Director: Jerry Paris
Writers: James Allardice and Tom Adair
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Alvy Moore, Allan Hunt, Frank Gardner, Barbara Babcock, Thomas McBride, Sally Mills, Ronnie Dapo, Jimmy Mathers, and Gilbert Green
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 2/4/1965
After Herman offends Igor with one of his foolish insults, Grandpa transforms himself into a bat for Eddie’s school pet fair. However, since Eddie doesn’t realize that Grandpa has taken Igor’s place, the Munster child has no problem trading his “pet” for a friend’s squirrel. Things get even more complicated when the father of Eddie’s acquaintance decides to send the bat on a spaceflight, thus forcing the Munster family to retrieve Grandpa before it’s too late.
A zany episode, “Bats of a Feather” will appeal to fans of The Munsters for its outrageous subject matter. Likewise, those who enjoy classic monster films should get a kick out of the animatronic bat that was used to portray both Grandpa and Igor.
When Grandpa (in bat form) is taken to a laboratory in Washington D.C., many humorous situations arise from this idiotic mix-up. Notably, the bat’s frantic reaction to hearing the scientists’ plans for him will amuse audiences who appreciate The Munsters for its intentionally awful special effects, while Grandpa’s flirtatious dialogue with a female bat drives this show to a new level of absurdity.
Also entertaining are the ridiculous adventures experienced by the Munster family on their trip to Washington. Herman’s interactions with the jet stewardess are especially hilarious, mainly because the goofy green giant cannot properly interpret the attendant’s terrified reaction (Herman assumes that the young woman is afraid because the “plane” has no propellers, even though she had to be physically forced to board the jet upon sighting the Munsters for the first time).
Another misunderstanding occurs when Herman wanders into a restricted area of an Air Force base. Instead of running away in fear, the guards mistake Herman for a secret experiment and kindly escort him to the laboratory where Grandpa is held. More confusion then arises when Herman, unable to recognize his own father-in-law, grabs the wrong bat and returns home with it. As evidenced by these examples, “Bats of a Feather” successfully expands a corny misunderstanding trope into a layered narrative that The Munsters fans will surely enjoy.
Despite his characteristically petulant behavior, Grandpa proves his love for Eddie once again. Likewise, Herman and the gang demonstrate their concern for Grandpa by traveling across the country to get him back.
“Bats of a Feather” makes good use of a screwball premise. Specifically, writers James Allardice and Tom Adair played off Herman’s oblivious tendencies by confronting the Munster patriarch with a variety of unique scenarios.
Overall Quality: 8/10
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