Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ah, that crazy Burt Ward...

My wife said the word "defunct" tonight. Now, in and of itself, the utterance of a given word would not be of note. However, this one, or, more accurately, its genesis in my personal lexicon, has always been imprinted on me thanks to an odd TV experience I had many years ago, probably when I was in middle school.

I first heard the word "defunct" on an episode of Batman--a rerun of the campy 60's television show that chronicled the deeds of derring-do by the dark knight and his occasionally trusty, but more often simply expository, side kick, Robin. The Dynamic Duo had, once again, escaped from the clutches of another nefarious villain, most likely at the end of the first in a two-part episode. No doubt they had found a sneaky way out of some kind of elaborate, but fully explained, trap set by said villain, as Robin was exclaiming, while gesticulating wildly, that if such-and-such had not happened, they would both be "devoured and defunct." Now, the first in that alliterated couplet may not have been "devoured," but it was some kind of d-word that meant something to the effect of the two of them no longer being among the living. Possibly it was "defiled," or "destroyed," but in any case, the second word was, sans doute, defunct.

To which Batman, as was oft his wont, proclaimed "That's it!" The villain's lair, he had deduced while Robin was briefly pontificating, was inside "the defunct seventh-street reservoir!"

Holy hole in a donut, Batman. Linguistics and comic book action. What more could one ask of a TV show?

(edit: last night before bed I remembered that Batman and Robin were in a trap involving a giant teapot that was slowly tipping over and which would, in so many minutes, suffocate the heroes under a deluge of boiling liquid while they sat immobilized in (what else?) a giant teacup. Robin's first word, upon describing the trap, was, of course, "drowned." Odd how I can remember all that, but not where I put my car keys...)

7 comments:

Phil said...

Wow. I remember that, but I thought it was coffee.

Simon said...

Hm...you could be right about that. Now I'll be wondering all day...

Anonymous said...

You remember the "oddist" (is that a word?) things from your childhood!!
Mom

Phil said...

Here we go:

http://www.1966batfan.com/episodes2.htm

84 - BATMAN DISPLAYS HIS KNOWLEDGE 2/22/67 2/23/67

Starring Julie Newmar as Catwoman

Written by Stanley Ralph Ross. Directed by Robert Sparr. Catwoman steals a life-size statue of Batman to design a Batcostume and robs a supermarket. The real Batman is arrested, but escapes with Alfred's help. Catwoman then lures the Dynamic Duo to teh top of a building where they are dumped into a giant coffee cup. A huge percolator filled with sulfuric acid is about to pour liquid death over our subdued heroes. Another fantastic deathtrap from the mind of Stanley Ralph Ross, sandwiched between more modest material. Noted makeup man Lee Harman about Batman and Robin's costumes, "Those tights were so tight that they'd get sweaty. You'd have to use a hairdryer to keep them dry so that wouldn't show through." Added supervisor Bruce Hutchinson, "When they cut the scene and went onto something else, the cowl, the cape and the belt would come off; it got too hot. Every take. The cowl would just lift off. Adam perspired a lot. Burt's mask would come off and he had to have his hair combed over the mask every time." A segment with Batman in prison (second half of #83) shows exactly how Batman's cape and cowl were removed. BatBits: Watch for Art Linkletter in a Batclimb cameo in #83.

Simon said...

I am both dumbfounded and awestruck that you found this, Phil. Most excellent indeed.

Nicole said...

Simon, you crack me up! By that I mean make me laugh continuously. : ) I miss you here in Nebraska!!

Simon said...

Thanks for the compliment, Nicole! I'm glad you enjoy the blog. :)