977, the “Large Marge” episode of The Simpsons in 2002, 2016’s The Return of the Caped Crusaders, and that film’s forthcoming sequel, Batman vs. Two-Face. West also did Batman (with Casey Kasem as Robin) in Hanna Barbera’s SuperFriends and The Super Powers Team animated series in 1984 and 1985 (replacing Olan Soule, who had voiced Batman in previous incarnations of SuperFriends). West has also done voices in other animated Batman productions, including the Gray Ghost in Batman: The Animated Series, Thomas Wayne in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Mayor Grange in The Batman. They’ve also been making use of his talents on Powerless.
Producers William Dozier and Howie Horwitz make uncredited cameos as two of Minerva’s spa clients, while Jacque Bergerac reprises his role as French Freddie the Fence (last seen in “Batman Displays His Knowledge,” where he was a fence who fenced, a shtick not used this time ’round, as epées probably weren’t in the budget).
Pow! Biff! Zowie! “Darling!” There are moments of this series finale that are fun. Zsa Zsa Gabor is pretty much playing the same role she always played, which was that of Zsa Zsa Gabor. One really doesn’t expect much else, and Gabor is obviously having a grand old time. It’s nice to see Bad-Ass Undercover Alfred in action one final time, it’s good to see Adam West get to actually be Bruce Wayne for a bit, Batman and Robin wearing towels over their uniforms is a hilarious visual, and Batgirl’s impersonation of Minerva at the end is a delight.
(By the way, Alfred himself later says that the Deepest Secret Extractor short circuited before he could reveal his secrets, but I chalk that up to the butler’s modesty.)
Having said that, it’s obvious that pretty much everyone involved was fresh out of fucks to give. There’s a miasma of perfunctoriness that hangs over this episode even more than the other dreary episodes in this slog of a season. The DSE functions in an inconsistent manner—why did it jump immediately to revealing Alfred’s secret, when for everyone else it required a specific question?—the Dynamic Duo’s escape from the pressurizer happens off camera. It’s difficult to enjoy the cameos by William Dozier and Howie Horwitz, as one can’t help but wonder if they’re there, not to appear in front of the camera before the lights go out for the final time, but because it saved them money on two guest star appearances.
There’s an early scene where Minerva walks into the room to talk to her employees and Freddie. She throws the door shut behind her, but it doesn’t latch properly, and it falls back open again. They don’t even bother with a reshoot, just letting it stand and going on with the scene.
That neglect is emblematic of this final season of the show, and the perfect symbol for this rather lame finish to a cultural icon.
Next week, we’ll take a look at Filmation’s 1977 animated Batman series that starred West and Ward’s voices, plus the live-action Legends of the Superheroes specials from 1979, then the week after that will be a general overview of Batman ’66 to conclude the Bat-rewatch.
Keith R.A. DeCandido is running a Kickstarter for Mermaid Precinct, the long-awaited fifth novel in his series of fantasy police procedurals. Please consider supporting it, as there are only a couple of days left!