King Tut (comics)
|First appearance||The Curse of Tut (April 13, 1966)|
|Created by||Earl Barret (writer)|
Robert C. Dennis (writer)
Charles R. Rondeau (director)
Victor Buono (actor)
|Alter ego||William Omaha McElroy|
King Tut is a fictional character in the television series Batman. The character made his television debut in "The Curse of Tut" (April 13, 1966). He was created by Earl Barret, Robert C. Dennis and Charles R. Rondeau, and portrayed by Victor Buono. In his memoir Back to the Batcave, Adam West describes him as the only villain created for the TV series to be a real success.
Fictional character biography
King Tut began as Professor William Omaha McElroy (portrayed by Victor Buono), an Egyptologist at Yale University. After a blow to the head during a student riot, the Professor developed amnesia and thereafter believed he was a reincarnation of King Tut. He sought to take over Gotham City and defeat Batman and Robin. He was defeated by another blow to the head, returning him to his normal state.
The pattern would follow for subsequent appearances—he would suffer a blow to the head, believe himself to be King Tut, fight Batman and Robin for control of Gotham City, only to suffer another blow to the head, which would return him to his real self. As such, he would be the only villain not to be jailed for his actions (the insanity defense would apply here). Completely cognizant of what happens during his states of amnesia, Professor McElroy tried to prevent the personality switching by wearing a reinforced hat to prevent unwanted blows, but without success.
King Tut attempted to release a handful of ancient scarab beetles on Gotham City in the second season of the series. With the beetles in his possession, Tut would have the ability to create a terrible ancient potion called abu raubu simbu tu, which can be used to subdue the human will. Tut planned on concocting 95,000 gallons of the drug, more than enough to put all of Gotham under his power. His first victim was the head of the Gotham City Police, Chief O'Hara, who Tut commanded to perform acrobatics on the ledge of a building. King Tut nearly succeeded in his sinister plot, having tricked Batman into taking the drug as well. However, Batman protected himself from the drug's hypnotic power by coating his stomach with buttermilk. While trying to escape, Tut accidentally swallowed the drug himself and became Batman's slave, which allowed Batman and Robin to safely take King Tut to Commissioner Gordon's office where he reverted to his normal self.
In the episodes "King Tut's Coup" and "Batman's Waterloo", Professor McElroy is approached by two Yale students who ask him about his King Tut side. He tells them about it while he mentions that he had to wear a reinforced hat to prevent unwanted blows. The moment he shows off his hat, three flower pots hit the three of them on the head. While Professor McElroy became King Tut again, the two students develop the personalities of King Tut's Royal Jester and Lord Chancellor. Together with a female moll named Neila, they plotted to capture Lisa Carson. With help from Neila, Batman and Robin were able to get King Tut hit on the head again regressing him back to Professor McElroy.
In "The Unkindliest Tut of All", it was mentioned by Commissioner Gordon to Batman that Professor McElroy was hit on the head by a brick while at a love-in. King Tut sets himself up as a crime predictor and even claims that Bruce Wayne is Batman. While claiming that there will be a raid on Gotham State Penitentiary to free all of its arch-criminals, King Tut targets a scroll that will take him to the statue of a god. With help from Batgirl, Batman and Robin defeat King Tut and his henchmen. While at the Gotham City Police Department, King Tut still claims that Batman is Bruce Wayne when Commissioner Gordon gets a call from a beat cop that Louie the Lilac was sighted.
In "I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle", King Tut gets out of his therapy lesson and buys a plot of land adjacent to Wayne Manor as part of a plan to obtain a rare mineral. The villain tunnels beneath the manor and accidentally discovers the Batcave. He realizes that Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same person. Batman and Robin then battle Tut and his henchmen in the Batcave. The Dynamic Duo administer a drug spray to the henchmen that erases their recent memory. Tut, however, flees to the surface via the tunnel after all the spray runs out from the can. Once at the top of the tunnel, Tut is about to reveal his discovery of the Batcave—and Batman's true identity of Bruce Wayne—to Commissioner Gordon, when Batman provokes Tut to raise his voice, thereby causing a rock to fall on his head, knocking him out. When Tut regains consciousness, he is once again Prof. McElroy, with no memories of Batman's secret identity. Seeing that he is late for his class, Professor McElroy runs off with Commissioner Gordon and Chief O'Hara still asking who Batman is.
King Tut later pops up in "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra" (with Guy Way portraying King Tut). He alongside Joker, Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman, and Egghead are freed from Gotham State Penitentiary by Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft and Cabala. When explaining her plans to rule Gotham City, she gives King Tut the job to rob the museums. The villains are defeated by Batman, Robin, and Batgirl.
Tut's hideouts sometimes include an apothecary, the only one in Gotham, in the Pyramid building.
In other media
- King Tut appears in Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. He is among the villains that Robin and Catwoman recruit to help fight an evilized Batman after the two of them spring King Tut and the villains from Gotham State Penitentiary.
- King Tut appears in The Lego Batman Movie. He is among the villains that assist Joker in his attacks on Gotham City.
The comic book version of King Tut is Victor Goodman, a criminal Egyptologist who targets and murders wealthy citizens and leaves Egyptian-themed riddles, similar to the Riddle of the Sphinx. Batman teams up with the Riddler, who does not appreciate his modus operandi being stolen and agrees to help to stop Goodman. They manage to defeat King Tut, who is sent to prison until he is transferred to Arkham Asylum.
His alter-ego is an homage to actor Victor Buono.
The character appears once again in the DC Comics Universe in The Riddler: Year of the Villain as a friend of Edward Nygma. He is first shown talking to Nygma in an Egyptian themed restaurant and Nygma tells him that he is angry and jealous that he has not received a visit from Lex Luthor (who has been visiting various villains across the DC Universe as part of a nefarious plan he is setting up). But after stating this, he eventually gets visited by Luthor anyway. King Tut then appears later on telling him that they should team up to outsmart Batman by working together and he initially agrees. After Batman goes through a complicated Egyptian puzzle set up by Tut, Riddler decides to quit and leaves, thinking about the advice Luthor gave him. while Batman knocks out Tut with a single punch.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
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A character similar to King Tut appears on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by John DiMaggio. Due to copyright issues with Fox, the character is referred to in the synopsis as Pharaoh. In "Day of the Dark Knight!", he is shown as a convict trying to escape Iron Heights Penitentiary but is foiled by Batman and Green Arrow. The other convicts that Pharaoh escapes with are either common criminals, the show's supervillains, or other villains from the Adam West series (including Egghead, The Bookworm, Archer, Louie the Lilac, and Shame, who are recognized both by facial features and their trademark hats). Pharaoh makes another jailbreak cameo at Blackgate Penitentiary in "Night of the Huntress!". In "Battle of the Superheroes!", Batman and Robin wear special mummified suits to fight Pharaoh when he uses a special staff to turn people into zombies that obey his every command. The wrappings are coated in buttermilk, another reference to the live-action Batman series. With some pictures taken by Vicki Vale, Batman and Robin manage to defeat Pharaoh and free his victims.
- Batman Confidential #26–28, (April–June 2009)
- The Riddler: Year of the Villain #1 (September 2019)