Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Villian* (for Villain*)

Batman, the wonderfully campy TV show that ran from 1966 to 1968, centered around the trials and tribulations of Batman and Robin, aka "millionaire Bruce Wayne" (played by Adam West) and "his youthful ward Dick Grayson" (Burt Ward, another happy homonym). It was filled with variegated villains—does anyone remember Roddy McDowall as "The Bookworm"? Villainesses were never in short supply either and famously included Catwoman (played by Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar), along with Marsha, Queen of Diamonds (Carolyn Jones); Ma Parker (Shelley Winters); Zelda the Great and Olga, Queen of the Cossacks (Anne Baxter); Lola Lasagne (Ethel Merman); Lady Peasoup (Glynis Johns); Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft (Ida Lupino); The Black Widow (Tallulah Bankhead); Minerva (Zsa Zsa Gabor); "women's rights advocate" Nora Clavicle (Barbara Rush); and Lorelei Circe, also known as "The Siren" and portrayed by Joan Collins. ("Well, look who's here," she sneers, ball-bustingly, in The Wail of the Siren: "Batgirl and Batboy!") It's hard to beat the female baddies of Gotham City for sheer panache, although Batgirl (Yvonne Craig) was not just the daughter of Police Commissioner Gordon, but also a "sexy librarian," giving new meaning to the old adage "Knowledge is power." OhioLINK uncovers 111 cases of Villian* (some are personal names, but most seem to be typos for villain*) and WorldCat a whopping 1,253. Wham! Bam! Pow! Defeat those typos now!

(Screen capture of the title card for Batman, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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