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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2003 :  11:47:23  Show Profile
The episode in review this week is The Night of the Human Triger
The rating is one to five what ever you choose. I have learned much through these reviews.

Professor Cadwallader (Burgess Meredith) is the absent minded professor and the villain in Human Trigger. In many ways, he is very sympathetic. It is also why his villainy is so striking. The local ranchers have cheated him and he is an underpaid teacher. It is remarkable how many social themes that WWW touch. The episode tries to be humorous. Perhaps it tried too hard. Kathie Browne plays the professor’s daughter Faith. She has one of the best scenes. She has a gun on James West, which of course he gets away from her. She asks him if he is married to which he answers “No. Only been shot up a few times.” I have no idea what he means … well I have some theories. Did he mean he had met a few gun-toting fathers or was it less literal and that he had considered marriage a few times? Aunt Martha (Virginia Sale) and Clerk (Vernon Scott) annoy me. I wanted the town to be blown up. Ross Martin was terrific in trying to convince them. Where did West get arrows? That crusher did not seem like a real threat to me. Although there are some cute things in this episode, overall I thought it failed.


Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2003 :  16:13:19  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
History analysis
aside from a couple blunders (some pointed out in our last quiz, Pledge & Statue of Liberty) some eps of WWW have wonderful little perks in history and education (I totally had no clue about Harper's Ferry mentioned in TNOT Flaming Ghost until college, isn't that said?) In this episode as Mary mentioned
quote:
In many ways, [Prof Cadwallader] is very sympathetic. It is also why his villainy is so striking. The local ranchers have cheated him and he is an underpaid teacher. It is remarkable how many social themes that WWW touch.
Recently in my Geology 101 class my professor told me an similiar type story about a pal of his (luckily his pal didn't try to produce earthquakes to get back ) underpaid and when asked to find the best place for oil mining was cheated in that. History repeats itself Also the model which Prof Cadwallader uses, I don't know how accurate it really was and I have to recheck my Geology notebook, but West commented that knowing the Professor the model would be as accurate as possible, the model actually showed the folds in the rock layers under the current layer, but I do have a problem with where the so-called fault line is...

I also really like the references to the Greek classics (I'm considering double minoring American Studies with Classics) though I did think the references to Antigone and Electra didn't need be explained, they should have been left as hidden jewels for audiences educated in that area to uncover because honestly, how many of you who didn't know Faith's "playing" those characters (Antigone and Electra), actually went & looked them up? Right. Continuing on the classics thread and Aristotle's definition of New Comedy, I did get a slight kick out of the two, for lack of a better word retarded, brothers of Faith.

Character analysis

Faith Cadwallader- a typical Western woman. Fiery and resiliant at first but in the end they break down. Faith's breaking down was her attraction to West (what female in their right mind wouldn't be? )I loved her parting words she yelled after West: Oh I hate you! I hate you...

Burgess Meredith as Professor Cadwallader- I don't recall ever seeing Burgess before but I loved him in that roll and as Mary remarked:
quote:
In many ways, he is very sympathetic. It is also why his villainy is so striking. The local ranchers have cheated him and he is an underpaid teacher. It is remarkable how many social themes that WWW touch.


Aunt Martha & Clerk -
quote:
Aunt Martha (Virginia Sale) and Clerk (Vernon Scott) annoy me. I wanted the town to be blown up.
My sentiments exactly Mary! I do think that when Aunt Martha said about had 6 children buried two & killed how many injins might have made a good piece to a different story, you almost feel sorry for her there and you understand why she won't leave, but as the audience I wanted to strangle her because of her senility getting in the way of the safety of the town's citizens

my rating: for Professor Cadwallader and Faith as characters, for the history and education embedded in the episode, for Jim calling the Prof's bluff and constantly getting out of the Prof's contraptions devised for his death, but a for the mistakes made (historical, educational, and Aunt Martha & Clerk)

adds up to:

Oh, off the topic my Civil War professor actually came to aquire a banner that was displayed on President Grant's inaugural platform!!!!! (yes, I know Grant in the series isn't portrayed exactly as the real Grant, but actually seeing a piece of history... !!!!)

~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
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K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2003 :  05:49:22  Show Profile
I liked this episode, even if it was a bit weird. The fight scene was very well done and Artemus actually got to jump from a roof. Fun. I love the dialogue between Faith and West, but on my tape you can't make out anything past her opening comment. Anyone want to post them, please? Oh, the bear trap scene was over the top. That would have broken Jim in half. Now, any show that ties up Jim automatically gets two smiles. Wait, I liked the scene with Jim and Artemus tied up, that was funny. The train scene was nice and I review it sometimes before I write a scene. Let's see, when Jim leaves her at the end, that always makes me a smile. A girl's a fool who thinks she can rope old Jim West.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2003 :  11:54:03  Show Profile
This is a lighter episode. I must have watched it about 100 times when I was a kid (for some reason it was always in the rotation) other episodes like "TNOT Torture Chamber", I didn't see until I was almost out of high school.
I will have to revisit this one tonight, I haven't yet watched it on the DVD. Be back soon with a review

Mr. Phelps
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Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2003 :  16:15:18  Show Profile
This is not one of my favorites. The brothers are such idiots that I was relieved when they were shot, so I didn't have to look at their fake beards any more. The henchmen were equally stupid and it was a complete waste of actor Robert Phillips (as Sam), who luckily has more turns on WWW with better parts. Kathie Brown does well here. Star Trek fans will remember her as Deela, from Wink of An Eye. She had better romantic luck with Jim Kirk, than with Jim West. And Burgess Meredith plays the professor with a wonderful combination of looniness and intellect. I especially like the shot of him when the magnifying glass makes his teeth huge. I think it gives us a good idea about what he is going to be like. (I remember him as the Penguin from the Batman TV series. I could never get used to Danny Devito in Tim Burton's version. I guess my childhood ideas about how things "should be" get me stuck sometimes.)

I find my mind drifting. I'm trying to see the details of the lab (the set decorators always do such a good job), or looking at Artie's boots (love those boots)or trying to figure out what color Jim's suit is (blue, grey - hard to tell in B&W).In the end, when Artie disguises himself as a geologist from Austria, weren't you expecting him (in light of current events) to sound just a little more like Arnold?

Despite all, it is always good to watch Jim and Artie, no matter what!
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2003 :  21:23:47  Show Profile
I confess mixed feelings about this episode. Of all the Freibergers it plays most like a Collier Young episode: a western with minimal menace and a broad, goofy humor. Personally, that's not my favorite style of West. In addition, there's some unusual sloppiness in this episode's production values: the jittery camera gets a little tiresome; exactly the same shots of West and Gordon trailing the Cadwallader Kids are edited together within three minutes; the platform that dislodges a cuspidor (supposedly shot by Faith in her hotel room) is embarrassingly obvious. If I were grading only its execution, I'd give this episode a .

But it's not that simple. "Human Trigger" has some nice touches. The essential concept—the United States is threatened by a demented geologist who creates earthquakes with strategic dynamite—is, I think, terrific. (How many variations on subversive organizations and would-be presidental assassins can you watch before your eyes glaze over?) For the storyline I guess we have to thank Norman Katkov, the credited scriptwriter. Like Stanford Whitmore ("The Red-Eyed Madmen"), I wish later producers could have hired this guy for more scripts, or at least story ideas. Alas, each gave us only one throughout the entire series. Since classical references (Antigone, Electra, "Citizens") are not so abundant in most other episodes, I suppose we also have Katkov to thank for those, too. And whoever thought it up, West's reply to Faith's "Married?"—"Only shot at a few times"—is, I think, one of the funniest lines in the entire series. (C'mon, Mary: You don't have to possess M. Spring's dirty little mind to know what that means!)

While Kathie Browne is not my favorite actress, her performance here is better, I think, than in the second season's "Night of the Colonel's Ghost." In "Human Trigger," Browne plays Faith like a 1950s middle-American teenager: devoted to her father, with a crush on a The New Young Hunk in Town. The idea of tying down West and making him a detonator is inspired. (Watching this show as kid, I thought the title referred to the geologist, and maybe it does; but it clearly refers to West in the last act.) And for all its atypicality, "Human Trigger" offers maybe the best example of Frieberger's Station-Break Commandment. As Sue Kesler quotes him (p. 30), "The ideal thing was to have a writer place Conrad or Martin, or both, in a sitiation at the end of the second act where even the writer, at the time, didn't know how to have it end. It had to be absolutely impossible. That's what we wanted. If we had that, somehow we'd figure them out of it." And so they did. Even if you decided not to watch all of "Trigger"'s second half, I'd defy any viewer to see West dead center between two distant crackshots, freeze the frame on one of them saying, "Bye, West," and not come back after the commercials to see how Our Hero would get out of that one.

But this show belongs to Burgess Meredith, a simply wonderful character actor of stage, movies, and television. Elaine and others of our generation remember him best from Adam West's Batman as the Penguin, which he played way over the top, like everything else in that series. But he was a legitimate actor and Oscar nominee for performances in Of Mice and Men and The Day of the Locust, better known later in his career as Rocky Balboa's trainer. On Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, he played all manner of characters—bookworms who get a raw deal from life ("Time Enough at Last"), battered men of principle ("The Obsolete Man"), comic schlemiels ("Mr. Dingle the Strong"), even the Devil himself ("Printer's Devil")—and played them all to perfection. His Cadwallader is a mix of all those characters, and more. To some he may seem a stereotype of the absent-minded professor, but (I promise you) there really are academics like that. And he delivers my sentimental favorite of all lines uttered in the series: "But I warn you, citizens: If you do not raise the salaries of teachers very soon, there's going to be trouble! Now you mark my words!" Amen! For that alone, plus Burgess Meredith, I'm tempted to award this one 5 s.

On balance, however, I'll give it . "Human Trigger" doesn't really gel, but there are worse ways to while away an hour's entertainment,
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  06:52:14  Show Profile
quote:
(C'mon, Mary: You don't have to possess M. Spring's dirty little mind to know what that means!)

NO I didn't. It is strange how one little word changed the meaning for me. I heard up not at.
quote:
To some he may seem a stereotype of the absent-minded professor, but (I promise you) there really are academics like that.
Yeah I live with one
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  07:37:35  Show Profile
TNOT Human Trigger

A change of pace from the last episode, as I said before this one is lighter in tone, it’s a break for Jim and Artie who’ve had tough assignments the past couple of weeks. Although it’s not all fun and games, Professor Cadwallader is responsible for the destruction of several towns and consequently the death of hundreds.

The humorous approach to this episode is evident in the first scene of Act I when the town drunk describes the earthquake as a “dust storm.” However, the real fun begins with the introduction of Orkney Cadwallader, ex-Harvard professor and geologic genius. Burgess Meredith is perfect for the part, playing the absent-minded professor to the hilt, he may seem like a stereotype but I’ve known a few “Professor Cadwalladers” in my time. His tendency to forget or transpose names is funny and some lines flow so naturally it’s hard to believe they were scripted. For example in Act IV after the Professor has tied Jim to the dynamite he says: “You’re the detonator Mr. South.”In that same scene as the Professor is walking towards “Professor Ninkindorf” (sp?) Burgess Meredith’s foot looks as if it’s tangled in the wires connected to the detonator, it almost falls off of RC’s chest but both actors stay in character and go with the flow, true professionals. Also of note, as someone has already mentioned, is the Professor’s comment about the dismal treatment of teachers. As I revisit this series it is amazing how many issues it seems to inadvertently touch upon, placing it in this fictional past gave writers license to explore, and like Star Trek they probably figured people wouldn’t notice since it’s all a fantasy.

Kathie Browne (who recently passed away) is fine as Faith, the Professor’s daughter. The actress is much better with the more tongue-in-cheek materiel of this episode than in the season two episode “TNOT Colonel’s Ghost”, that was a very grim tale and I think it required an actress more experienced with serious drama. In this episode she seems as if she could be Burgess Meredith’s daughter, both seem out to lunch in their own way. Jim easily disarms her in Act I only to give her back the gun (D’oh!), it’s no big deal though because he makes short work of Faith’s brothers, who are forbidden to speak during a task as Faith humorously explains. The fight at the beginning of Act II is played strictly for laughs, reminiscent of Artie’s fight with the pirates in “TNO A Thousand Eyes”. Actor Robert Phillips also makes the first of his several appearances on WWW; he was a frequent heavy on Mission: Impossible as well.

The “Aunt Martha” sequence was meant to be cute but it simply comes across as frustrating, if this woman was so shrewd she would heed Artie’s advice. He should have just gone with Plan B in the first place: the patented Artemus-Gordon-distraction-so-Jim-can-escape plan. In the end however it turns out the professor has miscalculated and Sawtooth is left intact. The final scene before the tag shows us just how smart the Professor really is, look at what Cadwallader scribbles on his cell wall: E=Mc2. Einstein himself wouldn’t come up with that equation for another 30 plus years, as a matter of fact, the physicist wasn’t even born until the end of the decade in which West takes place! (March 14, 1879)

The commercial break art is nothing special, but I always enjoy the detail that’s preserved with the b&w Daguerreotype style artwork. The familiar stock shot of “The Wanderer” for the final frame is appropriate here because there’s else nothing to focus on, and Jim is once again featured in the upper right hand box.

So, overall, not a great one, but not bad either, it’s just okay and good for a couple of laughs and some great dialogue. I give it two and a half prosthetic noses out of four.


Mr. Phelps
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  10:38:28  Show Profile
Mr. Phelps: Burgess Meredith’s foot looks as if it’s tangled in the wires connected to the detonator, it almost falls off of RC’s chest but both actors stay in character and go with the flow, true professionals.

Yes, indeed: an unplanned, truly funny moment. Lucky for everyone that the pendulum didn't strike either contact or fall off Conrad's chest altogether, else they would have had to reshoot the scene.

couldron: Yeah I live with [an academic].

You have my sincere sympathies.

BTW: Another goof in the Kesler Bible: Aunt Martha's counterpart in Act IV is "Porter Richards" (not "Mr. Porter"), played by Hank Patterson. The "clerk," played by Vernon Scott, is, I'm guessing, the hotel clerk who invites West to help himself to a room key in Act I. Elaine and I and other geezers will best remember Hank Patterson as Fred Ziffel on West's CBS contemporary series, Green Acres.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  12:43:42  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by ccb
Elaine and I and other geezers will best remember Hank Patterson as Fred Ziffel on West's CBS contemporary series, Green Acres.



Thanks for sparking my memory. He looked and sounded familiar but I couldn't remember where I saw him. Green Acres was such a wonderfully goofy show, almost surrealistic at times. Too bad I can't find it anywhere on the tube or VHS or DVD.

Mr. Phelps
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  13:10:11  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Redhead1617

(I totally had no clue about Harper's Ferry mentioned in TNOT Flaming Ghost until college, isn't that said?)


I also had no idea who John Brown was or the significance of Harper’s Ferry until TNOT Flaming Ghost piqued my curiosity. I asked my 8th grade history teacher about it and she told me all about him. I’ll never forget the look of surprise I got when I told her where I heard about this John Brown.

I was going to save this for my review of that particular episode but I recently read that in order to prevent another potential uprising or escape attempt Brown’s execution was closed to the public; no civilian witnessed his death. Authorities even made sure to keep Brown out of hearing distance, just in case he had any memorable last words.

Perhaps this is why the “John Brown” of WWW was able to convince others that he was THE John Brown. Jim and Artie are federal employees, they know the real Brown is dead, the other characters are not so sure.


Mr. Phelps
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Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  13:46:49  Show Profile
Attention ccb: Geezer?! Thanks alot! I forgive you because you are a contemporary (and how are your aches and pains as you approach the half century mark?) and such a font of WWW wisdom. You are only as old as you feel!

However, I must admit I do remember Mr. Ziffel. Maybe you and Mr. Phelps should move to Minneapolis. Green Acres has taken over the time slot held, until recently, by our beloved Wild Wild West. Talk about adding insult to injury! And just to get back at you for that crack about my age, I'll also tell you that the same channel is airing Hawaii 5-0. So there!
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K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  15:15:03  Show Profile
If you didn't learn about John Brown at a young age obviously you're not from Kansas! Jayhawks Rule!
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  15:51:03  Show Profile
Fox National net is airing Green Acres on weekdays at 11 a.m.

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Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  17:26:13  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
quote:
If you didn't learn about John Brown at a young age obviously you're not from Kansas!


I'm in college & taking a class on the Civ War just for fun, and up until now I never knew about the significance of Bleeding Kansas & the Dred Scott case the way they teach kids American history now days is sad! Maybe I should become a History teacher and an English teacher! I'm still very angry that I never learned this stuff and their significance in high school!

~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 10/10/2003 :  20:06:59  Show Profile
Elaine:Attention ccb: Geezer?! Thanks a lot! It's only because I trust your sure sense of humor that I'd even dare make such a crack!

Redhead: I'm still very angry that I never learned this stuff and their significance in high school!
Mr. P:I also had no idea who John Brown was or the significance of Harper’s Ferry until TNOT Flaming Ghost piqued my curiosity.

I think you young folks ought to sue your high school or community boards of education for malpractice.

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AdorableBlue
SS novice field agent

948 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2003 :  00:23:43  Show Profile  Visit AdorableBlue's Homepage
Wow, you guys can really write! The eps with the most ridiculous bad guys! The earthquake scenes weren't the best. Then there was the repeat scene when AG/JW were trailing the siblings. But well, something in every WWW eps always makes Blue glued. I liked that Faith/Jim scene in the hotel room, and........duh! and.........oh? ah well, any scene where ze man in blue walks/sits/lays! Rating?

BTW, was Burgess Meredith also in TNOT Janus? If not, who's the guy who played West's former professor in TNOT Janus (who was doing some mathematical formulae to decipher the song code)?

AdorableBlue
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MonkeeMaven
SS 1st assignment - desk job

393 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2003 :  06:48:00  Show Profile  Visit MonkeeMaven's Homepage
quote:
I was going to save this for my review of that particular episode but I recently read that in order to prevent another potential uprising or escape attempt Brown’s execution was closed to the public; no civilian witnessed his death. Authorities even made sure to keep Brown out of hearing distance, just in case he had any memorable last words.


Interesting. Where'd you read it?

quote:
up until now I never knew about the significance of Bleeding Kansas & the Dred Scott case

quote:
I also had no idea who John Brown was or the significance of Harper’s Ferry until TNOT Flaming Ghost piqued my curiosity. I asked my 8th grade history teacher about it and she told me all about him. I’ll never forget the look of surprise I got when I told her where I heard about this John Brown.


One thing that seriously got me hooked on West was that I started watching it a year I had American History (world schmorld! we live in the greatest country in the world, that makes our history the greatest and I don't need to know anything else like why Germany and Australia ever attacked Switzerland in the 20's! What was that called at the tim, the Grape War?) But that's another story. ;)
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Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2003 :  08:20:24  Show Profile
quote:

BTW, was Burgess Meredith also in TNOT Janus? If not, who's the guy who played West's former professor in TNOT Janus (who was doing some mathematical formulae to decipher the song code)?


Blue, that was actor Arthur Malet, who also appeared as Dr. Meyer in TNOT Steel Assassin (without his teeth, I might add!).
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beerbad
SS novice field agent

684 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2003 :  12:23:42  Show Profile
I watched this to prepare for the review this week, but all is said and done.

I liked that Artie couldn't move Aunt Martha, though. Having just faced down Hurricane Isabel, I can understand her.

I caught the e equals mc squared bit also, but this is just like when Artie invents something way ahead of it's time. They're very enjoyable. The best was when Loveless went into his jail cell with a glass tube and Artie said that this poor demented little man thought, given enough time, he could send and receive pictures through the air and catch them in that glass tube.
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beerbad
SS novice field agent

684 Posts

Posted - 10/11/2003 :  12:24:57  Show Profile
I watched this to prepare for the review this week, but all is said and done.

I liked that Artie couldn't move Aunt Martha, though. Having just faced down Hurricane Isabel, I can understand her.

I caught the e equals mc squared bit also, but this is just like when Artie invents something way ahead of it's time. They're very enjoyable. The best was when Loveless went into his jail cell with a glass tube and Artie said that this poor demented little man thought, given enough time, he could send and receive pictures through the air and catch them in that glass tube.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2003 :  07:54:11  Show Profile
[quote]Originally posted by MonkeeMaven

[quote]Interesting. Where'd you read it?

right here...

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/brown/

Mr. Phelps
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 12/14/2003 :  14:07:02  Show Profile
quote:
BTW, was Burgess Meredith also in TNOT Janus? If not, who's the guy who played West's former professor in TNOT Janus (who was doing some mathematical formulae to decipher the song code)?

AdorableBlue


No Meredith only did this one episode. The professor int Janus was Arthur Mallet
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