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 Review The Night of the Pistolaros
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 07/02/2006 :  18:17:05  Show Profile

To translate it means the night of the gangsters. In one way this is an eerie episode, as it reflects situations that are going on today. A chill went down my back as I heard of the gang being called a terrorist group.

It also occurred to me that this was a revisit of The Night of the Big Bang with Artie and Jim’s roles being reversed. Artie’s apparent death and Jim looking for answers as to why. Again the series uses the concept of doppelgangers and as in other episodes comes off rather nicely. You would think that as many time as they used this theme that one of the episodes would be a dude but I think that they are the more interesting episodes of the series.

This is the only episode that mentions Artie being in the army and the rank of sergeant. Artie’s disguise is brief but important. I love that outfit.

The one question that is a puzzle is why did they keep Artie alive?

This I believe that we have the last of costume malfunction.

This episode is one of the best not only of the season but of the series even though it tends to be very western. Oh and it probably has the best Robert Conrad smile.

out of five

Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2006 :  11:07:26  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
I still remember the first time I watched this episode. It was my sophmore year in college and I was living with my grandmother. It was a monday morning and my dad had dropped me off at her house bright and early in the morning (6am) (I went home for the weekends to work). Wide awake and with another WWW episode on my recorded VHS, I popped it into her VCR, turned the sound down low so I wouldn't wake Granny. By this time I wasn't as gullible as when I saw my first few episodes of www. My heart nearly broke after they shot Artie's double and watched Jim's expressions and actions. I too wondered why they kept Artie alive when the real Alvin Murray was killed. I supposed it was because they though that maybe they could get some information out of Artie if their plans hit a snag.

"Thanks, Artie.
"Thanks Artie? Here I am, risen from the dead like Lazerus and that's all you can say, thanks Artie?"
"Thanks Artie"
"You're Welcome."



~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
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Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2006 :  15:42:17  Show Profile
Hey All,

Excellent reviews as always! I think it's quite ironic that TNOT Pistoleros was posted a day before the anniversary of the passing of one of tv's greatest character actors. I've been enjoying the new DVD set, however there is a sadness in my heart that we do not have Ross Martin here to experience the ever increasing popularity in the series (Amazon #1). Sue Kessler's "Wild Wild West: The Series" is extremely wonderful to get some insight behind Mr. Martin. He was going to be a lawyer before he became an actor, He spoke at least 5 languages, he could play the violin, He was a master of accents, he was also very witty as well as a poet, and he developed the idea of what his disguises should look like. Robert Conrad's commentary proves that he is quite proud of the work that he contributed to this wonderful series, and I'm sure that we would all have loved to know how Mr. Martin felt. I'm sure like his co-star, he would have nothing short of admiration and disbelief for the share increase of popularity over a show that allowed him to flex his acting muscles. Mr. Martin we miss you, and you were truly one of the best!

Now back to the episode review. TNOT Pistoleros was the crown jewel of the lackluster Season 4. True, it uses the doppelganger cliche, but it is nothing short of spectacular here. RM and RC are top notch. I will never forget the intensity in RC's eyes when he looks upon "Artie's" dead body. For those doubters out there that feel that RC was nothing more than a well payed wooden actor/stuntman, this scene alone should disprove that theory. These men are more than partners, they are brothers and RC sends that message home with that intense glare. There were no major guest stars to bog down the plot, thus giving us one of the most realistic episodes not only this season, but through the entire season. IMHO the 3rd and 4th seasons, though very Western aimed to bring the plots down to earth, and every episode should have been like this one! I love TNOT Pistoleros so much that when I watch the 4th season in production order, I purposely skip over TNOT Pistoleroes and play it after TNOT Diva in order to get that one last excellent adventure before the lackluster remaining episodes TNOT Cossacks and TNOT Plague.

5 stars out of 5 (Very rare this season.)

Herr Ostropolyer

Instead of the usual episode quote, I ask that you take a moment of silence for Ross Martin, the greatest character actor the world has ever known!
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chicaoeste
SS 1st assignment - desk job

151 Posts

Posted - 07/03/2006 :  16:14:16  Show Profile
Couldron said: " This episode is one of the best not only of the season but of the series even though it tends to be very western. Oh and it probably has the best Robert Conrad smile".

and
quote:
Originally posted by Herr Ostropolyer

Hey All,

Excellent reviews as always! I think it's quite ironic that TNOT Pistoleros was posted a day before the anniversary of the passing of one of tv's greatest character actors. I'm sure like his co-star, he would have nothing short of admiration and disbelief for the share increase of popularity over a show that allowed him to flex his acting muscles. Mr. Martin we miss you, and you were truly one of the best!

Now back to the episode review. TNOT Pistoleros was the crown jewel of the lackluster Season 4. True, it uses the doppelganger cliche, but it is nothing short of spectacular here. RM and RC are top notch. I will never forget the intensity in RC's eyes when he looks upon "Artie's" dead body. I ask that you take a moment of silence for Ross Martin, the greatest character actor the world has ever known!



Reading all these reviews of TNOT Pistoleros I want to see that episode right now. It made me cry just to read it. But, I have to wait for DVD of Season 4. Not only Robert Conrad is very handsome, but he's a great actor. From the beginning he made James West one of the most wonderful characters of TV and with Ross Martin they created a winning combination. Just hope we have all the Seasons very, very soon.
I'm now watching Disc 6 ep TNOT Puppeteer. Only 8 eps left to finish this wonderful season.


Vivian


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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/05/2006 :  21:30:15  Show Profile
One of the things our friends new to this board should learn early on is that this is a civil site, on which good friends agree to disagree, respectfully, when the spirit so moves. Right now, the spirit is so moving me.

From my armchair at home, "The Pistoleros" is good but not great West. I agree with others that it's one of the highlights of what many of us consider the least of the series' four seasons. Nevertheless, taking the series as a whole—and being reminded afresh of just how wonderful its first season was—I can't in conscience give full marks to this episode. This is no "Puppeteer" or "Murderous Spring."

In part that's because—as couldron points out—we've seen it before, and I think more stylishly, in the second season's second production. (Mary, I assume you don't fully subscribe to "The Big Blast Theory"!) In fact, if you're counting döppelgangers and start with "The Terror Stalked the Town" (1965), "The Pistoleros" makes at least the third rendition of a tired cliché of which once was arguably enough.

Another thing that annoys me about this show is that it seems to have been rushed through production before all the kinks were worked out of it. For example, the fourth act strongly suggests that Lt. Murray was murdered by Galiano's thugs after his double had successfuly infiltrated the fort. Makes sense. But if you accept that, then you're left wondering why they didn't do the same to Col. Roper, who, unlike Mr. Gordon, isn't expected to return next week. You'll notice that the photographer was also treated none too gently. Another example of careless inconsistency: After saving the real colonel's life, West is asked by the severly wounded Roper to return to the fort with his orders not to provoke a border war (Act III). But, by the time West makes it back to the fort in Act IV, the phony colonel—whom West, of course, accepts as the real one—has beat him back there, and both have evidently forgotten the orders West was asked to transmit on the colonel's behalf. Confused? So am I. Either Dennis and Barret never worked out the snag in their own script, or something fell out in cutting the film together because the show was running long, or . . . well, you think up a reason. (Speaking of things that don't match up: this show's tag was obviously filmed months after the rest of it, as attested by Ross Martin's lost weight, and both of the leads' new hairdos; but for obvious reasons I'll forgive that.)

All this doesn't make "The Pistoleros" a bad show. Not at all. It features fine character actors like Ed Binns (Roper), Richard O'Brien (Tobin), and Nate Esformes (Sanchez; last seen as "Perrico" in "The Night of the Assassin"). Like "The Firebrand" and "The Arrow"—but with a better script—this is one of the series' few cavalry episodes; although a very western West—more so than my taste appreciates—the show has enough twists of international intrigue to make it fun. The music cues lifted from Markowitz's "Jack O'Diamonds" score are great; those from Johnny Parker's "Spanish Curse" are mercifully few. Like "Doomsday Formula"'s Shenandoahs, I love the little touches that flesh out West's wartime background ever so slightly: the insignficant details about which Tobin quizes West, as proof that Jim is the real McCoy.

The slaying of "Artemus" is startling and Conrad's reaction is well done, as is his stoicism at the burial. Again, however, I can remember when this scene was much more powerfully rendered: see Act II of "The Murderous Spring," where, in his madness, West is convinced that he has murdered his own partner.

I have a theory why this show may be so popular, in spite of its flaws. I throw this out merely to generate conversation among friends. Although we're watching a make-believe death—in more ways than one—of a figure we've grown to care about, at least some of us remember that it was filmed around the time that we almost lost Ross Martin in 1968. In that sense, we're watching a fiction that's all too awfully true to real life—and that strikes an intensely sympathetic chord. In that connection, I'll acknowledge Bruce Lansbury's and CBS's utterly responsible decision to hold back this episode, after its production probably in June '68 (the fourth in this season), for broadcast as #19 (on 02/21/69). To run a show whose centerpiece was the (seeming) death of Artemus Gordon while Ross Martin was recovering from a massive heart–attack would have been unconscionable. To their credit, the producers and network realized this and didn't run it immediately. In fact, if Ross Martin had not survived that coronary, it's an interesting question whether we would ever have seen "The Pistoleros" at all.

Top of the line West? Not for me. A good hour's entertainment, quite apart from the actual threat to life running through my mind as I watch it? Sure.

1/2

P.S.: In the original trailer for this episode, before leaving the graveside, I can verify that West snaps down his salute and, at ease, says, "I'll see you later, Artie."

This (a) should or (b) should not have been kept in the episode as finally broadcast. Discuss.
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6517 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  20:13:12  Show Profile
I never saw this episode until the mid-to-late 90's when TNT got the show. My local LA station Channel 9 never showed Fatal Trap, Jack O' Diamonds, or Pistoleros for some reason. I kind of liked Pistoleros for all the action and Jim's reaction to Artie being killed, but altogether, still too Western for me compared to all the SPY episodes I love the most.
out of 5
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6517 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  21:00:11  Show Profile
Just remembered---La's Channel 9 never showed Night of the Returning Dead either from Season 2. I guess they only got a 100 episode contract instead of 104 for multiple years. So they scrapped one of each of the 4 years. I'll never understand corporate syndication business!!!
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 07/06/2006 :  23:47:57  Show Profile
cb as usual you are very thought provoking and puzzling.

quote:
(Mary, I assume you don't fully subscribe to "The Big Blast Theory"!)




Sometimes I am very dense but I don’t understand what theory you are referring too?

quote:
the phony colonel—whom West, of course, accepts as the real one—has beat him back there,


Yeah I must admit that was jarring but I enjoy the episode so much that I forgive it.


quote:
The music cues lifted from Markowitz's "Jack O'Diamonds" score are great; those from Johnny Parker's "Spanish Curse" are mercifully few.


You really are getting me to pay attention because I did notice this something I wouldn’t have before




quote:
. Like "Doomsday Formula’s Shenandoah’s, I love the little touches that flesh out West's wartime background


You have expressed my feeling exactly. We learn very little about Artie this is one of the few episodes that have a past for him.

quote:
I have a theory why this show may be so popular, in spite of its flaws. I throw this out merely to generate conversation among friends. Although we're watching a make-believe death—in more ways than one—of a figure we've grown to care about, at least some of us remember that it was filmed around the time that we almost lost Ross Martin in 1968.


I never thought about it before but I really didn’t know the time sequence. Since I saw the series in the original run, I wasn’t even aware of what had happened to Ross Martin only that he was gone from some of the episodes. My reasoning for the episode being popular is for what you said above that it has many little touches that flesh out the characters not only their past but also their friendship.

quote:
P.S.: In the original trailer for this episode, before leaving the graveside, I can verify that West snaps down his salute and, at ease, says, "I'll see you later, Artie."

This (a) should or (b) should not have been kept in the episode as finally broadcast. Discuss.


At first I thought, leave it in but then I thought it takes away from the loss of Artie. I remember trying to figure the plot out and What I thought was that it was a plan between Jim and Artie. If he had said that, I would have been totally convinced of my wrong plot idea. As it was, I realized that Artie was not supposed to be alive. I know, I know, they wouldn’t kill him off but I never considered a double even though it was well set up for it.


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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2006 :  09:53:41  Show Profile
couldron: cb as usual you are very thought provoking and puzzling.

(a) Thank you, and (b) I apologize. I don't mean to puzzle, except when I'm wearing my quiz cap.

. . . I don’t understand what theory you are referring too?

I was trying to make a cute joke, which only muddled things more. Your review referred to "The Night of the Big Bang," not the "Big Blast." There's a physicist's theory that popularly goes by the name of "Big Bang."

You really are getting me to pay attention because I did notice this [music] something I wouldn’t have before

In general, Markowitz's cues can be heard at the very beginning and the very end of the teaser, and in the opening of scenes at the fort, their later encampment, and West's jailbreak. Most though not all of the Mexican cues are Parker's.

. . . What I thought was that it was a plan between Jim and Artie. If he had said that, I would have been totally convinced of my wrong plot idea.

Had the line stayed in, I'm not so sure you would have abnadoned your phony plot idea. In the trailer Conrad (in medium close-up) delivers that line very straight and very softly, to no character in particular. It's an aside only the audience hears.

Maybe the producers thought that the main point had been made and the silent approach more in keeping with West's character, who—to the best of my memory—never made a serious comment in any episode that expressed anything approaching a religious belief, even less one about the afterlife.
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doombuggy
Secret Service recruit

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 07/07/2006 :  21:08:11  Show Profile
Hello newbie here to reply to Dieter Epping: As someone who grew up in LA in the early 70s and watched WWW on KHJ 9, I can honestly say that TNOT RETURNING DEAD did indeed play on that station quite often over the years. I still have my copy on tape from 1982. But you are correct that TNOT PISTOLEROS, FATAL TRAP AND JACK O DIAMONDS did not run on KHJ 9----at least until 1986. My dad introduced me to Jim and Artie in the Fall of 74 when I was 10 years old. KHJ 9 brought the show back after a year and half hiatus. It was on every Saturday and Sunday at 5PM, competing with STAR TREK on channel 5 KTLA. Throughout the 70's those 3 episodes were missing in action from the KHJ syndie package. In the TV guide listings I also noticed WWW running on KEYT 3 in Santa Barbara, but I could not get that station. I enjoyed reading the synopsis of each episode before I ever saw them on channel 9! Then one day I noticed the descriptions of those 3 "lost" KHJ shows running on KEYT 3. I kept waiting for KHJ to run them, but they never did. Back note here, KHJ picked up WWW in the fall of 1970 and ran those same 101 episodes over and over until they finaly wore out the package in 1982. The show made a return to the 11:30PM slot in 1986 with semi new Viacom 16mm prints. SOme were so beat up that they were lacking color! I remember TNOT DEATH MAKER had such poor color that it almost looked B/W. The best part of the 1986 return to KHJ was FINALLY they were able to aquire TNOT FATAL TRAP, JACK O DIAMONDS AND PISTOLEROS! I was so amazed to finally see a "new" episode. KHJ 9 had great success with the show in 1986, running it against Carson, and later Letterman in the late night hours. WWW came to an end on LA television on KHJ in 1990. KHJ was sold to Disney and became KCAL 9 (yawn!) WWW didn't return to LA TV until KDOC ran it briefly in the early/late 90's. KDOC was much nicer running them uncut, as opposed to KHJ, which often chopped 6-7 minutes out of each episode for precious commercial time.

I still have many of those taped shows from KHJ, and even though they are cut up 16mm prints, they still bring back fond memories of watching the show with my dad.

On a side note, the print of the pilot episode TNOT INFERNO that KHJ 9 ran, did include the rare WILD WEST commercial titles, and without the extra WILD. However, for some reason the opening credits were from the later B/W shows. Fortunately this is one eppie I retained on tape, and it matches what is on the new DVD as the bonus material.

Any other LA fans that watched the show on KHJ have any good memories?

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SordoTheBandit
SS novice field agent

554 Posts

Posted - 07/08/2006 :  09:38:31  Show Profile
Ahhh....the 4th season, Mr. West's unkept hair, the continued disappearance and reappearance of Artemus Gordon, that tired old white staircase set used over and over in the previous seasons and despite its constant minor decor changes, is still recognizable, and the strange music composed for various scenes in certain episodes that was out of character for the show. All in all, I loved the 4th season but....

TNOT Pistoleros....Hmmm, I don't know. Where's Sordo? I guess I should have liked this episode more. Like TNOT Jack O' Diamonds, it was outdoors, it was action and adventure, it had explosions, it even had borrowed music from Jack O' Diamonds, I even found myself looking for El Sordo to appear in various scenes, although he never did. I felt it dragged its feet at times and I caught myself thinking of the laundry and bills instead of being totally involved in the episode which is what The Wild Wild West is all about to me. Although the plot was interesting at times, it has never been one of my favorites. If I had to entertain a visiting Martian on this planet and introduce him to our earthly culture, I wouldn't choose this episode to impress him.

3 STARS (One for the show and two for the music)

The Wild Wild West: "Escapist entertainment of the highest order."
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6517 Posts

Posted - 07/10/2006 :  14:26:15  Show Profile
Welcome Doombuggy and thanks for the correction!! Now that you mentioned it I guess KHJ did have Returning Dead. And I have all 11:30 PM episodes on tape from the late eighties also. I did see the missing 3 episodes from KDOC also because a lady I met taped all those for me and mailed them every month or so as they went on. They were full-uncut episodes as you said. But I still like watching some of those beat-up KHJ episodes still just to compare to KDOC and TNT. And it is so fascinating to see 20 year-old commercials now isn't it!! I'm glad you saw all this also. KHJ was a better station than KCAL is now. Remember KHJ also had the Avengers and I Spy also. I Spy was on at 12:30 AM after WWW for quite a while during the late 80's.
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2006 :  22:54:26  Show Profile
quote:
I was trying to make a cute joke, which only muddled things more. Your review referred to "The Night of the Big Bang," not the "Big Blast." There's a physicist's theory that popularly goes by the name of "Big Bang."


Oh MY OH my

I din't realize I did that and your joke was cute I would have gotten it if I hadn't of been so thick
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CharlieTobin
SS spy school graduate

USA
95 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2006 :  06:32:38  Show Profile
Like many have said, it's a good episode, albeit with a bit of deja vu.

But, I must toss my hat in for this one, since I was in this episode...although I was killed. Props to Richard O'Brien for portraying me so well on the small screen.



"Eyes aren't enough these days!"
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