Wednesday, August 20, 2014
THE 100 GREATEST CROSSOVERS OF ALL TIME #26
The 1967 BATMAN episode "A Piece of the Action / Batman's Satisfaction" won't go down in history as one of the series' best episodes, though it's also far from being the worst.
Obviously no one who wanted a crossover between Batman of the comics and Green Hornet of the radio show would have found "satisfaction" here: these are producer William Dozier's versions of the respective mythoi. To be sure, though, this story doesn't try to duplicate the relatively "realistic" tone of the GREEN HORNET series, but forces the Hornet and Kato to participate fully in Dozier-Batman's candy-colored effervescence.
Nothing speaks of the difference in tone better than the nature of the villain faced by Batman, the Hornet and their respective sidekicks: the "mad stamp man" Colonel Gumm. Roger C. Carmel has fun chewing the scenery with this character, particularly when he's forced to kowtow to his female boss Pinky Pinkston (Diane McBain). But his master plan is forgettable and his lame death-trap-- planning to convert the Hornet and Kato into life-sized stamps-- looks forward to a lot of the even lamer traps of the BATMAN show's final season.
Clearly the script wants to emphasize the crossover-elements above all else. Naturally, staunch crimefighters Batman and Robin don't know that the Hornet and Kato are merely posing as criminals in order to fight crime in their own way, though at episode's end Batman nurtures some suspicions in that direction. The first encounter of the two groups is curiously low-key, with Batman refusing to arrest the Hornet for lack of evidence. This may have been done in order to set up the big fight-scene in the second half, which has an added charm in that while the Dynamic Duo are trying to beat down the Hornet, Kato, and Colonel Gumm and his men, the other duo are trying not to injure their goodguy counterparts. It's a better than average fight for the BATMAN show, even if one doesn't know about all the alleged backstage conflicts-- one of which makes Bruce Lee sound like a bit of a jerk.
The continued one-upmanship between Bruce Wayne and his college-buddy Britt Reid is consistently amusing, and for once the female guest lead in the show isn't either a villainess or a henchwoman, but an admittedly eccentric businesswoman.