BTAS Retrospective – “The Clock King”


Season 1
Production Order: 25
Airdate Order: 13
Original Airdates: September 21, 1992

Written by David Wise
Directed by Kevin Altieri

Kevin Conroy as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
Lloyd Bochner as Mayor Hill
Mari Devon as Summer Gleeson
Alan Rachins as The Clock King

“The Clock King” has never been a go to episode for me when it comes BTAS viewing, but something about re-watching it for the sake of these BOF retrospective reiviews intrigued me. I don’t hate the idea of Clock King. I think the name is ridiculous, but that is part of the charm of the character here. For the sake of this review, I know his publishing history is rooted in Green Arrow and Golden Age goofiness, but I am only going to comment on what is presented in this episode of BTAS.

The episode opens with Temple Fugate (the name being a play on the Latin phrase tempus fugit, meaning “time flies” Thanks Wikipedia!) who is an expert in efficiency, and while catching his scheduled train ride in the morning, comes across Counselor Hill (this is predating his Mayoral run) where Hill tells him to loosen up a bit with his schedule. It “will make a new man out of you!” FORESHADOWING!

I like his total obsession with time. Having a villain with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is really interesting. You do have to be careful when disrupting these compulsions, because it can cause an unhealthy repercussion as evident in this story. Just thinking about not adhering to his schedule causes him to break a sweat and tremble.

Temple ends up taking the advice, and as you would expect, his fears are proven to be true as him breaking away from routine leads to his failure to appear to his hearing. Which causes him to be fined 20 Million bucks (for some reason), and results in his career being destroyed.

Thanks Counselor Hill.

This sets up his motive to return the favor. It is a weak reason to seek vengeance on Hill, but it works. There is a flaw in the thinking here for Fugate. It cannot possibly be his fault, so he focuses his blame on the person who inspired his decision to do something different. Fast forward to 7 years later he begins to enact his revenge on Hill who is now mayor by making him look like a fool and sabotaging his projects within Gotham.

Batman does some great Saturday morning detective work here. Instead of losing his mind in the traffic, he notices the traffic lights are being interfered with and sees why the lights are going awry. Somebody is intentionally stopping the Mayors campaign trail! Bruce rushes to the top of the building where sees the Clock King perched atop of in a fun sequence. Batman has his first encounter with The Clock King where he explains that he has a lot of time on his hands, and a motive to destroy Mayor Hill.

Batman finds out that the gears and timing pieces are unique and gets his connection to Fuagte. He should have just checked with the local printers to see who had printed a 50 foot banner of Mayor Hill.

I kid.

It does get pretty dark when The Clock King sabotages the new train system in Gotham. Causing a massive explosion that should result in the deaths of thousands. Of course, in daytime kid show entertainment, there were “only minor injuries.” Whew! His obsession is now putting others in danger.

The battle at the end on the giant clock with the spinning cogs and gears was really fun and had some great BATMAN ’66 tension.

Some fun things I enjoyed…

• Alfred has some great lines here, such as “This is one of the finest back alleys in all of Gotham.”

• The puns: “Tt’s about time”, “Tightly wound”, and “I’m here to clean your clock Fugate!”

• 362 Breyfogle is where he lived! Norm Breyfogle is one of my favorite Batman artists. Though they spelled it “Bravfogle” on the street sign.

Is this one of the best BTAS episodes? Nah – but it’s not at the bottom either. Again, I think the Clock King is an interesting villain and has more potential as a Batman adversary in the future. I really like the next episode he appeared in, ”Time Out of Joint” and the JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED episode where he is part of Task Force X aka Suicide Squad. (I would actually love to see him show up in the DCEU live-action sequel. What a great idea to have a time obsessed organizer on team!)

This episode was really fun for me and I’m glad I got to watch it again.

As Rick Shew would say, it’s a “Flimsy B.” – Justin Kowalski