Friday, June 3, 2016


"Oh, Roger Newsome! The Puzzler!"
Inspector Thomas Brackenreid
'Murdoch Mysteries'

We're going to make a somewhat tenuous theory of relateeveety, simply based on that nickname Brackenreid gave to Newsome (as seen in the quote above).  It will be my contention that Roger Newsome was the biological father of the arch-villain who came to be known as The Puzzler in the 1960s....

Two episodes of 'Batman':

December 21st, 1966
"The Puzzles Are Coming" 
The Puzzler, a villain with a fondness for both Shakespeare and aviation, indicates he is after the fortunes of Artemus Knab. He convinces the billionaire to invest in his puzzle balloon business, but when the Dynamic Duo find that Knab seems too intelligent to fall for a phony scheme, they look deeper for the criminal's true intentions. Their search leads them to Knab's airplane monopoly, but unknown to them, the Puzzler has plans to halt their investigation - permanently.
- Written by Twenty Penguins (for the IMDb)

December 22nd, 1966
"The Duo Is Slumming"

The Puzzler continues with his plan to hijack Artemus Knab's new airplane, the Retsoor, all the while leaving puzzles behind for Batman and Robin to ponder. He familiarizes himself with the jet's designs, then prepares to fly his prize to a foreign country where he will hold it for ransom. But the Dynamic Duo have an easier time with his clues than he expected, resulting in a climactic confrontation at the airplane hanger. 
- Written by Twenty Penguins (for the IMDb)

IMDb Trivia:
The script originally was intended to be a story featuring the Riddler. However, Frank Gorshin was in the middle of a contract dispute and as a result the script was rewritten for a new villain, the Puzzler, as played by Maurice Evans.

Toobworld Central has always maintained that a TV character - unless otherwise dictated by script concerns - should always be the same age as the actor playing the role.  If the character is to be found in some other time period, the age of the actor should be subtracted from the date in which the episode is taking place and thus one would arrive at the date of birth for that character.  (That's why I can claim that the 'Nichols' twins were born in 1871.)

'Batman' took place during the time period in which it was broadcast.  So we have to base the age of the villain known as The Puzzler to be the same as Maurice Evans.  So he was 65 during his short-lived crime spree in Gotham City, having been born in 1901.

Based on a fan-made timeline to be found online (which needs a lot of work still), the detectives from Stationhouse #4 first encountered Newsome in October of 1901.  He would later plague other murder investigations - and the calm nature of Constable Crabtree - over the next two years in two other investigations:

"The Death Of Dr. Ogden" (October 1901)
Detective Murdoch investigates the death of Oliver Hoyle who is found in the billiard room of his posh club. Hoyle was part of a group of competitive puzzle solvers and he may have been killed after solving a puzzle published by Edgar Allen Poe many years ago. It appears that one of his competitors killed him to get the glory for himself.
 - written by garykmcd for IMDb

"Murdoch Takes Manhattan" (June 1902)
During their honeymoon in New York, Murdoch and Ogden uncover a deadly conspiracy threatening U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, while Brackenreid and Dr. Grace investigate a murder by motorcar back in Toronto.
 - IMDb

"A Case Of The Yips" (August 1903)
While investigating a golfer's murder, Murdoch becomes obsessed with the game.
 - IMDb

(Newsome was a member of the foursome playing with the murder victim.)

There was never anything in any of those episodes which would nullify the claim that Newsome had fathered a son.  (For the time being, I'm going to call him Roger Newsome, Jr.)  And Newsome Jr. could have been sent to England to further his studies (and more than likely be out of his father's way), where he would learn the finer points of thievery.  And his education would help enhance his aptitude for the criminal arts as would his passion for the works of Shakespeare.

And for whatever twisted reason he may have had, he chose to honor his father by adopting the name of the Puzzler to be his nom de penal.  

The fact that he was not seen in Toobworld as the arch-criminal Puzzler until he was 65 doesn't mean he was a late bloomer.  It just means that he practiced his craft elsewhere, in other places than Gotham City.  I could see him being quite successful not only back in Jolly Ol', but also in many of the fictional countries that dot the map of Toobworld Europe - especially Caronia!

And he may have served time as a guest in one of the prisons on the continent or in Great Britain.  That would certainly have kept him off the Bat-radar.

Since we never saw the Puzzler again in Toobworld, I'm afraid it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble that Roger Newsome Junior died in Gotham State Prison.


I'm afraid I'm a week late in writing up this tribute to one of the characters played by Maurice Evans.  But I can always backdate it, I suppose.....

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