Deck Log Entry # 183 The Silver-Age Challenge---So, You Think You Know the Batman?

The summer-quiz bug bit me again, gang, although I have to admit, the season almost got by me.  I got the idea for a couple of really good questions early in the year, but it took me several months to fill out my card.  By then, I had to finish my two-parter on Silver-Age mysteries.

 

But, hey, August---even the last week---counts as summer, right?

 

Last year, the subject of my quiz was the granddaddy of super-heroes, Superman.  So this year I thought it would be fitting to tackle DC’s second-biggest cash cow---the Masked Manhunter himself, the Batman.  Now, sure, all you veterans know the rules to how this goes.  But just to make it official---and for the benefit of new visitors . . . you know, folks who meant to click “Fluit Notes” and hit my link by mistake . . . who want to give it a try---here are the rules.

 

The big one is that only Silver-Age knowledge counts.  And you need to know that I define the Silver Age as beginning late in 1956 and ending in 1968.  That means my questions were sourced from DC comics published between the cover-dates of October, 1956 (Showcase # 4) and December, 1968.  Also eligible for plucking was any other literature published by DC---form letters, print ads, and so forth---during that period.  But you can breathe a little easier this time, because I got all my questions for this quiz from the comics alone.

 

Now here’s what trips up most of the quiz-takers:  post-Silver-Age information doesn’t count.  For example, if I ask, “How did Jonathan and Martha Kent die?”, the correct response is “From the Caribbean fever plague.”  Any revisions to the fates of the Kents that have come along since would not be correct as an answer.   I say this mostly as a friendly warning.  You see, I don’t prohibit anyone from researching my questions through a search engine---heck, I expect it---and that’s fine.  One of the characteristics I require for an acceptable quiz-question is that it be highly Google-resistant.

 

So, sure, run my posers through your favourite search engine.  But, beware!  The overwhelming majority of hits you’ll receive will reflect the modern information.  Time and time again, that has fouled up even the old pros.

 

Lastly, sure, I miss stuff, too.  If you submit an answer different from the one I had in mind and it accurately addresses the question and it comes from Silver-Age material, then I will gladly credit you with a correct response.  But you have to be able to cite your reference.  “But I always thought . . . .” answers won’t cut it.

 

Let’s see . . . I believe that covers it.  We’re ready to find out how much you guys know about the Silver-Age Batman.  By the way, I came up with only eight questions this time, but as always, I’ll start off with a lob . . . .

 

 

1.  In 1964, the “New Look” Batman’s chest insignia was changed by enclosing the bat-emblem in a yellow ellipse.  In what story did the Caped Crusader wear the yellow-oval insignia for the first time?

 

2.  Who was the first villain in Batman’s rogues’ gallery to actually appear, “on camera” and not behind the scenes, in an issue of Justice League of America?

 

3.  Who was given a Batgirl costume from the Dynamic Duo, and why?

 

4.  What foe did Batman and Robin help Superman defeat on the Dynamic Duo's first visit to the bottled city of Kandor?

 

5.   Also in 1964, Bruce Wayne finally got tired of trudging up that long winding staircase from the Batcave to Wayne Manor and installed an elevator.  In order to keep Aunt Harriet and any guests in the mansion from discovering it, how was the elevator disguised?

 

6. According to Alfred the butler's fictional accounts of the Second Batman and Robin Team, what was the adult Dick Grayson's occupation?

 

7.  What recurring character in the Batman mythos did not have a last name---until the Batman television show supplied one?  After that, it became the character’s surname in the comics, too.

 

8.  We started with a famous first; let’s finish with a not-so-famous last:  what story marked the last Silver-Age appearance of Ace, the Bat-Hound?

 

 

You’ll have the usual three or four weeks to come up with your answers.  Your time starts . . .

 

Now!

 

Good luck!

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When Alfred accidentally found the entrance to the Bat-Cave they made him a sort of sidekick and today he's been retconned into already being there before Bruce even became Batman. Clearly this was an all men's club, no girls allowed.
 
Philip Portelli said:

5) In Detective Comics #351 (My'66), after Aunt Harriet accidently discovered the sliding panel that opens the elevator to the Bat-Cave, Bruce and Dick crafted a dummy closet to make her think that she imagined the whole thing! They also installed a remote control device so that only they could access the elevator.

I won't go into how condescending they were towards her, hoping that she would doubt her sanity. Nor will I add how difficult it is to install an elevator in a house and how much machinery, time and physical labor it would take!

Jonathan and Martha Kent might have died from Caribbean fever plague, but if you had just asked "How did Superman's foster father die?" the answer could also be heart attack, since that was what happened to Eben Kent in The Adventures of Superman, which was pre-Silver Age.

 Ron M. said:

. . . but if you had just asked "How did Superman's foster father die?" the answer could also be heart attack, since that was what happened to Eben Kent in Adventures of Superman, which was pre-Silver Age.

That would be an answer, but not a correct one---for the very reason you stated:  it was pre-Silver Age.  As I always point out in my quizzes, the only information that counts is that which can be found from late 1956 until the end of 1968---the period I demark as being the Silver Age.  Pre-Silver Age info---unless it is iterated in Silver-Age material---is just as invalid as post-S.A.

Out of curiosity Commander, would you count Philip Wayne and Mrs. Chilton as a retcon, as they filled in a gap in Bruce's past (who took care of him after the death of Thomas and Martha?).

I'm pleased I did so well, though as I was confident on five, I look forward to seeing which of those I missed.

As to your question about Philip Wayne and Mrs. Chilton, yes, I would count that as a retcon, under the original definition, for the very reason you stated:  it addressed a natural question.  Perhaps not as overt as "Why did the Sandman change outfits?", but the matter of Bruce's care and feeding after his parents' deaths was still a transitional matter.  It didn't need answering, but was made better by it.

As to your score, I actually have to award you half-credit for a fifth answer.  I'll have to hold off on explaining why until I provide the answers.

...Any comments about the (maybe more in the past) frequently stated by some assertation(Sp??) that , with the Fox-ABC Bat-series being planned , Aunt Harriet was an outside-imposed " We HAVE to have a woman in the house ! So that ~ you know ~ to show it's not  'that ' sort of situation... " concept ?


Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...Any comments about the (maybe more in the past) frequently stated by some assertation(Sp??) that , with the Fox-ABC Bat-series being planned , Aunt Harriet was an outside-imposed " We HAVE to have a woman in the house ! So that ~ you know ~ to show it's not  'that ' sort of situation... " concept ?

There was no television-industry pressure to add a woman to the mix because the proposed Batman series did not become a viable project until 1965, while the character of Aunt Harriet débuted well before that---in Detective Comics  # 328.  That issue had a cover-date of June, 1964, so the story was written and produced in the spring of that year---well before anyone in the television industry would care about whether or not there was a female presence in Stately Wayne Manor.

Wasn't Alfred dead until the show decided to use him? Then the comics brought him back saying he'd been turned into a monster.

...Thank you , Cmdr. , I think I have heard different versions as how exactly how or when either ABC or Dozier/Fox were inspired to do it...I've seen it here that it had been planned for a Fall 1966 premiere after the Summer 1966 release of the feature (Which itself went off as planned . ) , but that got moved up...


 
Commander Benson said:


Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...Any comments about the (maybe more in the past) frequently stated by some assertation(Sp??) that , with the Fox-ABC Bat-series being planned , Aunt Harriet was an outside-imposed " We HAVE to have a woman in the house ! So that ~ you know ~ to show it's not  'that ' sort of situation... " concept ?

There was no television-industry pressure to add a woman to the mix because the proposed Batman series did not become a viable project until 1965, while the character of Aunt Harriet débuted well before that---in Detective Comics  # 328.  That issue had a cover-date of June, 1964, so the story was written and produced in the spring of that year---well before anyone in the television industry would care about whether or not there was a female presence in Stately Wayne Manor.


Ron M. said:

Wasn't Alfred dead until the show decided to use him? Then the comics brought him back saying he'd been turned into a monster.

Now that is true.  I wrote about in the third part of a Batman-in-the-Silver-Age triptych I wrote for my Deck Log column four years ago.  Here are the pertinent passages:

When Julius Schwartz had Alfred killed off back in Detective Comics # 328, he intended for the character to remain dead.  However, the folks at ABC wanted Batman and Robin’s trusty retainer back in livery, again.  Tales of the Dark Knight [by Mark Cotta Vaz, Ballentine Books, 1989] reported Schwartz’s reaction:  “It became a very difficult situation when [the show’s producers] wanted Alfred there and they wanted me to bring him back.  I said, ‘But he’s dead!’  They said, ‘You can think of a way.’”

And the resourceful editor did think of a way.  For the past two years, Batman and Robin had been menaced by “the Outsider”, a continuing villain possessing unusual capabilities.  Thus far, the true identity of the Outsider had not been revealed.  I’ve never come across any information on who Schwartz had originally planned to be the villain, but it didn’t matter.  In an effort to push a square peg into a round hole, Schwartz came up with “The Inside Story of the Outsider”, from Detective Comics # 356 (Oct., 1966).   At the conclusion, the bizarre criminal was revealed to be Alfred.  The contrived situation which turned the loyal butler into a deformed villain was reversed, and Alfred was restored, in body and mind.

If you'd care to read the entire article as, I am told, some folks do, then here's the link:

http://captaincomics.ning.com/profiles/blogs/from-the-archives-pow-...

I believe the answers are

1."The Olsen-Robin Team Versus "the Superman-Batman Team!"" from World's Finest Comics #141

2.the Penguin, in Justice League of America #40

-The GCD tells me the Joker in #34 was a dream version.

3.Supergirl, for her birthday

4.Luthor

5.by a sliding panel disguised to look like part of the wall with a hidden trigger

6.roving newspaper reporter

7.Aunt Harriet

8."The Feud Between Superman and Batman!" in World's Finest Comics #143

I guess the appearance of Clayface in the next issue was another pre-New Look hangover.

My tip of the hat to Philip and Fraser for all the answers I stole.

No, while the Hoodlum Harlequin first shows up in a dream—as might be expected when Dr. Destiny's the villain of the issue—he later shows up in the flesh. Destiny correctly guesses the League will try to re-enact their dream battles with the various menaces he's whipped up and oops, none of their tactics work in the real life rematch!

I'm most annoyed by #3 as I read that story just a couple of months back, and I know if I'd taken the full four weeks I still wouldn't have thought of it. But then, that's what makes these quizzes challenging.

Luke Blanchard said:

I believe the answers are

1."The Olsen-Robin Team Versus "the Superman-Batman Team!"" from World's Finest Comics #141

2.the Penguin, in Justice League of America #40

-The GCD tells me the Joker in #34 was a dream version.

3.Supergirl, for her birthday

4.Luthor

5.by a sliding panel disguised to look like part of the wall with a hidden trigger

6.roving newspaper reporter

7.Aunt Harriet

8."The Feud Between Superman and Batman!" in World's Finest Comics #143

I guess the appearance of Clayface in the next issue was another pre-New Look hangover.

My tip of the hat to Philip and Fraser for all the answers I stole.

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