Beware the Gray Ghost (Batman: The Animated Series)
|Beware the Gray Ghost|
|Airdate||November 4, 1992|
|Running Time||22 minutes|
|Directed by||Boyd Kirkland|
|Story by||Tom Ruegger|
|Teleplay by||Tom Ruegger|
|Previous Episode||See No Evil|
|Next Episode||Prophecy of Doom|
Beware the Gray Ghost is the 18th episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It first aired on November 4, 1992. This episode features the return of Adam West to the Batman universe. He lends his voice talents to the Gray Ghost character.
During a flashback sequence, a young Bruce Wayne is up late watching an episode of “The Gray Ghost”, his childhood hero. In it, a criminal calling himself “The Mad Bomber” uses explosives to blow up a towering building. Alternating between the past and present, Batman goes to investigate an explosion of a building within Gotham City. Commissioner Gordon, who had just arrived on the scene, hands Batman a ransom note left by the Mad Bomber. It is the same note left for the Gray Ghost in the television episode. Batman attempts to realize the connection between the two events, but he fell asleep as a child while watching the episode and never got to see the end of it. However, the Mad Bomber is demanding $1 million or else he will continue blowing up buildings in Gotham.
Bruce Wayne goes to a video store in an effort to locate a tape of the Gray Ghost episode. He is told by the clerk that there is no footage left from the show, as it was all destroyed following the explosion at the production company building. Researching further, Bruce finds that Simon Trent, the actor who played the Gray Ghost, is still alive and living in Gotham City. Across town, Trent is in his apartment as his landlord bangs on his door demanding rent for the month. Shortly afterwards, he gets a call from his agent. He breaks the news that Trent got turned down for a role he auditioned for. Upset over the lack of work he has received since his Gray Ghost portrayal, Trent begins trashing his apartment. He then collects all of his memorabilia and takes it to Yester Toys, a toy shop run by a young man named Ted Dymer. After receiving what little money he could for the items, Trent returns home and falls asleep on his couch. Upon waking up, Trent notices that all of his memorabilia has been returned to his apartment. There is a note from “a friend” asking Trent to meet him at the Gotham Art School the following night.
Trent shows up at the location, but he is surprised to see Batman is the one who requested the meeting. Frightened, Trent attempts to run away, but he is tracked down by Batman. He asks Trent what he remembers about the “Mad Bomber” episode, but Trent insists his memory is fuzzy since he made so many episodes. While leaving, Trent recognizes a low-whirling noise in the distance. Suddenly, the Gotham Art School explodes, sending debris into the streets. Trent runs home while Batman goes to investigate the disaster. When Trent arrives back at his apartment, he is greeted by Batman. He insists on Trent telling him why he recognized that sound, but instead, Trent gives him a film reel of the old episode from his show.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce sits down and enjoys watching the episode, as it reminds him of the joy he felt as a child. As the episode nears the end, Bruce figures out what the whirling nose is; Remote-controlled race cars carrying explosives. He informs the police of this information and has then set up a perimeter around the next target, the Gotham Library. While standing guard, Commissioner Gordon spots three remote-controlled cars coming towards them. One of the vehicles is destroyed by gunfire, but two continue on towards the library. Luckily, Batman comes out of the library and uses a flamethrower to eliminate one of the remaining cars. Giving chase into an alleyway after the last one, Batman finds the car overturned against a wall. Opening it up, he finds that it doesn’t have an explosive. Realizing it is a decoy, Batman turns to find three remote-controlled cars racing towards him. Suddenly, a rope drops from above and Batman uses it to climb atop the building as the cars explode below him. Once recovered, Batman finds Trent dressed in his Gray Ghost outfit.
Batman thanks him for his help and insists on help from the Gray Ghost as they look for fingerprints on the car he found moments ago. Trent seems flattered by the offer and happily accepts the invitation. As the two heroes get into the batmobile, they notice more remote-controlled cars racing towards them. Racing through the streets, Batman hits a switch on his car that releases a stream of oil out the back of the vehicle. It causes the little cars to spin out of control, exploding away from them. In the batcave, Batman shows Trent a secret room in which he has saved a number of Gray Ghost collectibles. Batman then tells Trent that the Gray Ghost was his hero as a child, which makes Trent smiles as he realizes it wasn’t all for nothing. Afterwards, Batman uses the batcomputer to check for fingerprints on the car and finds those of Trent. Batman confronts him about it, but Trent pleads his innocence. He insists that he sold all of his cars a while back, which causes Trent to think of Ted Dymer, the toy salesman.
Batman confronts Ted at the back of his toy store. He tells Batman how much he loves toys, and that he figured out he could earn millions by using them to terrorize Gotham City. Ted releases a bunch of toy cars on Batman, but suddenly, Trent swings in on a rope through the window and knocks Ted over into a bookcase. A fire breaks out, so Trent picks up Ted as they make their escape with Batman just as the building explodes. Ted cries out in agony over the destruction of his toy store.
With the Mad Bomber captured, Trent is hailed as a hero with Gotham. The Gray Ghost is re-released on video and television due to his reborn popularity. While signing autographs for his fans, Trent, dressed in his Gray Ghost attire once more, is approached by Bruce Wayne. He asks for the Gray Ghost’s autograph, and says that he used to watch his show as a child with his father, and that the Gray Ghost was, and still is, his hero. Remembering hearing the same words from Batman, Trent realizes who Bruce really is and acknowledges him with a smile.
|Bruce Wayne / Batman||Kevin Conroy|
|Alfred Pennyworth||Efram Zimbalist Jr.|
|Commissioner Gordon||Bob Hastings|
|Summer Gleeson||Mari Devon|
|Ted Dymer||Bruce Timm|
|Gray Ghost / Simon Trent||Adam West|
 Background Information and Notes
- The Gray Ghost is voiced by Adam West, who played Batman in the 1960s Batman TV show. According to producer Eric Radomski, "When we had first gotten the script on that, we all went: 'This would be perfect for Adam West, but do you think he'd be offended because of the content.' But he was more than happy to do it. It was great to have this aging hero play this aging hero."
- This is the first time Batman takes anyone, who is conscious, other than Alfred or Robin to the Batcave.
- The poster of the Gray Ghost in the Batcave shows him in the same pose Batman has in the series logo.
- On The People Magazine cover at the end of the episode, there is a story called "Matt Hagan: Man of a Thousand Faces". Matt Hagan is the villain Clayface.
- This features the first "apppearance" of series creator Bruce Timm as a character on his own show.