This will be the first in a series of blog posts. “Spotlight On…” will take a look at people with multiple roles in the Batman TV Series or characters with multiple actors. For the first of these I have selected James Brolin;
Character 1: Ralph Staphylococcus
Season 2 Episode 4: The Cat and the Fiddle
Catwoman surprises, “Miss Minerva Matthews, the well known wealthy recluse” at the door and knocks her out with gas from her claws, as the elderly Miss Minerva is expecting an armoured car driver to come, with $500,000 from her Christmas club account and take her to the Gotham State building so that she may pay Zubin Zucchini for a pair of rare Stradivarius violins.
The driver pulls up and knocks for Miss Minerva Matthews unaware that she is really the villainous Catwoman in disguise! Catwoman seems quite smitten with the driver, but keeps up the charade of being an elderly woman.
When Catwoman enquires as to his name, he says it’s Staphylococcus, Ralph Staphylococcus.
We hear that he has been working his job almost 4 years and studies to become an accountant at night so that he can earn a better salary to raise his three children more proficiently.
Upon realising Ralph is married Catwoman seems quite deflated. Strange seeing Catwoman have feelings for anyone besides the Batman!
Taking a shine to Ralph, in a rare showing of kindness for her fellow man, Catwoman gives away $1000 to Ralph to help him “along the way”. Granted it isn’t her money to give away in the first place but a villainess has got to start somewhere!
In her explanation to Zuban Zucchini (who later reveals himself to be Robin in disguise), “I tipped the young driver a thousand dollars for being so sweet”.
Despite us learning his full name and his back story, James Brolin’s character is credited simply as “Driver”.
Though arguably not important to the story as a whole James Brolin’s character here as at the very least shown us another side to Catwoman’s character.
Character 2: Officer Reggie Hogan
Season 2 Episode 34: The Catwoman Goeth (aka a Stitch in Time)
Two policemen pull up and find the Batmobile. Upon seeing the Batmobile the older of the two remarks that, “looks just like the Batmobile”, Reggie says “all the new cars look alike this year”.
Reggie notices that there’s no street address registered for the Batmobile and that the keys were left in the ignition, two violations! His colleague throughout Reggie’s comments pleads with Reggie to let it go.
Batman arrives on the Alf-Cycle with Alfred.
Commending the police for finding the Batmobile, Reggie then tells Batman of his violations. Batman points out that the keys are in the Batmobile as the car was stolen (by the Sandman). Reggie asks if he reported the car stolen to which Batman says “not exactly”. Another violation for Batman! Reggie suggests to impound the car and take Batman in!
Reggie’s colleague destroys the ticket, Batman promises to “correct the oversights”. Batman asks if they have seen Robin. Reggie has no idea who Robin is, to which his colleague states “you’ve got a lot to learn”.
Credited as Reggie in the episode, however in, The Official Batman Batbook by Joel Eisner, a trustworthy source on Batman TV series facts, he is credited as Officer Reggie Hogan.
Arguably the least impactful of James Brolin’s characters, as you could take his character’s interaction with Batman out of the episode and it wouldn’t affect the episode.
Character 3: Kid Gulliver
Season 3 Episode 2: Ring Around the Riddler
Kid Gulliver, boxer, appears almost immediately into the episode in the “Little Used Gymnasium”, and is indignant toward the Riddler, that he will not throw the biggest fight of his life, tonight in Gotham Square Garden. The Riddler says that he will throw the fight and orders his henchmen to put Kid Gulliver into the steam room.
The Riddler aims to get rid of all the prizefighters in Gotham so that he may collect all the prize money for himself.
In our first scene with the dynamic duo, we see Alfred, Bruce and Dick watching the boxing;
“Alfred: Kid Gulliver, down for the count in the third?
Dick: It’s hard to believe Bruce.
Bruce: As chairman of Gotham City Boxing Commission, I’m gonna call an emergency meeting. It looks like undesirable elements have once again infiltrated the manly art of self-defense”
It seems that perhaps Kid Gulliver HAS indeed thrown the fight!
Later on Commissioner Gordon gets a report that Kid Gulliver has vanished, having been taken away whilst his seconds were carrying him to his dressing room after the fight.
We then see The Riddler, his henchmen and Kid Gulliver again in the Little Used Gymnasium. Kid Gulliver has a gormless expression on his face. We come to learn that The Riddler has given him a shot of “Riddle Juice” which apparently won’t wear off for a week and will affect Kid Gulliver’s memory.
In meeting with Barbara Gordon to use her knowledge as a Librarian and studient of South West Asia to unravel a riddle, Batman and Robin inform her that Kid Gulliver was the champion up until tonight’s fight, as they realise that The Riddler’s intent may be to enter the boxing world.
Shortly thereafter, her father, Commissioner Gordon arrives at her apartment and informs the dynamic duo that Kid Gulliver has been found but with no memory of what happened, and that it was the result of some injection.
Batman laments that nothing can come from talking to Kid Gulliver.
In the next scene we see Chief O Hara wondering aimlessly at the box office of Gotham Square Garden and the dynamic duo come to the realisation he has been given the same concoction that Kid Gulliver was given.
In the next scene, we get our introduction to the Siren, here as an accomplice of The Riddler’s, with her note, two octaves above high C failing to put Batgirl under her spell, as we learn it only works on men.
In failing to put Batgirl under her spell, Riddler instructs his henchmen to put Batgirl in the steam room like they did with Kid Gulliver.
In our next scene with Commissioner Gordon and Barbara, he mentions that Kid Gulliver’s condition has upset many in the town
The most impactful character of all of James Brolin’s appearances, Kid Gulliver’s involvement sets off the whole story in this episode and he gets mention throughout, much more so than Ralph Staphylococcus and Officer Reggie Hogan were in their respective episodes. It is also shown he is a much loved citizen in Gotham City, where as Ralph seemed to just be anybody, and Reggie was an officer of the law new to the City. In terms of status, at least in terms of celebrity, it seems James Brolin rose through the ranks as he went along.
Interestingly, all 3 of his characters are involved in stories with female Antagonists; Catwoman and Siren.
Comic Book Legacy; like Father like Son?
James Brolin may have appeared in 3 episodes of Batman but his son, Josh Brolin has quite the resume in films based on comic books.
Josh Brolin was the titular lead in the 2010 film Jonah Hex, based on the DC comic of the same name. He portrayed a young Agent K in 2012’s Men in Black 3, based on the Malibu comics title Men in Black. He has also portrayed two different villains in films based on Marvel Comics characters. He portrayed Thanos in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers Endgame between 2015-2019 and portrayed Cable in 2018’s Deadpool 2 and it’s re-edited version Once Upon A Deadpool.