Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Holy guacamole!

As a college student in the mid-1960s, I shared an apartment with three other guys. The four of us had relatively few things in common, except that twice a week we would gather around our TV and watch "Batman" together. It was always good fun.

I am not at all sure that the brooding Batman of the recent films is an improvement on the old television series that starred Adam West. A grown man who drives around in a Batmobile while dressed as a bat is, after all, rather silly behavior, much better suited to a campy comedy than a serious action movie.

Lately I have been watching those "Batman" episodes again and reliving not just the program but, in a sense, my college days.

Each "Batman" episode followed a predictable pattern. There was always a special guest villain who would commit some outlandish crime, and Batman would by summoned on the Batphone by the police commissioner. Superman may have changed into his costume in a phone booth, but Batman and Robin would change into theirs while sliding down their Batpoles - a much neater trick, if you ask me. Villains would always be caught by the end of the second episode each week, but they were never held in custody for long, apparently, because they would always be back within a few weeks to attempt another dastardly crime.

At least once per episode, Robin would coin a new expression of surprise or discovery appropriate for whatever was happening in the show at that time. Here are a few I've heard lately: holy guacamole, holy mush, holy Hamlet, holy deposit slip, holy flight plan, holy Audubon, holy crackup, holy ghostwriter, holy miracles, holy Luther Burbank, holy alter ego, holy voltage, holy sedatives, holy haberdashery, holy popcorn, holy lodestone, holy flypaper, holy memory bank, holy hoodwink, holy multitudes, holy jellymolds and holy holocaust.

And always there would be at least one fist fight per installment, with comic-book exclamations after each solid blow. These included Kapow, Boff, Zap, Sock, Whamm, Eeyou, Zowie, Thunk, Ooooff, Zwap, Whack, Crunch, Zlopp, Urkkk, Klonk, Touche, Zlonk, Whap, Clunk and Sock!

It must have been a lot of fun writing those "Batman" episodes back in the '60s.

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