Batman: The Animated Series

Season 1 Episode 59

Read My Lips

Aired Saturday 9:00 AM May 10, 1993 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
84 votes

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Episode Summary

Batman discovers that Gotham's new crime czar is a wooden dummy manipulated by a mild mannered man with a split personality.

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  • Don't be a dummy.

    The Ventriloquist had always struck me as a second-tier Batman villain, until I saw his depiction on "The Animated Series." With a voice performance by George Dzundza and a hard-boiled script by Joe Lansdale, "Read My Lips" is a stand-out episode.

    The idea of a ventriloquist's dummy as a mob boss is laughable at first, and it probably would have come across as such in the episode if Arnold Weskler wasn't presented as so bughouse crazy. Even though Scarface is the dominant personality, it is Weskler's obseqious devotion to him that makes him such a creepy villain. Witness the final scenes, when he begins to create a "new" Scarface in Arkham. The music, combined with the image of the knife tearing into the face of the dummy, is one of the best fade-out endings this series ever pulled off.

    Dzundza sells the character, moreso than he ever did as the watered down version of Perry White on "Superman." His Scarface is brassy and fills up the room, while the Ventriloquist is meek and fawning. At times, it really does seem like two different actors playing the roles, and that's a testament to his chops as a voice actor.

    Not enough can be said about Joe R. Lansdale's script. One of three scripts he contributed to the series, this is as hard-boiled as they come. I love Batman's exchanges with the goons he is interrogating ("You're breakin' my heart, Rhino.") as well as his shock when he learns the identity of the mastermind behind the new crime spree in Gotham. Lansdale's other scripts ("Perchance to Dream" and "Showdown") are also classics, and it's a shame he didn't submit more episodes to the series.moreless
Neil Ross

Neil Ross


Guest Star

Joe Piscopo

Joe Piscopo


Guest Star

Earl Boen

Earl Boen


Guest Star

George Dzundza

George Dzundza


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Batman finds the gang stealing platinum on board a boat. The platinum bars are so heavy that one henchman can barely carry it. But when Batman approaches them, Rhino knocks a large pallet of platinum bars on Batman, knocking him out. Based on the weight of the bars alone, that many falling on him should have killed him, or at least broken some bones.

    • At the end, the Ventriloquist is shown at Arkham Asylum making a new Scarface dummy with a hammer and chisel. Do you really think the staff of an insane asylum would give its patients/prisoners access to sharp and blunt weapons?

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Scarface: You don`t talk, you get the ultimate massage.
      Batman: And if I tell?
      Scarface: Maybe you just get run over by a truck.
      Batman: Tempting, but no.

    • Commissioner Gordon: (startled by Batman) Have pity on an old man's blood pressure...

    • Batman: (to Rhino) You've got a hard head. How about using it for something other than a blunt object?

    • Scarface: I smell a double-cross. Woke up last night with one of them whatchamacallit, a prema--, er, premanotion.
      Ventriloquist: Premonition?
      Scarface: DON'T PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH!

  • NOTES (3)