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The Penguin (Burgess Meredith)

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The Penguin
Burgess penguin
General Information
Real name: Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot
Aliases: Pengy
The Waddling Master of Foul Play
Maestro of Criminal Umbrellas
The Black Bird of Prey
P.N. Gwynne
K.G. Bird, umbrella factory owner
Knott. A. Fish
Don Juan Penguin
Arthur Tickenor
Portrayed by: Burgess Meredith
William Salyers (voice)
Appearances: Batman (1960s series)
Batman (1966 film)
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders

"Great Quivering Jellyfish!"
―The Penguin[src]

The Penguin was an arch-nemesis of Batman.

As one of Batman's greatest enemies (besides The Joker), he is known for his love of birds and his specialized high-tech umbrellas. One of Gotham City's top criminals, Penguin almost always tries to cover up his criminal activities with some other false enterprise. He often pretends to be going straight, and usually wins the hearts of all Gothamites before revealing his true motives.

He also loves discrediting Batman and Robin. But Batman always wins out because he doesn't concern himself with popular opinion, his dedication to solving the crime at hand allows him to cut right to the heart of Penguin's schemes. Penguin also fancies himself to be quite the ladies' man. He carries himself with an aristocratic air, and is always formally attired. A cigarette is always on hand, and since he is one of refined tastes, Penguin uses a cigarette holder. In one of the 1966 episodes when Penguin thought he was rich (before being outfoxed by Batman) he tried to buy a unnamed country but declined to do so-because he is allergic to Zodka! In another classic Batman episode Penguin claims that he once was a actor. (In the comedy series he is always refered to as Penguin but not by his real name of Oswald Cobblepot). In the state Prison his jail cell is P.G.1 along with Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, King Tut and Egghead in the exclusive Supervillians section! At times a genius of crime-he once tricked Batman into unknowningly planning crimes for him and Brainwashed Alfred Pennyworth into working for him-he has a working knowledge of electronics that when he and Joker tried to take over the Batcave, both Criminals were x-rayed with a Bat beam that noted their physical bone structure. He also suffers from a short term memory loss-he failed to recognize Bruce Wayne (thinking he was a umbrella factory spy!) and had trouble recognizing Alfred Pennyworth twice -once when Alfred portrayed a forger and another time when Alfred took the place of a minister (although Penguin had brainwashed Alfred!)



Burgess Meredith as the Penguin. The purple top hat and bow tie are departures from the black top hat and black bow tie of the comics.

The Penguin uses his many umbrellas as a weapon.

In the 1966 Batman movie, the Penguin teams up with Batman's other three greatest foes: The Joker, the Riddler, and Catwoman. Kidnapping Commodore Schmidlapp, the Penguin lures Batman into a trap, in the form of an exploding shark. This ultimately fails, but then the Riddler devises a combination trap, with the Penguin's role involving an exploding octopus. Their plan fails, because the millionaire they kidnapped (to make Batman come to the rescue) was Bruce Wayne, and instead one of the villains' henchmen falls victim to the exploding octopus (triggered by the Joker's jack in the box).


Penguin in his lair.

With five of their henchmen (guinea pigs) dehydrated and turned to dust, the Penguin disguises himself at Commodore Schmidlapp and gets Batman and Robin to take him into the Batcave (thus making the Riddler the only one of the four to never enter the Batcave) where he sets the guinea pigs on Batman and Robin, however he accidentally rehydrates them with heavy water instead of light water, thus they vanish at the slightest impact. After they exit the Batcave, he uses the Penguin Gas umbrella on them and steals the Batmobile (but they are unaffected due to taking a special pill). Eventually, Batman and Robin fight all the villains in the ultimate showdown at the submarine. Near the end, Batman fights the Penguin and hits him with the telescope, knocking him into the water and defeating him. He is captured along with the rest of the criminals when Robin chains them to the side of the submarine and Batman calls the coast guard. In the 1960s series Penguin once claimed to have been an actor.

He was also one of six arch-criminals freed from prison by Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft to form her new invisible gang, but this brief cameo appearance was by a stand-in. The only voice made by the Penguin was his bird-like laughter.

Weapons and EquipmentEdit


Penguin utilizing a trick umbrella.

  • Umbrellas: Penguin's most commonly used weapons that he always carries with him. There are many different types with many different features. Mostly used for spraying sleeping gas on victims. Some umbrellas had cutting tools on the end, while others are like a shotgun and spray smoke and sparks to distract pursuants.
  • Pengymobile: a golf cart topped with a large umbrella, used for getting around his expansive movie studio.
  • Pengytruck: a blue half truck with Penguin picture on the door!
  • Exploding umbrella: a special item with a timed explosive hidden in the handle.
  • Itching powder: a strong, long-lasting version.
  • Jet Pack Umbrellas: Special jet powered umbrellas that can soar through the air like broomsticks.
  • Toy Penguin: Used when wound up by an unsuspecting person, it sprays poisonous gas through its beak.
  • Carrier Pigeons: Used for discreet communication with his henchmen.
  • Automatic Anti-bugging Machine: can detect a bug being placed anywhere in the building.
  • Penguin Line: his answer to the Bat-rope. It has a large grappling hook on one end, that can be fired great distances by a small cannon.
  • Penguin Magnet: It is super-powerful, and strong enough to attract small metal objects from across a hotel suite.
  • Penguin Box: Used to brainwash victims into working for him, with no memory of it whatsoever.

Known AssociatesEdit

Just as Batman and Robin do not go at crime-fighting alone, The Penguin needs fellow partners in crime to assist him with his malicious schemes.

  • Hawkeye, Sparrow and Swoop (portrayed by Lewis Charles, Walter Burke, and Charlie Picerni): Simple henchmen. Presumably, they also helped to run Penguin's umbrella factory. They helped Penguin in a plot to cause umbrella-based havoc and kidnap movie star Dawn Robbins.
  • Dove and Eagle-Eye (portrayed by Al Checco and Harvey Lemback) - Simple henchmen who assisted Penguin in running a protection agency.
  • Octopus, Shark and Swordfish (portrayed by Victor Lundin, Dal Jenkins, and Louie Elias) - Penguin's henchmen. Octopus was going to take his share of the money they stole from charity to the South Seas and open a school for pirates.
  • Henchmen - (portrayed by Jon Waltier, Bill Hickman) Penguin's henchmen when he kidnapped Babara Gordon.
  • Finella (portrayed by Julie Gregg) - Penguin promised this disillusioned beauty she would win a bathing suit contest. In fact, she doesn't win, not fairly anyway. They kidnap Miss Natural Resources (the real winner of the charity beauty contest) and Finella takes her place. After the crime is done, her conscience causes her resolve to wilt and she helps Batman and Robin bring Penguin to justice. Later that day, she is invited to Wayne Manor for the charity banquet and is given a fur coat in thanks for helping the Dynamic Duo. She is looking forward to leading a normal life once she has gone to prison and paid her debt to society.
  • Lulu (portrayed by Cindy Malone): Lulu and her two friends were three of Penguin's biggest supporters during the mayoral election, even though Lulu wasn't old enough to vote. During the final confrontation between the Caped Crusaders and Penguin, Lulu made a run for it. Her current whereabouts are unknown.
  • G.O.O.N: Short for Grand Order of Occidental Nighthawks, it is a phony organization who pretended to be supporters of Batman's campaign as he ran for mayor of Gotham against Penguin. These men were in fact Penguin's henchmen.
  • Cordy Blue and Matey Dee (portrayed by Lane Bradford, and Vito Scotti): Penguin's henchmen when he opened The Penguin's Nest restaurant. They were inmates on parole. Cordy Blue was the chief hash-slinger in the State Penn. Matey Dee was Warden Crichton's personal valet while in prison.
  • Chickadee (portrayed by Grace Gaynor): Penguin's female assistant, hat chick, and cigarette girl. She was in prison for selling bootleg ciggeretts
  • Barney F Baxter, aka Ballpoint (portrayed by Stanley Ralph Ross): A Master of Forgery who was in custody at Gotham State Penitentiary. He was to transfer the signatures of Gotham millionaires Penguin had obtained at his restaurant to blank checks. He was given parole and sent to teach penmanship at one of the Wayne Camps for Underprivileged Children when Penguin was sent back to the slammer to prevent the two from fraternizing. Bruce Wayne commented Ballpoint should enjoy a life on the straight-and-narrow.
  • Joker: Penguin teamed up with the Joker to assist him with his Zodiac Crimewave. He was captured and had to escape in a Prison Laundry truck. After hiding in the Batmobile's trunk, they found the Batcave but were defeated by the Dynamic Duo. Although they worked together, they had a great tendency to insult and argue with each other.
    • Venus (portrayed by Terry Moore) - An unrelenting Ex Female assistant to Joker and Penguin during his Zodiac Crimewave. She wanted to do good, but was easily distracted by expensive gifts of perfume and champagne. But whenever she helped Joker, she almost immediately felt bad about it. After talking with Batman a few times, she was won over by his charm and betrayed the Joker, but it wasn't that easy. She was thrown into a pool with a giant man-eating clam, but Batman rescued her. It is not known what ultimately became of her, though Commissioner Gordon did say that the courts would take her change of heart into consideration.
      • Mercury (portrayed by Hal Baylor) - Joker's and Penguin henchman during his Zodiac crimewave.
      • Mars (portrayed by Joe Di Reda) - Joker's and Penguin henchman during his Zodiac crimewave.
      • Jupiter - Joker's and Penguin henchman during his Zodiac crimewave
      • Saturn (portrayed by Eddie Saenz) - Joker's and Penguin henchman during his Zodiac crimewave.
      • Uranus (portrayed by Charlie Picerni) - Joker's and Penguin henchman during his Zodiac crimewave.
      • Neptune (portrayed by Dick Crockett) - Joker's and Penguin henchman during his Zodiac crimewave.
  • Marsha, Queen of Diamonds: Penguin enlisted Marsha because he needed a large amount of capital to keep his movie studio front operating.
  • Lola Lasagne: An old friend of Penguin's, he teamed up with her to try and get some money from a horse-racing scam.
  • Visor and Armband (portrayed by Joe Brooks and Lewis Charles): Simple henchmen who assisted Penguin and Lola Lasagne in a horse-racing scam.
  • Miss Clean (portrayed by Monique van Vooren): A greedy woman who is always asking Penguin for diamonds or houses.
  • Pushbroom and Dustbag (portrayed by Newell Oestreich and Charles Dierkop): Simple henchmen who assisted Penguin in a plot to infect the money with Lygerian Sleeping Sickness.
  • B.J., Cardinal, Ostrich, and Owl - Penguin's henchmen who helped him during the itinerary crime plans after his jailbreak.
  • C.A. Nary - Penguin's female assistant who helped him during the itinerary crime plans after his jailbreak.


Television SeriesEdit

Season 1Edit

Season 2Edit

Season 3Edit


Behind the scenesEdit

The Penguin was played by Burgess Meredith in the Batman television series of the 1960s and the spin-off movie. A largely campy interpretation because the series was essentially a situation comedy, Meredith's performance is perhaps best remembered through his signature laugh, meant to mimic the squawk of a penguin. One cause of the laugh was the smoke from the cigarettes the character always smoked, which irritated Meredith's throat and made him cough, as he had already quit smoking in real life. The Penguin's thugs wear black bowler hats, with dark clothing adorned with names of various animals of prey; these are either birds ("Hawk") or fish ("Shark").

Burgess Meredith, as the Penguin made a brief cameo appearance in the 1968 episode of The Monkees entitled "The Monkees Blow Their Minds".

On Late Night With Conan O'Brien, Dick Cheney is often played in fake TV movies by Meredith's Penguin. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, also frequently uses Meredith's Penguin laugh to imitate Cheney.In the show the character was a popular favourite and a recurring villain that returned to menace the caped crusaders with his array of trick umbrellas and a sinister bird laugh. His two hench-men were Hawkeye and Sparrow.



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