Monday, October 24, 2011

The Riddler (Frank Gorshin)

Answer This Riddle, Batman!
Riddle: There are three men in a boat with a pack of cigarettes and no matches. How did they manage to smoke?

The Riddler, portrayed by Frank Gorshin, was one of my favorite characters from the 1960's television show, Batman, which I watched regularly as a kid.

Unlike Batman's other enemies, The Riddler was a cerebral criminal. He was obsessed with riddles and word games, and commits his crimes in order to try to flaunt his intellectual superiority over Batman.

The Riddler's criminal modus operandi is so deeply ingrained into his personality that he is virtually powerless to stop himself from acting it out. He cannot simply kill his opponents when he has the upper hand; he has to put them in a deathtrap to see if he can devise a life and death intellectual challenge that the hero cannot possibly solve and escape. Only the Caped Crusader and his Boy Wonder were able to solve his riddles.

There were other actors who portrayed The Riddler after Frank Gorshin, but in my opinion he perfected the role, being nominated for an Emmy for his performance. But Frank wasn't only an excellent and prolific actor, he was also an accomplished singer, dancer, and one of my favorite impressionists, appearing on The Dean Martin Show, The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and numerous Las Vegas performances.

Unfortunately, there was one riddle that no one could ever answer. Why wouldn't Frank quit smoking? Frank was a chain-smoker for many years, unable to kick his nicotine addiction even after it led him to contracting emphysema in his late years, and eventually lung cancer. Frank was luckier than most cigarette chain-smokers though, reaching an age of seventy-two before finally succumbing to his condition, and leaving the world a little less entertaining.

Don't fall victim to The Riddler's own deathtrap. Make a serious effort to save your life before it's too late, and stop smoking today. 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669/TTY 1-800-332-8615)

Answer: They threw one cigarette overboard and the boat became a cigarette lighter.

Image Source: Batman Wiki: The Riddler

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