Spotlight On…The Riddler (Spotlight On…Volume Six)

My Spotlight on… series takes a look at actors with multiple characters or characters with multiple actors with the world of Batman 66/the Batman TV Series. This blog post will take a look at the Riddler.

TV Series

1

Frank Gorshin as The Riddler
Season 1 Episode 1: Hi Diddle Riddle
Season 1 Episode 2: Smack In The Middle
Season 1 Episode 11: A Riddle A Day Keeps The Riddler Away
Season 1 Episode 12: When The Rats Away, The Mice Will Play
Season 1 Episode 23: The Ring Of Wax
Season 1 Episode 24: Give ‘Em The Axe
Season 1 Episode 31: Death in Slow Motion
Season 1 Episode 32: The Riddler’s False Notion
The Riddler by Frank Gorshin
Batman: The Movie
Season 3 Episode 1: Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin (Uncredited)
Season 3 Episode 2: Ring Around The Riddler
Legends of the Superheroes: The Challenge
Legends of the Superheroes: The Roast
Batman on TV Land/Batmanathon

Frank Gorshin portrayed the Riddler in 10 episodes of Batman, the feature film, the Legends of the Superheroes TV specials, the Batman in TV land Batmanathon promos and even a novelty single! He would also appear in various promotional pieces and interviews referencing his iconic role and/or bringing out THAT laugh. In the world of Batman 66 no one played the role as much.

 

2

John Astin as The Riddler
Season 2 Episode 45: Batman’s Anniversary
Season 2 Episode 46: A Riddling Controversy

The Addams Family’s Gomez Addams, John Astin would step into the green leotard to portray The Riddler. With Frank Gorshin unable/unwilling to return for these two episodes, dependant on what reasoning you do by;

“The reason John Astin played The Riddler, was because I had a night club commitment which I couldn’t cancel”. – Frank Gorshin, The Official Batman Batbook by Joel Eisner (1986,1987,2008)

Reference is also made to a letter in The Official Batman Batbook which can be seen thanks to Al Bigley in this post on this currently (10th June 2020) public Facebook group BATMAN (1966-1968)-THE OFFICIAL FACEBOOK FAN CLUB

 

3 Fred

Eddie Hice As The Riddler

Season 3 Episode 25: The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra

In this episode a selection of arch criminals are broken out of the “Arch Criminals Only” section of Gotham State Penitentiary. All are portrayed by body/stunt doubles and have no lines, in this instance Frank Gorshin’s regular stunt man Eddie Hice takes on the role.

On a side note, he would also portray GP 1 in Batman: The Movie.

 

Riddler 2

Wally Wingert as The Riddler
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Batman vs Two Face

Both of these animated films released in 2016 and 2017, set in the Batman TV Series continuity, featured amongst many other villains, The Riddler. In these projects Wally Wingert is practically pitch perfect as Frank Gorshin’s Riddler, and has the characterisation down pat too. No stranger to the role of the Riddler, Wally has also voiced the green menace in various non-Batman 66 related projects too, including but not limited to the famed Arkham Video games.

 

Honourable Mentions

1

Maurice Evans as The Puzzler
Season 2 Episode 31: The Puzzles Are Coming
Season 2 Episode 32: The Duo Is Slumming
Much like John Astin stepping into the role of the Riddler, the existence of Maurice Evans as the Puzzler came from Frank Gorshin being unavailable at the time to return as The Riddler. Originally these episodes were to be entitled “A Penny for your Riddles” & “They’re Worth A Lot More” when they were written as Riddler episodes, however with Frank being unavailable the character’s name was changed to Mr. Conundrum and then The Puzzler.

On a side note, though unrelated, The Puzzler, by the time these episodes came around, had already been used as the name of a Superman Villain in Action Comics 49 in 1942.

 

Brett

Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt
In this half-biopic/half-fictionalised story we have passing glimpses at various actors and/or villains from the TV series. In this TV movie we have Brett Rickaby portraying Frank Gorshin and The Riddler. Brett Rickaby as Frank Gorshin gets distinctly more screen time than his other villainous counterparts as Frank Gorshin himself feeds into the plot of this TV movie in quite an interesting and unusual way. Brett Rickaby is able to pull of the humourous and the unsettling sides of Frank Gorshin’s/The Riddler’s personality brilliantly.

 

Personal Side Note: As with many of my blog posts, much of this information has come from my memory/knowledge and/or from watching the projects within, as with my Back for more blog post giving a mention to a couple of sources that were invaluable in bringing elements of my blog post to life, I thought it was worth bringing back the sources section at the bottom of this blog post and for further blog posts going forward, not only does it give credit where it is due (which I have always tried to do throughout my blog posts anyway), it also allows for people to check out other information and projects they may otherwise not do.

 

Sources

Books/Comics/Magazines
Action Comics #49
The Official Batman Batbook: The Revised Bat Edition by Joel Eisner
The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, Volume Three: Superman

Film and TV
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
Batman: The Movie
Batman: The TV Series
Batman on TV Land/Batmanathon
Batman vs Two-Face
Legends of the Superheroes
Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt

Websites
66batman.com
BATMAN (1966-1968)-THE OFFICIAL FACEBOOK FAN CLUB
dc.fandom.com
IMDb.com
Wikipedia.org
YouTube.com

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