Hi Diddle Riddle was the premiere episode of the Batman TV series, having first aired on ABC on January 12, 1966. It marked the debut of the original cast and special guest villain: The Riddler.

Plot

The series opens at the Republic of Moldavia exhibit, located at the Gotham City World's Fair, the Moldavian prime minister slices into the Moldavian friendship cake and unknowingly causes it to explode, releasing a concealed riddle:

"Why is an orange like a bell?"

At the Gotham Police Headquarters, Police Commissioner Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Chief O'Hara (Stafford Repp) suspect the Riddler (Frank Gorshin). Knowing full well how many times Riddler has baffled them in the past, Gordon turns to Inspector Basch and all the other men present asking if they know what to do; none of them speak up, so Gordon turns to a nearby red phone nestled underneath a glass display dome. Gordon removes the dome and presses the button on the phone, which is revealed to be a direct hotline to Batman and Robin.

The Duo rush to Headquarters and figure out the answer to the riddle: a bell is pealed, and an orange is peeled. Batman and Robin remind the others that Riddler always makes it a point to commit ruses and leave baffling clues as to what crime he is planning to commit. Batman then figures out Riddler is up to something at the Peale Art Gallery and, suspecting a trap, tell the police that they'll check it out on their own. As they arrive, Batman's phone rings, and it turns out to be the Riddler on the other end with another riddle:

"There are three men in a boat with four cigarettes but no matches. How do they manage to smoke?"

The Duo climbs the outside wall up to a window where they see the Riddler holding a gun while taking a cross from the gallery proprietor, Gideon Peale. They break in and Riddler tries to run for it, but Batman stops him with a flash pellet and arrests him, at which point two men with cameras arrive and take pictures. The Duo find out from Peale that the cross actually belongs to Riddler who loaned it to him for a show. Laughing in delight, Riddler tells them that he even tipped them off and then shows them that the gun was actually a novelty cigarette lighter. Robin realizes that it really was a tip-off as he just figured out the riddle about the men in a boat with the four cigarettes and no matches (they threw one cigarette overboard and made the boat "a cigarette lighter"). To the Duo's horror, Riddler summons two lawyers who arrive with a subpoena which the Riddler hands to Batman; he is going to sue Batman for assault, slander, and false arrest!

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce, unable to find anything in his files, is distraught over the very idea that if Riddler's case goes to court, which is highly likely, it means that Batman will have no other choice but to reveal his true identity, which will not only eradicate Bruce's value as a crime fighter, but also nullify everything he trained for and accomplished in the years since his parents were murdered. But then Dick reminds him of what Riddler said after he handed Batman the subpoena: to look for two more riddles. Realizing that the riddles are hidden in the legal papers, they go down to the Batcave to examine them closer. Once there, they find the two hidden riddles:

  • "When is the time on a clock like the whistle of a train?" (When its '2 to 2', or "toot toot toot!")
  • "What has neither flesh, bone or nail, yet has four fingers and a thumb?" (A glove)

Robin figures out that the two answers put together form an street address: 222 Glover Avenue, the location of the "What A Way To Go-Go" discothèque, where Riddler, along with his hired henchmen the Mole Hill Gang, has set a trap. The Duo arrive at the club, but the doorman is prohibited from letting Robin inside as he is a minor. Batman senses a plot to separate him from Robin, but goes inside anyway while Robin parks the Batmobile and monitors Batman using the Batscope.

Inside, Batman walks up to the bar and orders an orange juice. Molly, the Gang's gun moll who is sitting nearby, starts talking to Batman and asks him to dance. After drinking his orange juice, Batman accepts and the two hit the floor. But as they dance, Batman begins to lose his sharpness, realizing only too late that his orange juice has been drugged. Watching from outside, Robin attempts to help, but Riddler shoots him in the arm with a tranquilizer dart gun, and then tries to steal the Batmobile for himself but accidentally triggers its anti-theft device, and when he tries to destroy the car its anti-fire device smothers the flames. the Mob carries an unconscious Robin down a manhole, and Batman, now in no condition to pursue them, and is forced to surrender his keys to the police.

Back at the Riddler's hideout, Robin is strapped to an operating table as the Riddler, who is surrounded by Molly and the Mole Hill Mob, attempts to operate on the unconscious teen.

Cliffhanger Text

WILL ROBIN ESCAPE?
CAN BATMAN FIND HIM IN TIME?
IS THIS THE GHASTLY END OF OUR DYNAMIC DUO?
ANSWERS...TOMORROW NIGHT! SAME TIME, SAME CHANNEL!
ONE HINT--THE WORST IS YET TO COME!

Appearances

Individuals

Locations

Trivia

  • By the time the series made its debut, Batman & Robin had already established as first-rate crime fighters in Gotham City in the storyline itself; when Gordon reveals to Batman over the hotline that the Riddler was on the loose, Robin mutters "Him again."
  • Gordon's line, "I don't know who he is behind that mask of his, but I do know when we need him, and we need him now" appears almost verbatim in the first line of Jan & Dean's song "Batman!", which was released in the spring of 1966 and peaked at #66 on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The newscaster in this episode is portrayed by then-former game show host and producer Jack Barry, who was blacklisted from American television after the Quiz Show Scandals of the late 50s, but who would later make a remarkable comeback in the early 70s with a new game show, The Joker's Wild, which became a hit and initially ran non-consecutively for 12 years, three on CBS (1972-75), and nine more in syndication (1977-1986).
  • This is the first time, the famous dance called The Batusi was shown.
  • Jill St. John who played Molly, was featured in the opening credits as "Special Guest", but not as "Special Guest Villain", the distinction of which belonged to, of course, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler.
  • Riddler's real name, Edward Nigma, is never given in the series. In the second part of The Bookworm episode when Batman and Robin are trapped inside the giant cook book, Commissoner Gordon remarks that Riddler is the best safecracker there ever was; this is the only clue on how the Riddler start into crime which is a reference to the original character's comic debut in Detective Comics 140#
  • Despite being one of the main four super-criminals besides Joker, Penguin and Catwoman. Riddler never appears as the others do in the Batcave, although in the movie "The Adventures of Adam and Burt" he does try with Catwoman to blow up the Dynamic Duo in the Batcave.
  • Similar to the Batman Movie, Riddler is seen wearing his riddler bowler hat and suit, and not the usual leotard costume he world ordinarily wear in the series.
  • Dick and Bruce's name tags on the Bat Poles are on the same level. This will vary throughout the series.
Batman Episodes

Season 1: Hi Diddle Riddle | Smack In The Middle | Fine Feathered Finks | The Penguin's a Jinx | The Joker Is Wild | Batman Is Riled | Instant Freeze | Rats Like Cheese | Zelda The Great | A Death Worse Than Fate | A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away | When the Rat's Away the Mice Will Play | The Thirteenth Hat | Batman Stands Pat | The Joker Goes to School | He Meets His Match, The Grisly Ghoul | True or False Face | Holy Rat Race | The Purr-Fect Crime | Better Luck Next Time | The Penguin Goes Straight | Not Yet, He Ain't | The Ring of Wax | Give 'Em the Axe | The Joker Trumps An Ace | Batman Sets the Pace | The Curse of Tut | The Pharaoh's in a Rut | The Bookworm Turns | While Gotham City Burns | Death In Slow Motion | The Riddler's False Notion | Fine Finny Fiends | Batman Makes the Scenes

Season 2: Shoot A Crooked Arrow | Walk the Straight and Narrow | Hot Off the Griddle | The Cat and the Fiddle | The Minstrel's Shakedown | Barbecued Batman? | The Spell of Tut | Tut's Case is Shut | The Greatest Mother of Them All | Ma Parker | The Clock King's Crazy Crimes | The Clock King Gets Crowned | An Egg Grows In Gotham | The Yegg Foes In Gotham | The Devil's Fingers | The Dead Ringers | Hizzonner the Penguin | Dizzoner the Penguin | Green Ice | Deep Freeze | The Impractical Joker | The Joker's Provokers | Marsha, Queen Of Diamonds | Marsha's Scheme of Diamonds | Come Back, Shame | It's How You Play the Game | The Penguin's Nest | The Bird's Last Jest | The Cat's Meow | The Bat's Kow Tow | The Puzzles Are Coming | The Duo is Slumming | The Sandman Cometh | The Catwoman Goeth (A Stitch in Time) | The Contaminated Cowl | The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul | The Zodiac Crimes | The Joker's Hard Times | The Penguin Declines | That Darn Catwoman | Scat! Darn Catwoman | Penguin is a Girl's Best Friend | Penguin Sets A Trend | Penguin's Disastrous End | Batman's Anniversary | A Riddling Controversy | The Joker's Last Laugh | The Joker's Epitaph | Catwoman Goes to College | Batman Displays His Knowledge | A Piece of the Action | Batman's Satisfaction | King Tut's Coup | Batman's Waterloo | Black Widow Strikes Again | Caught In The Spider's Den | Pop Goes the Joker | Flop Goes the Joker | Ice Spy | The Duo Defy

Season 3: Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin | Ring Around the Riddler | The Wail of the Siren | The Sport of Penguins | A Horse of Another Color | The Unkindest Tut Of All | Louie, The Lilac | The Ogg and I | How To Hatch A Dinosaur | Surf's Up! Joker's Under! | The Londinium Larcenies | The Foggiest Notion | The Bloody Tower | Catwoman's Dressed to Kill | The Ogg Couple | The Funny Feline Felonies | The Joke's on Catwoman | Louie's Lethal Lilac Time | Nora Clavicle And The Ladies' Crime Club | Penguin's Clean Sweep | The Great Escape | The Great Train Robbery | I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle | The Joker's Flying Saucer | The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra | Minerva, Mayhem And Millionaires

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