Batman – Hi Diddle Riddle / Smack in the Middle

by Alan Rapp on May 16, 2014

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Batman – Hi Diddle Riddle / Smack in the Middle
  • wiki: link
  • wiki: link

Batman - Hi Diddle Riddle

Continuing to take a look back at Batman’s more memorable moments on the big and small screen we turn our attention to the 1966 Batman TV-series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. Airing twice a week, the show was built mostly around two-part episodes almost always featuring a cliffhanger with at least one, if not both, members of the Dynamic Duo in jeopardy. The show’s first two episodes, “Hi Diddle Riddle” and “Smack in the Middle,” would center around the character who would arguably become one the series’ most beloved villain and introduce millions of non-comic-readers to Batman and Robin for the first time.

Based on a riddle left for the Dynamic Duo, and believing the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) is robbing the Peale Art Gallery, Batman and Robin race into action only to discover the Riddler has carefully staged a legitimate enterprise that only looked like a robbery from the outside. Outwitting the Dynamic Duo, the Riddler sues Batman for assault, slander, and false arrest which, as the news reporter relays, may force the vigilante to reveal his true identity in court.

Batman - Hi Diddle Riddle

Lured to a discothèque by another one of the villain’s ridiculous riddles, Batman is separated from his partner (who is too young to enter the establishment). Inside Batman dances, and is drugged, by the Riddler’s assistant Molly (Jill St. John) whose appearance lets the world wonder at the marvel of the Batusi for the first time. With Batman drugged and unable to follow, the Riddler grabs Robin as the first-half of the two-parter comes to an end.

Holding Robin hostage, the Riddler baits Batman with another pair of riddles while dressing up Molly as the Dark Knight Detective’s injured partner (which either says something about Robin’s femininity or Molly’s masculinity, I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions). Batman sees through the ruse, taking Molly back to the Batcave for answers. When Molly is scared after her cover is blown an the plan goes awry, Batman loses the woman as she falls into the Batcave’s nuclear reactor.

Batman - Hi Diddle Riddle

Retrieving his partner and seeing through the last of the clues meant to lure lead Batman and Robin to the head office of the Gotham National Bank, the Dynamic Duo instead head to the Moldavian Prime Minister’s dinner at the Gotham World’s Fair, where the episode’s first clue originated. This leads to a fight between the Dynamic Duo and the Riddler’s henchmen in what would become the first of the show’s trademark fighting scenes featuring the defeat of the villain and several full-screen superimposed words as each blow lands. Zowie!

The show’s first two episodes offer audiences an introduction to not only Batman and Robin but also their alter-egos Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson as well as introducing the show’s supporting cast in Alfred (Alan Napier), Dick’s Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake), Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton), Chief O’Hara (Stafford Repp), and the several of the Dark Knight’s toys including the Batcave, Batmobile, the Bat Phone, Batarang and Bat-Rope (used for the heroes’ first trip up a side of a building), Bat Laser Gun, Bat Hook, Mobile Crime Computer, and Bat-Ray Projector.

Batman - Smack in the Middle

As would be the case every time the Riddler would make an appearance, the first two episodes of the series also included several riddles to be solved:

  • “Why is an orange like a bell?”
  • “There are three men in a boat with four cigarettes but no matches. How do they manage to smoke?”
  • “When is the time of a clock like the whistle of a train?”
  • “What has neither flesh, bone, nor nail yet has four fingers and a thumb?”
  • “Why is a quarrel like a bargain?”
  • “What kind of pins are used in soup?”
  • “What was Joan of Arc made of?”
  • “How many sides is a circle?”
  • “What President of the United States wore the biggest hat?”

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