Nora Clavicle is a well-known leading figure of the women’s rights movement. When she arrives in Gotham City she was admired by many women as a warrior of social justice, but she had an ulterior motive. She used Mayor Linseed’s wife as a stooge to get the Mayor to denounce Commissioner Gordon, at his banquet of honour for 25 years service, then to appoint Nora as the new Police Commissioner of Gotham City. As a token of gratitude the wife of Mayor Linseed takes up Chief O’Hara’s job role and makes all male policemen unemployed, to have an all-female police force on Gotham. Unbeknown to Linseeds wife, Nora takes out an insurance policy on Gotham City so she can destroy it then collect on the insurance money.
Nora Clavicle and the Ladies’ Crime Club
Nora Clavicle appears in the single season three episode entitled ‘Nora Clavicle and the Ladies’ Crime Club’. Now this episode and the character of Nora Clavicle is certainly a look back to a bygone era. The episode is to be frank unbelievably sexist, it wouldn’t be allowed to be made in today’s world – thankfully! As the story written by Stanford Sherman, is so riddled with misogyny that i’d be surprised if it isn’t shown to students of the social sciences to take apart as a social history exercise.
Everything the women do is over-the-top stupidity. Firstly, Nora herself phones Batman to proclaim only women can look after Gotham then cuts the cord on the Bat-Phone. Seconds after she realises as part of her plan that she needs to make sure the Dynamic Duo are taken out of the picture. As she now ‘stupidly’ can’t trap our heroes by phone, she gets her two female accomplices to rob the Gotham Bank. The bank robbery goes down smoothly as the female police officer guarding the bank is depicted as being too busy applying her make-up, with the second female officer outside the bank refusing to go after the robbers as the chase would ‘ruin her designer shoes’. Batman & Robin are with Batgirl around the Batmobile, listening into the police radio of announcements such as ‘discounts in departments stores’ with a message along the lines of; ‘oh by the way, the Gotham Bank has been looted’. Our heroes rush to the scene then follow a clue to what is possibly the most bizarre bat-trap ever and the only part of this episode which is any good.
The ‘Siamese Human Knot’
The most memorable part of the Nora episode has to be the bizarre ‘siamese human knot’ scene, pictured below Batman, Robin and Batgirl are put into a human knot, where if the dynamic trio do not keep still it will prove fatal – as Nora puts it; “the slightest move will draw the knot tighter, crushing your bones and will strangle you!”. This scene for me is actual TV gold, its hilarious and the whole wackiness of this trap pushes the boundaries of a TV series that you would have thought as already pushed them far enough. I mean even the positioning of Batgirl here, in-between the dynamic duo like that, it’s clearly some kind of weird sexual parody.
Luckily, Batman knows the only possible way to get out of the knot, so if you ever find yourself caught up in one, here are the steps. Batman is position A, Batgirl B and Robin is C.
- Wait until the person in ‘position B’ contracts cramp in there legs as the involuntary contractions will allow the easing of tightness around ‘person C’
- Person ‘A’ should start wriggling there ears
- Person ‘C’ should now bend the fourth finger on there left hand, just a fraction of an inch
- Person in position ‘B’ will become loosened in the position and the knot will come apart
In the mid to late 2000’s there used to be (if its still around somewhere please contact me), a website that was like a cult-following dedication website to the knot. I have however, managed to find the scene on YouTube, if you haven’t watched it / not seen it for a while, click play below!
After escaping from the knot we get a bit more sexism – two policewomen screaming at the top of a lamp post due to mice running around Gotham City, as Nora plans to destroy Gotham with an army of mechanical mice that will self-destruct an half hour after sunset.
Nora Clavicle was played by Barbara Rush. Barbara has made several television appearances spanning around 5 decades, most notably in; ‘Peyton Place’ as Marsha, ‘Flamingo Road’ as Eudora and in ‘All My Children’ as Nola. She is possibly best known for her role as schoolteacher Ellen Fields in the 1953 film ‘It Came From Outer Space’, where is was awarded a ‘Golden Globe’ award under the category ‘Most Promising Female Newcomer’.