“Ohhh… Jingle bells, Batman smells! Robin laid an egg! The Batmobile lost a wheel. And the Joker got awayyy…hey!”
Where in hell did this come from? Why would anybody sing a holiday ditty demoralizing the Batman? Everybody likes the Batman! So how and why in holy night hell did anyone ever come up with this? More importantly, is there a deeper meaning than the verse itself implies?
Many will argue that it was first crooned by the Joker, (voiced by Mark Hamill) in the 38th episode of Batman: The Animated Series, titled “Christmas With the Joker” which originally aired on November 13, 1992. In which the Joker sings this anti-bat carol, mounts a X-mas tree rocket and escapes Arkham Asylum. They would be wrong.
Others cite and credit Bart Simpson with originally caroling this bat-scenity three years prior. In season one, episode one, of the Simpsons during their Christmas special “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” which first aired on December 17, 1989. They would also be wrong and about 23 years off.
In truth, the phrase “Batman Smells” first appeared in a letters to the editor section of the Independent Press-Telegram circa 1966. In unfavorable reviews of the 1960’s Batman television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. This sour sentiment quickly gained lyrics, was set to the tune of Jingle Bells and began circulating around playgrounds like wildfire in the later 60’s. So there you go, and we could just leave it at that; if it weren’t for the lyrics of another popular holiday song, “And they shouted out with glee-Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history…like Batman don’t forget Robin!”
Rudolph first appeared in a coloring book written by Robert L. May and published by the Montgomery Ward department store in 1939. Batman was created by Bob Kane and first appeared in Detective Comics #27 also in 1939. Was this a coincidence or a collaborative, conspiracy cover-up to make us forget the true holiday origins of…the Batman?
You know Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, the names for Santa’s reindeer used in the 1823 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (“The Night Before Christmas”). But do you recall the three other reindeer that were added in the 116 years leading up to Rudolph’s introduction? Doesn’t it seem a bit suspicious that an entire century would pass before someone added more reindeer? Well it didn’t, because through intense research we now know the names and fates of the three missing reindeer.
As the story goes, Santa’s sleigh got heavier each year as more children populated the earth. Thus he would need to employ new reindeer to help pull the overly toy laden load.
Sometime in the late 1800’s Santa captured and trained three new reindeer, naming them- Bootman, Reubin and Zhoker. Santa’s X-mas eve test flight with his new team of 11 was nothing short of a nightmare before Christmas.
Reubin was an utter failure and couldn’t even get off the ground. Bootman, whom was partnered with him, tried his best but Reubin’s dead weight threw off their flight trajectory and they crashed on take-off. Reubin flailed in the reigns threatening to injure the others and had to be put down. Bootman’s leg was severely broken and the retching stench of gangrene set in rather quickly. The elves tried to surgically remove the leg and replace it with a wheeled prosthetic limb. However they couldn’t get the wheels to stay on so Bootman was also put down. Seeing the fate of his fellows Zhoker simply ran away.
Years later when Robert L. May composed his now iconic glowing nosed reindeer tale he didn’t want anyone to remember the terrors of the failed three. So he conspired with Bob Kane to create characters that would replace them as comic book lore in the minds of the general public. Obviously their little plan worked quite well. At least until the mid-60’s when an unintentional variation of the missing song lyrics turned up in schoolyards across America.
As we close this week, in tribute to the true fallen holiday trinity, here for the first time in over a century gone by, is the unedited version of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer:
“Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Then one foggy Christmas eve Santa came to say, “Jingle bells, Bootman smells! Reubin laid an egg! The Bootmobile lost a wheel. And the Zhoker got awayyy…so Rudolph with your nose so bright; won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Then all the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee, “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history…like Bootman don’t forget Reubin.”
Zhoker was never meant to go down in history, because his fellow reindeer saw him as a deserter.
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