A Visual Guide to All 37 Villains in the Batman TV Series

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

Here they all are with a little extra Bam! Pow! Zap! for good measure. 

1. THE RIDDLER (FRANK GORSHIN)

SEASON 1 (EPISODES 1, 2, 11, 12, 23, 24, 31, 32), SEASON 3 (EPISODE 2) 

The quintessential (and first) Batman villain to star in the 1966 series, Frank Gorshin would end up playing The Riddler in all of the character’s appearances in the series except for a two-episode span during season two when John Astin stepped into the green tights.

2. THE RIDDLER (JOHN ASTIN)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 45, 46)

Perhaps best known for playing Gomez Addams in The Addams Family, John Astin donned The Riddler’s costume for a short two-episode arc during Batman’s second season.

3. THE PENGUIN (BURGESS MEREDITH)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 3, 4, 21, 22, 33, 34), SEASON 2 (EPISODES 17, 18, 27, 28, 37, 38, 39, 42, 43, 44), SEASON 3 (EPISODES 1, 4, 5, 20)

Burgess Meredith’s portrayal of The Penguin may be the most iconic of the entire series (at least in appearance). With his purple top hat, monocle, and long cigarette, Meredith’s Penguin appeared in more Batman episodes (20) than any other villain. 

4. THE JOKER (CESAR ROMERO)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 5, 6, 15, 16, 25, 26), SEASON 2 (EPISODES 21, 22, 37, 38, 39, 47, 48, 57, 58), SEASON 3 (EPISODES 10, 16, 17, 24)

Second only to Burgess Meredith as The Penguin, Cesar Romero appeared in Batman as The Joker in 19 episodes in total. Known for his bright green hair, stark white makeup, and wide smile, Romero’s Joker would become one of the show’s most memorable villains. The actor famously refused to shave his signature mustache and you can see it under the white face paint particularly well on the high-definition transfers included on this Blu-ray box set. 

5. MR. FREEZE (GEORGE SANDERS)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 7, 8) 

Appearing as Mr. Freeze for only two episodes during the show’s first season, George Sanders's Mr. Freeze was quite low-tech compared to the getups that Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach would wear during season two. When he did eventually don his signature suit, Sanders looked more like an astronaut than a villain with super freezy powers. 

6. MR. FREEZE (OTTO PREMINGER)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 19, 20)

Legendary, groundbreaking director Otto Preminger (Laura) took over the role of Mr. Freeze for two episodes during Batman’s second season and gave perhaps the most bizarre (and cool) performance of the three actors that would play the character.

7. MR. FREEZE (ELI WALLACH)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 59, 60)

Eli Wallach played the frigid villain for the final two episodes of season two. His Mr. Freeze, who discovered an instant ice formula, is easily the most mustache-twirlingly and villainous of the three versions. For many fans, his version is also the most memorable.

8. ZELDA THE GREAT (ANNE BAXTER)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 9, 10)

The great Anne Baxter (All About Eve, The Ten Commandments) played Zelda the Great in a two-episode arc that includes the kidnapping of poor Aunt Harriet. This isn’t, however, the last time fans would see Baxter on the series ... 

9. MAD HATTER (DAVID WAYNE)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 13, 14), SEASON 2 (EPISODES 35, 36)

Screen and stage veteran David Wayne played The Mad Hatter in four episodes spread over two seasons of Batman. The villain, who is obsessed with getting his hands on Batman’s cowl, concealed a Super Instant Mesmerizer in one of his many hats in an attempt to get the job done. The Dynamic Duo, of course, had other plans. 

10. FALSE FACE (MALACHI THRONE)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 17, 18)

Malachi Throne was a staple of geek TV throughout his career: He made appearances in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lost in Space, The Six Million Dollar Man, Babylon 5, and many more nerd-centric shows. We don’t even really get to see his recognizable face in Batman, however, as he played a villain named False Face, who looked different nearly every time we saw him.

11. CATWOMAN (JULIE NEWMAR)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 19, 20), SEASON 2 (EPISODES 3, 4, 10, 29, 30, 33, 34, 40, 41, 49, 50)

Appearing in 13 Batman episodes over the show’s first two seasons, Julie Newmar’s Catwoman tussled with The Dynamic Duo more than any other female villain in the series. Not only did her appearance on the show make her the object of many a young man's affections, but it also helped establish the general look of the character on-screen for years to come.

12. CATWOMAN (EARTHA KITT)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 14, 16, 17)

Julie Newmar left some mighty big paws to fill when she didn’t return to the role of Catwoman for Batman’s third season. But, if you’re going to try to fill them, you might as well do it with a legend like Eartha Kitt. The singer, actress, and all-around dynamo donned the catsuit and purred her way into the hearts of Batman fans everywhere.

Lee Meriwether played Catwoman in the 1966 movie.

13. KING TUT (VICTOR BUONO)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 27, 28), SEASON 2 (7, 8, 53, 54), SEASON 3 (6, 23)

Ever the performer, Victor Buono’s over-the-top performance as Batman original villain King Tut earned him appearances in eight separate episodes over the show’s three seasons. The actor reportedly loved playing the character because it allowed him the opportunity to overact, one of the aspects of the character that makes King Tut so beloved (and if there’s ever a place to overact, the Batman series was a great place to do it). 

14. BOOKWORM (RODDY MCDOWALL)


SEASON 1 (EPISODES 29, 30)

Between film, TV, and theater, Planet of the Apes star Roddy McDowall’s resume is a mile long—so it should come as no surprise that he was able to sneak in two episodes as an original villain named Bookworm on Batman. Committing crimes inspired by literary works, Bookworm was created for the show, but would later come to figure in the Batman comic books as well. 

15. THE ARCHER (ART CARNEY)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 1, 2)

Once you realize that The Honeymooners veteran Art Carney is playing Batman villain The Archer in the first two episodes of the show’s second season, you should immediately know that the character is mostly going to be played for laughs. Based on the classic Robin Hood character, The Archer did his own brand of robbing the rich to feed the poor along with two henchmen (and one henchwoman) cleverly named Maid Marilyn, Big John, and Crier Tuck. 

16. MINSTREL (VAN JOHNSON)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 5,6)

Minstrel only appeared in two season-two Batman episodes, but he’s a tough one to forget because Van Johnson’s performance is so mesmerizing. The villain was about as milquetoast as one gets—he abhorred violence and sang songs about the crimes he had committed (or was about to commit)—but it’s still hard to get Minstrel out of your head.

17. MA PARKER (SHELLEY WINTERS)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 9, 10)

Season two villain Ma Parker was all about Shelley Winters's hilariously evil performance. Full of bravado and a pun a minute, the character was a simple country mother who has an affinity for powerful guns. Along with her three sons Pretty Boy Parker, Machine Gun Parker, and Mad Dog Parker, and one daughter named Legs Parker (that Ma really couldn't stand), they gave The Dynamic Duo a run for their money.

18. CLOCK KING (WALTER SLEZAK)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 11, 12)

Tony Award-winning actor Walter Slezak suited up as Clock King for two season-two episodes of Batman using an antique clock to loot a jewelry store before Batman and Robin are on his tail. Though Clock King actually had pretty deep roots in the DC Comics universe, this version was a wonder all its own with Slezak’s trademark expressions and villainy leading the way. Oh, and one really big hourglass.

19. EGGHEAD (VINCENT PRICE)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 13, 14), SEASON 3 (EPISODES 8, 9, 15)

It’s hard not to love Vincent Price’s hilariously campy portrayal of Egghead during five episodes in Batman’s run. With his signature white and yellow suit and enormous bald head, Price overacted to perfection as the extremely intelligent, eggcentric (get it?) villain. The character had a lair decked out with bacon and egg drawings on the wall and tossed laughing and tear gas eggs at his foes. Egghead is, quite possibly, the most lovable of all Batman villains.

20. CHANDELL (LIBERACE)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 15, 16)

For two episodes, the piano virtuoso played both Chandell (the piano player) and his twin brother Harry (who, it turns out, is the real villain here), and the results were a lot of fun. If only we could have seen Liberace play more villains throughout his career, TV would have been a far more interesting place. 

21. MARSHA, QUEEN OF DIAMONDS (CAROLYN JONES)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 23, 24, 42, 43, 44)

Here’s a bit of cool trivia for you: Carolyn Jones, who played the diamond-loving villainess Marsha, Queen of Diamonds in five season-two Batman episodes, also played Morticia Addams in ABC’s The Addams Family. We already told you about John Astin’s connection to that series, but there’s also a brief appearance by Ted Cassidy (who played Lurch in that show) during one of Batman’s iconic Batclimbs. How’s that for synergy!

22. SHAME (CLIFF ROBERTSON)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 25, 26), SEASON 3 (EPISODES 21, 22)

Clearly a spoof of the classic 1953 Western movie character Shane (from the movie of the same name), Cliff Robertson’s villain Shame appeared in four Batman episodes with two different posses. In the first, he was joined by Okie Annie (Joan Staley)—an obvious riff on Annie Oakley—and, in the second, he had Calamity Jan (Dina Merrill) by his side.

23. PUZZLER (MAURICE EVANS)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 31, 32)

Not to be confused with The Riddler, Maurice Evans as Puzzler also liked to keep Batman and Robin confused with clever puzzles, word games, and tricks. He was often seen reciting Shakespeare and had a thing for aviation. According to Wikia, Puzzler’s appearance only came about because Frank Gorshin no longer wanted to play The Riddler during season two, so the show slotted Puzzler into these two episodes instead. Of course, John Astin would play The Riddler later in season two and Gorshin would return to the green tights in season three.

24. SANDMAN (MICHAEL RENNIE)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 33, 34)

Portrayed by veteran actor Michael Rennie, Sandman’s two-episode appearance during Batman’s second season was often overshadowed by the fact that he was working alongside the beautiful Julie Newmar as Catwoman. But fans should give the shifty Dr. Somnambular his due—the guy did have sleep powers after all!

25. COLONEL GUMM (ROGER C. CARMEL)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 51, 52)

Roger C. Carmel’s performance as Colonel Gumm is mostly remembered for the villain’s penchant for wearing pink, being surround by pink, and being obsessed with stamps. The real memorable thing about Colonel Gumm’s two-episode arc, however, is the fact that the episodes featured crossover appearances by Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Kato (Bruce Lee).

26. BLACK WIDOW (TALLULAH BANKHEAD)


SEASON 2 (EPISODES 55, 56)

The most tragic thing about the great Tallulah Bankhead’s fantastic performance as season two villainess Black Widow in Batman is the fact that it would be her final on-screen role. Decked out in her signature black and red outfits, the character was unforgettable—whether she was stealing from a bank or hanging out in her stunning spider-themed lair. 

27. SIREN (JOAN COLLINS)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 2, 3)

Siren, played by Joan Collins, began her entrance into the world of Batman as a bit of a sidekick in The Riddler’s devious plan to take over Gotham City’s boxing game. By her second episode, however, the singing Siren made a plan to uncover Batman’s true identity all by herself. Memorable for her beauty, luxurious outfits, and her ability to mesmerize men with her high-octave tunes, Siren made an indelible mark on the series in the span of only two episodes. 

28. LOLA LASAGNE (ETHEL MERMAN)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 4, 5)

Despite the charming and talented Ethel Merman’s performance, Lola Lasagne was one of Batman’s least interesting and memorable villains. For one, her weapon of choice was the parasol. Secondly, she mostly played in the shadows of one of the show’s most memorable villains, The Penguin. If it weren’t for Ethel Merman, we might not remember Lola at all.

29. LOUIE THE LILAC (MILTON BERLE)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 7, 18)

Louie the Lilac, on the other hand, made a huge mark on Batman by being such a bright, colorful character (with such a recognizable face behind it) that two episodes are more than enough to make fans remember him. There’s a whole lot of Milton Berle himself in Louie’s demeanor, even down to the actor’s signature cigar, which is part of what makes the character (created specifically for the show) work. Louie the Lilac also went on to appear in five episodes of the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold

30. OLGA, QUEEN OF THE COSSACKS (ANNE BAXTER)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 8, 15)

Remember how we told you that Zelda the Great would not be the last you’d see of Anne Baxter in Batman? That’s because she’s the show’s only guest villain to ever return to play a different villain on the show later. This time around, she portrayed Egghead’s main squeeze, Olga, Queen of the Cossacks. The showy villainess mostly sat back while Egghead and his henchmen took care of business, but she’s a memorable character nonetheless. 

31. LORD MARMADUKE FFOGG (RUDY VALLEE)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 11, 12, 13)

The coolest thing about Lord Marmaduke Ffogg (who appeared in three episodes as the co-villain alongside his sister Lady Penelope Peasoup) was easily his Pipe of Fog. All the venerable lord had to do is light that thing up and the room would start to fill with a white, puffy smoke—perfect to conceal his getaway. Played by Rudy Vallee, the villain also wore a special cast on his foot to make people think he had the gout and was, therefore, incapable of pulling off his crimes. Clever man.

32. LADY PENELOPE PEASOUP (GLYNIS JOHNS)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 11, 12, 13)

Though Lord Marmaduke Ffogg appeared to be the main villain in this three-episode arc, his sister Lady Penelope Peasoup actually came across as more interesting and charismatic. Despite being relegated to mostly taking charge of the female criminals in their charge, Lady Penelope (played by Glynis Johns) makes her mark on the series.

33. NORA CLAVICLE (BARBARA RUSH)


SEASON 3 (EPISODE 19)

It’s almost a shame that someone as talented as Barbara Rush (It Came from Outer Space) was saddled with another of Batman’s least memorable villains. In her one appearance on the show, Nora Clavicle used her wits and charm to convince Mayor Linseed to give her the Commissioner job, which is all part of a devious plan to destroy Gotham City and collect on an insurance claim. How did she plan to do it, though? With mechanical mice. Since she replaced the police force with housewives, they’re all afraid of mice. Pretty sexist, right? Ahh, those crazy 1960s. 

34. CALAMITY JAN (DINA MERRILL)


SEASON 3 (EPISODES 21, 22)

It’s a shame that Batman didn't really let Dina Merrill’s Calamity Jan be much more than arm candy for their western spoof villain Shame, but at least the actress does the best she can with the material she’s got. Calamity Jan came across as adorable and silly, but just smart enough to probably be able to ditch Shame and bring Batman and Robin to their knees. Sadly, we’ll never know if that’s true since she’s mostly playing second fiddle to Cliff Roberston’s Shame. 

35. DR. CASSANDRA SPELLCRAFT (IDA LUPINO)


SEASON 3 (EPISODE 25)

Ida Lupino helped pave the way for female directors of our time, so it should come as no surprise that she was very much the leading power in the villainous duo that headlines Batman’s penultimate episode. Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft comes from a long line of female alchemists, but she’s determined to be the only successful one. So she uses her power to bring down the Bat. Or tries, at least. She’s a bright, colorful character in many ways, but the way she puts her silly husband Cabala in his place is the very best thing about her.

36. CABALA (HOWARD DUFF)


SEASON 3 (EPISODE 25)

After a few episodes that featured female villains mostly relegated to storylines dominated by male power (Nora Clavicle and Calamity Jan), it was great to see one where the man completely and utterly does anything he can to make his wife happy. Played by Howard Duff, Cabala is less a villain and more a sidekick to Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft. He’ll do anything to please her, calls her “Doccy Baby,” and can often be caught checking himself out in the mirror rather than plotting villainous schemes.

37. MINERVA (ZSA ZSA GABOR)


SEASON 3 (EPISODE 26)

Batman’s final villain is also one of its most glamorous. Played by Zsa Zsa Gabor, Minerva opened a health spa in Gotham City and used her Deepest Secret Extractor to run amok. She’s pulling off robberies left and right, and even Alfred gets involved going undercover to help The Dynamic Duo. What makes Minerva so memorable, however, is the star power of Gabor. Sure, she’s mostly just said “Darlings…” a lot, but her appearance as the platinum-dressed villainess will likely never be forgotten. 

All images courtesy of Warner Home Video unless otherwise noted.

8 Enlightening Facts About Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Hulu
Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Hulu

For decades, sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer has used television, radio, the written word, and the internet to speak frankly on topics relating to human sexuality, turning what were once controversial topics into healthy, everyday conversations.

At age 90, Westheimer shows no signs of slowing down. As a new documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, gears up for release on Hulu this spring, we thought we’d take a look at Westheimer’s colorful history as an advisor, author, and resistance sniper.

1. The Nazis devastated her childhood.

Dr. Ruth was born Karola Ruth Siegel on June 4, 1928 in Wiesenfeld, Germany, the only child of Julius and Irma Siegel. When Ruth was just five years old, the advancing Nazi party terrorized her neighborhood and seized her father in 1938, presumably to shuttle him to a concentration camp. One year later, Karola—who eventually began using her middle name and took on the last name Westheimer with her second marriage in 1961—was sent to a school in Switzerland for her own protection. She later learned that her parents had both been killed during the Holocaust, possibly at Auschwitz.

2. She shocked classmates with her knowledge of taboo topics.

Westheimer has never been bashful about the workings of human sexuality. While working as a maid at an all-girls school in Switzerland, she made classmates and teachers gasp with her frank talk about menstruation and other topics that were rarely spoken of in casual terms.

3. She trained as a sniper for Jewish resistance fighters in Palestine.

Following the end of World War II, Westheimer left Switzerland for Israel, and later Palestine. She became a Zionist and joined the Haganah, an underground network of Jewish resistance fighters. Westheimer carried a weapon and trained as both a scout and sniper, learning how to throw hand grenades and shoot firearms. Though she never saw direct action, the tension and skirmishes could lapse into violence, and in 1948, Westheimer suffered a serious injury to her foot owing to a bomb blast. The injury convinced her to move into the comparatively less dangerous field of academia.

4. A lecture ignited her career.

 Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11, 2015 in New York City.
Robin Marchant, Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

In 1950, Westheimer married an Israeli soldier and the two relocated to Paris, where she studied psychology at the Sorbonne. Though the couple divorced in 1955, Westheimer's education continued into 1959, when she graduated with a master’s degree in sociology from the New School in New York City. (She received a doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1970.) After meeting and marrying Manfred Westheimer, a Jewish refugee, in 1961, Westheimer became an American citizen.

By the late 1960s, she was working at Planned Parenthood, where she excelled at having honest conversations about uncomfortable topics. Eventually, Westheimer found herself giving a lecture to New York-area broadcasters about airing programming with information about safe sex. Radio station WYNY offered her a show, Sexually Speaking, that soon blossomed into a hit, going from 15 minutes to two hours weekly. By 1983, 250,000 people were listening to Westheimer talk about contraception and intimacy.

5. People told her to lose her accent.

Westheimer’s distinctive accent has led some to declare her “Grandma Freud.” But early on, she was given advice to take speech lessons and make an effort to lose her accent. Westheimer declined, and considers herself fortunate to have done so. “It helped me greatly, because when people turned on the radio, they knew it was me,” she told the Harvard Business Review in 2016.

6. She’s not concerned about her height, either.

In addition to her voice, Westheimer became easily recognizable due to her diminutive stature. (She’s four feet, seven inches tall.) When she was younger, Westheimer worried her height might not be appealing. Later, she realized it was an asset. “On the contrary, I was lucky to be so small, because when I was studying at the Sorbonne, there was very little space in the auditoriums and I could always find a good-looking guy to put me up on a windowsill,” she told the HBR.

7. She advises people not to take huge penises seriously.

Westheimer doesn’t frown upon pornography; in 2018, she told the Times of Israel that viewers can “learn something from it.” But she does note the importance of separating fantasy from reality. “People have to use their own judgment in knowing that in any of the sexually explicit movies, the genitalia that is shown—how should I say this? No regular person is endowed like that.”

8. She lectures on cruise ships.

Westheimer uses every available medium—radio, television, the internet, and even graphic novels—to share her thoughts and advice about human sexuality. Sometimes, that means going out to sea. The therapist books cruise ship appearances where she offers presentations to guests on how best to manage their sex lives. Westheimer often insists the crew participate and will regularly request that the captain read some of the questions.

“The last time, the captain was British, very tall, and had to say ‘orgasm’ and ‘erection,’” she told The New York Times in 2018. “Never did they think they would hear the captain talk about the things we were talking about.” Of course, that’s long been Westheimer’s objective—to make the taboo seem tame.

Back to the Future Fan Theory Changes the Meaning of a Famous Line

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

No matter how many times you've watched the 1985 sci-fi classic, there's always something new to look for in Back to the Future. Writer-director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Bob Gale packed the movie with thoughtful details, from Doc Brown's foreshadowing of Back to the Future Part II to a subtle homage to Stanley Kubrick. As Express reports, one of these easy-to-miss details is a short dialogue exchange during the climax, and once you start paying closer attention to it, it could change the way you watch the rest of the movie.

Redditor amanwhodrinks recently laid out his observation in the r/FanTheories subreddit. According to him, Doc's decision to heed Marty's warning from 1955 and take steps to save his own life in the present isn't the abrupt character change it seems to be.

In the past, Doc worries about how time travel might affect the future, and he refuses to hear what the future has in store for him out of fear he might disrupt the space-time continuum. In the present, Marty finds that Doc ended up listening to him after all. When he asks what made him change his mind, Doc responds, "I figured, what the hell."

The Reddit post argues that we see the exact moment when Doc has his change of heart. When Doc is preparing the DeLorean for time travel, Marty explains how his dad won over his mom by standing up to Biff, something he’s never seen his father do before. Doc responds, “Never?” while looking at the restored picture of Marty and his siblings. Marty says, “Yeah, why?” and Doc says “Nothing,” before returning to the task in front of him.

On first viewing, this exchange may not seem important enough to justify a pause in the action so close to the climax of the film, but according amanwhodrinks, it’s there for a good reason: “My theory is that Doc had a major epiphany in this scene. At that moment, when he saw the restored picture of Marty and his brother and sister, he realized that you can completely change the past and still have a positive and congruent outcome on the future without destroying the space-time continuum.” If this hypothesis is accurate, Doc’s decision to influence his own fate at the end of the film is part of a developed character arc, rather than a snap decision made just for the hell of it.

This interpretation is tame compared to some of the theories that have been built around Back to the Future. Some creative fans think that the trilogy is an elaborate chiasmus and others say that Doc Brown is suicidal.

[h/t Express]

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