Batman (1966–1968)
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The Bookworm Turns 

When Commission Gordon's death is faked by the Bookworm, the Dynamic Duo must track down the literate criminal to find out what he is up to.


Larry Peerce


Hendrik Vollaerts (as Rik Vollaerts), Bob Kane (based upon characters appearing in "Batman" and "Detective" comics magazines created by)




Episode cast overview:
Adam West ... Batman
Burt Ward ... Robin
Alan Napier ... Alfred (credit only)
Neil Hamilton ... Commissioner Gordon
Stafford Repp ... Chief O'Hara
Madge Blake ... Mrs. Cooper
Roddy McDowall ... The Bookworm
Francine York ... Lydia Limpet
Tony Aiello Tony Aiello ... Pressman
John Crawford ... Printer's Devil
Jan Peters Jan Peters ... Typesetter
Byron Keith ... Mayor Linseed


Commissioner Gordon appears to have been assassinated during the opening of a new bridge. A copy of Hemmingway's 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' nearly blows up the Batmobile. Both incidents are clues to the Bookworm's latest scheme. Batman and Robin interrogate The Bookworm's henchwoman Miss Limpet but deduce she is leading them into a trap. And while Batman intends to walk right into it, it is Robin who falls first. Written by The TV Archaeologist

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

20 April 1966 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


This is one of the few episodes where Alan Napier does not appear as Alfred the butler. See more »


Bruce and Dick watch Commissioner Gordon being shot on their color television, yet the shot of somebody falling off the bridge is in black and white. See more »


Aunt Harriet: [close to tears] I just hope *they* were watching the television.
Dick Grayson: They?
Aunt Harriet: Batman and Robin. Who else can save us now?
Dick Grayson: Don't worry, Aunt Harriet. I guess there's not much those two miss.
See more »


Featured in Biography: Batman: Holy Batmania! (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

The great Roddy McDowall supported by fetching Francine York
14 May 2016 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

"The Bookworm Turns" is that rarity of two part episodes, a perfect melding of 'Special Guest Villain' and gorgeous female moll that failed to earn a repeat performance (the only script from the prolific Rik Vollaerts, who sought to create an intelligent super criminal). The great Roddy McDowall admittedly had a ball as The Bookworm (despite the dreadfully hot costume he wore, made of vinyl plastic), mapping out his crimes like the frustrated author he is, with Francine York, surely one of the most beautiful actresses ever to grace television, the perfect moll as Lydia Limpet. McDowall was quite a versatile actor, capable of doing serious and high camp, maintaining a generally low key performance that makes his screaming tirades all the more psychotic and creepy. We begin with perhaps the most shocking scene the series ever tried, as we witness an assassin's bullet claim the life of Commissioner Gordon at the dedication of a bridge, the corpse falling into the water below. Bruce Wayne is watching of course: "this is one time we don't wait for the Batphone!" It's no surprise when Gordon turns up a short time later, complaining of being ticketed by a dense (and phony) police officer, but it kicks things off in serious fashion, and establishes that The Bookworm means business. The shooter was Printer's Devil, played by John Crawford, a familiar character actor whose career dated all the way back to the mid 40s, perhaps best remembered as the Mayor rescued by Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry in 1976's "The Enforcer." The book title "For Whom the Bell Tolls" features a plot where the villain blows up a bridge, the Dynamic Duo on the spot to see a bridge blown up - in a photograph! A brief Batfight concludes with the worms retreating beneath the earth, leaving behind a beautiful captive in Miss Limpet, who reveals what she knows under hypnosis in the Batcave, but still manages to hoodwink Robin into a book full of knockout gas. As Batman races across town on a false lead, The Bookworm ties Robin to the clapper of a clock bell set to go off at midnight: "do not ask for whom this bell tolls, it tolls for thee!" This marked the second of ten appearances for Byron Keith as Mayor Linseed, still unnamed at this early stage. Incidentally, this episode marked the debut of the infamous Batclimb cameo, in the person of Jerry Lewis, one of the biggest current stars at the time, which goes by fast, blink and you'll miss him.

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