Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ode To Cliff

Hanger, that is... Of the pink/purple variety featured on the very camp but (for a six year old) very frightening 1966 TV version of 'Batman.' I became enraptured with the Batman universe, left hanging on a thread each Wednesday night by the ‘cliffhangers’ through which various villains tried to do away with the Dynamic Duo using, as Austin Powers’ Dr Evil would say, ‘some needlessly elaborate, easily escapable method of execution.’ The villains would never shoot them. (In fact, only 4 people died in the entire 120-episode series, including one accident and two thugs that shot each other by accident)

But what methods of execution!

Just in the first 17 installments, Batman and Robin were threatened with: being frozen, electrocuted, spun to death, encased in plaster, cut with a scaplel, tied to a subway track, fed to a tiger, shot at in a shooting gallery, lowered into boiling wax, drowned in poison gas, sawed in half, crushed by a bell clapper, hurled in a straight jacket on a stretcher off a cliff and suffocated in a vaccuum tank.

  And that was just season one.

In year two, they were nearly impaled by arrows, fried under a giant magnifying glass, barbecued, fed to alligators, blown up in their car, buried by sand in giant hourglass, brain-damaged via machine, deafened by noise, made into ice cream cones, lowered into acid......

.....carved up like a key, waxed, stampeded, ambushed by machine guns, dropped from a hot air balloon, perforated by a player piano sheet puncher, stitched to a matress, radiated, crushed by a 10 ton meteor (pictured way above), fed to a giant clam, snapped in a giant mousetrap, catapulted over Gotham City, crushed in a trash compacter, drowned in a giant quicksand cake (pictured left)......

.... pressed into a comic book, burned by acid in a massive tea cup, flattened into a life-size stamp, dropped into boiling oil, bitten by black widows, sliced to death on a huge mobile of sharp blades, and crushed into ice at a skating rink (the last cliffhanger, snif... pictured below.)

Finally, twice they faced non-fatal disasters: unmasking on televsion and forced marriage (for Batman) to Marsha, Queen of Diamonds.

For my money, they ruined the series completely by going to one night a week with no cliffhanger.

Little Aaron would never wait breathlessly again to tune in tomorrow, same bat-time, same bat-channel….

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