Chris Gould's Blog

January 9, 2018

By Chris Gould
Author of: Batman at 45 A Milestone Tribute to Pow, Bam and Zap! by Chris Gould

Yesterday's public holiday in Japan took me to the local cinema to check out Matthew Vaughn's latest Kingsman movie: The Golden Circle. The title refers to the world's largest drugs Cartel, fronted by archetypal devil-woman Julianne Moore, which the redoubtable Kingsman army must stop in order to save the world from a narcotically-induced nightmare.

Perhaps let me start with a disclaimer. As a 60s Batman fan, I have precious little time for modern-day action flicks. But my wife absolutely loves them, and for the sake of spending quality time together, I happily agree to watch them. After all, there's nothing like a bit of background entertainment to the popcorn.

Kingsman, I feel, seeks success by pretending to be smarter than its audience. It's relentless over-the-top, CG-powered action sequences are designed to show us that Vaughn is in on the joke but he knows we all love it anyway. The trend is set from the opening sequence, which sees wonderkid spy Egssy Unwin set upon by an erstwhile Kingsman reject-turned-baddie who was supposed to have died in the first movie. Spider-Man versus Harry, 007 versus 006, Admiral Nelson getting brainwashed and attempting to shoot Captain Crane... you know the theme. Anyway, after numerous car-shattering punches and acrobatic feats, Harry's prosthetic limb hacks into Eggsy's car computer system and identify all the Kingsman bases in the land. And as he is now serving Golden Circle founder Poppy Adams, he wastes no time in sending her all the information so that she can take out the entire Kingsman network by missile attack. (Where is James Bond's timer-deactivating finger when you need it?)

And so we have the next all-too-familiar situation: the heroes, stripped of their powers, must somehow find a way back into the game. (Superman becomes a normal person, Spider-Man unmasked, Batman a wanted criminal - why do sequels always have the same theme?) Step forward Eggsy (who was having dinner with the Swedish Royal Family at the time of the attacks, and therefore unharmed) and trainer Merlin (whose address was not in the official database). The action movie equivalent of Steptoe and Son ultimately head to America to team up their very manly brother organization, Statesmen (Monarcy v Republic, get it?) Cue the predictable onslaught of Anglo-American trash talk.

In the States, they learn that Eggsy's mentor Harry, played by Colin Firth, was resuscitated by Statesman after being shot in the first movie, but now has no recollection of his secret service existence. The quest to regain his mental capacity eats up a fair few minutes, as does his subsequent battle to regain his physical prowess. (Think Bond and Skyfall without Judy Dench).

The Special Friends' mutual affection for music is central to the movie, with Take Me Home Country Roads serving as the de facto theme (who is the modern day John Barrie? Whoever he is, please ask him to compose something next time. Let's at least get a British spy movie theme track we can boast about. Note to Vaughn: ask Howard Blake. Not Snowman-style - god no! - but something akin to the Some Will Some Won't theme). The movie's sub-plot is also related to music, centering upon the audacious kidnap of Elton John by The Golden Circle. John, of course, is the embodiment of the all-conquering Transatlantic drawl and thus the perfect symbol of Anglo-American friendship. And yet his most pronounced wacky-glasses-shaking nod to country and western, Tiny Dancer, was curiously not even used. Personally, I think that's his best ever song and he could have retired straight after it. And even if these days his 70-year-old vocal chords might struggle under the strain of the high notes, he could always do a duet with Barry Gibb.

The movie tries to be clever with its satirization of modern life, filling up the Glastonbury scene with innuendos, and even offering up an abrasive white, male, aging, bushy haired US President who appears happy for every drug user in the world to perish. The tying of The Golden Circle's evil plans to the modern day opioid crisis is another attempt to say something relevant about the world today, but it falls just as flat as the others.

Kingsman has nothing original to say. Colin Firth and Elton John can be unlikely action heroes, just as Leslie Neilson could. A poor London boy can become a fine-suited gentleman, just as Audrey Helburn could. It pays homage to the greats of the past. But what it doesn't do is give you enough substance to stop you mourning those past masters.
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Published on January 09, 2018 00:59 • 63 views • Tags: colin-firth, golden-circle, jeff-bridges, julianne-moore, kingsman, michael-gambon

January 1, 2018

By Chris Gould
Author of: A Bournemouth Fan's Guide to Football Do's and Don'ts

Callum Wilson's predatory instincts rescued a point for Bournemouth in a game which saw them make both enough chances to win and enough blunders to lose.

The speedy striker, whose talismanic presence has so often been denied to Bournemouth through serious injury, stabbed home in the 79th minute during an almighty goalmouth scramble resulting from a left-wing corner. And he almost won it for the Cherries six minutes later when fed on the edge of the six-yard box, only for Seagulls goalkeeper Matt Ryan to stand tall at his near post.

However, it is the defensive frailties which have dogged Bournemouth's entire Premier League existence - and especially this season - that will once again prey on Eddie Howe's mind this evening. Although the away side registered 27 efforts on target as opposed to the hosts' 15, the manner in which many of those chances were given away was somewhat alarming.

While the principle of playing out from the back and looking for the clever short ball should in theory lead to aesthetically pleasing displays, overuse of it - particularly on the edge of one's penalty area - is usually a recipe for disaster at Premier League level. Time and again, Bournemouth dallied in their defensive final third, and time and again Brighton pressured them into potentially fatal mistakes.

The Seagulls' first goal arrived after just four minutes and 32 seconds - the earliest time they have found the net this season. It originated from an appalling mistake by Cherries right-winger Jordon Ibe, who hopelessly over-hit a simple through-ball out for the goal-kick which ultimately began the attack. A 50-yard cross-field pass led to some nice link-up play on the outskirts of Bournemouth's box, which eventually saw pacy Columbian forward Jose Isquierdo burst through and lay off to Anthony Knockaert for a simple tap-in.

Isquierdo would go on to terrorize Bournemouth's shaky defense with his speed and athleticism throughout. He set up Brighton's second goal just after the break, running in behind the back-line with consummate ease before laying off to ex-Bournemouth striker Glenn Murray for another tap-in. The fact that both goals were conceded in nearly exactly the same fashion, at an almost identical early stage in each half, will be particularly galling for ex-defender Howe.

Isquierdo also performed his defensive duties admirably and even carved out a match-winning chance in the process, racing directly from box to box and out-sprinting the entire Bournemouth team before running straight into imposing Cherries keeper Asmir Begovic and allowing his shot to be smothered. It was the second time Begovic was forced to deny him from a matter of meters having performed a miraculous leg-block to keep the Columbian out as the half-time whistle beckoned.

The Columbian's magic sandwiched Bournemouth's first equalizer, scored in the 33rd minute by ex-Brighton defender Steve Cook, who rose above his markers for the second corner in quick succession to loop a header over a stranded Ryan and high into the net.

Ibe, it must be admitted, showed moments of genuine class as he laid claim to the title of "Wizard of the Dribble." His 30-yard run and drive on the half-hour mark was awkwardly pushed away by Ryan, while another surging run in the 51st-minute saw his markers completely bamboozled. However, his denial from point-blank range just after Brighton's second goal ensures he continues his search for his first ever Bournemouth goal some 18 months after signing.

In the end, a draw seemed the fairest outcome for this pulsating game. But a point will hardly settle the nerves of either side as they peer nervously at the relegation zone with a host of more difficult opponents to come.
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Published on January 01, 2018 06:54 • 30 views • Tags: amex-stadium, bournemouth, brighton, callum-wilson, glenn-murray, isquierdo, steve-cook

November 25, 2017

Well, I thought it was time to help all those Japanese people who valiantly struggle to explain sumo to foreigners but never quite find the words to do so effectively.

And I thought it would be fun to try and pioneer a novel way of learning English - based on sumo words, nouns and adjectives. There's lots of good pictures too!
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Published on November 25, 2017 06:00 • 18 views • Tags: hakuho, harumafuji, kyushu-basho, sumo, 相撲, 英会話, 英語教科書

November 14, 2017

And so the Japanese media would once again have us believe that violence in sumo only occurs when newspapers report it! Mongolian Yokozuna Harumafuji is being hauled over the coals for allegedly battering fellow Mongolian Takanoiwa with a beer bottle, a karaoke microphone and his bear hands - seemingly while drunk. His reported actions, witnessed by many, are deplorable and should cost him his job. But to turn the blame on Harumafuji simply deflects attention from the core problems that really need tackling.

Firstly, sumo wrestlers are incredibly tough. Excruciating pain is part of their job. How could they possibly face down 150-kilogram opponents on a daily basis without pushing themselves up against the pain barrier? In training they are repeatedly brutalized - punched, kicked, thwacked with bamboo canes, having salt and sand whacked into their mouths. Whether that is an acceptable form of "training" is another matter which should be up for discussion. But you see the point - what might be described as "violence" is everywhere in sumo circles.

It is clear to anyone who observes sumo closely that Harumafuji, while admittedly demonstrating sadistic traits more frequently than others, has not committed this act simply because he has "lost his rag." He has committed this act because it was not out-of-keeping with anything he has witnessed in a 15-year sumo career so far. Violence is indirectly encouraged. But there are no written rules on the type of violence required to "toughen youngsters up," so the persons responsible can get away with the ultimate Japanese defense: that everything should have the widest possible interpretation. In practical terms: our guys get hit in the ring, therefore they need to practice getting hit in training, and it doesn't matter what we hit them with.

Why did Kasugano Oyakata batter his charges with a golf club after they broke a curfew? Was he really acting without precedent? Are Harumafuji and the former Tokitsukaze Oyakata really the only two sumo figures in the sport's 250-year professional history to have hit someone with a beer bottle? Is that what the media would really have us believe? We are talking about an ingrained culture, which thousands of people know about and either actively encourage or passively accept. Isn't this the real problem?

Look at how the events transpired. The Harumafuji incident happened on Oct 27th, with multiple witnesses. Yet on the 1st day of the current tournament, a full two weeks later, Harumafuji was allowed to appear in the ring as if nothing had happened. In other words, an official policy of cover-up had been agreed - seemingly with even the media's consent. When the story finally broke the following day - at who's instigation remains another fascinating mystery - events moved with sufficient speed to make it clear that a lot of people had sat on important information. A crime committed. Multiple witnesses. Undoubted leaks to journalists. And the journalists also self-censored this information until someone powerful gave them the "ok" to print. The mass media, forever prone to self-sacrificing journalistic independence by checking every comma of an interview text with the interviewee in question, also has a lot to answer for.

Harumafuji is far from the only villain in this piece.
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Published on November 14, 2017 17:30 • 71 views • Tags: bottle, harumafuji, sumo, takanoiwa, 日馬富士-貴ノ岩-瓶-事件

October 8, 2017

Those party positions in full, as presented by the party leaders at the Japan National Press Club on October 8th 2017. (Note that only one person even references Fukushima and the recovery effort in northeast Japan).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, 63, Liberal Democratic Party:
"Defend Japan to the last."

Yuriko Koike, 65, The Party of Hope
"People-first politics to provide Hope for Japan."

Natsuo Yamaguchi, 65, Komeito Party
"Lightening the financial burden of education."

Kazuo Shii, 63, Japan Communist Party
"An end to Abe's reckless politics."

Ichiro Matsui, 53, Japan Restoration Party
"Drastic reforms to deliver free education."

Yukio Edano, 53, Constitutional Party of Japan
"A return to decent and honest politics."

Tadatomo Yoshida, 61, Social Democratic Party
"Getting the best out of our constitution."

Masashi Nakano, 69, The Party for Japanese Kokoro
"An independent Constitution.
A redistributive sales tax system.
Fully supporting disaster-region survivors to stand on their own two feet again.
Preserving our ability to attack enemy bases."
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Published on October 08, 2017 23:18 • 47 views • Tags: japan-2017-election, shinzo-abe, yuriko-koike, 日本選挙-安倍総理-小池百合子

October 7, 2017

A rare collaboration between an English gent in his 30s and a Japanese rocker in his 40s! Pretty good harmonies!
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Published on October 07, 2017 19:54 • 70 views • Tags: mick-jagger, rolling-stones, she-s-a-rainbow, ロ-リングスト-ンズ

September 23, 2017

You know what, as someone who speaks four languages, I'm going to start rating translation companies I come across. There comes a point where you just have to draw a line and say "enough is enough" when it comes to blatantly wrong translations of simple road-signs, instruction manuals, brochures and the like. And by wrong translations I don't just mean failing to convey the nuances of the original text - I mean basic, basic errors such as:

elementary school level grammar mistakes
basic spelling mistakes (see spelled as "sea")
totally wrong word order and word choices

Why does this matter so much? Because a fair few Japanese companies are making millions of dollars a year from these pathetic excuses for Japanese-English translations. They are either not employing native English speakers at all, or largely ignoring them, especially when it comes to the checking process. So, let's start calling these imbeciles out shall we.

First on my list: Kodensha. 高電社.
Rating: 2/10
Strengths: A couple of honest souls who work their guts out for unscrupulous bosses, but ultimately tarnish their reputation by not having the courage to stand up to a patently flawed translation system.

Unwillingness to recruit native speakers

Willingness to sideline native speakers

Arrogance of non-native checkers who constantly try to overrule native speakers, despite their possessing a mere cursory knowledge of English

Basic spelling errors in "translations"

Lack of knowledge of natural English

Insufficient knowledge of English vocabulary

Over-reliance of direct translations whose word order makes no sense

Inability to write emails in English, conduct telephone calls in English or hold meetings in English.

Don't let them get away with it. If their dishonest sales stooges try to extol the virtues of their "two-person translation system," please ask them how that system can possible be effective when both people are non-native speakers who are likely to make exactly the same mistakes in English!

They make millions for selling false promises. If any foreign-affiliated company in Japan reading this is thinking of using Kodensha 高電社, please reconsider.
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Published on September 23, 2017 10:03 • 44 views • Tags: japan, kodensha, translation, 日本, 高電社

June 11, 2017

Somehow, I'm sure that everyone reading this has at least once in their lives raised an eyebrow at people who mourn someone they have never met. And after the initial flurry of tears upon hearing of the passing of Adam West, my knee-jerk reaction was: "Find some perspective! He's just an actor who you felt you knew!"

But it has long been clear that Adam West was not "just an actor." And that the normal rules of "putting things into perspective," ergo "establishing some emotional distance," simply do not apply in his case.

If a caped and cowled Adam West worked his way into your childhood (and by all accounts, the Batman shifts required a lot of hard work), you were hopelessly unable to distance yourself from him. He fought for everything you stood for, and even took time to decorate the screen with wild onomatopoeia while he did so. He gave you valuable lessons on life, tooth-brushing and healthy eating, with a calm authority that our exasperated parents could never hope to match. He even broke the fourth wall to speak directly to you. He was a messianic presence in a city of dunderheads, repelling countless zany criminals with his marvelous gadgets while spreading peace and love with his baggies and surfboard. You couldn't help but be impressed, captivated, to the extent that you thought about him even when the show was not on. You dreamed up scenarios and fantasized about how wonderfully he would cope with them. You'd draw pictures, write scripts, act out scenes with friends or family. And even after growing up, you would still be unable to shake the image of the calm-voiced man with a face as well-chiseled as the eyebrows carved into his purple cowl.

When Adam West first put on that Bat-shaped headpiece, he had no idea that it would define the rest of his life. He had the intelligence to work out how to deliver maximum comedy from the script (Lyle Waggoner, who also screen tested, clearly didn't) and elevate a comic book character to TV greatness. But he never imagined that the role would enable him to transcend his profession.

Society stumbles through every passing year by ruthlessly picking its winners and losers. Curiously, we picked Adam West to be both. We afforded him so much success as Batman that it became practically impossible for him to succeed at anything else. And we almost broke him. Regardless of the recognition he gained in his heyday and the financial rewards which accrued from it, one shudders to think at the pain and hurt he must have felt when, after 20 years of waiting for another big break, a new Batman movie was produced in 1989... and he was not even asked to play a walk-on role. The character which had cost him so many major acting jobs had even scuppered his chances of being associated with future versions of Batman. Things even reached the point where he wanted to distance himself from the cape and cowl entirely.

But thankfully, society - or at least enough members of it - valued what he had done sufficiently to ensure that Batman 1966 experienced a revival, and that Adam West could both proudly re-associate himself with the character and receive the adulation his unwitting career sacrifices deserved. He died as a man finally at peace with himself, his doubts allayed, looking upon the last few years as among the happiest of his life.

And even with his passing, the Pows, Biffs and Baps live on within us, just as vividly as before. They always will. We will never distance ourselves from them. Society gave first the Batman character, then Adam West, the chance to impress us. They did. The inimitable way in which they did it meant that our world, our public conscience, would be reshaped permanently. And the level - the sheer emotional level - on which they did it means that we should neither feel doubt, nor embarrassment, over why we mourn Adam West as if he were one of our own family.
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Published on June 11, 2017 11:03 • 221 views • Tags: 1966, adam-west, batman

February 8, 2017

Rina Matsuno, an 18-year old singer from the popular idol group Ebisu Private Junior High School, has died, it has been announced. The cause of death appears to be illness-related.

According to the group’s official website, Matsuno missed the concert on February 7th due to feeling unwell. She was convalescing at her home in Tokyo when her condition suddenly deteriorated.

At about 5am, her parents made an emergency call which led to her being transported to hospital by ambulance. Unfortunately, her death was confirmed soon afterwards.

No firm details were given by the group, but the death appears to be illness-related.

Matsuno was just 18 years old. As a member of the 8-strong Ebisu Private Junior High School, she frequently appeared in concerts and on TV shows.

Translated from Yahoo News, Feb 8th 2017
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Published on February 08, 2017 18:19 • 189 views • Tags: death, ebisu, idol-group, 松野, 死因, 私立恵比寿中学

February 4, 2017

This is the beginning of the script for a 1960s Batman episode that I wish had been made.

Batman's Got A Brand New Bag

Special Guest Villain: Cesar Romero as The Joker

Special Guest Stars: James Brown, Muhammad Ali

Opening scene
(Evening shot of Central Park, NY.)

Narrator: As most of Gotham City sleeps, a new phenomenon awakes. For there is never a moment's rest for the youngsters of the city's trendy western quarter when The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz is in town!

(Cut to James Brown and his band performing "Cold Sweat" on a small stage, facing an audience of casually dressed 20-somethings dancing awkwardly. Everything seems to be going swimmingly until the three trumpeters start mixing the Joker's leitmotif into the music!)

James Brown: Hey, fellas, what's goin ' on?

(Everyone falls silent; Nelson Riddle's atonal incidental music comes to a crescendo).

James Brown: Fellas, I ain't got time for foolin' around, you know.

Joker: (Shouting out from within the audience) Eh, ha, ha, ha, ha, haa! Oh, Mr Brown, life is no fun without fooling around. Haa, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Bamboozled female bystander: Hey! How did HE get in here?

Appalled male bystander: The Joker!

Joker: (Making his way to the stage) Oh, don't look so surprised my little soul power seekers! Why wouldn't I steal a ticket for the hottest new show in town?

James Brown: Hey, man! We gotta get on with the show! (The band play a single beat in unison to emphasize his words!)

Joker: Oh, but Mr Brown, why the rush? The revolution can surely wait for another day at least! Hit, Quit, Bridge! Reveal yourselves!

(The three trumpeters quickly shed their James Brown Band suits to reveal colored shirts with henchman names duly printed on the front. The audience shrieks).

James Brown: (Disgusted) Man, you sure is one ugly Joker.

Joker: Now, now, let's not be bitter. A bounteous life awaits both you and me. But first we must enjoy a little meeting, in private. Boys - take him away.

(Spinning Bat logo heralds a scene change to Police HQ).

Commissioner Gordon (on the telephone): What? James Brown, the master of the funk, kidnapped? By the Joker? In our fair city? Thank you Mr Byrd. We'll be right on it.

Chief O'Hara: Is it as bad as methinks it is, Commissioner?

Commissioner: Heaven only knows, Chief O'Hara. But I think there's only one way we can be sure of bringing this sordid affair to a satisfactory conclusion.

Chief O'Hara: Surein there is.

(Nelson Riddle's brass instruments boom as the two men gaze at the red phone just in front of the camera. The scene cuts to Dick Grayson thumping out atonal piano chords at Wayne Manor, under the stern eye of Aunt Harriet).

Narrator:And as the heat intensifies at Police Headquarters, the beat intensifies in stately Wayne Manor!

Harriet: Well, I never, Dick Grayson! Putting those horrible funk chords into Chopin!

Dick: Oh, gee, Aunt Harriet. Can't I just liven it up a little?

Harriet (spotting Alfred languidly entering): Oh Alfred! Why in the Lord's name did you buy him those awful funk records?

Alfred: I rather thought it might prove a refreshing distraction from his studies, Mrs Cooper.

Harriet: Another distraction too many.

(Alfred plods over to the sofa where Bruce is seated reading a newspaper, and whispers "Batphone, sir" into his master's ear).

Bruce (after a moment's pause for thought): Aunt Harriet, pardon my lamentable sense of timing, but another distraction for Dick awaits. Dick, I need you to come with me for a highly important meeting.

Harriet: A meeting? Now? With who?

Dick: Gosh, you mean...?

Bruce: I do, Dick. With that marvelous music group: Paddy O'Hara and the Commissioners. Let's go!

(They race offstage past a stupefied Harriet).

Harriet: Alfred, who ever heard of such a ridiculously named band?

Alfred: Alas, I know precious little, madam. Although I have heard they are renowned for... erm... staying on the beat!

(Scene cuts to Bruce and Dick striding purposefully towards the Batphone).

Bruce (answering): Yes, Commissioner? The Hardest Working Man In Showbiz. James Brown? Kidnapped? By the Joker, you say? We'll be right there.

Dick: (Pulling back Shakespeare's bust to reveal the secret panel activation button) Holy seventh chord!

Bruce: It's a grave situation, old chum. The right to perform on stage represents one of the greatest liberties we have. And we shall fight to our very last Bat breath to defend it! (Eyeing the button). Hit it!

(They race off to the clearly-labeled Batpoles and disappear from view. Cue opening theme music).

(The Batmobile is seen noisily racing through the countryside on the outskirts of Gotham. It is next shown slowly pulling up outside Gotham Police HQ. Our two costumed heroes duly jump out of their supercar and race up the steps of the building.

The scene moves to Commissioner Gordon’s office. The commissioner, the chief and the Dynamic Duo are pensively standing in a circle, with Batman folding his arms and placing a gloved finger to his lip).

Batman: Strange.

Commissioner: How very strange!

Robin: I’ll betcha!

O’Hara: Surein it is!

(They pause for some collective head-shaking).

Batman: Commissioner, you said your men found a note at the scene of the kidnapping. May I perchance take a look at that note?

Commissioner: Why, of course, Batman! Here it is. (Pulls a folded pink paper out of his jacket pocket and hands it to Batman, who carefully unfolds and reads).

Batman (straining his eyes): Where… does a famous barber shop quartet stay… in the sleazy area of a city?

O’Hara: Me and me men have been thinking that one through for hours.

Batman: A moment… Chief O’Hara. Hmm. A famous barber shop… quartet. A sleazy… area…

Robin: I’ve got it. A four-star motel!

Batman: Precisely Robin! The only… possible… punchline.

Commissioner: Punchline? The Joker’s jokes are getting worse by the day. Assuming, that is, he wrote this note?

Batman: It’s the Joker’s handwriting alright. (Tilts the note towards Robin).

Robin: Gosh, yes! Look at the smiley faces in the middle of those “o’s.”

Batman: Mmm. Taunting us… as…. ever.

Commissioner (animated):But what does it all mean, Batman? Brazenly kidnapping one of the world’s finest entertainers in broad daylight and leaving this nonsensical note behind!

Batman: Nothing is left to chance with the Joker, my dear Commissioner. (Squints his eyes, stares vacantly into space and strides towards the camera). His every “o,” his every “i,” his every… “t” is intricately bound together in some nefarious scheme… to which this joke is pivotal!

O’Hara: Right! I’ll have me men check out all the four-star motels in the city.

Batman: (gently raising a gloved hand in protest) No, chief! That… shan’t be necessary. It’s not the Joker’s… modus operandi to lead us directly to his hideout. (Raising his right index finger while waving the note in his left-hand). No! The Joker has no intention of disturbing the good citizens who frequent our four-star motels.

Commissioner: He doesn’t? Then why did he write that in his preposterous note?

Robin: The Joker’s notes never mean what they seem to mean.

Batman: Right again Robin. But if we just substitute the key words with similar alternatives, we may have an answer as to where he’s really hiding! (Grips the note with both hands and stares intently). Of course! Why didn’t I think of it sooner?

Commissioner: You have the answer, Batman?

Batman: I’d stake my life on it. Unless I’ve missed my guess, I’d say “a four-star motel…” really means “a five-star hotel!”

Robin: The last place we’d think of looking for him!

O’Hara (mournfully): Of course.

Commissioner: Good heavens! Then which five-star hotel are we to begin with?

Batman: I remember an article in the entertainment pages of the Gotham News stating that Mr James Brown would be staying in the lavish presidential suite of the Clown Prince Hotel at Gotham Plaza. I’ll bet that’s where Joker’s holding him.

Commissioner: Will you need any assistance Batman?

Batman: No, commissioner. I think Mr Brown has seen… enough of the police for one lifetime. We’d better go this alone.

Robin: What are we waiting for? Let’s go!

(Spinning Bat logo ushers in the scene change. The setting: a lavish presidential suite at the Clown Prince Hotel. James Brown, still in extravagant show costume, enters with Joker placing an arm round him. The three henchmen plod along behind).

Narrator: But why is the Joker kindly taking James Brown back to his highly comfortable presidential suite at Gotham’s Clown Prince Hotel? There must be more to this kidnapping than meets the eye!

Brown: I don’t know what game you’re playin’ mister, but I sure don’t like havin’ to cut short my show.

Joker (darting towards the center of the room): Oooh, hoo, hoo, hoo, ho-hoo! Don’t worry Mr Brown. You’ll be paid your full appearance fee. Hit, bring in the stolen gate receipts!

Hit: Yes, Joker. (Opens the door and hauls in a huge bag – clearly labeled “STOLEN GATE RECEIPTS” - packed with dollar bills, representing the takings of the abandoned James Brown concert. He drops the bag at Joker’s feet, causing Joker to rip it open and gleefully toss the money into the air, laughing maniacally).

Joker: There you go, Mr Brown. Not a corner of the theater’s coffers left unturned. Ha, ha. We’ll be sure to divide it up fairly.

Brown: Whoah! I don’t want no trouble here, you know what I’m sayin’, man?

Joker: Oh certainly, Mr Brown. Have no fear! For according to these contracts that I pilfered from the theater manager’s desk, this money is legally yours! And as your new manager, I simply demand a small er… (raises his gloved hands and wiggles his fingers) handling fee. Ooo, hoo, ha-ha-ha hoo!

Brown: Manager? Son, you ain’t no manager! You don’t know a darn thing about my business!

Joker (feigning disapproval): Oh, but I do! Oh, how I do! As a child I was a virtuoso dancer, courted by a succession of Broadway talent scouts! (Thumbs his chest proudly) I know talent when I see it! That’s why I recruited you! (Points at Brown).

Brown: You? Recruited me? Man, I ain’t signed nothing!

Joker: Oh, but you shall, Mr Brown! You shall, once you have seen the fabulous offer I am about to put to you! (Skips over to the drinks bar). Champagne?

Brown: Sure. But there better be no darn chloroform in that stuff!

Joker (looking ashen-faced as he returns his scarce-concealed chloroform packet to his pocket. He then feigns a smile) Ah, ha, ha, ha! Oh, we’re all friends here, Mr Brown. Have a nice, fresh glass on me!

Brown: You didn’t pay for nothing.

Joker: Ah, but from this day forth, I shall! (dramatically hands the champagne glass to Brown). We have our trumpeters! (Hit, Quit and Bridge pick up their trumpets from a nearby table). We have our drummer! (Another henchman, gripping drumsticks, emerges from behind a curtain). We have our base player. (Another henchman emerges from the shower room with a base guitar). We have our lead. (The lead guitarist emerges from behind a sofa). And we have our vocalists! (Raises his own champagne glass and chinks Brown’s). Ha, ha, ha, ha, haa!

Brown: Man, I ain’t sharing my stage with no other lead singer!

Joker: Oh, I shall be but a bit-part compared to you, my shining star! Drink up, drink up. Then, let us rehearse! Ooh, hoo, hoo, hoo, ho-haa!

Narrator: And as soul music’s latest sensation takes to the practice stage, the heart and soul of Gotham crime-fighting speeds to the scene.

(Scene cuts to the street outside the Clown Prince Hotel. The Batmobile pulls up and our heroes jump out).

Robin: Wow – some lifestyle these funk artists lead! This must be the most expensive hotel in the city!

Batman: Yes. Exactly the kind of lifestyle that a penniless criminal like the Joker would crave! Let’s go… via Batrope!

Robin: What?!

Batman (offended):Robin! The Clown Prince Hotel is one of the most respectable establishments in the country. I shouldn’t wish to alarm the… (gently massages his right fist with his left hand)… eminent clientele who may be idly roaming the reception area at this very moment.

Robin: Gosh, yes, Batman. When you put it that way…

(Scene cuts to the Bat-climb and the signature accompanying music).

Robin: You know, Batman, these five-star hotel walls are in such pristine condition. There’s nowhere rough to plant my feet!

Batman: Robin, perhaps it’s time I taught you my little… Bat-shuffle…

(Music abruptly ceases. A nearby window is forced open and Muhammad Ali leans out!)

Ali: Oh… o----h boy! Gotham City sure is pretty! Especially with you two around!

Robin: Wow! Heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali!

Batman: Former… heavyweight… champion Robin. A pleasure to add to your enjoyment, good citizen. But I thought you had ventured away from our fair city?

Ali: Just because I ain’t in the ring, don’t mean I disappeared! Sure, I’ll get my title back! Man, I still got it. I can still whup Sonny Liston. Joe Frazier, Zora Folly, Jerry Quarry – I will whup ‘em into retreat, ‘cos I can’t possibly be beat! (Throws a couple of lightning-quick air punches which cause Robin to flinch).

Batman (unmoved): We admire your dedication to your training, good citizen. So long.

Ali: (waits for them to proceed, then breaks the fourth wall) I shall return! (Bares his teeth comically and clenches his fist)

Robin: Gee, Batman! Do you think he’s a better fighter than us?

Batman: Not… quite, Robin. I’m sure even you could have withstood his famous… “anchor punch.”
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Published on February 04, 2017 07:50 • 419 views • Tags: adam-west, batman-1966, batpoles, burt-ward, cesar-romero, james-brown, muhammad-ali, neil-hamilton