The Joker Is Wild (Batman)

"The Joker is Wild" is an episode of the Batman television series in its first season, most notable for being Cesar Romero's debut as the Joker. It was first telecast as the fifth episode on ABC January 26, 1966 and was rerun May 25, 1966 and May 24, 1967.

"The Joker is Wild"
Batman episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 5
Directed byDon Weis
Written byRobert Dozier
Production code8709-Pt. 1
Original air dateJanuary 26, 1966 (ABC)
Guest appearance(s)

Plot synopsis

The story begins with the Joker in prison pitching in (and enjoying) a ballgame. After a few pitches, the catcher switches the ball with one he has stashed in his padding, and tells the Joker "This is the one." As the batter hits the ball, a smoke cloud appears and before anyone had known what happened, the Joker magically escaped using a spring-loaded device that propelled him over the prison wall. The only thing the Joker left behind was a statue of his face and bust that was concealed under the spring contraption. Batman and Robin go to the museum to check everything out—they were suspicious the Joker would strike there in revenge because he had not been entered into The Comedy Hall of Fame. When arriving, they found out the Joker's statue was indeed there and decided he must be somewhere else. After everything's locked up, they realize that no one can break in, but that doesn't mean someone who isn't already in the building couldn't break out, which means the Joker's gang is likely already inside to begin with. Reentering the museum, they find the Joker trying to steal the valuable jewels inside, with henchmen named after comedy stars, who were hidden inside the busts.

While the fight ensues, Batman is knocked out from a falling antique sword that had been hanging on the wall. As they are carrying Robin and him away, he uses a gas pellet from his utility belt. The Joker escapes out a trap door while his henchmen are gathered up. After being defeated once again by Batman's utility belt, a fed-up Joker decides to make his own. While in his hideout, the Joker comes up with an idea to steal the S.S. Gotham (from his henchwoman). He plans to eliminate Batman so he can take the ship. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson arrive at the commissioners office for talk on the S.S. Gotham. While there, a clown doll is thrown through the window. Bruce Wayne asks to take it for a souvenir and back at the Batcave Batman and Robin try to figure out what the Joker is up to. They come up with the idea that the Joker will be at The Gotham City Opera Company, where Pagliacci is being performed. While at the opera, Batman and Robin are caught when the Joker throws sneezing powder in their face and his henchmen grab our heroes. A horrified audience then watches the Joker make a move to unmask Batman and Robin...

Cliffhanger Text


(This is the first episode that has the narrator read the line “Answers tomorrow! Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!”)


  • This episode is based on "The Joker's Utility Belt," a 1952 comic story published in Batman #73.
  • The Joker's henchwoman Queenie originated in the comic books in the 1940s. In that story, as the Joker's cohort, she learned Bruce Wayne was Batman but was killed, taking the information with her.
  • Writer Robert Dozier is the son of Batman Executive Producer William Dozier.
  • As Chief of Police, O'Hara should know better than to give away evidence as souvenirs, even if he didn't like the look of it.
  • Both Jose Ferrer and Gig Young were considered for the role of the Joker. After Romero was cast, Frank Sinatra expressed interest in playing the role.
  • Cesar Romero refused to shave his mustache which gave him his career, so they had to cover it with makeup as well.
  • The aliases of The Joker's Henchmen are named after legendary (and deceased) comedians: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, W.C. Fields, and Ernie Kovacs.
  • During the fight scene near the middle of this episode, the usual fight scene music does NOT play as it usually does.
  • Some scenes have Batman's bat emblem high on his chest, like in the comics. Usually, on the TV show, the emblem is more in the middle of his torso.
  • The mask worn by Heath Ledger's Joker in the opening scene of The Dark Knight is almost identical to the one worn by the Joker during his performance in Pagliacci. It can be seen as a reference to the 60s TV-show.
  • The Joker appears hugely excited about unmasking Batman in the theatre scene, and yet shows no subsequent interest in unmasking the duo during the whole series.[1]
Preceded by
The Penguin's a Jinx
(airdate January 20, 1966)
Batman (TV series) episodes
January 26, 1966
Succeeded by
Batman is Riled
(airdate January 27, 1966)


  1. Batman at 45: A Milestone Tribute to Pow, Bam and Zap! (2011) Gould, Chris,
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