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"Beware the Gray Ghost" is the eighteenth episode of Batman: The Animated Series. It was directed by series regular Boyd Kirkland and first aired on November 4, 1992. The episode features guest star Adam West, best known for his portrayal of Batman in the 1960s Batman television series. West plays the Gray Ghost, a character who bears a strong resemblance to Batman antecedent The Shadow.

"Beware the Gray Ghost"
Batman: The Animated Series episode
Beware-the-gray-ghost.jpg
Title card for the episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 18
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Written by Dennis O'Flaherty (story), Tom Ruegger (story and teleplay), Garin Wolf (teleplay)
Original air date November 4, 1992
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Batman: The Animated Series episodes

Contents

PlotEdit

The episode opens with a young Bruce Wayne watching a black-and-white television show called The Gray Ghost. The episode cuts back and forth between the flashback and events in the present day, where a crime takes place in Gotham that mirrors the episode: a whirring sound is heard, an explosion goes off, and the police receive a letter claiming responsibility from someone calling himself "The Mad Bomber". The sequence ends with the Gray Ghost going into action on the television show, and Batman doing the same in reality.

In the present day, Batman makes the connection between the explosion and the television episode, but cannot remember what happened in the show as he fell asleep before it was over. He tracks down Simon Trent, the actor who portrayed the Gray Ghost, now unemployed and short of money. In an act of desperation after trashing his display cases in frustration, Trent attempts to sell his Gray Ghost memorabilia to toy collector Ted Dymer. Later that night, Trent awakens to find his memorabilia back in his apartment and his display cases restored. Trent also finds a letter from an anonymous person to meet in an alley. When Trent and Batman finally meet, Trent is unable to recall the details of the episode featuring the Mad Bomber and states that he does not want to help Batman and just wants to be left alone. After a second explosion at the Gotham Bank, Trent relents and gives Batman a copy of the episode from his personal archive (all production copies were destroyed in a vault fire twenty years before).

Bruce watches the episode; learning that the source of the whirring noises was a remote-control toy car, he realizes that the next target will be the Gotham Library. Batman alerts the police to the threat and is able to defend the library against a wave of toy cars armed with explosives, capturing one of them in the process, but finds himself trapped by three of them. He is rescued at the last moment by Trent, who has donned his Gray Ghost costume one last time.

Batman and Trent travel to the Batcave, which Trent remarks bears a strong resemblance to the "Gray Ghost Lair" from the television show. They identify the unarmed toy car which Batman captured as an authentic Gray Ghost toy, and find Trent's fingerprints on them. After Trent convinces Batman of his innocence, the two realize that Dymer is the Mad Bomber. Batman and Trent confront Dymer, who reveals that he is carrying out the attacks as it happened in the show to raise money to buy more toys. Batman and Trent capture Dymer and his toy store is destroyed along with all of his weaponry in the process.

In the aftermath of Dymer's capture, Trent is hailed as a real-life hero, which prompts a resurgence in popularity of the Gray Ghost character. His archive of the entire Gray Ghost television series is released on home video, providing him with fresh income and a revitalized career. Bruce visits him at the product launch and asks for an autograph, explaining the Gray Ghost was, and "still is", his childhood hero; in realization, Trent smiles as Bruce leaves.

CastEdit

ReceptionEdit

"Beware the Gray Ghost" has been very positively received by critics. The A.V. Club gave the episode an A and called it "smartly written and gorgeously animated".[1]

Other appearances of the Gray GhostEdit

ComicsEdit

  • The Gray Ghost made a return appearance in an early issue of Batman: The Gotham Adventures in the late 1990s, and turned up again years later in the most recent Batman Adventures series in 2004, in a story about the making of a Gray Ghost film.
  • The “Grey Ghost” (Grey, not Gray) appears in Batgirl vol. 2, #15 in 2011; he attempts to become the sidekick of Batgirl. His attire is similar to Dr. Mid-Nite, but in shades of gray, and he also wields a shotgun. His real identity is Clancy Johnson.
  • In 2015, Simon Trent is introduced to the mainstream comic book canon in Gotham Academy, where he is a famous director and playwright who decides to become a teacher at Gotham Academy. He has a rivalry with Clayface.[2]
  • The Gray Ghost is a tribute to pulp/comic book hero The Shadow, in fact his name is a reference to the titular villain from a 1936 issue of The Shadow's pulp magazine series.[3] The Gray Ghost poster featured in the episode is based on the cover of "Shadowed Millions", one of The Shadow's novels, illustrated by Jim Steranko. Batman meets an aged Shadow in issues #253 and #259 of the comic series.
  • In the "JL8" online comic strip by Yale Stewart, Alfred coerces a young Bruce into going to school by threatening denial of tonight's episode of "The Gray Ghost."
  • In the "Jl8" online comic strip by Yale Steward, after a long, hard day of being a pre-pubescent hero, young Bruce is joined by Alfred for the "Mad Bomber" episode of the "Gray Ghost."

TelevisionEdit

  • In Batman Beyond, one of the original costumes for the Gray Ghost hangs in the Batcave. In the episode "Black Out", Bruce Wayne dons the hat and goggles of the Gray Ghost to hide his identity from Inque, who had infiltrated the Batcave.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue", Terry McGinnis and his family are shown leaving a theatre playing "The Grey Ghost Strikes" while the Phantasm is waiting to murder his parents. This indicates that the Grey Ghost franchise continued to thrive well after the release of the television series. Although the Phantasm does not follow through, this scene parallels the traditional origin of Batman, where Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered as he and they leave The Mark of Zorro. The Justice League Unlimited comic series also referenced the Gray Ghost in the Christmas-themed issue #28. Superman mentions that he had also watched the show as a child, and he was terrified by it but still loved it. The Gray Ghost toys play a key role during the issue.

Video gamesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.avclub.com/articles/see-no-evilbeware-the-gray-ghost,52759/ The A.V. Club, retrieved January 18, 2012
  2. ^ "Gotham Academy". 1 (5). DC Comics. March 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.vintagelibrary.com/pd.php?pcode=shadownv25

External linksEdit