- "Outwitting Batman is my sole delight, my joy, my heaven on earth, my very... paradise!"
- ―The Riddler[src]
The Riddler is a clue-dropping criminal who delights in challenging Batman and Robin with his riddles that he leaves behind at crime scenes, always pointing to where he will be next. Although he was a high school dropout, Riddler is still intelligent enough to give the Caped Crusaders plenty of headaches solving his clues, which are often many-layered and contain several possible solutions.
Cocky with a fiendish chuckle, the Riddler undoubtedly has the highest IQ of all Batman's foes. Cold, aloof, and possessed of a steely wit, the Prince of Puzzlers challenges Batman to a duel of wits by leaving a trail of riddles, puzzles and cryptograms. In fact, he is psychologically incapable of committing any crime without offering a clue as to how he can be caught. Unfortunately for the Riddler, he has met his match in Batman who's always been able to decipher even his cleverest conundrums resulting in his defeat.
Batman said that the Riddler once said to him; "A Riddle a day keeps the Riddler away", which means that he is never finished with his schemes until the riddles stop.
In the Batman movie, he comes up with six riddles (two of which were part of a trap for Batman). At the end of the movie, he is defeated by Batman and Robin and apprehended along with Joker, Penguin and the Catwoman. Interestingly enough, in the submarine showdown at the end, he is knocked over the edge and into the water twice; first when Batman ducks a punch from the Joker which hits the Riddler instead, and then when Batman (while holding the Catwoman's cat) spins him around with the telescope, making the villain extremely dizzy and knocking him back into the water.
He was also one of six arch-criminals freed from prison by Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft to form her new invisible gang, but this brief cameo appearance was by a stand-in.
Even though the Riddler is constantly outsmarted by Batman, it makes him even more determined to catch Batman out with riddles that he could never solve and defeat him.
Weapons and Equipment
- Dr. Riddler's Instant Forever Stick Invisible Wax Emulsion - A waxy glue used to cement a person feet to the ground to allow escape.
- Riddler-alarm - Installed in his hideout, they sound whenever someone is entering.
- Steam Room - Used for holding kidnappees. The steam apparently causes their resistance to wilt.
- Riddle Juice - Gives the victim amnesia.
- Novelty cigarette lighter - In the shape of a handgun, it produces a flame when the trigger is pulled. Handy for practical jokes.
- Instant Compound X - Used for making molds, i.e. can produce a mask that is an exact replica of the subject's face.
- Wake-up and Sleeping Sprays - Makes kidnapping as easy as vandalizing a public building.
- Laughing gas - Kept in pressurized gas tanks, so it can be pumped through a building's ventilation system.
- Temper tonic - makes anyone lose their temper
- De-Molecularizer - This device was purchased from Professor Charm for three million dollars. It works by disrupting the molecular structures of matter, making any object dissipate into thin air.
Just as Batman and Robin do not go at crime-fighting alone, Riddler needs fellow partners in crime to assist him with his malicious schemes:
- Molly (portrayed by Jill St. John): His first female assistant. Riddler disguised her as Robin to trick Batman into taking her to the Batcave and then kill him. However Batman saw through her disguise and chased her to the top of the atomic pile which charges the Batmobile. The Caped Crusader tried to save her, but she slipped and fell to her death.
- The Molehill Mob (portrayed by Mike Morelli): They are an infamous gang of hoods that hid out in Gotham City's labyrinthine subway system.
- Harry (portrayed by Allen Jaffe): Member of the Molehill Mob.
- The River Rat Gang: Comprised of Whiskers (portrayed by Tim Herbert), Fangs (portrayed by Marc Cavell), and Whitey (portrayed by Roy Jenson).They assisted Riddler in a plot to dispose of King Boris. They all love cheese.
- Mousey (portrayed by Susan Silo): An affiliate of the River Rat gang. She sometimes dresses as a schoolgirl to avoid suspicion. She was often late for meetings because she had to take the bus. When finally caught by Batman, she told him that she turned to a life of crime because she was looking for kicks after she dropped out of high school.
- Moth (portrayed by Linda Gaye Scott): His female partner in crime during his caper involving the universal wax solvent. She was game until she came face to face with the Dynamic Duo and was smitten with Batman's good looks. Though she was attracted to the Caped Crusader, she did not give up crime and was taken into custody with Riddler and the rest of his henchmen.
- Matches and Tallow (portrayed by Michael Greene and Joe E. Tata): Simple henchmen who assisted Riddler in a plot to steal Incan Jewels that will be destroyed if exposed to oxygen.
- Mister Van Jones (portrayed by Francis X. Bushman): A collector of silent films who lent his collection to Gotham City's Washington Square for a silent film festival. He is a Gotham millionaire and lives in a mansion in which he often throws temperance parties, serving only lemonade to his guests. Though an esteemed member of Gotham society, his love of silent films drove him to crime. He propositioned the Riddler to make a silent movie, the first of such films to be made in 40 years, starring none other than Batman and Robin as they tracked the Riddler through a series of petty crimes. Van Jones paid Riddler $100,000 for the finished picture. The Riddler doubled-crossed him, however, attempting to steal the priceless movie collection and ransom it for $1,000,000. Batman and Robin saved the day, however. It is not known what happened to Van Jones after that.
- C.B., Von Bloheim, and Wolf (portrayed by Richard Bakalyan, Theodore Marcuse, and Burt Brandon): Riddler's henchmen to help him with his movie to get Mr. Van Jones' valuable collections of silent films.
- Pauline (portrayed by Sherry Jackson): "A star that was never born", she vented her frustrations on society by turning to crime. She played a willing role in Riddler's silent movie caper. She was taken by Batman at the Gotham City Lumber Yard. She was whisked to the Batcave and interrogated by Batman using the Truth Control Bat-tester (see Equipment) and then handed over to the Gotham City Police.
- Joker - Member of The United Underworld. He was also released from prison to form Dr. Cassandra's new invisible gang. Like the Riddler, he was told to rob all of the amusement parks of Gotham City.
- Penguin - Member of The United Underworld. He was also released from prison to form Dr. Cassandra's new invisible gang. He was told to rob the ponds and parks.
- Catwoman - Member of The United Underworld. She was also released from prison to form Dr. Cassandra's new invisible gang. She was told to rob all the fish market areas.
- Bluebeard (portrayed by Gil Perkins) - Henchman and member of the United Underworld
- Morgan (portrayed by Dick Crockett)- Henchman and member of the United Underworld
- Quetch (portrayed by George Sawaya) - Henchman and member of the United Underworld
- Anna Gram (portrayed by Deanna Lund): Riddler's trusty female assistant.
- Across and Down (portrayed by Jim Lefebvre and Ken Scott): Simple henchmen.
- Professor Avery Evans Charm (portrayed by Martin Kosleck): A brilliant inventor, he is haunted by the fact that he never completed high school. He sold Riddler his demolecularizer, hoping to see the Gotham City Science Institute pay for not letting him in. He had planned to complete a molecular restorer using the money Riddler paid him. In the end, the professor returned all the stolen charity money to the police because the thought of all the hungry children weighed on his conscience.
- Siren: She worked with Riddler on one caper, using her talent to hypnotize heavyweight contenders so that they couldn't challenge Riddler's title. Mentioned that she had her own plans for Batman and Robin.
- Betsy Boldface (portrayed by Peggy Ann Garner): She was responsible for buying food for Riddler's training diet. Also has a midnight sports telecast. Commissioner Gordon was quite taken with her, noting that she did as well as any man could do in that position.
- Kayo and Cauliflower (portrayed by Nicholas Georgiade and Gil Perkins): Riddler's thugs.
- 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 Riddler to form her new invisible gang. He was told by Dr. Cassandra to rob all the Amusement parks in Gotham City.
- 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.
The Riddler constantly made riddles that revealed his next crime in an attempt to baffle Batman, but they always led to his downfall:
- The Riddler's real name Edward Nigma is never mentioned nor are his origins.
- The Riddler was the most recurring villain in the first season, appearing in eight episodes.
- Frank's role introduced the Riddler's trademark question marked suit and bowler derby to Bat history for the first time.
- Frank Gorshin left the show after the first season due to wage disputes so the role went to John Astin during the second season. His portrayal was disappointing to viewers so Frank returned for the third season.
- John Astin carried a question mark shaped cane prior to the original comic book character.
- John Astin is best known for playing Gomez Addams in The Addams Family. He was the third cast member to appear on Batman. The first one was Ted Cassidy reprising his role as Lurch in a Batclimb cameo and the second was Carolyn Jones who played Morticia Addams and later guest starred as Marsha, Queen of Diamonds.
- Riddler makes a cameo during the series in "Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin" when he phones Commissioner Gordon with a riddle "When is a jet stream like a daffodil?" . However the answer to this riddle is never given in the series.
- Of the fearsome foursome of Gotham's Criminals (Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman) Riddler never appeared inside the Batcave in the original series.. However in the movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt. Riddler and Catwoman do try to destroy the Batcave along with Batman/Adam West and Robin/Burt Ward.
- Jim Carrey has cited Gorshin as an influences on his stand-up and impressions. Carrey later played a version of the character in Batman Forever, and shares similarities in the portrayal.
- "Riddle me this..."
- ―Riddler, just before he says his riddle[src]
- "Huzzah, Huzzah!"
- ―Riddler's exclamation of victory or excitement[src]