Monday, July 21, 2014


As part of our "Little Big Screen" series this year (aka "Toobworld Goes To The Movies"), we took a look at two sisters who had careers in the movies to be found only in Toobworld: Nora Chandler and Magda Blaine.

Now I'd like to introduce you to their older sister.  She never made movies but she did carve out a career for herself in show business:

Zelda The Great*

Zelda Blaine was an escape artist but was so insecure in her need for the bright lights of success that she resorted to crime in order to finance her acquisitions of even more spectacular routines for her act.  

Every April First, Zelda would rob a financial institution in Gotham City of exactly $100,000.00 in order to pay off Eivol Ekdal who created her escape scenarios.  Eventually, Batman and his sidekick Robin were able to capture her.

Mainly because she was the first to be seen on our TV screens, I'm claiming that Zelda was the eldest of the Blaine girls, with Magda being the middle sister and Nora the youngest.  Like "Irish Triplets", less than a year separated each girl from the next in line.

/Zelda the Great
Magda Blaine
Nora Chandler
I can't think of any other actor who got the chance to play two major villains on 'Batman' in separate storylines.  (Liberace doesn't count as he played twin brothers in the same episodes.)  But Anne Baxter got the chance to return as Olga, Queen of the Cossacks, a nutjob who believed that she had actually come from Russia.

What if Olga was actually Zelda?  Bruce Wayne had promised the escape artist that after she got out of prison he would get her a job in the children's hospital as the resident magician and she seemed excited by the prospect.  

But as we've seen in 'Orange Is The New Black', things can go wrong in a women's prison.  It looks like Zelda somehow got clonked on the head while working as a dishwasher in the prison kitchen, perhaps by some other prisoner she had offended in some way.  (Maybe she refused to help some hardened criminal like Ma Barker to escape?) 

This attack scrambled her mind so that she now believed she was Olga and not Zelda.  While being treated in the prison's psychiatric ward of their hospital, Olga/Zelda made her escape.  It was after this that she met the alien hybrid (half Earthling/half Remulacki) who called himself "Egghead" and they teamed up to bedevil Gotham City anew.

"Olga" & Egghead
And although the temptation is there, I'm not going to add Victoria Cabot as yet another sister (at least not a full-blooded sister), even though her name ends with an "A".  

Victoria Cabot could have been the "Identical Cousin" to the Blaine sisters. And by "Identical Cousin", it could be that she was the illegitimate daughter of "Daddy" Blaine. (Actually, I like the sound of "Big Daddy" Blaine.)  But this is more a case of a TV character having no relation to the other TV characters they resemble because they are all played by the same actor.

Victoria Cabot
The differences in the last names have been no problem so far - Zelda's last name was not given (nor did "Olga" use one); Magda used the family name; and Nora changed hers to differentiate herself from her older sister when she started her acting career.  (Chandler may have been their mother's maiden name.)

With Victoria Cabot, this would have been no different.  "Cabot" would have been Victoria's married name.  (And she married well - her husband was a member of the family which founded Cabot Cove, Maine!)


  • 'Batman'
  • 'The Name Of The Game'
  • 'Columbo'
  • 'Hotel'
  • 'Saturday Night Live'
  • 'Murder, She Wrote'
  • 'Orange Is The New Black'

Writing about the three Blaine sisters put me in mind of my cousins Coco, Carleen, and Cindy Manson.  Since this post was focused on Zelda, whom I consider the oldest of the Blaine girls, I'm dedicating this to the memory of my cousin Cindy, the oldest of the three Manson girls.  Today would have been her birthday......


* Based on her actions during that first picture taken, Zelda was also a serlinguist who knew there was an audience watching her in some other universe......

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