A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: The two-time Jervis Tetch was born 109 years ago on Jan. 30, 1914…
The Mad Hatter isn’t exactly one of Batman’s top-tier terrors on his list of rascally rogues, but the character did assay two appearances on the 1966 Batman TV series, and that has to count for something, right?
It gets better when you see the Hatter was played by actor David Wayne, who was born 109 years ago on Jan. 30, 1914.
Wayne was one of those thespians you always knew was going to deliver a solid performance each and every time you saw him—and see him we did, because his amazing career stretched over decades and the realms of films, television and stage. He was a ubiquitous performer, a reliable actor who was a boon to any production, and he always seemed to have a sparkle in his eyes when on the screen.
And he helped bring the Mad Hatter to life for the very first time away from the comics page. I rewatched Wayne’s two “Guest Villain” spots on Batman and enjoyed them even more than I ever did before. It’s a shame he only got those two times to sport the chapeau, but I’m so glad he did.
Here are 13 FUN FACTS ABOUT DAVID WAYNE’S MAD HATTER — the crook who de-cowled the Cowled Crusader:
1. His Hatter Was Certainly Mad. David created a character who was equal parts prissy, dandy, dapper, mincing, and kuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. You could see it in his eyes when he illustrated his morbid ideas of alternate uses for hat-making equipment.
2. He Knew How to Rock a Super-Instant Mesmerizer. Complete with a rare occurrence of animated ray-beams in the ’66 Batman!
3. He Had an Actual Real Name. He and King Tut, a couple of the few examples in the show of crooks whose real names we heard (Jervis Tetch).
4. He Had a Very Personal Crime Spree. In his first season episode, the Hatter wanted revenge on Batman by way of extracting the hero’s cowl… along with his head. Come second season, that particular passion continued.
5. He Had Great Taste in Molls. In “The Thirteenth Hat/Batman Stands Pat,” his gal pal Lisa (Diane McBain) was a drooling fangirl for the Hatter’s rather macabre tastes, and an equal partner in his crimes.
6. He Had Great Taste in Molls, Part Two. In “The Contaminated Cowl/The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul,” his new moll, criminalized hat-check girl Polly (Jean Hale), was pretty but not into the weird stuff… like yucky skeletons.
7. He Knew His Way Around Disguises. Whether dolled up like a famous sculptor or the Three-Tailed Pasha of Panchagorum, Wayne looked like he was relishing every moment of the roles.
8. He Tried to Steal the Batmobile. And it would’ve worked if not for that pesky Batmobile Antitheft Device (no dog included).
9. He Wasn’t Afraid of a Batfight. And in fact went mano-a-mano with Batman on more than one occasion.
10. He Had a Color-Changing Mustache. Brown in Season One, bright red in Season Two. Vanity, thy name is Jervis Tetch.
11. He Knew How to Rock a Fez. Check him out as the aforementioned Three-Tailed Pasha in “The Contaminated Cowl/The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul” and you’ll agree the hat thing was really working for him.
12. He Turned Batman’s Cowl Pink – In fact, he irradiated it, which earns him the trophy for “Great Lengths a Crook Will Go to Just to Snatch a Hat.”
13. He Brought the Entire World to a Halt. And made Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara cry like little babies when they believed Batman and Robin to be most sincerely dead.
— The BATMAN ’66 Top 13 Episode Countdown: The Contaminated Cowl. Click here.
— 13 Fabulous BATMAN ’66 Illustrations. Click here.
JIM BEARD has pounded out adventure fiction since he sold a story to DC Comics in 2002. He’s gone on to write official Star Wars and Ghostbusters comics stories and contributed articles and essays to several volumes of comic book history. His prose work includes his own creations, but also licensed properties such as Planet of the Apes, X-Files, Spider-Man, Kolchak the Night Stalker and Captain Action. In addition, Jim provided regular content for Marvel.com, the official Marvel Comics website, for 17 years.
Check out his latest releases: Rising Sun Reruns, about classic Japanese shows on American TV; a Green Hornet novella How Sweet the Sting; his first epic fantasy novel The Nine Nations Book One: The Sliding World; and the most recent Batman ’66 books of essays he’s edited: Zlonk! Zok! Zowie! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season One, Biff! Bam! Ee-Yow! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 – Season Two and Oooff! Boff! Splatt! The Subterranean Blue Grotto Guide to Batman ’66 – Season Three.
He’s also published novels about a character very much like G.I. Joe (and Big Jim and Action Jackson): DC Jones – Adventure Command International.
January 31, 2023
The night before this posted, I watched an episode of the TV show Barney Miller and the face of the drunk character in the episode was so familiar to me. Finally I realized he was the actor who played the father on the Ellery Queen TV show. The next morning I’m blown away to see he was also the Hatter! Great timing. Great article.
February 2, 2023
Kismet, Buck! Thank you!
February 1, 2023
Too bad The Mad Hatter’s appearance in Live-Action didn’t leave to more comic book appearances.
Only appearance during the show was BATMAN #200 and he had to share that story with other villains.
David Wayne was a choice.
February 2, 2023