Zelda the Great

"Zelda the Great" is the ninth episode of the Batman television series in its first season, first airing February 9, 1966 and rerun June 22, 1966. It begins the story of Zelda the Great, a magician whose fading career has led her to crime. The story concludes in "A Death Worse Than Fate."

"Zelda the Great"
Batman episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 9
Directed byNorman Foster
Written byLorenzo Semple, Jr.
Production code8705-Pt. 1
Original air dateFebruary 9, 1966 (ABC)
Guest appearance(s)

Stephen Tompkins as Bank Guard
Jack Kruschen as Eivol Ekdol
Barbara Heller as Hillary Stonewin
Jim Drum as Officer Clancy

Special Guest Villain:
Anne Baxter as Zelda the Great

Plot synopsis

For the third consecutive April Fools' Day, someone has robbed the Gotham City National Bank of exactly $100,000, passing up the chance to take other money worth nearly a half million dollars from the same vault. In two years, the Gotham Police Department has gotten nowhere with the case, leading Chief Miles O'Hara and Commissioner Gordon to call in the one man who can solve the mystery: Batman.

Batman and Robin have no leads, so he determines the right course of action is to manufacture a lead. He phones the Gotham paper and plants a story that the cash taken from the Gotham City National Bank was counterfeit, held there until authorities could destroy it. He hopes to force the criminal to strike again. Meanwhile, he analyzes a bullet found at the scene and discovers from it that the thief was wearing orange wool and dozens of colorful silk scarves. From a smear of ambergris he concludes that the criminal was a woman.

Meanwhile, in the secret workshop of Eivol Ekdol, behind the Gnome Bookstore, Eivol's client Zelda the Great meets with him. Each year she purchases, for $100,000, a new trick to re-invigorate her fading act. ("Oh, I hate robbing banks." she complains "All I ever wanted to be was poor, but honest magician.") This year, Ekdol has prepared a clever escape proof cabinet, but when Zelda asks how to escape it, he informs her that she won't even get into it unless she can produce $100,000 in real money. He shows her a newspaper article reporting that the Star of Sammarkand, a rare emerald, will be displayed. It is a tempting target and Zelda realizes this is a "Batman trap".

At Wayne Manor, Aunt Harriet Cooper receives a phone call from Miss Smith, a playground matron. It seems her fifteen-year-old nephew Dick Grayson has been struck in the head by a baseball and she has sent a special taxi to collect Mrs. Cooper and drive her to the playground.

At the jewelry salon, an elderly woman approaches the Star, and with a quick tap of her cane, releases a cloud of gas. It is Zelda in disguise and she has escaped with the Star. The stone is a counterfeit, and equipped with a homing device. Batman contacts Officer Clancy nearby and asks him to uncover the Batmobile. But outside, Robin finds the false stone in a gutter. Zelda's appearance here was a ruse. Then Batman receives a threatening phone call. It seems someone has kidnapped Aunt Harriet and demanded $100,000 for her safe release. And as Commissioner Gordon continues, no one can find Bruce Wayne. It then shows Aunt Harriet at Zelda's hide out encased in a straitjacket suspended over a vat of boiling oil.

Cliffhanger Text


(This is the first time the phrase “Same Bat-Time!! Same Bat-Channel!!” appears in written form, though it was spoken in Episode 5.)


  • When Batman tells Commissioner Gordon to be on the lookout for a female suspect, Gordon seems shocked at the thought of a criminal being a female although Robin had mentioned Catwoman only seconds earlier.
  • Robin's reference to the Catwoman marks the character's first mention in the series; Julie Newmar, however, would not make her first appearance as Catwoman for another 11 episodes.
  • It seems odd that Commissioner Gordon would have O'Hara turn on the Bat-Signal before he'd even tried the Batphone, as he couldn't have known Batman wouldn't be near his phone before he called. Though not the series' first reference to the Bat-Signal, it is the first time the Signal is used in concert with the hotline.
  • For the first time, Batman and Robin are not part of the cliffhanger at the end of this episode; it is Aunt Harriet who is left hanging over a fire.
  • This was Anne Baxter's first appearance on the show but her only one as Zelda. She later would appear in the final season as Egghead's paramour Olga, Queen of the Cossacks.
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor and Bette Davis were considered for the role of Zelda. Gabor eventually wound up playing Minerva in the 1968 series Batfinale, "Minerva, Mayhem and Millionaires".
  • Frankie Darrow, who plays a newsman, was previously a Dead End Kid.
  • The episode includes a rare case of characters breaking the fourth wall, as both Zelda and Darrow's newsman character directly address the audience.
  • This episode was originally entitled "The Inescapable Doom Trap".
  • Based on "Batman's Inescapable Doom-Trap!" from Detective Comics #346 by John Broome. Although the evil character Eivol Ekdol appeared in the story, Zelda didn't; instead the magician was a man named Carnado.
  • For once, the Dynamic Duo enter through the rear of Police HQ.
Preceded by
Rats Like Cheese
(airdate February 3, 1966)
Batman (TV series) episodes
February 9, 1966
Succeeded by
A Death Worse Than Fate
(airdate February 10, 1966)

External links

A Death Worse Than Fate

"A Death Worse Than Fate" is the tenth episode of the Batman television series in its first season. This Batepisode was first broadcast on ABC February 10, 1966, and rerun June 23, 1966, and continues and concludes the story of Zelda the Great, a magician whose fading career has led her to crime. The story began in "Zelda The Great."

Anne Baxter

Anne Baxter (May 7, 1923 – December 12, 1985) was an American actress, star of Hollywood films, Broadway productions, and television series. She won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and was nominated for an Emmy.

Granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright, Baxter studied acting with Maria Ouspenskaya and had some stage experience before making her film debut in 20 Mule Team (1940). She became a contract player of 20th Century Fox and was loaned out to RKO Pictures for a role in Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), one of her earlier films. In 1947, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Sophie MacDonald in The Razor's Edge (1946). In 1951, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for the title role in All About Eve (1950). She worked with several of Hollywood's greatest directors, including Alfred Hitchcock in I Confess (1953), Fritz Lang in The Blue Gardenia (1953), and Cecil B. DeMille in The Ten Commandments (1956).

Anne Baxter filmography

This is a complete filmography of American actress Anne Baxter (May 7, 1923 – December 12, 1985).

Batman '66

Batman '66 is a comic book series published by DC Comics featuring Batman as a continuation of the 1966–68 television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. The series was written primarily by Jeff Parker and Tom Peyer, with cover art by Mike Allred.

Batman (TV series)

Batman is a 1960s American live action television series, based on the DC comic book character of the same name. It stars Adam West as Bruce Wayne / Batman and Burt Ward as Dick Grayson / Robin – two crime-fighting heroes who defend Gotham City from a variety of arch villains. It is known for its camp style, upbeat theme music, and its intentionally humorous, simplistic morality (aimed at its largely teenage audience). This included championing the importance of using seat belts, doing homework, eating vegetables, and drinking milk. It was described by executive producer William Dozier as the only situation comedy on the air without a laugh track. The 120 episodes aired on the ABC network for three seasons from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968, twice weekly for the first two and weekly for the third. In 2016, television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked Batman as the 82nd greatest American television show of all time.

Da Soul Touchaz

Da Soul Touchaz is a professional wrestling alliance, currently consisting of American professional wrestlers Acid Jaz, Marshe Rockett, Willie Richardson and manager C. Red. The group is best known for working for Chikara, but has also worked for promotions such as Dragon Gate USA, Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South and various other independent promotions.

Originally forming on the independent circuit in the Illinois–area, the group has worked majority of its existence as babyface and has had its members hold numerous titles in promotions such as Stars & Stripes Wrestling, Vanguard Wrestling All–Star Alliance and Windy City Pro Wrestling. A major part of the group's gimmick involves its entrance, during which its members are known for doing the "Soulja Boy dance" from "Crank That (Soulja Boy)", which was also their entrance theme.


Robert Goodwin (born November 1, 1981) is an American professional wrestler, better known by the ring name Hallowicked. He performs primarily in the Chikara professional wrestling promotion, where he started his career in May 2002. His accomplishments in the promotion include becoming the inaugural Young Lions Cup Champion, a one-time Campeon de Parejas, a two-time Grand Champion and the winner of the 2003 Tag World Grand Prix and 2012 King of Trios tournaments. He currently serves as an assistant trainer at The Wrestle Factory, operated by Chikara founder Mike Quackenbush. Throughout his career he has also worked for promotions such as Combat Zone Wrestling, Dragon Gate USA, Evolve Wrestling, Full Impact Pro, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Ring of Honor. He is known for his ghoulish looks and incoherent speech pattern.

Jack Kruschen

Jacob "Jack" Kruschen (March 20, 1922 – April 2, 2002) was a Canadian character actor who worked primarily in American film, television and radio. Kruschen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Dr. Dreyfuss in the 1960 comedy-drama The Apartment.

List of Batman (TV series) characters

The following is an overview of the characters who appeared in the 1966–1968 live-action Batman television series.

List of Batman (TV series) episodes

The following is an episode list for the 1960s Batman television series. It also provides the main cast members, production notes and a list of notable guest stars.

List of Batman enemies in other media

Various villains of the American comic book superhero Batman have been created over the years for media adaptations that previously did not exist in the comics. This is a list of such villains, and original villains that share the same moniker as characters from the comic books are noted.

Nelsonic Industries

Nelsonic Industries was an electronics manufacturing and development company that operated from Long Island City, Queens, New York City in the early 1980s and throughout the 1990s when it was acquired by the watch-manufacturer, M.Z. Berger. Nelsonic produced numerous toy-themed wristwatches, often targeting younger audiences with likenesses of characters from popular franchises such as Barbie, the Ghostbusters, and Mario. Nelsonic became notable during the early mid-1980s for being the first electronics company in the United States to produce game-watches (multi-purpose electronic devices capable of functioning as both a time-piece and as a typically electronic game). For a period subsequent to its purchase by M.Z. Berger, Nelsonic operated as a subsidiary division of its parent company and game-watches were produced that bore the Nelsonic mark. This practice ended as M.Z. Berger shifted focus to more traditional and higher-end timepieces. Today the original Nelsonic Game Watch line has entered the secondary market and individual Game Watches have become highly sought-after collectibles that often fetch high prices on eBay and other online auction websites.

Pistolero (song)

Pistolero is a single released by the trance band Juno Reactor taken from their fifth album Shango.

The song opens with Spanish acoustic guitar and a female voice saying, "I hate robbing banks" followed by a blast of gun fire that introduces the Goa Trance beat.

Pistolero was done in a collaboration between Ben Watkins and Steve Stevens, guitarist for Billy Idol. The song opened up an entirely new direction for Juno Reactor.

Rats Like Cheese

"Rats Like Cheese" is the eighth episode of the Batman television series in its first season. First broadcast February 3, 1966, and repeated on May 19, 1966, it continues and concludes the story that began in "Instant Freeze."

Smack in the Middle

"Smack in the Middle" is a first-season episode of Batman. It first aired on ABC TV Thursday January 13, 1966. It is the second Part conclusion of the two-part series Pilot, the first being titled: "Hi Diddle Riddle" which aired on the previous Wednesday night January 12, 1966.

The Batiri

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The Young Bucks

The Young Bucks is an American professional wrestling tag team, consisting of brothers Matthew and Nicholas Massie, who are known by their ring names Matt and Nick Jackson, respectively. The two are executive vice presidents of All Elite Wrestling, where they also serve as in-ring talents.

The Young Bucks are best known for their work in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) and Ring of Honor (ROH). The team is known for their use of superkicks (dubbed the "superkick party") and high flying moves in their matches. They were prominent members of the NJPW faction Bullet Club, after a "civil war" in 2018, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, "Hangman" Adam Page, Marty Scurll and Cody Rhodes formed The Elite. They have performed for various American independent promotions – most notably Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) – and had previously worked for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) as Generation Me under the names Max and Jeremy Buck. On the independent circuit, they have won numerous titles as well, including four reigns as PWG World Tag Team Champions as well as being the only team to win PWG's annual Dynamite Duumvirate Tag Team Title Tournament on three separate occasions (2009, 2011, and 2013).

They have held the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship a record seven times, three reigns as ROH World Tag Team Champions, three reigns as NJPW's NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions (twice with The Elite teammate Kenny Omega, and once with Marty Scurll), two reigns as ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Champions (first with Elite teammate Adam "Hangman" Page, and then with Cody) and the IWGP Tag Team Champions and AAA World Tag Team Champions once each. All totaled between ROH, NJPW and AAA, they have held five World Tag Team Championships, seven Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, and five Six-Man Tag Team Championships (with various stablemates).

On two occasions, first in 2014 and again in 2016, they held the ROH World, PWG World, and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships simultaneously, and in 2018, they held the IWGP Tag Team, ROH World Six-Man, and NEVER Openweight 6-Man titles simultaneously. They are the first (and currently only) duo to have won all three of NJPW's team championships (IWGP Tag Team, IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team, and NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team) together.

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Characters created
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