Gotham has built itself a very stupid problem by introducing some of Batman’s greatest adversaries long before Bruce Wayne is even capable of growing a mustache. Not only does this ruin the old “who made who?” concept of hero vs. villain, it also creates a timing issue: once Bruce takes up the cape and cowl, most of his baddies will be older by decades. It makes hand-to-hand combat into elder abuse.
In response, here’s a list of villains from the 1966 Adam West Batman era that have a cool angle, but are also probably super disposable in a major story arc way — making them the perfect choice to resurrect while we wait for The Dark Knight to hit puberty.
A different Bat Time, but the same Bat Channel:
Vincent Price loved breakfast food more than Ron Swanson ever could. My favorite childhood villain was Egghead. He had tear gas filled eggs and no one ever really considered the character’s motivations beyond eggcentric puns. Honestly, just grab a famous comedian who does one liners and let them take this part for a spin. I suggest pun-ishment at the hands of Demetri Martin.
Actor Walter Slezak became Clock King, a man obsessed with stealing clocks but also murdering Robin with a gigantic hourglass (God what a memorable set piece!). And although Clock King is a pretty well fleshed out character in the DC Universe, he could do a lot for Gotham. Hell, an episode set in real-time would be a beautiful thing. He’s made appearances in Batman: TAS and has even come back to life as an antagonist on The Flash:
That’s actor Robert Knepper in the role, holding a smart phone instead of using a gigantic hourglass. This must be stopped.
Victor Buono loved this character because it gave him a chance to “over-act” and oh holy Christ does he squeeze the most out of that. King Tut is actually one of the most prolific villains in the entire run. Yes, being insane enough to believe you’re actually an ancient God isn’t the best storyline, but it recalls a bunch of b-level Buffy episodes that were quite fine. Really, Gotham pulling out any bad dudes who thought they were historical characters would be quite fine. If the police had to take down Abraham Lincoln we wouldn’t forget that episode.
Colonel Gumm (as played here by Roger C. Carmels) was a dude who loved the color pink. That’s it. He’s just really into pink. And stamps. Pink stamps? A plus for him. Stamping someone to death: totally cool. Turning their bodies pink: totally part of the plan. Just like a pink (not gay) dude who is in no way a coded character (not gay) for anything else. Oh, trill mustache too. Gotham should absolutely throw a mustache on someone and get an episode out of this. Why wouldn’t you? Look at that backstory.
Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft
This is one that I never understood growing up, but, holy cow, is it great now. Ida Lupino plays Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft who comes from a line of female alchemists, and has a husband named Cabala that she is incessantly shitting on. Lupino helped pave the way for female directors, so why not grab a super feminist-y director and give her a chance to take on Gotham’s police force with magic and science and anger toward bad dumb men. Again, the name alone should tell you this is ICONIC. Someone call Kathryn Bigelow’s people.
Ma Parker is a lady who likes guns. She likes guns and she likes her family and she likes puns about guns. That’s it. She’s perfect. Her sons Pretty Boy Parker, Machine Gun Parker, and Mad Dog Parker, and one daughter named Legs Parker are the perfect set of dumb assistants, and if something happened to Ma those characters would wreck havoc.
Gotham, if you are reading this: Margo Martindale is right there.
Marsha, Queen Of Diamonds
Carolyn Jones (who also played Morticia Addams) landed this sweet role as a woman who is obsessed with diamonds. Perhaps you just got over-the-top with it and make this about a housewife who is so into the Home and Gardens aesthetic that you build a Stepford Wife monster. Funnily, Lurch from the show made a cameo in ‘67 and Gomez Addams actor (John Astin) had a brief stint as The Riddler. It is… fine.
Maurice Evans became The Puzzler because Frank Gorshin decided he hated playing The Riddler, and there was already a Riddler script set to film, so … The Puzzler! Get it? Totally different guy. John Astin would later play The Riddler role again — before Gorshin came back around to the part — but in retrospect, almost all of the the villains on this show (including Joker) rarely committed as much crime as they did… whatever the word for leaving elaborate but pointless clues is. Puzzleman has a flair about him and a fascination with old books. Certainly that kind of thing won’t come up again….
You know how villains always need to base their ideas on pre-existing IPs? And yeah, you could probably get away with that a lot easier on TV in 1966? Well, Bookworm is yet another faux Riddler who just loved using the plots from old books. Honestly, this isn’t so much about the villain himself (played by Roddy McDowall from Planet of the Apes) but rather, that he looks exactly like Cory Michael Smith’s take on Edward Nygma in Gotham — proving that maybe the show has already started digging into the ‘66 versions of baddies.
Yeah. That’s what I thought.
As a little bonus, check out this video mega-compilation of every villain for the Adam West era.