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 The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 07/12/2003 :  16:40:48  Show Profile
The episode was produced by Fred Freiberger who was responsible for Deadly Bed. He would end up doing a total of ten episodes. According to Kesler his recipe was:
1. Have a gorgeous woman.
2. Have a strong adversary.
3. Have something bizarre
Bizarre is what we get with our first encounter with Loveless(Michael Dunn) and what an encounter it is.
In this episode we also meet Voltaire, Loveless right hand man and Antoinette, Loveless love interest. After watching this episode, I was impressed with Richard Kiel’s (Voltaire) performance. It is so well done that you may miss it. The pleading look he gives Loveless after he kills the guard is one of a child looking for approval. Antoinette, we discover, thinks of Loveless as both a child and a saint. Loveless is a strong adversary full of contradictions. He wants a world for children but at the same time he is willing to blow up those same children. He carefully removes a fly from his cup but without a blink kills a human. Loveless is shown as a master of defense something which is lost in later episode. This demented genius is able to attract all sorts of gorgeous women like Greta (Leslie Parrish) and Miss Piecemeal (Sigrid Valdis).
Another element Was to have a situation at the end of the second act that put either Jim or Arte in an impossible situation. Hence, Jim is dropped into a cage which only his charm on Greta gets him out of it.
Sadly, this is the only time that we have that wonderful coach with all the hidden gadgets. Perhaps because some of the results were less than perfect. I understand that instead of propelling the bad guy out of the carriage he fell back on Conrad. Too bad, I really liked that carriage.
It is no wonder that this episode was well received and led to other encounters with Miguelito. In Susan Kesler’s book she says that this is the only time that Loveless was sent to jail but I don’t think she is right. At the end of Terror Stalked the Town, Artie says that they are in jail with double guards. I would love to have a CD of Michael Dunn’s singing and the scene of their singing is well done. A lot goes on during that song. Loveless did indeed shake us up. My rating:


As for the treatment of Artie's character, we have a rating of

AdorableBlue
SS novice field agent

948 Posts

Posted - 07/14/2003 :  08:14:02  Show Profile  Visit AdorableBlue's Homepage
One of the eps I like most. Its interesting to see how Loveless and West got introduced to each other. Enjoyed Loveless and Antoinette's singing and yes, Mary, if only there was a CD with Loveless' songs! (There is/was a site where one can hear all of Loveless' songs, though.)

The carriage is unique but in this scene, I tend to find Artie very much like Q of 007 rather than West's partner. Definitely not the right chemistry for the WWW we now know.

West looked great in this eps (and all those dames....) but, duh! I don't like his pin-striped pants!!! (Where's that tight, blue pants!)



AdorableBlue
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2003 :  08:33:07  Show Profile
Even the title of this one was a cut above most others: "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth" (none of that clichéd "Deadly [Something] or [Other] Terror").

Mary has commented perceptively on the characterizations. She's right about all those wonderful contradictions that make this episode so entertaining. I would also add the contrast between the little man who prevails against three big bruisers in his personal gymnasium, and the wonderful yin/yang of mute giant and loquacious dwarf. I can understand why, professionally, Richard Kiel wanted out of that role. Still, when Voltaire departed, he took away with him something important.

Let us praise not only Kiel but also Phoebe Dorin and, of course, Michael Dunn. Think about it: In the hands of less skillful actors, all these could have been one-note performances or ridiculously awful. The fact is, every one is beautifully portrayed. Voltaire, tapping his toes and popping gumdrops. Antoinette, giving Loveless that quick, coquettish look of competition as she challenges him to keep up with her in their last chorus of "Bring Me a Little Water, Sylvie." (Think of how right Mike Garrison's decision was to hire Dorin as Loveless's singing partner, the dimension that gives the characters. When Antoinette departed, she too took with her something precious.) And Michael Dunn gives a virtuoso performance: artistocratic intelligence, blended with childish fury and steely madness. Think of the scenes where he threatens to pop his henchman's arteries or accuses West of killing five thousand people. He's mad as a hatter—yet Dunn's performance never makes us hate Loveless. "I've lived so long with pain I no longer feel it." John Kneubhul's words, but listen how Dunn delivers them.

Now let us praise the direction, the photography, the production, and the music. Why, oh why did Bernard Kowalski never return to direct another episode of the series? (Watch how beautifully the climax in the church is staged, right down to Loveless wimpering on the pendulum as though it were a rocking horse.) Admire the chiaroscuro with whichTed Voigtlander lit all those moody night scenes. Al Heschong's art design, including the set he told Sue Kesler he was proudest of, the clock tower. The terrific props, which served Kneubuhl's story but never overcame it. Drasnin's perfect score for strings, horns, muted trumpets—and Fender bass! This is an episode in which everyone was doing almost everything right.

What went wrong? The hero was board-stiff; the hero's partner, all but invisible. But this time I'll forgive both. This, after all, was West's first encounter with his nemesis. Forgive me, CoA members, but, given Kneubuhl's storyline, Artemus really didn't belong here. This was West vs. Loveless, mano a mano. Had the Lansbury formula been interpolated here—with Artie comically entering in Act IV—this episode's drama would have gone off the tracks. This episode doesn't belong to either Conrad or Martin. It belongs to Michael Dunn.

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K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2003 :  09:29:22  Show Profile
ccb has nailed it, as usual. Artemus was a waste in this episode and the interplay between him and Jim in the first act was awful. Ick. What was the weird line between Jim and Piecemeal?? I'm water or something? Somebody take pity on me and explain it! Clock tower scene was perfect.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2003 :  10:19:43  Show Profile
This is a good episode. Good but not great. Needless to say this is our (and Jim’s) introduction to Dr. Miguleito Q Loveless, by far the most popular villain of the entire series, perhaps one of the most popular villains in all of 1960’s television. People with only the most cursory knowledge of WWW remember Dr. Loveless. More often than not when I get into a conversation with someone and my interest in West is brought up I will hear: “Remember the little guy? What was his name?” The fact that Michael Dunn still leaves an impression on people’s minds, who never even watched the show, almost 30 years after his death is a testament to the man’s talent. Dr. Loveless is the catalyst that opens the anachronistic door and defines the rest of the series as a unique mix of Espionage- Adventure-Western-Jules Verne-Victorian-Science Fiction, a concept so original and so American we have seen nothing like it before or since. Because of these elements present the producers were wise to air this episode early in the series run.

The dual nature of Loveless, an evil genius with a childlike charm is summed up perfectly in the first scene of the teaser. Loveless’ mute henchman Voltaire brutally kills a watchman under the Dr’s approving and smiling eyes, he then comments that the man whistled so nicely. We are immediately plunged into the plot as Loveless introduces us to his first of many inventions, for the first outing it’s an explosive so powerful a mere bag full can destroy an entire city, a precursor perhaps to the atom bomb, as usual Loveless is ahead of his time. In the third act when he’s showing Jim around the lab he points out an automobile, airplane, and penicillin. The irony of Loveless’s character is clear, (as someone earlier pointed out) he wants to save the world for children but has no problem killing children if his demands are not met. He obviously has a vast network from Miss Piecemeal in the governor’s office, the armed guards surrounding his estate. From Greta to Antoinette all of the women are charmed by him (why not?) Although he would later set his sights on “the world” Loveless goals in the first episode are relatively modest, no mass hysteria, no shrinking or walking into paintings, just half of California. If he doesn’t get his way thousands will die everyday. It’s still pretty extreme.

This episode is a lot of fun but there’s one problem. Where’s Artie? Ross Martin is in this episode for less than ten minutes. Why? Who knows? For the past five episodes Artie proved himself to be a valuable member of the team. He was an integral part in stopping Vasquez, Avery, and Gen Ball in “Fatal Trap”, “Casual Killer”, and “Double Edged Knife” respectively, and (in what would become a series trademark) he creates a diversion that prevents Jim from being turned into a pancake in “Deadly Bed”. Suddenly, in “TNT Wizard Shook the Earth” he’s become some kind of vestigial arm of the Secret Service. With the exception of delivering the gadget filled carriage to Jim, Artie has nothing to do. The character is completely ignored. To make matters worse Jim is at his coldest. It’s almost impossible to believe that this is the same Jim West who discussed “bucketball” with Artie in that wonderful exchange from “TNOT Skulls”, impossible to envision the subtle wit and communication we see between Artie and Jim in the later years. Is this the same person with the grief stricken look in his eyes (perfectly captured in the commercial break art) when he believes Artie is dead in “TNOT Pistoleros”? Even in other West-centric episodes like “TNOT Druids Blood”, or “TNOT Eccentrics” there’s a friendship and respect between the two men. Not so here, Jim is curt, bossy, and quite frankly he’s just plain rude to Artie (again) in the tag.

The problem I have with this episode is the same as in other solo adventures for Jim like “TNOT Tycoons” and “TNO Bleak Island”: the character of Jim West doesn’t work very well alone. Without a counterbalance Jim West has a tendency to become just another secret agent automaton knocking out bad guys and smooching with the girls. Is it any wonder we can feel pathos for Loveless even though he is a mass murderer? At least he has passion.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that Robert Conrad is a poor actor who can only do stunts, (anyone who wants to tell me that I refer them to “TNOT Murderous Spring”) but for me what makes “West” is the yin and yang, two agents, both unique and expert in his field, approaching the case from different angles (a direct approach contrasted with a more subversive approach), then coming together to share theories and observations before creating a plan to stop whatever scheme is in the works. Jim is ice Artie is fire.

Wizard is a fine adventure, and this is, after all, only the sixth episode produced, the series was still far from finding its center (things finally get into the groove when Coon steps in). I think I agree with ccb that this is neither a Jim nor Artie episode, the stage belongs to Dunn and he makes it his show. So, I’m sure I sound very mixed up about this episode. I am. I think it has one of the best antagonists in all of television whetting out appetite for more, the music is fantastic we are introduced to the “Loveless theme” which sounds childish and evil at the same time, the commercial break art gives us a good mix (a shot of the carriage, the train, Loveless, and Jim, all locked up) of images. The carriage is a brilliant send-up of 007’s Aston Martin; I agree that it would have made a fine addition to the series perfectly complimenting the train.

It occurred to me while writing this that it’s interesting to look at the development of the Artemus character through the Loveless episodes. In the beginning he was not even part of the equation, then in “TN Terror Stalked the Town” he sees through Loveless’ faux West with no difficulty, keeps his cool, and discovers his hideout, “TNOT Whirring Death” Artie makes a substantial contribution and is definitely an equal (he even gets a romantic interest), by the time we get to “TNOT Murderous Spring” Loveless sees both men as antagonists he must deal with equally. Things continue this way until “TNOT Surreal McCoy” when Artie directly fools Loveless with a disguise for the first time. Over the years I’ve begun to think of “TN Dr. Loveless Died” as the opposite of “TNT Wizard Shook the Earth”. In that episode the entire Loveless saga is resolved to a point, Jim is the pawn, it’s Artie who makes all the connections and is able to outsmart Loveless and of course create a diversion to rescue Jim, this time from being turned into a vegetable.


Overall I think “TNT Wizard Shook the Earth” is better than fair. However, the best of Loveless is yet to come. I award it 2 1/2 prosthetic noses out of 4.


Mr. Phelps
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n/a
deleted

243 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2003 :  18:33:21  Show Profile
quote:
The problem I have with this episode is the same as in other solo adventures for Jim like “TNOT Tycoons” and “TNO Bleak Island”: the character of Jim West doesn’t work very well alone. Without a counterbalance Jim West has a tendency to become just another secret agent automaton knocking out bad guys and smooching with the girls.


Well said! So true.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2003 :  19:22:03  Show Profile
KMills: What was the weird line between Jim and Piecemeal?? I'm water or something? Somebody take pity on me and explain it!

MISS PIECEMEAL: Why don't you find me interesting?
WEST: Because you're 80% water.

Well, I've never thought that would secure anyone's entry in the quipster's hall of fame. In fact, I think our bodies are more than 80% water—but whatever possessed them to put those words in West's mouth is beyond me.

Clock tower scene was perfect.

Yup; t'was. West can't outfight Loveless; nor can he outbluff him. ("Oh, I for one am not afraid to die, Mr. West—not in the very least." You know he means it.) West has to outwit the little wizard. Move that chess piece here. Then he moves that there. Then—you've got him. Checkmate!
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anteffy
SS spy school graduate

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2003 :  20:09:35  Show Profile
[quote]Originally posted by ccb

KMills: What was the weird line between Jim and Piecemeal?? I'm water or something? Somebody take pity on me and explain it!

MISS PIECEMEAL: Why don't you find me interesting?
WEST: Because you're 80% water.

Well, I've never thought that would secure anyone's entry in the quipster's hall of fame. In fact, I think our bodies are more than 80% water—but whatever possessed them to put those words in West's mouth is beyond me.

Clock tower scene was perfect.

Yup; t'was. West can't outfight Loveless; nor can he outbluff him. ("Oh, I for one am not afraid to die, Mr. West—not in the very least." You know he means it.) West has to outwit the little wizard. Move that chess piece here. Then he moves that there. Then—you've got him. Checkmate!

I've watched that ep so many times hoping that lightning will strike and I'll suddenly understand what the heck he meant. Maybe we could ask Robert Conrad? If anyone would know, he would.



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Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 07/15/2003 :  21:42:52  Show Profile
I'd like to thank the reviewers for such informative and insightful comments. Its a real pleasure, and a learning experience, to read the reviews.



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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2003 :  05:03:05  Show Profile
Thank you everyone for being so honest. I thought I was alone! I could never figure out that “80% water” crack. I have literally spent hours of confusion, watching and re-watching that scene, watching the entire episode over and over, thinking that I must be missing something. It’s almost driven me quite mad. Hopefully, with all of our brains working together we can find the answer.

Mr. Phelps
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2003 :  08:01:53  Show Profile
I've watched that ep so many times hoping that lightning will strike and I'll suddenly understand what the heck he meant. Maybe we could ask Robert Conrad? If anyone would know, he would.

I wouldn't bank on that. It's been forty years ago, and the people who visit this site surely remember more about these episodes than even he does!

Maybe we're making this "80% water" business too complicated. Look at this way: Here is this curvaceous, drop-dead-gorgeous woman, wearing see-through lace with tassles dangling from her breasts, who makes a pass at a man already established as a ladykiller. He rejects her invitation by commenting on the only aspect of her anatomy that's boring. What could be duller than something that's 80% water?

A nice insult. No wonder she handed West over to the Loveless Reception Committee. To quote the Count: "If you can't beat 'em, kill 'em." (Stop drooling, Blue.)
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K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2003 :  11:02:20  Show Profile
BUT!!! Jim and Artie were droolling over her in the teaser so why is Jim all the sudden not interested?!! Did Madonna steal the tassle idea from W3?? I always wondered. Maybe Jim realized she had silicone implants.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2003 :  12:11:03  Show Profile
BUT!!! Jim and Artie were droolling over her in the teaser so why is Jim all the sudden not interested?!!

K: Methinks you are confusing Piecemeal episodes. The agents drool (after the Act I titles, not in the teaser) of "The Night of the Torture Chamber."

Did Madonna steal the tassle idea from W3?? I always wondered.[/i]

I doubt that Madonna's taste is good enough to be an aficianado of Our Favourite Series. Anyway, I never miss an opportrunity to ogle other guest stars whom they poured into that particular gown. (See also Yvonne Craig in the tag for "The Night of the Grand Emir.")

Maybe Jim realized she had silicone implants.[/i]

Hmm. And just how would he verify that?
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2003 :  13:54:23  Show Profile
I doubt that Madonna's taste is good enough to be an aficianado of Our Favourite Series.

LOL

That’s as good an insult as 80% water
(I agree)
Very good insight on Jim’s comment ccb, it makes sense to me so I’ll go with that.

Mr. Phelps
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AdorableBlue
SS novice field agent

948 Posts

Posted - 07/16/2003 :  21:07:23  Show Profile  Visit AdorableBlue's Homepage
quote:
Maybe we're making this "80% water" business too complicated. Look at this way: Here is this curvaceous, drop-dead-gorgeous woman, wearing see-through lace with tassles dangling from her breasts, who makes a pass at a man already established as a ladykiller. He rejects her invitation by commenting on the only aspect of her anatomy that's boring. What could be duller than something that's 80% water?
I do wonder why he didn't get interested. Perhaps he's indeed one who loves to do his own *shopping* (as confessed in TNOT Valentine) and not to be "shopped" nor "offered" (to chase not to be chased?) Gosh! With these blurried, drooolllied remarks, I hope you guys understood what I meant!

quote:
(Stop drooling, Blue.)
How could Blue stop when she has not got over what's here and someone else is dangling some handcuffs over James West elsewhere? and......some chains????

AdorableBlue
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n/a
deleted

101 Posts

Posted - 07/17/2003 :  17:57:51  Show Profile
what interesting observations! I'm going to have to re-watch this one before I might be able to speak intelligently about it though!

"Things Artemus, are not always what they appear to be."
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beerbad
SS novice field agent

759 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2003 :  12:56:21  Show Profile
Coming in late, as I always do, it is difficult to follow ccb and Mr. Phelps whose writings are detailed and excellent, but try we must.
Couldron also is putting in yeoman service, starting these off.
It occured to me that first episodes, like first impressions, are indelibly etched in our minds. I think it would be near impossible to equal or top Loveless' first appearance. Murderous Spring might be an exception (right, Spring?), but Wizard is great.
Now, there is always something I missed and I guess I'll have to watch it again to see the poor interaction between Jim and Artie.
The comment about 1960's villains and Loveless being at the top was just what I was thinking, but that got me to thinking who is #2?
I'm going to give it to Frank Gorshin as the Riddler on Batman. Anybody agree or is Batman too silly for my brainy WWW fellow fans?
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n/a
deleted

243 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2003 :  18:29:52  Show Profile
Yup, Gorshin was the baddest of the Batman bad guys! I cannot think of other candidates for #2. Most of the other series I watch are comedies so there's no one to compete with Loveless. I suspect there are very few candidates though.
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K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2003 :  21:03:19  Show Profile
Khan aka Vautrain aka Ricardo Montalban was right there with Loveless. He was bad for all the right reasons. Oh, still my heart. I'm a fan of the Riddler too, though.

"I've got a chrome-plated heart."
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beerbad
SS novice field agent

759 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  08:59:30  Show Profile
I did think of the Klingons from Star Trek this week and how aboutJonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows? He was the star of the show but seemed villainous to me. Do women really like Barnabas? He's certainly no Robert Conrad.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  11:03:56  Show Profile
Gorshin is a good choice, so is Ricardo Montalban as Khan. Both very memorable. A lot of people remember those two especially the latter since Khan returned in a major motion picture. Burgess Meredith was also a lot of fun as the Penguin. I’m also a fan of Get Smart, seems that Bernie Koppel as Zeigfried is also well remembered. (but that may not count since it’s a sitcom)

Mr. Phelps
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n/a
deleted

243 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  18:42:27  Show Profile
quote:
Do women really like Barnabas? He's certainly no Robert Conrad.

He's no Ross Martin either... Right, Redhead?
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