Holy Rankings! The Top 10 Villains from the 60’s Batman Series!

Atomic batteries to power.  Turbines to speed.

T.V. shows from the 60’s hold a special place in my heart, and none more than the ’66-’68 Batman series with its gloriously colorful, over-the-top villains. Apparently, doing a guest spot on the show was such a blast that producers had big name actors lining up for a shot to chew up the scenery.  Over the course of its three season run, the show featured roughly three dozen villains (and variations thereof including three version of Mr. Freeze, three Catwomans [if you count the movie], and two and a half Riddlera [I say a half because in addition to Frank Gorshin and John Astin’s portrayals, stage veteran Maurice Evans was brought in to play the role of the suspiciously similar Puzzler following Gorshin’s departure].

Anyway, this is one of those classic shows that you can still re-watch and enjoy, this time as an adult with a whole new level of appreciation.   There’s so much to love, from Adam West’s gloriously straight-laced Batman to that insanely convenient utility belt to those incredibly manic villains.

These were my Top 10 Favorites…

1

#10 – Shame (Cliff Robertson)

I ain’t all bad.  Just mostly.

Unlike most of Batman’s villains, Shame was a bit of an imbecile and that, I suppose, is what made him somewhat sympathetic.  Decades later, Robertson would return to the world of comics, playing Peter Parker’s uncle Ben in one of the innumerable big screen features.

1

#9 – Bookworm (Roddy McDowall)

“Now the fact is that our bats have flown the belfry, unaccountably still squeaking.”

Not only was he a literary-themed villain, but he was played by Roddy McDowall, star of my favorite film series at the time, The Planet of Apes.  You get the sense McDowall truly relished his delightfully low-key performance (Well, certainly restrained in comparison to many of the other big screen greats who graced the Bat set).

1

#8 – Mr. Freeze (Otto Preminger)

“Batman, but–but you were supposed to be a famous frostie freezie by now!”

Sure, the series boasted a slew of outlandish casting coups, from Liberace to Tallulah Bankhead, but one of the wildest was famed director Otto Preminger who positively revels in the role of the villainous Mr. Freeze (changed from the originally conceived Mr. Zero).  Rumor has it, however, that his demanding nature made the behind-the-scenes interactions with co-stars a little…chilly.

1

#7. Catwoman (Earth Kitt)

“Karate isn’t effective unless accompanied by yelling. Let him howl until he springs a vocal cord, then get him!”

While she wasn’t the first actress to play the feline-themed seductress, she certainly sunk her claws into the role and made it her own.  Some southern affiliates objected to the casting and threatened not to broadcast her episodes to which the producers responded: “We don’t care.”

1

#6 – Egghead (Vincent Price)

“Please, please, Miss Bacon. All of you are approximately the right age, in your early thirties, but I have eliminated you, Mr. Tyler, because you are lefthanded. No, the Caped Crusader is not portsider, and you, Mr. Savage, are out because of your accent. So aside from a couple of aging rock-and-roll singers, you, Mr. Wayne, are the only Gotham city millionaire who is athletically inclined with eggsessive agility. Therefore, you must be Batman!”

As someone who grew up on Hammer horror films, seeing Vincent Price guest on my favorite t.v. show was a real treat.  Yet another actor who really makes the most of his onscreen presence, Price was said to have loved the series which he considered well ahead of its time.

1

#5 – Penguin (Burgess Meredith)

“Politics is wonderful! I can use all my lowest, slurpiest tricks, but now they’re legal! I should have been a politician years ago!”

Meredith (who took on the role after both Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy turned it down) holds the record for most villainous appearances in the series at a whopping 20 episodes.  The actor freely admitted his bird imitation was decidedly more duck than penguin (due to the fact that the smoke from his “prop” cigarette irritated his throat), but that trademark Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! became as essential a part of his character as his umbrella.

1

#4 – King Tut (Victor Buono)

“It isn’t that I love you any less, Batman, simply that I love me more.”

Buono delivers a tour de force performance as the Professor-turned-King-of-Egypt going from zero to one hundred and back multiple times over multiple scenes.  I imagine filming his episodes must have been a hell of a lot of fun.  According to Buono: “Batman allowed me to do what actors are taught never to do, overact”.

1

#3 – Catwoman (Julie Newmar)

“If you pick the right door, I’m yours, Batman. If you pick the wrong door, you’re mine. So which is it, Batman? The lady or the tiger?”

My first true t.v. crush.  She always struck me as one of Batman’s most formidable villains.   The fact she could wield a whip certainly helped cement that impression. According to Newmar, she was going to turn down the role only to have her brother, and his friends from Harvard, convince her to take it because it was their favorite show.

1

#2 – Joker (Cesar Romero)

“Uh, Susie, Sweetie.  A special extra bonus.  A half pint bottle of the most exquisite Canadian perfume.”

Yeah, yeah.  Many other actors have portrayed the clown prince of crime on the big and small screen, but nostalgia makes it hard for me to love anyone else in the role.  Apparently, Frank Sinatra loved the character so much that he threw his hat in the ring in the event Romero ever grew tired of playing the Joker.  Still, as much as I loved Romero, his decision NOT to shave his mustache for the role (requiring a heavy application of make-up that never really held up in close-ups) kept his character from taking top spot.

1

#1 – Riddler (Frank Gorshin)

With money, who needs friends?

Gorshin left the show after its first season due to a contract dispute, but returned for its third, garnering an Emmy nomination for his memorable performance and turning a relatively (at the time) obscure comic book villain into a formidable Bat-foe.  He apparently developed his character’s high-pitched laugh at Hollywood parties – and that laugh was won him the role.

Agree?  Disagree?  Weigh in with your opinions, Bat-readers!

January 27, 2019: Suji Sunday!

Screen Shot 2019-01-27 at 1.40.56 PM.png

Super chill.

DSC03046.JPG

Toasty warm.

From therapy dog, to in-therapy dog…

Hard to believe that when we first got her, Suji needed a wheelchair to get around.  Now, even though she and Lulu get a lift to the park, she’s a dedicated walker.  And if we’re ever late for her morning or evening walks, she let us know it!

Inspired by Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Lulu and I look to clean up her toy box…

October 28, 2018: Suji Sunday!

Hmmmm.  This could be a problem.  Whenever I’m working, Suji has to be sitting up on the couch as well, pressed up against me.  At night, she’s on the bed, also pressed up against me when she sleeps.  Apparently, when I leave the house or am gone for a while, she paces anxiously and, when I come through the door on my return, she absolutely loses it.

I am already feeling guilty about being away for her for nine whole days when we travel to Japan at the end of November.

Out for Hong Kong waffles…

Look at her ears go!

October 14, 2018: Suji Sunday! With special guest star Lulu!

You know what day it is?  Yeah!  It’s Suji Sunday!

All smiles.

Free tummy rubs!

A sneak peek shot from her photo shoot for Rover Boutique.

Suji models the outfit she got from auntie Andria.

Lulu tries on her matching outfit – but doesn’t quite succeed.

Lulu hits the showers!

The Suji Show!

Quelle excitation!  A few days ago, Suji got the first-page feature in a Japanese dog magazine.  The Aiken No Tomo profile offered insight into her past (rescued a little over a year and a half ago), ailments (some rear leg weakness), likes (treats and walks), dislikes (vacuum cleaners and loud noises), and her Instagram page (newoldpugsuji).

Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 6.30.40 PM.png

At the same time, she was being spotlighted as part of a dog rescue pop-up event in at one of the major Shinjuku department stores.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

June 18, 2018: Missing Japan and the Suji Factor!

Thanks to all of those who inquired about Akemi’s family back in Osaka.  All are fine following yesterday’s earthquake – although her father was in an elevator at the time it struck and initially assumed he was suffering a stroke.

Meanwhile, some 300 miles northeast of Osaka, our old friend Martin Gero is enjoying some time in Tokyo.  The other night, he texted me the following photo with the message “Wish you were here”:

Actually – as my father would say – “more guts than brains”, but I’ll take it…on a bowl of rice!

Akemi and I used to make an annual trip to Japan every fall, shelling out $300/day for a dog-sitter to live in the house, drink our booze, and take care of the pooches while we were away. Later, when our dog-sitter got a full-time gig, I took to flying my sister to Vancouver to take care of the pack.  And when we made the move to Toronto, I figured it would be that much easier given the mere 1 hour flight time between here and Montreal.

But after adopting our new (old) senior pug, Suji, it became apparent that it would not be as simple as we first assumed.  Taking care of a senior pug – THIS senior pug – can be challenging.  For a number of reasons…

THAT ATTITUDE!

When Suji first came to us, she was described as “sassy” and “spunky”.  To that, I would add “cantankerous”.  She positively freaks out in the presence of: short stocky bald men, big dogs, friendly small dogs, loud noises, sun reflections, people who pet her while she is out for her walk, people who try to kiss her face.  And, I suppose it’s understandable given the fact she was literally raised in a barn for a portion of her life.  Still, it makes going out in public a somewhat unpredictable experience as you never know how she is going to react.

THE NEEDINESS!

Akemi is always up at 7:00 a.m.  And with her, the dogs.  After I wake up about an hour later, I will always find Suji sitting at the bottom of the stairs, anxiously awaiting me.  It’s the same thing when we come back home from shopping, seeing a movie, or just going down to the lobby to check the mail.  Suji is positively overjoyed and, should one of us return without the other, she’ll charge out and down the hallway, all the way to the elevators in search of her missing mom or dad.  Late last year, Akemi and I took a day trip to Montreal and left the dogs in the care of a local sitter.  While our frenchie Lulu trotted off to explore her new digs without so much as a backwards glance, Suji sensed something was up and wouldn’t leave Akemi’s side, attempting to quickly follow as we headed out the door.  During her stay with the sitter, she was very quiet – which, if you know Suji, is very unlike her.

EXPRESSING THAT BLADDER!

One of the reasons the Pacific Pug Rescue figured Suji might prove difficult to place was because of her inability to urinate freely.  She needs to have her bladder expressed – which, really, sounds a lot more complex than it actually is.  The procedure usually involves someone (aka Akemi) hunkering down behind her and gently applying pressure to her bladder (just below her stomach) until she empties out.  On the occasions when I do it, my “system” involves holding her propped up against my hip with one hand while my other squeezes her lower abdomen until her hind legs shoot up like they’re spring loaded, and she pees.  To any neighbor watching us from a distance, I undoubtedly look like some guy urinating on his terrace morning and night.

POOP MACHINE!

Although she’s incapable of urinating on her own, Suji poops just fine – often, when you least expect it.  She tends to do so when she’s trotting around, blissfully unaware.  Other times, at night, she’ll simply sit up – a sign that she needs to go and one that will have me scrambling out of bed with her at 2:00, 3:00, sometimes 4:00 in the a.m.  If you can get her on some sort of schedule, you can control her bowel movements to a certain degree.  This may see me scooping her up out of bed first thing in the morning and holding her over the toilet until she slowly releases.  Thus, have I earned the nickname “The Poop Whisperer”.

MEDICAL ISSUES!

Eye meds, home administered cartrophen injections, estrogen therapy, anti-flammatories – just a few of meds Suji takes on a semi-regular basis.  When she first came to us, she was prone to urinary tract infections and our vet informed us she was developing antibiotic-resistant strains.  As a result, we’ve been exceptionally careful, purchasing those economy-size disinfectant baby wipes at Costco and wiping her down after every bathroom break.  I’m happy to report that our commitment to cleanliness paid off and, after that initial first month, Suji has only suffered a single UTI.

Yep.  Adorable, but a handful.

So, what do you think?  Do you have what it takes to be a Suji-sitter?  Apply in the comments section!

May 10, 2018: This and That!

Curious?  Have a question burning a hole in your cerebellum?  Well, you’re in luck because I’m feeling answery.  I’m opening up the mailbag so if you have a query, need some clarification on a matter related to yours truly, or want my opinion on those new glasses you purchased the other day, then post away in the comments section of this blog.  I’ll have responses for you in tomorrow’s entry!

Meanwhile, on the dog front…

Lulu is on the mend but must wear the cone of shame for three weeks.  As you can tell from the photo, she is thrilled.

Is Piano Piano Restaurant’s Hornet Pizza (sausage, cheese, honey, chili, and black olives) the best pizza in Toronto?  I would say, yes.

For dessert: Ovaltine soft serve, snickerdoodle, nutella tiramisu, and truffles.

I’ve had a hankering to do a Fried Chicken Friday for ages.  Thinking of meeting up with Toronto’s resident fried chicken expert (and former Exec Producer’s assistant) Elliot Sokolsky, to hit 2-3 places next week, including this new establishment Ivon just told me about:

Chica’s Nashville Fried Chicken

Double-fried chicken = yay or nay?  Let’s hear from you, fried chicken aficionados!

P.S. Suji goes through booties on a weekly basis.  She’s a walking machine!

Finally, congratulations to Martin Gero –

NBC Picks Up Drama ‘Manifest’ To Series, Renews ‘Blindspot’ For Season 4

And Melissa O’Neil –

‘The Rookie’ Starring Nathan Fillion Officially Picked Up To Series By ABC

 

May 1, 2018: Montreal update!

This morning, I was up at 6:25 a.m. so that I could almost drop my mother off at the train station.  I say “almost” because, as we were backing down the driveway, my mother noticed her neighbor across the street getting into her car.  As it turned out, she was also headed to the train station so, in the end, I didn’t have to bother – although, in truth, dropping mom off at the station ranks nowhere near as bothersome as having to wake up at 6:25 a.m.

Still, I made the most of the early start, tackling that script, revising the tease and then hammering out the first and second acts, hitting the top of  page 32, well over the halfway mark.  In addition, I got in a 45 minute work-out, 4 dog walks, a Japanese lesson, and even managed to squeeze in one 30 minute nap.  I’m on fire!  And I owe it all to an absence of internet.

Well, technically, almost an absence of internet because, while mom doesn’t have internet, my sister does and I am over her house twice a day to feed the cat…and update this blog.

Although I’m missing the gang back in Toronto, I am hanging with a new pack while in Montreal…

Felix – the love of mom’s life.  The spoiled one.

Caramel – the male dog with the female dog’s name.  The cranky one.

Ralph – high-strung.  The jumpy one.

Fernando – blind in both eyes.  The gentle one.

Kona – my new best friend.  The crazy one.

I fee like I’m putting a gang together for a heist.  It’s like Ocean’s Eleven, but good and with dogs.

Oh yeah, finished another book yesterday which puts me at 129 for the year to date – but, in all fairness, about a third of those were graphic novels so, if you’re a purist, it’s a mere 85 or so titles.  I quite liked A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window, a contemporary riff on Rear Window.  Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible was an emotionally exhausting but incredibly rewarding read about a missionary family’s experience in late 1950’s Congo.  Both Sue Burke’s Semiosis and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time approach a similar premise from different angles – human colonists’ otherworldly encounters with alien life forms – but they both deliver a brilliant hard SF exploration of extraterrestrial biological and sociological evolution.  All highly recommended.