By AirDave 0 Comments
Where I live, we just got nailed with the first "major" snow storm of Winter, this passed weekend. It's that annual cycle of, "Snow?!" Like some big surprise. Surprise that it's snowing - again! I love how the newspaper has to have a photo to go along with the front page headline; and the news programs have to have video to go along with the lead.
I'm a Batman fan. One of many. When it snows like this, I always - well, almost always - think it's the nefarious work of Mr. Freeze. Yes, I know there are other cold rogues. Jay Garrick's nemesis, Icicle. Barry Allen's adversary Captain Cold. Killer Frost. Blizzard. Those are just a few.
For me, though, it's Mr. Freeze.
Sanders was the first to play Freeze in live action. He was followed by Eli Wallach, from The Magnificent Seven and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly; and, director/actor Otto Preminger. There are only two Bat-villains that were played by three different actors over the course of three seasons: Mister Freeze is one; Catwoman is the other. Michael Ansara brilliantly voiced Freeze on Batman: The Animated Series. Arnold Schwarzenegger later played Freeze in Batman & Robin. Clancy Brown voiced Freeze on The Batman.
Sanders played Freeze more like a Bond villain. Or, better yet, the Sanders Freeze was written more like a Bond villain. Freeze came across more like Dr. No. Instant Freeze/Rats Like Cheese stands out apart from other Batman episodes - even though it does have some zany, silly elements. Freeze enlists a squad of fake Freezes and Batmen for a grand fight scene to cover his escape from a heist. He does wear a suit, though; and later a smoking jacket with a cravat. He only changes into "working clothes" when he "goes to work". In later appearances, he's all in the working suit.
The death-traps are pretty minor. The cliffhanger has Batman and Robin frozen. Imagine that! SPOILER ALERT: They are thawed out. Freeze kidnaps a baseball pitcher. Batman trades himself for the pitcher. Robin tracks Batman and is captured by Freeze, too.
It's a brilliant story written by Max Hodge. Hodge is credited with creating the Mr. Freeze character from the Mr. Zero character that appeared in 1959. Hodge also wrote for shows like Mission: Impossible, The Wild, Wild West, Ironside and CHiPs. He was a producer and writer on The Girl From Uncle.
Of the three, Sanders has got to be my favorite Mr. Freeze. The Freeze that Ansara later voiced in the '90's was given more tragedy and drama to become more of a complex and complicated villain. As we all know, he was working on a cure for his wife, Nora, when he was transformed.
If there had been a fourth season of Batman, it would have been nice to see Sanders return; or, maybe someone other than Preminger - or Wallach - portraying the more tragic Victor Fries.
It's a shame Parker's Batman '66 couldn't re-imagine with some elements like that.