- "Great Quivering Jellyfish!"
- ―The Penguin[src]
The Penguin is an arch-criminal known for his love of birds and his specialized high-tech umbrellas. Penguin often pretended to be legitimate, and usually won the hearts of all Gothamites before he revealed his true motives. One of the four of Batman and Robin's greatest enemies, his wealth expands his arsenal to a level no other villains achieve, utilizing giant rocket umbrella vehicles and even a custom submarine.
The Penguin used his many umbrellas as weapons or clever hidden gadgets and devices against Batman. Penguin almost always tried to cover up his criminal activities with some other false enterprises. He also loved to discredit Batman and Robin. But Batman always won out because he didn't concern himself with popular opinion, and his dedication to solving the crime at hand allowed him to cut right to the heart of Penguin's schemes. Penguin also fancied himself to be quite the ladies' man. He carried himself with an aristocratic air, and was always formally attired. A cigarette was always on hand, and since he was one of refined tastes, Penguin used a cigarette holder. In one of the 1966 episodes when Penguin thought that he was rich (before he was outfoxed by Batman) he tried to buy an unnamed country but declined to do so-because he was allergic to Vodka. In another classic Batman episode, Penguin claimed that he once was an actor. (In the comedy series, he was always referred to as Penguin but not by his real name of Oswald Cobblepot). In the state prison, his jail cell was P.G.1 along with Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, King Tut and Egghead in the exclusive Super-villains section. One time when he tried to get back into prison, he was furious when he found that Batman had him placed in a common Jail. At times, Penguin was a genius of crime-he once tricked Batman into unknowingly planning crimes for him and Brainwashed Alfred into working for him-he had a working knowledge of electronics that when he and Joker tried to take over the Batcave, and both criminals were x-rayed with a Bat Beam that noted their physical bone structure. Penguin also suffered from short term memory loss-he failed to recognize Bruce Wayne (he thought that he was an umbrella factory spy) and had trouble recognizing Alfred twice -once when Alfred portrayed a forger and another time when Alfred took the place of a minister (although Penguin had brainwashed Alfred).
In the 1966 Batman film, the Penguin teamed up with Batman's other three greatest foes: The Joker, the Riddler, and Catwoman. After he kidnapped Commodore Schmidlapp, the Penguin lured Batman into a trap, in the form of an exploding shark. That ultimately failed, but then the Riddler devised a combination trap, with the Penguin's role that involved an exploding octopus. Their plan failed, because the millionaire that they kidnapped (to make Batman come to the rescue) was Bruce Wayne, and instead one of the villains' henchmen fell victim to the exploding octopus (it was triggered by the Joker's Jack-in-the-Box).
With five of their henchmen (guinea pigs) dehydrated and turned to dust, the Penguin disguised himself at Commodore Schmidlapp and got Batman and Robin to take him into the Batcave (thus making the Riddler the only one of the four who never entered the Batcave) where he set the guinea pigs on Batman and Robin, however he accidentally rehydrated them with heavy water instead of light water, and thus they vanished at the slightest impact. After they exited the Batcave, Penguin used his Penguin Gas umbrella on them and stole the Batmobile (but they were unaffected due to taking a special pill). Eventually, Batman and Robin fought all of the villains in the ultimate showdown in the submarine. Near the end, Batman fought the Penguin and hit him with the telescope, which knocked him into the water and defeated him. He was captured along with the rest of the criminals when Robin chained them to the side of the submarine and Batman called the Coast Guard.
He was also one of six arch-criminals who was freed from prison by Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft to form her new invisible gang, but that brief cameo appearance was by a stand-in. The only voice made by the Penguin was his bird-like laughter.
Weapons and Equipment
- Umbrellas: Penguin's most commonly used weapons that he always carried with him. There were many different types with many different features. Most were used for spraying sleeping gas on victims. Some umbrellas had cutting tools on the end, while others were like a shotgun and sprayed smoke and sparks to distract pursing people.
- Pengymobile: a golf cart that was topped with a large umbrella and was used for getting around his expansive movie studio.
- Pengytruck: a blue half truck with Penguin's picture on the door
- Exploding umbrella: a special item with a timed explosive that was hidden in the handle.
- Itching powder: a strong and long-lasting version.
- Jet Pack Umbrellas: Special jet powered umbrellas that could soar through the air like broomsticks.
- Toy Penguin: Used when wound up by an unsuspecting person, it sprayed poisonous gas through its beak.
- Carrier Pigeons: Used for discreet communication with his henchmen.
- Automatic Anti-bugging Machine: Could detect a bug that was placed anywhere in the building.
- Penguin Line: Answer to the Bat-Rope. It had a large grappling hook on one end, that could be fired great distances by a small cannon.
- Penguin Magnet: It was super-powerful, and strong enough to attract small metal objects for uses such as from across a hotel suite and a floating buoy.
- Penguin Box: Used to brainwash victims into working for him, with no memory of it whatsoever.
Just as Batman and Robin did not crime-fight alone, Penguin needed fellow partners in crime to assist him with his malicious schemes:
- Hawkeye, Sparrow and Swoop (portrayed by Lewis Charles, Walter Burke, and Charlie Picerni): Simple henchmen. Presumably, they also helped to run Penguin's umbrella factory. They helped Penguin in a plot to cause umbrella-based havoc and kidnap movie star Dawn Robbins.
- Cellmate (portrayed by Robert Phillips) - Penguin's henchmen
- Dove and Eagle-Eye (portrayed by Al Checco and Harvey Lemback) - Simple henchmen who assisted Penguin in running a protection agency.
- Octopus, Shark and Swordfish (portrayed by Victor Lundin, Dal Jenkins, and Louie Elias) - Penguin's henchmen. Octopus was going to take his share of the money that they had stolen from charity to the South Seas and open a school for pirates.
- Henchmen - (portrayed by Jon Waltier, and Bill Hickman) Penguin's henchmen when he kidnapped Barbara Gordon.
- Finella (portrayed by Julie Gregg) - Penguin promised that disillusioned beauty that she would win a bathing suit contest. In fact, she didn't win, not fairly anyway. They kidnapped Miss Natural Resources (the real winner of the charity beauty contest) and Finella took her place. After the crime was done, Finella's conscience caused her resolve to wilt and she helped Batman and Robin bring Penguin to justice. Later that day, she was invited to Wayne Manor for the charity banquet and was given a fur coat in thanks for helping the Dynamic Duo. She looked forward to leading a normal life once she went to prison and paid her debt to society.
- Riddler - Member of The United Underworld
- Catwoman - Member of The United Underworld
- Bluebeard (portrayed by Gil Perkins) - Member of The United Underworld
- Morgan (portrayed by Dick Crockett)- Member of The United Underworld
- Quetch (portrayed by George Sawaya) - Member of The United Underworld
- Lulu (portrayed by Cindy Malone): Lulu and her two friends were three of Penguin's biggest supporters during the mayoral election, even though Lulu wasn't old enough to vote. During the final confrontation between the Dynamic Duo and Penguin, Lulu made a run for it. Her current whereabouts were unknown.
- G.O.O.N. (portrayed by Joe E. Tata, Roger Creed, Tony Epper, Victor Paul, Albert Cavens, and Tony Santoro) - Short for Grand Order of Occidental Nighthawks, it was a phony organization who pretended to be supporters of Batman's campaign as he ran for mayor of Gotham against Penguin. Those men were Penguin's henchmen.
- Penguin Girl #2 (portrayed by Judy Parker) - Penguin's molls
- Penguin Girl #3 (portrayed by Linda Meyers) - Penguin's molls
- Inmate (portrayed by John Indrisano) - Penguin's henchmen
- Cordy Blue and Matey Dee (portrayed by Lane Bradford, and Vito Scotti): Penguin's henchmen when he opened The Penguin's Nest Restaurant. They were inmates on parole. Cordy Blue was the chief hash-slinger in the State Penn. Matey Dee was Warden Crichton's personal valet while in prison.
- Chickadee (portrayed by Grace Gaynor): Penguin's female assistant, hat chick, and cigarette girl. She was in prison for selling bootleg cigarettes.
- Barney F Baxter, aka Ballpoint (portrayed by Stanley Ralph Ross): A Master of Forgery who was in custody at the Gotham State Penitentiary. He was to transfer the signatures of Gotham millionaires that Penguin had obtained at his restaurant to blank checks. He was given parole and and was sent to teach penmanship at one of the Wayne Camps for Underprivileged Children when Penguin was sent back to the slammer to prevent the two from fraternizing. Bruce Wayne commented that Ballpoint should enjoy a life on the straight-and-narrow.
- Prisoner (portrayed by Johnny Kern) - Penguin's henchman
- Joker: Penguin teamed up with the Joker to assist him with his Zodiac crime wave. He was captured and had to escape in a prison laundry truck. After they hid in the Batmobile's trunk, Penguin and Joker found the Batcave, but were defeated by the Dynamic Duo. Although they worked together, they had a great tendency to insult and argue with each other.
- Venus (portrayed by Terry Moore) - An unrelenting ex female assistant to Joker and Penguin during his Zodiac crime wave. She wanted to do good, but was easily distracted by expensive gifts of perfume and champagne. But whenever she helped Joker, Venus almost immediately felt bad about it. After Venus talked with Batman a few times, she was won over by his charm and betrayed the Joker, but it wasn't that easy. Venus was thrown into a pool with a giant man-eating clam, but Batman rescued her. It was not known what ultimately became of her, though Commissioner Gordon said that that the courts would take her change of heart into consideration.
- Mercury (portrayed by Hal Baylor) - Joker and Penguin's henchman during his Zodiac crime wave.
- Mars (portrayed by Joe Di Reda) - Joker and Penguin's henchman during his Zodiac crime wave.
- Jupiter (portrayed by Guy Way) - Joker and Penguin's henchman during his Zodiac crimewave.
- Saturn (portrayed by Eddie Saenz) - Joker's and Penguin's henchman during his Zodiac crime wave.
- Uranus (portrayed by Charlie Picerni) - Joker and Penguin's henchman during his Zodiac crime wave.
- Neptune (portrayed by Dick Crockett) - Joker and Penguin's henchman during his Zodiac crime wave.
- Marsha, Queen of Diamonds: Penguin enlisted Marsha because he needed a large amount of capital to keep his movie studio front operating.
- Aunt Hilda (portrayed by Estelle Winwood) - Marsha's aunt. She is a woman who thinks she is a witch. Aunt Hilda would often use potions that wouldn't work as she hoped.
- Lola Lasagne: An old friend of Penguin's, he teamed up with her to try and get some money from a horse-racing scam.
- Visor and Armband (portrayed by Joe Brooks and Lewis Charles): Simple henchmen who assisted Penguin and Lola Lasagne in a horse-racing scam.
- Miss Clean (portrayed by Monique van Vooren): A greedy woman who always asked Penguin for diamonds or houses.
- Pushbroom and Dustbag (portrayed by Newell Oestreich and Charles Dierkop): Simple henchmen who assisted Penguin in a plot to infect the money with Lygerian Sleeping Sickness.
- Thug #1 (portrayed by Abel Fernandez) - Penguin's henchmen
- Thug #2 (portrayed by Angelo Posito) - Penguin's henchmen
- B.J., Cardinal, Ostrich, and Owl - Penguin's henchmen who helped him during the itinerary crime plans after his jailbreak.
- C.A. Nary - Penguin's female assistant who helped him during the itinerary crime plans after his jailbreak.
- Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft - A diabolical alchemist who has invented camouflage pills which turn people invisible. She freed Gotham's most dangerous criminals in Gotham including Penguin to form her new invisible gang. He was told by Dr. Cassandra to rob all the ponds and parks.
- Cabala - Dr. Cassandra's fiendish husband who assists in her plot.
- King Tut - Former adversary of Batman released from prison to form Dr. Cassandra's new invisible gang. He was told to rob all the museums.
- Egghead - Former adversary of Batman released from prison to form Dr. Cassandra's new invisible gang. He was told to rob the poultry farms.
- Fine Feathered Finks/The Penguin's A Jinx
- The Penguin Goes Straight/Not Yet, He Ain't
- Fine Finny Fiends/Batman Makes The Scenes
- Hizzonner The Penguin/Dizzoner The Penguin
- The Penguin's Nest/The Bird's Last Jest
- The Zodiac Crimes/The Penguin Declines
- Penguin Is A Girl's Best Friend/Penguin Sets A Trend/Penguin's Disastrous End
- Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin
- The Sport Of Penguins/A Horse Of Another Color
- Penguin's Clean Sweep
- The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra (Cameo, portrayed by body double)
Behind the Scenes
- The Penguin was played by Burgess Meredith in the Batman television series of the 1960s and the spin-off movie. A largely campy interpretation because the series was essentially a situation comedy, Meredith's performance was perhaps best remembered through his signature laugh, that was meant to mimic the squawk of a penguin. One cause of the laugh was the smoke from the cigarettes that Penguin always smoked, which irritated Meredith's throat and made him cough, as he already quit smoking in real life. The Penguin's henchmen wore black bowler hats, with dark clothing adorned with names of various animals of prey; those were either birds ("Hawk") or fish ("Shark").
- In the comics his real name is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, however this is never mentioned in any of the show's episodes.
- Burgess Meredith, as the Penguin, made a brief cameo appearance in the 1968 episode of The Monkees entitled: "The Monkees Blow Their Minds".
- On Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Dick Cheney was often played in fake TV movies by Meredith's Penguin. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, also frequently used Meredith's Penguin laugh to imitate Cheney.