Did you hear about this Joker film? I jest, of course. Dare I say I joke. Of course you’ve heard of it. The movie has somehow made the internet a more tedious and annoying place. I am at a point where I can’t help but find every Joker take to be inauthentic. The movie made a ton of money. It’s going to be super successful. I’ll probably see it eventually because I think Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor. I am not here to talk about Joker though. I want to use this blockbuster film as a jumping off point to do something I always find fun: Talking about the ‘60s Batman TV show. Joker was of course a villain on that show, played by Cesar Romero. However, what I want to do is tell you briefly about five truly ridiculous Batman villains that appeared on that show. You’ve never seen them in the movies. Fingers crossed that changes some day.
King Tut – Did you see Feud: Bette vs. Joan on FX? I loved it. As somebody who loves pop culture about pop culture, it was right up my alley. Here is when I knew the show was for me, though: Victor Buono is a character in that show! Sure, it’s because he acted in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. However, I was excited to see him because he played King Tut. The premise of Tut is that there is a mild-mannered professor of Egyptology named William McElroy. Whenever he gets bumped in the head, he believes he is King Tut, the legendary pharaoh. Basically every actor playing a villain hammed it up on Batman. Buono chewed scenery like he was a beaver, and it was delightful.
Egghead – Egghead has a head kind of shaped like an egg and loves to make egg puns. That’s it. Well, also he’s a genius. He actually nearly deduced the identity of Batman using his egg-cellent brain. Egghead was played by Vincent Price. Do I need to egg-plain to you that he was great in that role?
The Clock King – Unlike King Tut and Egghead, Clock King wasn’t created by the show. He originated in the comics. However, he’s still an insane character. He’s a villain obsessed with clocks! On the show he had a little clock in his hat! Clock King is supremely goofy. So many Batman villains have a specific obsession, be it cats or riddles. Clocks is…an odd choice.
Louie the Lilac – Louie could be a more down-to-Earth villain. He’s a gangster. You know, a crime boss. That would be a fitting villain in a more realistic show. Needless to say, Louie the Lilac isn’t your normal gangster. No, he’s obsessed with flowers. He’s got flowers on his suits, he has a greenhouse, and he tries to corner the flower market in Gotham City. Louie the Lilac was played by Milton Berle, who was known as Mr. Television back in the day.
The Minstrel – The Minstrel, is well, a minstrel. He’s a medieval troubadour in modern times. He dresses in that old-timey way and plays a lute. This is classical goofy Batman ’66 nonsense. Here’s what takes the Minstrel to the next level: He’s also a genius electrician. Yes, the man who fashions himself after medieval troubadours also is an engineering wizard. That’s the perfect microcosm of what made Batman ’66 so much fun.