That’s what I love about this episode: it is so wonderfully meta. It’s an episode that is full of self-references and meta references, playing on a host of vaudeville conventions. It’s like watching a show on the stage, but it isn’t a comedy. It’s not a comedy. It’s a comedy which is not a comedy.
The story in Bat runs along predictable lines. The idea of a dummy being the mastermind of a gang is hardly new. Dummy’s Mortimer Snerd was the mastermind of the St. Louis Kid in The Phantom. Several of the episodes of The Phantom had dummy villains, most notably Aldolpho the Ventriloquist . The Waltz King in Joker's Wild was doing the same thing.
The Caped Crusader's most recent movie is a gleefully nasty affair. The film was made in 1974 and, if it's possible, it's even more violent and bloody than the Joel Schumacher Batman films of the 1990s. If you want a genuinely scary film, check out the Caped Crusaders episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
In one of the more bizarre episodes of the series (scripted by Joe R. Lansdale), the Caped Crusader sets out to discover the mastermind behind a series of successful robberies. What he discovers is that the gang is taking orders from Scarface, a dummy under the control of a meek (and nameless) Ventriloquist. A paranoid dummy, it should be noted, brilliant but convinced that someone in his gang is repeatedly ratting him out to the Bat.
To make matters worse, the Batmobile still doesn’t get much of a chance to shine in this episode. It’s barely seen until the end, when the Joker and Scarface finally get into it. Whoops, Batman! The Batmobile is already rolling along and you didn’t even have it pointed away from the Batcave. You’re lucky Batman wasn’t driving it.
This episode was a bit odd because they tried to do something different by making Batman a little disorganized. Rather than the usual gang of hired goons, we got two young guys (who are the father and son of the two hired goons) who are trying to get out of the business and start a new life. The gang figures that they can use Batman as a front to rob the Batman bank, Batman being the most likely target of the Joker.
In another episode, Batman returns to the scene of a crime. He finds a self-serving butler, part of the victim’s household, immediately jumping to the conclusion that the crime must have something to do with the family. 827ec27edc