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Basil Karlo (Batman 1966 TV Series)

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Basil Karlo is a criminal who stole and ingested a chemical formula that gave him the ability to mimic the appearance of anyone he wishes, but at the cost of losing his own identity. It is still not known what means he used to form his own criminal gang.[1] He subsequently became known as False Face.

On one particularly daring scheme, False Face impersonated the escort of a visiting dignitary, stealing the fabled Mergenberg Crown in the process. Batman and Robin investigated the theft, and discovered that a false crown had been left in place of the true one. Inside, they found a clue leading to False Face's next crime.

Batman and Robin solved the clue, and realized that False Face would attempt to rob the Gotham City First National Bank. They squared off with him outside of the complex, but the criminal and his cronies managed to elude capture by way of their special, customized "Trick-Truck."

To facilitate his next series of crimes, False Face required a disguise that would grant him access to police headquarters. He kidnapped police Chief O'Hara and took his place at the station where he worked alongside Commissioner James Gordon. During this time, Batman and Robin managed to apprehend one of False Face's assistants, Blaze. They brought Blaze to police headquarters, where False Face, disguised as O'Hara, interrogated her. Blaze, aware of her boss's ruse, pretended to submit to the interrogation and revealed the location of False Face's hideout.

Batman and Robin raced to the hideout only to fall into a trap. False Face captured the Dynamic Duo and secured them to a set of railroad tracks with super-strong adhesive. However, thanks to the assistance of their trusted butler Alfred, the heroes escaped and resumed their search for False Face.

They deduced that the villain's next scheme would involve a counterfeiting racket at the Gotham bank. Although they managed to get the drop on False Face, the villain succeeded in eluding capture once again and led Batman and Robin on a chase all throughout the city. They eventually tracked him down to the deserted Bioscope Movie Studios where False Face attempted to escape by disguising himself as Commissioner Gordon, but Batman saw through the disguise when he noticed that the Commissioner's impostor was holding his handkerchief in his left hand, whereas the real Gordon was right-handed, and was able to finally put a stop to his crime spree once and for all.

Powers

Abilities

  • This version of the character is exclusive to the continuity of the television series Batman. As developed for the series, it is an adaptation of False Face. The original character was created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff and first appeared in Batman #113. When the TV character appeared in the comic book continuation of the series, Batman '66 Vol 1, its background was expanded to include the alter ego of Basil Karlo from the original Clayface, which was created by Bob Kane and first appeared in Detective Comics #40, and the powers of the second clayface, which was also created by Finger and Meldoff and first appeared in Detective Comics #298.
  • False Face was portrayed by Malachi Throne. During a contract disagreement, and because he was unhappy with the finished product, Throne requested that his name be withdrawn from the credits. The producers agreed, but pointed out that they reserved the right to use his name. For "True or False Face", a question mark appeared in the "Special Guest Villain" billing in the opening and closing credits where Throne's name should have been. For "Holy Rat Race", the question mark "Special Guest Villain" billing was retained for the opening credits while Throne was given the final billing on the closing credits.[2]
  • Malachi Throne explained his dissatisfaction with the finished product by pointing out that though False Face was originally supposed to be done with make-up, a plastic mask was used instead due to production problems or decisions. But though False Face "was a good character," in Throne's words, the mask came out ugly and uncomical when photographed. He believed his work was good, but believed it would have been better had the original concept of different facial disguises been retained.[3]
  • Throne's actual face, only slightly obscured by make-up, is visible in "True or False Face" when the villain impersonates an armored truck guard. Instead of having a different actor play the part, which was the case with all other impersonations, Throne appeared without the plastic mask.

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Footnotes

  1. Batman '66 #23
  2. The Official Batman Batbook by Joel Eisner (page 80).
  3. Malachi Throne mentioned this when interviewed by Joel Eisner for The Official Batman Batbook (page 80).


Batman 1966 movie
This character is exclusive to the continuity of the 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 1966 villains
Batman Villain(s) from the 1966 series
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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."

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