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 Review The Night of the Gruesome Games
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  21:23:15  Show Profile

“There were also some stunts on horse back that I did, but I can’t remember those.”



It is to bad that Robert Conrad does not remember the great opening sequence perhaps one of the best of the series. The other elements of this show that I liked were:
1. Sherry Jackson who was in Vicious Valentine. I have been a fan of hers since Make Room for Daddy (remember I am older than dirt).
2. I love that cage and it was one of the few things that I liked about Simian Terror.
3. Artie is in three great disguises.
4. The many pictures of the clock showing not only the passing of time but the hiding place as well.

I am afraid that my recording is missing part of the beginning. It starts with Jim entering Lola’s room. If someone could tell me how he got there, I would appreciate the blank being filled out.

In many ways this is a remake of Tottering Tontine.
1. A character is apparently killed at the beginning of the episode only to reappears alive at the end.
2. The plot of the Tontine having the surviving member inherits all is the same as Ruffus leaving all his wealth to the survivors.
3. The setting is similar a large house that has many hidden tunnels.


In watching this episode, I realized it might have been really chilling. A few more deaths and a little more mystery of who was involved in the theft would have helped. It was inexplicable to me why all of a sudden Jim and Artie would have decided to tell Rufus who they were. What reason did they have to tell him? Ah! What might have been.

One more thing that fascinates me about this disappointing episode, is what Dr. Raker says to Jim.

Dr. Raker: I can’t believe you have the talent to kill in cold blood. However, you are a creature of surprises and contradictions West.

In Howling Light, a similar situation occurred. In that episode, Jim did shoot the gun at his unarmed adversary. So, I believe that West would have shot Dr. Raker.





Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2006 :  15:17:53  Show Profile
Hey couldron,
Great Review as always!

TNOT Gruesome Games is a pretty mixed bag. There are high points and low points, but from my recollecting I think I disliked this one because of its similarities to TNOT Tottering Tontine, which was a far superior episode. TNOT Tottering Tontine plot would be rehashed 3 times this season including TNOT Tycoons, TNO Bleak Island, and of course here. The difference here is that a plague would be unleashed to kill all survivors except for Mrs. Raker the gamekeeper. The big plot hole here is that the plague will also eliminate them as well as Rufus Kraus who they would get the money from (Whoops!)

The high points would have to be the teaser with RC on horseback! and the acting talent which included William Schallert (TNOT Bubbling Death and TNOT Winged Terror PTs 1&2) No doubt it was his acting skills and surviving the makeup job which allowed him to be Artie's replacement for the later (Even though I wish they stuck with Charles Aidman's Jeremy Pike), The beautiful Sherry Jackson (TNOT Vicious Valentine), Robert Ellenstein (TNOT Flaming Ghost, TNT Dr. Loveless Died, and TNOT Winged Terror pts 1&2), as well as Lee Kolima (Get Smart fame as the Craw's henchman Bobo. RC and RM are on top marks! However, TNOT Gruesome Games seems overpadded to cover up its plot holes.

Oh cauldron, if memory serves me correctly, Jim climbs into Lola's room to gain entrance into the hotel to examine Raker's body. Artie distracts the hotel maneger/bartender by almost causing a riot so that Jim can make his way up.

The low points, The plot has many holes in it. First Raker is dead and Jim and Artie don't even retrieve the body, instead they wait for it in this hotel. I find this a flaw because if the boys went after Raker's "dead" body, they would have relized he wasn't dead. Next, the games are still being played even as people are dying. These games are continued to be played for the sake of tension thus I feel its overpadded. The boys are trying to find the plague vile, but they can't give themselves away! True, Kraus is not the easiest people to talk to, but I think he would understand seeing how his life is also in danger. The biggest plot hole is that I think Dr. Raker would have known about the plague. I don't think he would be that dumb to use a plague to kill off others, that could very well harm he and his wife. Acting is great, but it can't save this Turkey!

3 out of 5 stars

Herr Ostropolyer

"Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush so early in the morning..." The gamekeeper sings on as time runs out in TNOT Gruesome Games!
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2006 :  19:44:03  Show Profile
couldron: I am afraid that my recording is missing part of the beginning. It starts with Jim entering Lola’s room. If someone could tell me how he got there, I would appreciate the blank being filled out.

Herr Ostropolyer: Oh cauldron, if memory serves me correctly, Jim climbs into Lola's room to gain entrance into the hotel to examine Raker's body. Artie distracts the hotel maneger/bartender by almost causing a riot so that Jim can make his way up.

Not quite. At that point in the story, Raker is still alive, kicking, and knife-throwing. But close: West climbs up the saloon/hotel's exterior, in search of Raker, whom Artie has already seen escorted inside. (Boy, did your local station take a hatchet to this episode. They must have lopped off at least a good seven minutes of Act I!)

Where was I? Oh, review of the episode.

+ for a thrilling teaser, capped by Conrad's terrific stunt on Hobby Horse. Those missles look like they just missed our heroes (man and horse).

for an Act I set-up—Raker's presumed death—that repeats the same cliché they gave us in "Dr. Loveless Died." (No Dr. Loveless didn't, and neither did Dr. Raker. They just hld their breath really well with yoga.)

+ for Jimmy George's nice plunge from the second-story exterior down to the hidden padding, from behind which Bob Conrad lit out (Act I).

For the umpteenth time: giving us villains so stupid that they don't know the chemical they've stolen will kill them, too. (See also Elisha Calamander in "The Turncoat.")

+ for the last of Jack Pleis's "happy music scores" for the series. This is a silly episode, so his music complements it perfectly. I especially like his cue for the freeze-frame that ends Act II.

for such a silly episode, which recycles "The Tottering Tontine" without its wit, style, more interesting eccentrics, and narrative logic. If the producers hadn't opted for buffoonery, this could have been a tense, exciting show. If Henry Sharp hadn't mucked up Jackson Gillis's script, we might have been clearer on just who the real villain is: Raker or Kraus. But the way the whole thing shakes out, Raker is an all but invisble idiot; Kraus, a dolt who can't be trusted even with his own birthday candles.

+ for any episode with Sherry Jackson. All she has to do is stand there, preferably in nothing more than a bath-towel. Oh, my.

for not telling the DP that he was supposed to photograph a lot more shots of Sherry, just standing there in her bath-towel.

+ for the one time in the series when a member of the American electorate—not a crazed assassin—expresses a candid political opinion ("Grant? Bah!")

for the one time in the series when virtualy the entire cast is brought to their knees with spooned eggs in their mouths.

+ for Bob Ellenstein, who plays crazy people really well. His weird, lopsided grin is the best and most demented snarl this side of Vice-President Cheney.

Helen Page Camp, who gives us one of the most grating, annoying characters in any episode of the series. Her games-mistress makes my skin crawl. In meaner moments I wish that, in the Act IV climax, West had pitched her the vial of plague virus, then thrown her in the furnace with it.

1/2. I know the math doesn't work out, but any show with Sherry in a bath–towel can't be all bad.
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SordoTheBandit
SS 1st assignment - desk job

467 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2006 :  14:51:54  Show Profile
All I'll say is this episode is bizarre, I guess that's why I've always liked it. I loved Sherry Jackson, I loved Ross Martin, I loved William Schallert, I loved the music done by Jack Pleis, I always liked that multi-sided clock with the elegant roman numerals. Well, talk about the proverbial "carrot-on-a-stick", that was the weirdest party I've ever seen - stick around long enough and all the rewards will be yours. It reminded me of a party thrown by any major politician running for office. It reminded me of today's corporations and all the downsizing and deception out there these days. If I didn't know better I'd say that all the top executives at Enron watched this episode as children. I can just hear Kenneth Lay, "When I grow up I'm going to be just like Dr. Raker." It makes you wonder if he is still alive....and used Yoga to slow down his breathing and....nah, probably not.

3.5 STARS 1/2

The Wild Wild West: "Escapist entertainment of the highest order."
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Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 10/01/2006 :  18:56:43  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
Hey Sordo, I got William Schallert's autograph (try going to the Shoreleave conventions that all the sci-fi geeks go to, yes, I'm one of them, but this year's was my first and my aunt & uncled dragged me to it )

anyway, the episode... Not extremely high on my list, but one of my original 25 episodes that I recorded before I ended up with bootlegs of almost the rest of the series for Christmas, thanks to my pop doing anything to make me happy

I just get a strange vibe when the vial is tossed int the furnace... yeah okay maybe the germs really died... but still... I don't know... but a better way to deal with deadly stuff than Turncoat which I actually like better...

I do love the part though where Charity has the rifle pointed at Gordon and congratulates him on his portrayal of her husband



~Red

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

467 Posts

Posted - 10/02/2006 :  20:53:34  Show Profile
Hello Redhead, my gosh, you're only 24! I feel so old, you could be my daughter! That's cool you got William Schallert's autograph, he was so great in Get Smart as well, I've always loved him. I'm glad there's younger people like you who love The Wild Wild West! I'm trying to get my nephew and niece to enjoy it.

The Wild Wild West: "Escapist entertainment of the highest order."
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soulburst
SS spy school graduate

60 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  13:58:13  Show Profile

Any episode were the Body guard is named 'NO FUN' gets a ten in my book
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Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 10/03/2006 :  20:16:09  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
Awesome Soulburst! The name of the guard always makes me ponder whether it is his real name (within the West universe) or if it was given to him, the play that it is on Asian names (yes, English major brain working overtime )

Haha thanks Sordo yeah, I'm only 24, can't make my BA in English work for me so I have my fingers crossed to get into grad school next fall (I want a MLIS Master's of Library Science)(yeah, I want to be a librarian)

Bill Schallert & Antoinette Bower were truely delightful to have an really quick moment with

Funny thing was that when I was a freshman I made fun of western anything, but 6:00am one monday morning that changed in only half an hour and half a show! Now my dad begs to watch an episode with me even though he didn't care for it as a kid, he likes it now & my mom will actually sit through an episode if I have one playing Just pop it in constantly around your nephew & niece

~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
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