Batman #27: "A Christmas Peril!"

Batman #27
"A Christmas Peril!"
February - March, 1945

Story: Don Cameron
Art: Jerry Robinson
Letters: Iran Schnapp

Any similarities between this story and Dickens' "A Christmas
Carol," is purely intentional... for the novelist wrote about the spirit
of brotherhood which begins anew when the star shines brightly at the
holiday season -- and this is the harbinger for The Dynamic Duo as they
fight once again against crime, and tell an old tale in a new way... "A
Christmas Peril!"

In Gotham City, Millionaire Bruce Wayne and his youthful ward, Dick
Grayson are doing some last-minute shopping on this Christmas Eve
night... Bruce is bartering with a Christmas tree salesman, who is
selling the last of his stock at $7.98, and at an adjacent Christmas tree
lot, they are going for $2.00. Dick regrets that they didn't go there
first, and both watch as two hoods begin to pour gasoline over the
holiday trees! Seeing that the thugs are lacking in Christmas spirit,
Bruce and Dick change their garb, and Batman and Robin charge at the
startled crooks! Robin's punch sends one of them into the lit tree...

The salesman tells The Dynamic Duo how the two crooks wanted him to
raise his prices, and pay the difference to them! Batman learns from the
stuttering thug that their boss is Happy Hoggsby! The mob boss has found
the holiday a merry one, and has his men around town driving up the
prices of Christmas trees at four times the price! Hoggsby is no longer
happy, as Batman and Robin pay a call on him, and The Caped Crusader
delivers an uppercut to one of his men! The Boy Wonder tackles the other
gunman, while Hoggsby accuses The Dynamic Duo of starting the fight. It
was Hoggsby's own men who started it, but The Caped Crusader finished it.
Batman isn't too pleased about the Christmas tree market terrorism
tactics which Hoggsby has been using...

He is working for Scranton Loring, the multimillionaire, and Batman
knows that the young boy has inherited his Uncle Caleb's fortune, while
Robin wonders how someone would turn Christmas into a criminal activity!
At The Loring Mansion, Scranton's other Uncle, Timothy Loring, is
admiring himself in the mirror, and is dressed as Santa Claus for his
first meeting with his nephew. Peering through the door, Uncle Tim
watches as Scranton is going over the books...

When "Santa" greets his nephew, Scranton calls for his secretary,
who explains that this is his Uncle Timothy, who the courts appointed as
his new guardian. Scranton sees that this uncle is nothing like Uncle
Caleb. Uncle Timothy had thought that playing Santa would have pleased
Scranton, but the nephew is unlike other boys, and thanks to his Uncle
Caleb, he believes he knows what he needs to know. Uncle Timothy takes a
seat and tells Scranton how his brother was known as "Old Scrooge," while
Scranton has come to be known as "Young Scrooge." The nephew is pleased
that he is making a quarter-million dollars by cornering the market on
Christmas trees...

As his guardian, Uncle Timothy forbids him to do such a thing on
Christmas Eve, but Scranton only sees what his Uncle Caleb told him about
Timothy... how he never would amount to anything. Eggers The Secretary
points out that Uncle Tim won't become Scranton's guardian until January
1st, and until then, he has power of attorney to handle all business
matters. Uncle Tim can hardly believe that Eggers would condone such a
scheme. Scranton tells how Eggers began the scheme and handled the
details, which Eggers points out that it has gone so far to be stopped
now. All three turn to see Batman and Robin, who wish them season's
greetings, with Uncle Tim asking his nephew is thrilled to see them, but
Scranton figures that The Dynamic Duo are fools for all the things they
do, and ask nothing in return. The Caped Crusader suggests to The Boy
Wonder that they take the young Scrooge out for a little air, and Scanton
is tossed from one to the other...

The two leave through the window, taking the screaming Scanton with
them, and Uncle Timothy somehow pleased at the sight. Tonight, Scranton
Loring is carried by Robin, as he and Batman swing through Gotham City!
Scranton hopes that The Boy Wonder doesn't drop him, and Robin smiles, as
he assures the young Scrooge that he wouldn't do it on purpose. The
three are soon at the scene of a fire, where an elderly couple once sold
Christmas trees - until an hour ago when crooks set fire to their shop
since the owners wouldn't cheat their customers! Batman tells Scranton
that they had hoped to earn enough to give their own family a Merry
Christmas, but there's no chance of that now! The young Scrooge suggests
that he have Eggers send them a check, and the firemen see that there's
nothing left. Robin pulls Scranton aside and wonders how the young boy
can shatter the dreams of others with his racket, then "fix" things with
a check -- and Scranton wonders if he is being insulted. The Caped
Crusader tells them that it's time to follow the elderly couple home...

In the couple's home, a place with no heat among the other
tenements, the wife tells the three how her son is dead, her
daughter-in-law is sick, and she and her husband can barely get by for
their children. Robin asks Scranton if he now sees what the folks were
up against before his - ah- agents came by, and the young Scrooge is
struck by the miserable living conditions the family faced. He asks
Batman if it would be okay for him to give them what money he has with
him... not as charity - but because he really wanted to. The Caped
Crusader smiles, while The Boy wonders sees that he really has a heart
after all! At The Loring Mansion, Eggers tells Guilliver that they had
better make their move, especially since Batman and Scranton's uncle are
around. While Guillver phones Hoggsby, Eggers is pleased that Caleb died
after a long illness, and Scranton's stupidity, he has been able to split
the fortune among the three of them! Uncle Timothy bursts in, only to be
slugged by Gulliver, and for Hoggsby to get rid of him since "Santa"
could get them all arrested!

Batman and Robin take Scranton to a hospital, where he learns about
Joe Meeker, who ran a florist shop, and who was selling Christmas trees
at a fair price. After seeing Meeker's wife learning about her husband's
condition, Scranton wants him to have the best doctors available. The
Dynamic Duo see that the young Scrooge is getting the Christmas spirit of
giving -- not taking! With the bill taken care of, Scranton wants to
know who was responsible, and Batman agrees to show him... Scranton
rings the bell and asks for Hoggsby...

He sees Eggers and Gulliver holding Uncle Tim at gunpoint. His
uncle tells him how Eggers and Gulliver stole his fortune, and -- the
hood grins as he is about to shoot the "Santa!" Scranton demands to know
if he's now poor, and Hoggsby laughs, as he points out that young Scrooge
and Santa won't be needing a penny where they're going! Scranton is
grabbed by Eggers, just as Batman bursts through the doorway! The Caped
Crusader punches out the gunman, while Robin swings on the chandellier
towards Eggers...

The secretary takes it on the chin, while Hoggsby aims his gun at
Batman! Scranton races between them, determined that The Caped Crusader
not be shot, and only Batman's quick action in punching out Hoggsby saves
the young boy from making a noble sacrifice. Robin apologizes to
Scranton for what he said, and the young boy has more than made up for
his actions. The crooks are taken to jail, and Scranton tells Batman and
his uncle that when he faced death, he realized that he didn't want
money... he just wanted to be like other boys! The Caped Crusader is
confident that Scranton can turn his life around, and Robin reminds them
that they can start by heading for the stores before closing time...
Scranton orders four of every toy, and Uncle Tim wonders how he'll carry

At midnight, The Batplane soars through Gotham, laden with gifts on
its wings! With the Batplane hovering in place, The Dynamic Duo, Uncle
Tim, and Scranton make their way to a particular rooftop... The elderly
couple's surroundings are now made merry with a Christmas tree and
presents, while the kids confess that they thought Santa wouldn't be able
to find them this year! At the hospital, Joe Meeker has pulled through,
and his wife tell him that they'll have a new store on this happy
Christmas. Scranton wipes the tears from his eyes, and Robin confesses
that he feels like bawling, too! At The Loring Mansion, there isn't a
present under the tree for Scranton, but the lad tells them he has
received the best present of all! He has learned what real happiness is,
and will devote his time and money to spreading goodwill all year 'round.
Scranton only wishes that others could know how much fun he's going to
have, and Robin suggests that they share the news! Uncle Tim greets one
and all, Scranton waves, and a Merry Christmas to everyone is wished from
Batman and Robin!

On the splash page, Uncle Tim and Scranton cower from the
tommygunners, while Batman and Robin descend from their perch atop a
Christmas tree!

Christmas trees are going up in smoke!

Batman's Christmas greetings to thugs, crooks, and their bosses is
an uppercut!

There was also an Uncle Tim in Batman #239 "Silent Night, Deadly

Even in the '40s, there was "relevance" as Batman and Robin show how
many people spent the holidays.

The Golden Age Batman is concerned about all citizens in Gotham, not
just the criminals, and works to make a difference by showing a young boy
how lives are spent during the holidays.

The Caped Crusader frowns upon hoods who would use guns on children,
and the reader can't help but cheer when he punches out the gunman, with
a grin on his face.

The Caped Crusader of The '40s is a man whom Scranton would risk his
life for, and The Batman is quick enough to prevent Hoggsby from finding
himself in the electric chair. One wonders if the Modern one would have
used young Scrooge as a shield... or worse, as a new partner?!?

The Golden Age Batman believes that people can reform and encourages
them to be the best they can be.

He is there to comfort a grateful mother, who weeps for the gifts
brought to her family by him, Uncle Tim, Robin, and Scranton.

He is there to brighten up a hospital room with a Christmas tree,
with The Boy Wonder knowing how special the holiday can be, and have
hopes for the coming year.

He is there as a young boy learns what truly matters, and how he, too
can make a difference.

He is a hero to be proud of.

Steve Chung
"A Christmas Review!"