‘Mayhem of the Music Meister!’ — “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”

And so for me, it’s des­tiny to be the mae­stro of villainy!
Yes I’m the Music Meis­ter, and I’m here to set­tle the score!”

In the most unusu­al of all of the episodes of “Bat­man: The Brave and the Bold”, an all-singing, all-danc­ing episode, where heroes and vil­lains alike fall under pow­er of the hyp­not­ic melodies of the Music Meister!

Descrip­tion: In ‘The May­hem of the Music Meis­ter!’, Black Man­ta, the Clock King and Grodd are out to sab­o­tage a com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite with the intent of caus­ing world-wide chaos. For­tu­nate­ly, Aqua­man, Black Canary and Green Arrow are on the scene to halt them. But when they all start­ing singing (begin­ning with the two most stuck-up char­ac­ters, Black Man­ta and Aqua­man) and danc­ing, it is obvi­ous that anoth­er play­er has entered the game: the malev­o­lent­ly mes­mer­iz­ing Music Meis­ter! Under his con­trol, they install a device to the satel­lite that will enable him to broad­cast his mes­mer­iz­ing melodies to con­trol the entire world, all to the tune ‘I’m the Music Meister!’

Bat­man tracks down the Music Meis­ter to his lair, only to pre­cip­i­tate a chase as the Music Meis­ter sings ’ Dri­ves Us Bats!’ on his way to Arkham Asy­lum where the pris­on­ers all take up the cho­rus when the Meis­ter releas­es them. Under their com­bined assault, Bat­man is tak­en pris­on­er, while the Music Meis­ter falls in love with Black Canary as she sings ‘If Only’ about her unre­quit­ed love for Bat­man. When she rejects him, she falls to a blast from his staff, where­upon they both are put into a death­trap (to the tune ‘Death­trap’.) Of course, death traps are no prob­lem for the mas­ter escape artist, and togeth­er they turn to Times Square to con­front the Music Meis­ter just as he puts every­one who can hear his voice, which is the entire world! under his con­trol, singing ‘The World Is Mine’. Its an unequal bat­tle, and when Black Canary has her bat-earplugs tak­en away and falls under the Meis­ter’s pow­er, Bat­man chal­lenges her to a singing duel. At the very high note, which trig­gers Black Canary’s Canary Cry son­ic pow­er, Bat­man cun­ning­ly seizes the Meis­ter’s micro­phone and broad­casts the Cry to every­one lis­ten­ing, break­ing the Meis­ter’s con­trol. After that, its one punch and the Music Meis­ter’s music act is on a one-way road trip to Arkham Asylum.

But that still leaves Black Canary to reprise ‘If Only’ as Bat­man leaves to answer the Bat-Sig­nal. But nev­er fear, some­one else heard her plain­tive cry for love, Green Arrow, who responds with his own unre­quit­ed love for her, and they find them­selves in each oth­er’s arms.

Com­men­tary: All Singing! All Danc­ing! One of the best episodes of the series, one that got sig­nif­i­cant praise, an Emmy nom­i­na­tion, inde­pen­dent release of the sound­track and peo­ple cos­play­ing the Music Meis­ter at comics con­ven­tions. Of course, it does­n’t hurt that the actors involved, Neil Patrick Har­ris (Music Meis­ter) and Grey DeLisle (Black Canary), are pro­fes­sion­al singers as well as voice actors, as are James Arnold Tay­lor (Green Arrow) and John Di Mag­gio (Aqua­man and Grodd).

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend­ed, 10 out of 10 spi­rals, for the catchy music, well-done singing and orches­tra­tion, and most def­i­nite­ly for the sense of humor from all of the musi­cal riffs from “West Side Sto­ry” to “Phan­tom of the Opera” to “Amadeus” and the many musi­cal cos­tume changes from the Phan­tom to mod 60’s to a drum major’s uni­form to heavy metal.

What to Watch For:

  • Black Man­ta, the Clock King and Grodd show off some pret­ty decent clas­si­cal (and coor­di­nat­ed) bal­let moves under the Music Meis­ter’s control.
  • When Bat­man tries to stop the rock­et launch, he is attacked by all six heroes and vil­lains under the Meis­ter’s control.  As they cir­cle him, they are all snap­ping their fin­gers, just like the fight scenes from “West Side Sto­ry”.
  • The Music Meis­ter’s staff shoots out an elec­tric shock that looks like a musi­cal score.
  • See how many of Bat­man’s ene­mies you can iden­ti­fy as they are shown in Arkham Asy­lum. Most are still wear­ing their head­gear which helps in iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. (But why is Black Man­ta impris­oned in a giant gold­fish bowl?)
  • Check out the names on the walls in the death trap scene. There are some very obscure DC hero and vil­lain group names there, such as “Infe­ri­or Five”, “Tor­na­do Twins”, “Trench­coat Brigade” and “Injus­tice Gang” that nev­er appeared in an episode. Some­one was hav­ing fun there.
  • When Bat­man and Black Canary get out of the death trap, Bat­man asks Canary “Was the singing real­ly necessary?”

Triv­ia:

  • ‘Dri­ves Us Bats!’ has the line “Whether danc­ing the Batusi”. The Batusi was a dance cre­at­ed in the the orig­i­nal “Bat­man” TV series in the 60’s.
  • ‘Dri­ves Us Bats!’ also has the line “He’s just a fly­ing rat.” The Ger­man trans­la­tion for ‘bat’ is ‘flei­der­maus’ or ‘fly­ing rat’. “Die Flei­der­maus” is a Ger­man com­ic operetta that is about the impend­ing impris­on­ment of the lead char­ac­ter, as well as a host of com­ic mas­quer­ades and mis­tak­en iden­ti­ties, and some­one wear­ing a bat cos­tume. (Hence the name of the operetta.)
  • Neil Patrick Har­ris’ best known singing was for “Dr. Hor­ri­ble’s Sing-Along Blog” but old­er read­ers would rec­og­nize him from “Dougie Hows­er, MD”.
  • Grey DeLisle is a very pro­lif­ic voice actress whose biggest known char­ac­ter would be Daphne Blake of “Scoo­by-Doo!”
  • James Arnold Tay­lor has dou­bled for the voic­es of almost every male actor in Hollywood.

Ref­er­ences:

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