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"The Joker Goes to School"
Batman episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 15
Directed byMurray Golden
Written byLorenzo Semple Jr.
Production code8715-Pt. 1
Original air dateMarch 2, 1966 (ABC)
Guest appearances
Donna Loren
Kip King
Greg Benedict
Bryan O'Byrne
Tim O'Kelly
Cherie Foster
Linda Harrison
Sydney Smith
Glenn Allan
Donna Di Martino
Dick Bellis
Joan Parker
Breeland Rice
Jim Henaghan
Special Guest Villain: Cesar Romero as The Joker
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Batman Stands Pat"
Next →
"He Meets His Match, The Grisly Ghoul"
List of episodes

"The Joker Goes to School", a first-season episode of the Batman television series, first aired on ABC March 2, 1966 as its 15th episode, with an encore telecast occurring on August 10, 1966. It guest starred Cesar Romero as The Joker.

Lorenzo Semple Jr. gives a subtle backstory for the Joker: when Batman shows the Joker's mugshot to the kids, the Joker is wearing a normal suit, and there is a reference to him being a "master of disguise", leading one to believe this version wears clown makeup (not unlike Heath Ledger's version in The Dark Knight), instead of having his skin discolored by chemicals (as was the original comics character and the Jack Nicholson version in Tim Burton's 1989 film).

In November 1965, Semple concocted a new villain named The One-Armed Bandit, "whose peculiar kick is gimmicked coin machines of all sorts". The idea ultimately wound up in these episodes with Joker in charge of The One Armed Bandit Novelty Company and vending machines that churned out silver dollars, quarters, answer sheets to exams, and knockout gas.

The Joker originally was scheduled to be the first villain to appear, but a scheduling conflict prevented Cesar Romero from appearing on the debut episode.[citation needed]

Plot synopsis

The Joker, attempts to undermine student morale at Woodrow Roosevelt High School in order to recruit high school dropouts for his gang of "Bad Pennies" by rigging the school vending machines to give out silver dollars and negotiable stocks and bonds instead of milk. Alerted by Commissioner James Gordon, Batman races out to the school; an immediate assembly is made by the school's student leaders, including Richard "Dick" Grayson, Pete, and Susie, the school's head cheerleader.

Batman shows up to show slides of mug shots of The Joker, when suddenly, out of the blue, he pops up right in full view of everyone. Batman attempts to arrest him for loitering on school grounds, but the Joker manages to get off on a mere technicality. Meanwhile, across Gotham City, a bar is held up by a gimmicked jukebox which when activated spouts a double-barrel shotgun; then two stocking-masked hoodlums, actually two of Joker's henchmen, Nick and Two-Bits (both high school dropouts), rush in to rob the bar's receipts from the register.

The Joker reconvenes with Nick and Two-Bits at their hideout, the "One-Armed Bandit Novelty Company"; unbeknownst to everyone else, Susie is also the Joker's henchwoman. She arranges to swipe some important exam papers so The Joker can use them in a blackmail scheme, and also leads Batman and Robin into a trap set by the Joker. He and his henchmen snag Batman and Robin with one of the rigged vending machines which, instead of giving out silver dollars, locks them in shackles and emits sleeping gas.

Batman and Robin are transferred to the inside of a moving van, where they are strapped to electric chairs; on the wall is a slot machine, which when activated will win them their freedom and $50,000 cash with 3 liberty bells; just their freedom with 3 oranges, and instant and inescapable 50,000 lethal volts of electricity with 3 lemons, automatically on the last lemon. As bad luck would have it, 2 lemons have turned up already...

Cliffhanger text

HORRORS!! ONE LEMON!!
DOUBLE HORRORS!! DOUBLE HORRORS!! TWO LEMONS!!
AND IF IT'S A THIRD...INSTANT AND INESCAPABLE 50,000 VOLTS!!
CLOSE YOUR EYES! WHO DARES TO SEE IT?? TRY US TOMORROW! SAME BAT-TIME!! SAME BAT-CHANNEL!!

Notes

References

  1. ^ Batman at 45: A Milestone Tribute to Pow, Bam and Zap! (2011) Gould, Chris https://www.amazon.com/Batman-45-Milestone-Tribute-ebook/dp/B005YNPHCO
Preceded byBatman Stands Pat(airdate February 24, 1966) Batman (TV series) episodes March 2, 1966 Succeeded byHe Meets His Match, The Grisly Ghoul(airdate March 3, 1966)