Doctor Schivel, better known by his alias of Mister Freeze, was a super-criminal who constantly plagued Gotham City and clashed with its two most famous lawmen, Batman and Robin. Formerly an ordinary human criminal, he was accidentally doused with a chemical solution that mutated his body, rendering it unstable when outside of subzero temperatures.
Even prior to becoming Mister Freeze, Schivel was a lawbreaker — a criminal scientist who invented an "Instant Freeze" solution meant for illegal ends. His activities eventually brought him into conflict with Batman, but during a battle in Schivel's laboratory, the Caped Crusader accidentally knocked a beaker of the "Instant Freeze" solution onto Schivel, leaving the scientist's body with a "reverse metabolism" that could only function in temperatures fifty degrees below zero (or lower). Thereafter, Schivel donned a refrigerated bodysuit and the moniker of "Mister Freeze", vowing revenge on Batman.
The Three Strikes
On one occasion, Mister Freeze combined his vendetta against Batman with mundane greed in a "three strikes" system: three successive crimes, all themed after diamonds. After announcing his return to Gotham by vandalizing an ice rink, the wily criminal set out to initiate the first "strike": stealing the Star of Cashmere, the most valuable diamond inside the Gotham City Diamond Exchange. To distract Batman and Robin, Freeze and his gang recruited ten extra men for the heist — five dressed as Freeze himself, and five dressed as Batman. This tactic paid off, allowing Freeze and his gang to steal the diamond while the impostors overwhelmed the Dynamic Duo. Freeze carried out his second "strike" soon after, this time targeting the most valuable diamond in the world: the Ghiaccio Circulo, owned by Princess Sandra of the nation of Molino. Once again, the heist was a success; when Batman and Robin attempted to intervene, Freeze turned his specialized gun on the duo, freezing both solid. Ironically, Freeze was dismayed at this, as he had intended to kill the duo after he had humiliated them with all three "strikes".
Fortunately, the Dynamic Duo were quickly thawed out with help from the police, and Freeze resumed his initial plans. For his third "strike", the arch-criminal kidnapped Paul Diamante, the star pitcher of the Gotham City Eagles baseball team ("Diamante" being Italian for 'diamond'). Afterward, Freeze offered to return Diamante, but demanded in exchange that Batman surrender himself and take Diamante's place as his captive. Despite protests from his allies, the Caped Crusader agreed to Freeze's demands and presented himself at a secret meeting spot; and Freeze, true to his word, released Diamante before having Batman delivered to his mountaintop hideout. With the lawman now at his mercy, Freeze intended to make Batman suffer before killing him — first by tormenting him with the subzero temperatures inside the hideout, then by revealing that Robin (who had secretly trailed Batman) was also his captive. What Freeze did not realize, however, was that Batman was faking helplessness; the lawman was wearing special underclothes that protected him against the frigid environment. (These were specified here as "Super Thermo-B Long Underwear," and later called "Bat-Thermal Underwear" and "Super-Thermalized Bat-Skivvies." In all three cases, they evidently consisted of thermal under-clothes with electric heating coils built into them.) As soon as Freeze dropped his guard, Batman quickly beat him into submission; subsequently, Freeze and his men were all delivered to prison.
- Refrigerated Suit: The airtight bodysuit that Freeze usually wears at all times circulates extremely cold air internally, keeping Freeze's metabolism stable. Without the suit, Freeze cannot survive outside of subzero environments.
- Freeze Collar: A collar built into later versions of Mister Freeze's suit, equipped with jet nozzles kept Freeze's head constantly enveloped in chilled air.
- "Hot Path/Area": A control panel that allows Freeze to regulate the temperatures inside his mountaintop hideout. With the device, Freeze can designate which areas of the hideout are to be room temperature (marked by red light) and which areas are to be subzero (marked by blue light).
- Refrigerated Van
- Freeze Gun: Mister Freeze's trademark weapon. Attached to a pair of canisters on Mister Freeze's back, the gun sprays out what is presumably a concentrated form of the "Instant Freeze" solution, which instantly coats objects with a thick layer of ice. The gun can be switched to an alternative setting, which makes it instead function as a flamethrower.
- This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Batman and is an adaptation of Mister Zero/Mister Freeze. The original character was created by Dave Wood and Sheldon Moldoff and first appeared in Batman #121.
Behind the Scenes
The character of Mister Freeze was partially an invention of the 1966 Batman television series, though elements of the character (such as his trademark weapon and his inability to survive outside of frigid environments) had been adapted from an obscure villain from Batman #121 named Mr. Zero. Over the series' run, Mister Freeze made appearances in three storylines. Rather (in)famously, each one of these storylines featured the character being played by a different actor.
The first storyline in the series to feature Mister Freeze placed George Sanders, best known as the voice of Shere Khan in Disney's The Jungle Book, in the role. Sanders' take on the character sported a thick German accent and wore a helmet as part of his costume. While the accent would remain intact in the character's future appearances, the helmet was eschewed, due to its presence giving Sanders' speech a tinny echo.
Sanders was invited to reprise his role when the series' second Mister Freeze-centered storyline was in production. For unknown reasons, Sanders did not accept — presumably due to being committed workwise. As a result, actor and director Otto Preminger stepped into the role of Mister Freeze. Preminger's interpretation of the character kept the German accent but optioned for a new version of the costume that kept the actor's head exposed. In order to explain how the character could now survive in non-subzero temperatures, the concept of a "freeze collar" built into the costume was established.
According to series producer William Dozier, Preminger — who had not acted for seventeen years prior to his role as Mister Freeze — had been coerced into appearing on Batman by his own children, who refused to let him inside his own house until he agreed to do the show. In addition, Preminger's appearance on Batman caused the Screen Actors Guild to pursue him for various dues, costing Preminger a total of $7600. Possibly owing to this, Preminger was infamously alleged to have been extremely unpleasant on the set of Batman. Adam West, who played Batman, stated that during a scene which required Preminger to act unconscious and allow himself to be lifted up by West, Preminger refused to cooperate and repeatedly dug his full weight into the floor.
The series' third and final storyline to feature Mister Freeze requested that Preminger return to the role; however, he was either unwilling or — much like Sanders — unavailable. Eli Wallach, best known for the part of Tuco in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, was ultimately cast. Wallach, much like Preminger, accepted the role partly for the sake of his children; years after his appearance on Batman, in fact, he would note that he had received more fan mail for playing Mister Freeze than he had for all of his other roles combined.
The 1966 Batman series' depiction of Mister Freeze proved highly popular, and rocketed the character into the public consciousness. Only a few years after the series' debut, the comics-exclusive character of Mr. Zero changed his alias to "Mr. Freeze", and donned a costume closely resembling that one that George Sanders had worn for the role. Not soon afterward, Adventures of Batman, the first animated series to depict the adventures of the Caped Crusader, would incorporate the character, albeit heavily altered, into its own cast.
References in Other Media
- The depiction of Mister Freeze in Batman: The Brave and the Bold heavily references the 1966 series' incarnation of the character, faithfully replicating both the character's costume and German accent.
- Mister Freeze's favorite dessert is, fittingly enough, Baked Alaska.
- According to Mister Freeze, a glass of liqueur can be cooled to proper serving temperature after ten seconds in his hands; champagne takes thirty seconds, while martinis take one minute.
- A villain like Mister Freeze would not be as feasible at the subzero temperature specified in "Instant Freeze"/"Rats Like Cheese" as at the comparatively warmer temperatures later specified in the comics. At fifty degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale, which is eighty-two degrees below the freezing point of water, an uninsulated human being would die of hypothermia. Also, the formations of ice crystals in the cells after death would cause the cells to rupture once thawed out; this problem is, indeed, such a persistent one in cryo-biology that it has repeatedly interfered with experiments in suspension of animation.
- 10 Appearances of Doctor Schivel (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- 8 Images featuring Doctor Schivel (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- 3 Quotations by or about Doctor Schivel (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- Character Gallery: Doctor Schivel (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- Mister Freeze at dccomics.com
- Mister Freeze at Wikipedia.org
- Bat-Mania UK's pages on Sanders', Preminger's, and Wallach's depictions of the Mister Freeze.
|1966-1968 Batman television series and the 1966 Batman feature film. This template will categorize articles that include it into Batman TV Series Characters.|
|Batman Villain(s) from the 1966 series |
This character, team or organization, was primarily an enemy of the Batman in either the 1966 film or related television show. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Batman (1966 TV Series) Villains category."