for The Riddler

He brought the goods
the original swag
of high
teetering on edge
walking the plank kind of insanity
the superior side of the rubber room
to his craft

Never had much use
for fellas hanging out in the middle
of the road
but Frank was high, low
and never mowing the lawn in between

A straight shot of whiskey
or a complex Mystery Island cocktail
depending on the scene

What a great fuckin actor.

And so much better
so much more believable in his madness
than all the would be takers
for the crown of psychosis

Those other cats didn't rate
holding the Riddler's purple gloves
much less trying to resuscitate
which was already immortal

But the riddle is this:
What do you do when a part of your
internal scene dies?
What do you do when a piece of the puzzle
that makes you, you-passes on without you?

You laugh; you cry
--you throw a time bomb at your enemies
but best of all-you know
you were a little better off for the living
with Frank Gorshin alive.

-Bradley Mason Hamlin (May 18, 2005)


"When I was first approached to play the Riddler, I thought it was a joke. Then I discovered the show had a good script and agreed to do the role.... Now I am in love with the character. I developed the Riddler's fiendish laugh at Hollywood parties. I listened to myself laugh and discovered that that the funniest jokes brought out the high-pitched giggle I use on the show. With further study I came to realize that it wasn't so much how I laughed as what I laughed at that created the sense of menace."
-Frank Gorshin

Frank Gorshin passed away today at the age of 72. Known for his incredible voice work and comedy skills, he is, of course, best remembered as the psycho puzzle-slinging villain The Riddler on the 60s Batman TV show.  He took a character that had only appeared a couple time in the original comic books and redefined The Riddler into his own unique creation.  When Jim Carrey was in Batman Forever, he didn't play The Riddler, he played Frank Gorshin playing The Riddler. 

I met Frank a few years ago at The San Diego Comic Book convention.  He was a staple at many events such as that, and always had time to indulge his wide range of fans.  A true class act.  He lived a great complete life, with a legacy that will not soon be forgotton.  Here's some cool Frank Gorshin facts to remember him by.

  • Performed a comedy routine on the same episode of The Ed Sullivan Show that The Beatles first appeared on

  • He served in the Korean War in 1953

  • Was nominated for Emmy awards for his work on Batman, and the cool black/white faced Commissioner Bele in the Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"

  • Played Dr. Fletcher in the Terry Gilliam film, Twelve Monkeys

  • Took on the voice acting duties for Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam after Mel Blanc died

  • Shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die

So long, Frank!  You'll be missed.

-Robert Berry





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