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 TNOT Viewings Notes - season 1
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DaveWest
Secret Service recruit

France
13 Posts

Posted - 09/19/2016 :  14:09:40  Show Profile
Hey guys,

Currently watching the series again, in production order. I will be posting here some notes as I go on, in order.

Pilot - TNOT Inferno

I notice that this line has been debated a bit on this board, with some thinking it might relate to past missions :

"We're taking you out of the capital in the grand manner to which you have become accustomed"

However I think it can be explained simply by watching closely the teaser: West is being bought to meet President Grant in the Wanderer, though it looks dressed differently from the outside. He exit with the handcuffs on, from the same back of the wagon we see in other episodes. Or am I mistaken?

Desert Roger
SS novice field agent

4349 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2016 :  16:32:08  Show Profile  Visit Desert Roger's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by DaveWest

Hey guys,

Currently watching the series again, in production order. I will be posting here some notes as I go on, in order.

Pilot - TNOT Inferno

I notice that this line has been debated a bit on this board, with some thinking it might relate to past missions :

"We're taking you out of the capital in the grand manner to which you have become accustomed"

However I think it can be explained simply by watching closely the teaser: West is being bought to meet President Grant in the Wanderer, though it looks dressed differently from the outside. He exit with the handcuffs on, from the same back of the wagon we see in other episodes. Or am I mistaken?



Welcome to our happy happy circle, Mister DaveWest.

Roger
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California gal
SS senior field agent

USA
8377 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2016 :  15:21:53  Show Profile
That's certainly a plausible explanation, DaveWest. I've always thought that Jim worked for the government in some capacity and maybe used the train at times, rather than full time. But it's entirely possible that the line referred to his rowdy return to Washington! The show certainly left a lot open to interpretation, didn't it?

James: Thanks, Artie.
Artemus: "Thanks Artie"! Is that all you can say to me? I've just come back from the grave, risen like Lazarus, and that's what you say? "Thanks, Artie"?
James: Thanks, Artie.
Artemus: It's a pleasure.
- TNOT Pistoleros
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DaveWest
Secret Service recruit

France
13 Posts

Posted - 09/21/2016 :  23:48:51  Show Profile
Good morning Californial Gal! Hi DesertRoger!

I'm also trying to sort out some bugs in the pilot, like the switch in clothes from West between act 1 & 2. My guess is this: the briefing which isn't in the script, and the following meeting in the train between Jim & Artie, are reshoots by Richard Donner.

I also think the final climax between West & Juan Manolo aka Wing Fat is a reshoot. Can't remember who here says the pilot was doctored by Donner, those are to me the obvious cases. The angles especially, are very reminiscent of Donner's work on Murderous Spring. The visual style changes in those two places, also I think the cell escape might also be a reshoot.

Also note how those sequences were used in the trailer (bonus on the DVD). Those are the best scenes in the pilot.

Conrad remembers they were two versions. I don't think the sightly longer cut that runs around on old VHS is what he was thinking. My take is that Inferno was originaly cut together, and was probably 1h10mn long (thus : 90mn on TV with commercials), then reshuffled by Donner in the editing room. The VHS is probably a sightly unfinished version of the Donner re-edit. I would love to ask Donner about it, but it's 51 years ago! Time flies!
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6499 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2016 :  10:26:29  Show Profile
You sure there isn't a mix up of Richard's for director of Inferno? It was Richard Sarafian who directed the pilot. Not Richard Donner. He only directed Bars of Hell and Murderous Spring in Season 1.
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DaveWest
Secret Service recruit

France
13 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2016 :  11:37:07  Show Profile
The pilot was "fixed" after the initial cut, as many pilots are. Donner re-edited it uncredited, and I think some parts were reshot. Another poster here talked about it, check out the inferno threads.

ACT2 is interesting, it introduces one of the prime elements of WWW, the opulent house (represented by the same set in all episodes). The talking parrot (how many appears throughout the series?), and the seductive woman who suddenly produces a weapon and threaten our hero, the very sign of Michael Garrison pure hatred to the females species, which he delighted putting out there on the screen!

In ACT3, I think Col. Shear apparence is a reshoot / additional shoot too. Notice how the scene could work with Shear excised. Funnily, he's not in the original script there either.

Also the guy who is watching both West and Shear is clearly a set up for later when he as Shear killed, added after (notice how he isn't watching when West & Gordon talk, which was the original shoot)

Gordon is way out of character, he's acting like he wouldn't be here. It started in act 1 when he was saying he wanting to quit the mission, damn orders. I think at this point, that's the idea they had of the character, to make him act like a regular guy, instead of the partner he was from the next episode on. The funny guy who would prefer to be somewhere else.

Act 3 has the first instance of Robert Conrad not using a double, when he jumps and grabs the ceiling to pass over the snakes. Nothing to scream about it, but nonetheless, the first sign this cow-boy is of a different breed by his physical capabilities. It also introduces sliding walls, one of the trademarks of the series. I smell a bit of a Disney Zorro influence here. I think in general, the Zorro series style is very reminiscent of W3.

West can be seen smoking. My guess is this was due to advertisers. At the time, ads for cigarettes were on TV. The way he roughs up the lady is out of the character we will know later, but it's funny picturing Garrison having a blast at it, particulary the kick!

ACT4 I think the whole torture scene is a reshoot. It includes Shears (President Grant assistant) having been killed, and this wasn't in the script either. Also look at the angles. They're very close and twisted, Murderous Spring style. I say it's another of the Richard Donner reshoots. The reshoot stops when it fades to the talk at the table, which was in the original script (the act started there in the script, with West already roughed up, the event having happened during the commercial break, offscreen)

We also have there our first shot fight without stunt double, as West escapes the cell. Short, but awesome.

The climax in the train at first is classically shot.
Once Manolo is killed, there's a change in West hair, however (it's shorter) and the shots are back to the Donner style. When West unmasks him, I say it's a reshoot too. Same thing as before, the scene isn't in the original script. I just noticed, the dissolve of Manolo's face to the drawing isn't on the DVD. It just fades to black.

Act 5 is the tag. West kissed the girl for the first time. Nuff said!

Overall, I think the additional footage really enhance an otherwise interesting but mild debut, making it leap from 3 stars to 4 stars. It's very noticieable because it suddenly jolts the episode to greather heights. Sarafian mostly uses large and medium shots. Donner enjoy close-ups or thighter shots with weird angles.

This episode drags in some places, but It has enough aplomb to stand as the series debut I hope you can watch it with different eyes now with my notes !.

To sum it up, I think all the scenes with Shears are additional shoots as his West being roughed up and his gadgets taken out. The death of Manolo (the dialogue exchange once he is down and the unmasking) is an additional too. I'm not sure the first scene on the train between West & Gordon is a reshoot anymore, but West dressing up and getting the guns may be. Why because he's under jacket clothing doesn't match from when he says goodbye to Gordon just a second before. Or maybe he was undone on purpose so that he can switch clothes faster for the take.

NOT INFERNO ****
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6499 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2016 :  22:34:50  Show Profile
That's interesting to hear. I never heard anything about Richard Donner re-doing scenes of the pilot. However, I do have the original unaired pilot of Inferno on vhs and dvd with original different opening of The Wild West. It is an extended episode, with cut out scenes not included in TV reruns or the official releases people can buy now. There is a complete bumper freeze for the 4th frame when Manolo dies with music score like all the rest. It doesn't fade to black on the unaired pilot.

Well I'll have to break that out to watch for all the things you pointed out. There seem to be numerous things I haven't noticed before....
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DaveWest
Secret Service recruit

France
13 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2016 :  11:03:53  Show Profile
Been spending the day thinking of the pilot, before going to Double Edged-Knife.

I think it was originally shot as the script we have here on this board.

Then, the additions I mention were added, resulting in the "extended" version.

I think the food fight was shot, but replaced with the current shooting the champagne corks scene. (this could explain Conrad confusion about this scene in the commentary). Notice how West is way cooler and at ease during this scene, than the ones around. From the moment he throws his hat away, he's totally confident, whereas Conrad acts clearly shaky, "newbie" in the scene before (when Buono is around, ie original shoot)

Then, the network probably asked for a shorter version (50mn long), as the Donner additions may have added too much to the running time.

I think the extended VHS version is either, the full version of the pilot, or a MOR version before it was cut further. Probably it was the full version before the one we know.

The food fight is probably in the archives somewhere. I'm wondering if the smoking scene, which is set in the same set, is also a reshoot. I find Conrad to be really at ease there too.
The kicking the woman scene is not the script, so these might be reshoots too. That's why in Conrad's mind, Suzanne Pleshette is in the "extended" version. Since he reshot scenes with her, 40 years later, he thought she wasn't in the original version. (time does this to you, especially when you have a very full schedule of shoots in life. I mean the guy must have shot like 350 or 400 shows counting his guest appearances)

Dieter I can't use the MP as I don't have enough post count. Could you point me to the full version of the pilot online rip you have via MP? I'm sure I can receive MPs, just can't answer yet.
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6499 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2016 :  15:43:04  Show Profile
I'm not sure about that. I only have the long original version of Inferno on The Wild West Pilot episode sent to me on dvd and vhs. It also includes episodes Night of the Double-Edged Knife and Night of a Thousand Eyes as originally broadcast on CBS in 1965 with the original commercials shown then. Bumpers and ads from then are fascinating to see. It's like you are brought back in a time Tunnel back to then. Great quality too.
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SordoTheBandit
SS 1st assignment - desk job

469 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2016 :  15:13:41  Show Profile
Hello DaveWest and welcome.
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DaveWest
Secret Service recruit

France
13 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2016 :  23:25:17  Show Profile
Thanks, oh so I get the PM do not work lol.
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DaveWest
Secret Service recruit

France
13 Posts

Posted - 09/27/2016 :  07:40:02  Show Profile
EP 2 TNOT DOUBLE EDGED KNIFE

Collier Young begins his short lived stint as producer.

Some people here have noticed it plays like a second pilot. It is. Tons of names, Nielsen, Barrymore, the guy who gets gun-downed in Shane... Tons of expensive train footage... It's clearly another try as establishing the series tone and direction. You can call it Pilot #2.

It's very clear because it's totally made as a reaction to INFERNO. Inferno was all claustrophobic. Here we are treated to tons of outdoors scenes (some badly made in the studio). Inferno was wacky, played straight, this is a classic western played for laughs.

Was it shot entirely in color? It seems some location shots from this episode creep up on the later color seasons as stock footage.

Weirdly, They duplicate the stripped out of the gadgets scene from Inferno. But thinking about it, I'm wondering if this show wasn't done BEFORE the Inferno reshoots (before the stripped out of gadgets scene was added, as it wasn't in the original script and thus in the original Inferno shoot). So the Inferno scene could actually have been inspired by this one.

The more I think about it, the more I'm certain this is the case. When they retooled Inferno with Donner directing the extra scenes, they must have had the idea of taking this strip scene, and remaking it into the pilot, and burying this episode way further down the run so that no one will notice. (In the end, all Collier Young episodes would be used as filler when time was needed for the production to catch-up the network airings).

This is like the anti-Inferno. Downplaying all the weirdness in the show, and making it look like a normal Western, with only the gadgets and the villain's cut hand as Wild. And of course the humor, which is totally weird and out of character from how the series will develop later. Though I like the "torture" scene and the "masochist" line.

West clothing when he is spying down the manhole is straight western. It doesn't suit his character at all, lucky us, he is back to his regular clothes after.

Conrad is doubled for all the final fight except the close up inserts, and it's really bad. His double got a big bum, so you can tell it's not him! That's too bad because if he had done it, this would have been his first classic fight in the show. The choreography was good and I liked the jump to hit the bad guy with his feet. But that big bum ruins it, and the guy doesn't move like Conrad.

I won't go into Artie's fight -- the double is the pits. But what Martin played before when he slaps the guy and provoke him was great.

Of course It's even more difficult to take the bad guy seriously now as he is played by Leslie Nielsen.

I'm wondering if the basement scene with the girl is a reshoot. It's played very serious. Notice when the bad guy is found dead in the next scene with an arrow in the back, he is never in the same shot with the three stars. I smell a reshoot here, to give the episode less levity.

The episode is watchable, though, lost between the other ones, it's a nice variation, and it introduces us to West liking of the indians, a very "lefty" trait that is essential to the character's humanity. Also it introduces the more Western side of W3. However, viewed as a second episode, it's like the series playing in a parallel world.

Collier Young will never get what the WWW was all about, but his episodes remains interesting as curiosities.

My grade for this one: *** mostly for introducing indians love to the series, and the train shots, some of them magnificent. I could have put four stars, if it wasn't for the obvious stunt double for Conrad and Gordon, and the unbelievable scene where Gordon steal a knife as long as his arm without the bad guy noticing. This must have been their idea of being Wild.
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