Tea's Weird Week: Hey, I Invented a Batman Villain Based on an Obscure Myth About Bingo
Plus a new TWW podcast episode
This column, as many Tea’s Weird Week columns tend to be, is just another ride on the Universal Randomizer. My friend Vonnie messaged me about her group, the Milwaukee Pagan Unity Community, hosting a Bingo and benefit raffle night. I really wanted to play Bingo with the pagans BUT I had to get to Door County for an article I’m working on (that’s a whole ‘nother story). Dammit! Next time, Vonnie.
It’s been many years since I’ve played Bingo, but it reminded me of a random “fact” I read many years ago.
In 1929 a toy salesman named Edwin Lowe was developing playing cards for Bingo, a game he was basing after he saw people playing a similar game called “Beano” at a carnival (which was in turn, probably inspired by an Italian game named Lotto). To make the cards, according to an article titled “The History of Bingo“:
(Lowe) commissioned an elderly mathematics professor named Carl Leffler and requested the professor create 6,000 new Bingo cards with nonrepeating number groups. The cards were increasingly difficult to produce as the number combinations dwindled. By the time the task was completed, Professor Leffler had gone insane.
Good story– if it’s true. The Wikipedia entry for “Bingo card” says this story is a “myth” and I didn’t find anything that would add credence to this, just the same line recycled over and over without a source. But does this not sound like the origin story of a Batman villain? I think it does, so I took the liberty of creating one. Good timing, too, with that new Batman movie everyone is talking about!
Here’s the backstory: Prof. Carl Leffler is under a tight deadline to find 6,000 Bingo card combinations by the end of the week for the game release. As he stares at the cards filled with dots containing numbers spread throughout his office, they begin to swirl around his head, overcoming his brain. The hallucinations of rolling numbers overtake him and he decides to give himself electro-shock treatment to try to get them out of his head, but the shocks push him over the edge.
Breaking into the toy manufacturing plant who hired him to create the Bingo cards, Prof. Leffler, now calling himself BINGO MASTER, creates giant Bingo balls of death, a stunning Bingo stamp gun, and a giant flying Bingo card that he rides like a flying carpet. After a crime spree of robbing museums (and Bingo halls) he is caught by Batman and Robin and sent to Arkham Asylum, which he breaks out of periodically with relative ease (as all Batman villains do).
My friend David Gloyd II mocked up some art of the Bingo Master in action (he based it on the cover of Detective Comics #140 (1948), the Riddler’s first appearance).
It’s a no-brainer, right? DC, if you’re reading, I’ll sell you the character rights for 1 million dollars. And hey, I’m not a greedbag like Bob Kane, I’ll pay David half for the character design. Let’s make it happen!
Please Clap Dept.: The Shepherd Express reviewed my book Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches, comparing the tone to a Tom Waits song. Hey, I’m not drunk, the piano is! I’m currently working on an audio version of the book. Author Tea Krulos Remembers the Brady Street Pharmacy – Shepherd Express
Tea’s Weird Week Season 4 ep06, Scenes from Paranormal Chicago Con: Me and Heidi Erickson report live from the Paranormal Chicago Conference, interviewing paranormal investigator (and conference host) Jack Chavez, tarot reader Coco La Bruja, author Dan Guzman, Dale Kaczmarek (Ghost Research Society) and Bob Anderson (Bob After Dark). Plus weird news, trivia answers from Miss Information, and we close with a track by our sound engineer, FlatlineAudio138, “Fatal Error.”
My latest books are:
Brady Street Pharmacy: Stories and Sketches (2021, Vegetarian Alcoholic Press)
American Madness: The Story of the Phantom Patriot and How Conspiracy Theories Hijacked American Consciousness (2020, Feral House)