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 Night of the Burning Diamond
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2004 :  09:12:01  Show Profile
This is such a terrific episode. It has a mystery what is happening to the diamonds. Is Artie right that they are exploding and for what purpose?
It so nicely staged. I just loved the touch of having the newspaper with the headlines about diamond thefts float down on the shattered glass of the diamond display case.
We meet the villain, Morgan Midas (Robert Drivas) disposing of his aunt’s body. He is named Midas like the king who wanted the golden touch. He wants the golden speed. I believe this is the youngest and most handsome villain WWW has. We also have a pompous civil servant in Bains (nicely portrayed by Dan Tobin) who shakes a ball only to have Artie give a great line “You just never know about inert objects”. He also elicits from Artie another great line “We do work together-separately”.

Artie’s meeting with Lucretia (Christiane Schmidtmer) is chilling. He is first met at the door by Whitey Hughes in fantastic makeup. His one eye is closed. Then Artie and Lucretia exchange the most double meaning dialogue. Lucretia tells Artie that Lady Margaret has “recently departed” and when asked how to get in touch with her is told that would be difficult. Lucretia doesn’t lie she tells that truth and it made me shiver at the coldness of it all. Lucretia is portrayed as being softhearted but she seemed to have no feeling about killing an elderly woman just her cat.

This episode is that last we see of the pool table. Maybe Jim and Artie decided that having exploding balls was danger was to great.

Artie’s disguise is exquisite as always and as usual annoying to the bad guy.

The line where Jim says to Midas “but you are not an ordinary man.” I don’t think RC knew what to do with that line. It comes out week undecided.

At the end we have the great line from Artie “I cheated I used force”.

I think this is one of the best episodes of the first season.

ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2004 :  21:08:21  Show Profile
O fabjous day, or should I say "Night"? We've made it to "The Burning Diamond"!

I'm too weary to defend my Smileys, but right off the bat I'm giving this one . Not only is this one of the first season's best; I think it's one of the series' best. I'll say more later, when my head isn't resting on the kwta . . . Z Z z z z z z z
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Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 03/31/2004 :  21:20:15  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
congrats Mary on your promotion

I believe Mary hit everything that makes this first season episode so great. It is my favorite first season ep since I never lost attention during it like so many other first seasons (I think b&w gives me a.d.d. )

This episode:

awesome!

~Red

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

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 04/05/2004 :  10:53:34  Show Profile

TNOT Burning Diamond

A classic from the first season, definitely the best so far, also a shining example of what can be achieved with a limited budget and small guest cast. When I first saw the end of the first act I thought to myself “Ah the old invisible man trick” but we have a cool twist to that, a twist that shows up in a couple of other series, quite frankly this is my favorite telling of the story. Every element: mystery, action, adventure, camaraderie between Jim and Artie, it’s here. The problems: “What’s really going on here?” “What is it?” and “How to solve?” are expertly handled. It’s perfect

Morgan Midas belongs on the short list of one of Jim and Artie’s most difficult challenges and one of the youngest; Artie calls him a “kid” at one point. Once it is discovered exactly what it is that’s going on (and that takes two full acts, a nice buildup) it seems almost impossible to stop him, and it is, until the final act when Jim gets his hands on some of the potion. The smug “invulnerable” villain is undone by common alcohol and because of his high metabolism he disintegrates into nothing. His first mistake really is thinking that the Secret Service has somehow discovered his magic formula but the truth is they’re just there to protect the diamonds. Paranoia is his Achilles heel.

The late Robert Drivas is perfect as Midas, arrogant and smooth. He guested on several shows, I remember him mostly from Hawaii Five-O in the “V for Vashon” trilogy. Mary is right about Lucretia and her chilling introduction to us (and Artie) at the front door, and her double entente regarding the recently murdered Mrs. Midas. Swiss born Christiane Schmidtmer has a natural accent and cold manner about her; she plays the part very well. She does have a change of heart at the last moment but she gets off Scott-free, that would change in the following season, Jim has no trouble arresting the pretty “Venusians” in “TNOT Flying Pie Plate

Dan Tobin made a career playing officious prissy types like special envoy Thaddeus Baines, although his best performance in Spydom is in the I Spy episode “Suitable For Framing” (coincidently the same title is used in the Columbo film starring Ross Martin) playing a down-and-out drunk who is surgically altered to appear like, and take the place of, a US Senator so he can assassinate the President. Baines provides us with an amusing bit: the exploding cue ball: “You just never know about inert objects.”

I don’t want to forget Whitey Hughes and Calvin Brown who are good in their roles as Midas’s intimidating servants. When we first see Clive, in a black cape, he looks like a mortician. Then of course there’s Whitey’s speechless reaction to Artie.

The infinitely patient “Count Felix” is fun, Ross loudly clearing his throat as he enters is a hoot; the medals are a nice touch too. What are they for? Funny stuff. Two great adlibs from Ross: “Have a nice trip?” and “Hey that’s no way to treat an old man!” I also like the smile Jim gives to Lucretia while he files his fingertips, looks like an RC choice.

Another nice treat is that we get some new music for this episode; I’ve never heard the music for the commercial breaks before, it turns up again in TNOT Sudden Plague. I particularly like the rousing music playing during the fight before the end of Act II, and the eerie music that plays when Midas and the guys are in hyper speed, it’s very effective. Too bad we were so close to the end of the season, I would have enjoyed hearing this score a few more times. As long as we are discussing the sounds of the episode it’s pretty cool that we have the communicator chirps from Star Trek, a sound effect used today on the series Enterprise.

The “super speed” hook is used two years later first on the original Star Trek in the episode “Wink of an Eye”, and in the 90’s it was used by The X-Files. Of course the producers for The X Files were able to use all sorts of computer effects to show bullets slowing down and all that jazz, but that story will always remind me of this particular episode no matter who tells it.

The commercial break art is great for this one. Another storyboard featuring the main guest star after his mysterious appearance, Jim occupies his spot in the upper right hand, and I like the break for Act III the expression on Artie’s face is priceless. The tag is short but one of my favorites: after almost an entire season of being knocked out so Jim can duke it out with the bad guys Artie finally has his day and dispatches the physically imposing duo of Clive and Rudd. It’s handled in true Artemus Gordon fashion of course and the closing line ends everything so perfectly: “Oh I cheated I… I used force”. He drives the knife into the countertop at the same time the scene dissolves into the story board. Perfect.
This is one of the best; I give it four prosthetic noses out of four.

I’m in the mood for beef stroganoff


Mr. Phelps
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SordoTheBandit
SS 1st assignment - desk job

467 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2004 :  09:18:19  Show Profile
One of my faves as a child...
One of my faves as an adult...

It never loses it's magic touch.

6 Smileys for Diamond
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AdorableBlue
SS novice field agent

948 Posts

Posted - 04/06/2004 :  17:30:25  Show Profile  Visit AdorableBlue's Homepage
Hey, Sordo, Welcome back! Haven't seen ya around for quite a while.

This eps has many wonderful scenes I like : that scene where Jim astounded them by opening the safe....and that whack "for kissing the gal". Midas is indeed a handsome and young bad guy. Then there is that wonderful quote of Artie "we work together but separately". The one where they enter the exhibition in slow-mo and when the drug wore off - o, I like Jim's reaction (he's done- something-naughty-look and Artie's desperate-to-defend-look).

One of the eps where we see how knowledgeable and observant Jim is.



AdorableBlue
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Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2004 :  17:57:58  Show Profile
I don't think there is anything I can add to the reviews above except to say that I agree with the rating:

I do have to say that it is delightful to see Artie holding his own in a fight (twice!)- once on the stairs and then again in the kitchen. I do so love the way he says "I cheated. I used force."

Sure, Mr. P., I'll have some of that beef stroganoff!
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MonkeeMaven
SS 1st assignment - desk job

393 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2004 :  19:10:34  Show Profile  Visit MonkeeMaven's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by JimPhelps
The “super speed” hook is used two years later first on the original Star Trek in the episode “Wink of an Eye”, and in the 90’s it was used by The X-Files.



Burning Diamond is one of my favourites, too! Its rating is definitely This episode is one of the Gene Coons, right? (The book is on the other end of the house and I ain't gettin' up ) Sad to say I haven't watched a West in months but I'm of half a mind to pull out my tapes and watch this one again!
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 05/06/2004 :  19:43:35  Show Profile
I'm w-a-a-a-y behind on these episode reviews, so I'll try to keep my comments crisp, to the point, and not rehearse too much of what's already been said.

This episode has just about evrything going for it, and everyone rose to the occasion:

* Ken Kolb's finest script for the series. Okay, so he stole the fundamental idea from H. G. Wells ("The New Accelerator"), but he's honest enough to have 'fessed up to his source material (and literate enough even to know it!).

* Gene Coon's comic polish. I'm morally certain that's he's responsible for the wit in this episode, including Artie's last line of the tag. If only Roddenberry hadn't lured him away to Star Trek, and Coon had stayed on with West. What a difference I think we would have seen.

* Nice performances all around, especially by Robert Drivas.

* The first score for the series by Richard Shores. It's one of his best, I think. Garrison and Coon were wise to reach into the coffers and bankroll a fresh score for this episode. Too many cues—especially the jewel theft in Act III—wouldn't have been nearly as effective without music scored for just what we saw on the screen.

Beyond a gangbusters idea, played with tongue in cheek, there are two things, finally, that impress me about "The Burning Diamond."

First, if you think about it, this was a very simple show to produce. No cast of hundreds, no major guest performers with star-turns, no elaborate sets or props. What makes this show sing is imagination. I think that's true for the best of West, at least the shows I most enjoy.

Finally, for me there is joy in this episode. Though the content is dark in places—hauling Lady Margaret away, torturing West with electricity—they managed to carry it off with a light touch. All the actors seem to know that they have a winning script and appear to be enjoying themselves. And Shores's music is perfect: exciting but humorous. Musically, it's as though the composer is winking at the action onscreen, and at us.

"The Burning Diamond" is a combination of great elements that came together in a grand way. It makes me smile just to think of it.

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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2004 :  06:25:28  Show Profile
"What makes this show sing is imagination. I think that's true for the best of West, at least the shows I most enjoy."

Well said, the same goes for me!

Mr. Phelps
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