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SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2004 :  23:49:20  Show Profile
Well here we are starting the second season in color. This episdoed used lots of color. Blues, golds, and greens are splattered everywhere. Boris Karloff is "Singh" who I don't think is used well in this episode. In previous espisodes it has been mentioned that they were padded something I had not notice before. The padding sometimes is what I enjoyed about the episode. This episode was short on plot and long on padding. The best part was when Veda cuts JW's rope. Because it is in color we get some very good shots of RC's eyes and they are pretty. This episode has another actor that I like especially Logan's Run,Michael York. His make up is very good. The plot is to thin for me and so for the first episode in color it gets a
out of five

Desert Roger
SS novice field agent

4381 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  07:14:10  Show Profile  Visit Desert Roger's Homepage
Finally we are on Season 2! The best of the West : )

But, this particular episode, in my humble 42 year old opinion is so corny I can barely watch it.

Looking forward to SKULLS, TONTINE, SURREAL McCOY, ECCENTRICS, and other season 2 goodies.

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SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3804 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  09:20:19  Show Profile
Our Reviewmeister has pretty much summed up my reaction to this, the first of the episodes filmed in color. Yawn.

"The Golden Cobra" may be the worst of all shows crediting Henry Sharp as teleplaywright. There's no plot here: All the acts are padded tight as a tick; there's barely a story-idea. Think of it: You could immediately cut from the scenes of West and Singh in Acts I to IV, pare away everything else, and you'd have your "story" (in truth, nothing more than a conversation). Unlike other thin episodes ("The Bars of Hell," for example), "Cobra" has no sharp hooks, no real adventure, some humor but little wit. (From this episode you can see why Henry Sharp was given the job of story editor after William Koenig departed—but, sad to say, Sharp was no Gene L. Coon.) Garrison and his crew used two main dodges to distract us: Boris Karloff and Al Heschong's production design. The former, as Mary observes, is woefully underused (more on that in a minute). The latter is terrific: principally, the interior of a maharajah's palace on a seven-dollar budget, and the redesigned interior of the varnish car, which is gleaming gold, spacious, and beautiful. Notice how, in the teaser and tag, Irving Moore staged scenes to show off all four walls.

The episode offers fine actors like Audrey Dalton and Simon Scott little to do. No matter what the DVD notes say, I still find it hard to believe that, underneath that make-up in that bit part, is the (young) Michael York. But this was 1966. Maybe it is. The comedic scenes with West and Artie in the turban (Act III) always remind me of Crosby and Hope in "Road to Moracco" (1944).

Finally, though, the best to admire in this episode is Bors Karloff's professionalism. By this time, he was well advanced in years, in poor health and much pain. He sometimes wore weights in his jacket-pockets to keep his back erect. The cane that he walks with was no affectation; he needed it. (Notice how much he is filmed sitting down.) Still, with a role that is little more than an extended cameo, Uncle Boris gave us dignity, showmanship, that wonderful voice, and a reminder of a lifetime's happy memories in movie theaters. For that alone, "The Golden Cobra" rates

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SS 1st assignment - desk job

494 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  09:32:49  Show Profile
Yeah, but Arte' had a great rope trick!
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K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 05/27/2004 :  10:45:39  Show Profile
And from a viewpoint of Jim's beauty, the polo match was excellent. I enjoyed the horseback riding scenes. I know that's hard to believe. And for the Artiegirls, a flash of bare leg! WHoo! Not my favorite, but fun when all else fails.
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19 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2004 :  08:22:48  Show Profile
But, man, Boris Karloff? Talk about presence! I enjoyed the banter between West and "the boys". But whenever Karloff had lines I really sat up! He is truly the saving grace of this episode.

The opening scene is one of the few times I got to see Jim and Artie in their "off hours"

My my but Artie looked natural in that Samari outfit!
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SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2004 :  20:13:28  Show Profile
This episode reminded me that I've always wanted a tape with just the teasers and the tags from the show. This ep has two dandy ones - just like a nice set of book ends. The teaser lets us girls oggle a bare chested Jim contrasted by an overly covered up Artie (right up to his fur rimmed hat!). The board breaking stunt and it's accompanying dialogue is amusing. The tag has Artie decked out in his green velvet smoking jacket ala Scarlett O'Hara (it appears to be the same material as the curtains in the varnish car). Jim is his usual cool, nonchalant self while Artie gets to mug shamelessly for the camera.

I don't believe that Cupta is THE Michael York, no matter what the credits or the IMDB say. The boys all sound like regular cowboy actors dressed up as "the boys", especially when one of them asks, "What do you intend doin' Mr. West?"

As for Artemus - yes K, that was a nice flash of leg there! I do love his shtick here with the rope trick. However, his disguises are almost always given away by his big, black boots sticking out from under his robe, dress or whatnot! (The funniest to me is his disguise as the Indian maiden in TNOT Green Terror.) It always amazes me that there are times when Jim doesn't immediately recognize him. Here, Artie has to practically hit him over the head with the word "West" before he gets his attention.

For those interested in horsemanship , Jim vaults into the saddle very nicely here. I watched that twice and it is definitely RC.

Veda manages to kiss Jim without appearing too eager. She deems him "not altogether unattractive".

So, like Veda, I rate this ep - not altogether unattractive.
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SS 1st assignment - desk job

417 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2004 :  11:29:02  Show Profile
TNOT Golden Cobra
Airdate September 23, 1966

“You are Mr. Artemus Gordon?”
“I am?”

Here we have for better or worse The Wild Wild West “in color” as they used to advertise, from here on in. Even though this is the first color episode produced the producers wisely chose not to go with this one for the season opener. The guest star is none other than the original Frankenstein monster and carries about him an air of the old Hollywood days. The plot however is a bit thin, the pacing slows to a crawl in Act II, (not a big problem) and the action around the subplot (or running gag rather) concerning Singh’s sons and their constant “mix-‘em ups” with Jim becomes repetitive with some nice of creativity like the polo match.

It begins very nicely aboard the Wanderer Jim and Artie are practicing some self defense moves and Artie’s far eastern getup foreshadows the episode’s hook of a Maharaja living on the plains of mid-west USA. After our heroes are teased with the prospect of leave in New Orleans the real assignment comes in whisking them to exciting and sexy…Okalahoma. Which turns out to be more exciting and sexy then either Jim or Artie can imagine. The true weirdness begins with Jim and Colonel Mayo’s (aka Mr. Killjoy) ride out to the plains where they are attacked by what looks like Mongol warriors, Mayo seems mortally wounded; Jim follows a melodic Indian tune and walks right into a cobra. He also appears mortally wounded, collapsing as we fade out into the opening.

Artie isn’t in Act I at all but it feels appropriate here; the mysterious surroundings, Mr. Singh, Veda, and her brothers are enough to keep our attention and cutting to a scene outside the palace would have been distraction. Instead we get a nice introduction to all of the bizarre happenings, some back story from Mr. Singh and a chance for Jim to show us he hasn’t lost it over the summer break as he easily makes the brothers look like fools. (even going so far as to use the Corbomite Maneuver.) One of Singh’s sons is played by Michael York (Cupta) who would find a place in Spydom 31 years later as Austin Power’s superior Basil Exposition; Basil has appeared in all three of the insane parody pictures. York also plays a version of himself in the hilarious “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

Boris Karloff is excellent as the immigrant maharaja with his little kingdom and his love of good old American capitalism, the actor spends most of his time sitting (he was 79 at the time and suffering from emphysema) but his presence more than makes up for it. This is a character after all who is used to power, he is beyond making large gestures to intimidate or order; it seems his palace is inescapable.

Jim gets away from the brothers in an amusing fight. Upstairs he runs into Veda and stumbles across Col. Mayo, we don’t know it yet but Jim has played into Singh’s hands “accidentally” discovering Mayo. Before Jim can act, a nasty looking dart flies into his jugular (or is it the other one?) courtesy of Veda. Jim has made a common mistake in Spydom: trusting the nice pretty girl too quickly; it may behoove Jim to follow John Drake’s practice of casting a suspicious eye on both male and female.

When we come back from our break we begin at the Indian reservation with Artie and John Mountain Top. It’s a nice move starting with this, hopefully the intent was to focus entirely on the inside of the palace from Act I almost making us forget about the existence of an outside world. When we see Artie (who is free physically but trapped by boredom) the claustrophobic atmosphere of the palace is highlighted subliminally.

There’s another confrontation with the brothers who have the upper hand with Jim now that he has been restrained and his gadgets and weapons confiscated. Mudhaz is nearby ready with a tune to summon what looks like a basket full of cobras. Thankfully the brothers are not a bright lot and it is Veda who is in the basket. Jim is not too happy with her (I don’t blame him; poison darts are rude) but soon they are smooching but in an rare twist Veda reveals that she really doesn’t want to get too close to Jim. Her father is an old-school Hindu and Veda would prefer a long life; a husband employed as an accountant or in the insurance business perhaps, as long as it’s indoors and safe. A camera pan reveals Mr. Singh has been in on most of the conversation, and still smiling, he knows Jim is a real charmer.

We are treated to a nice dance from Asoka and Sujata, unfortunately the silly “gorilla” almost ruins it, thankfully Singh doesn’t care for it either and has him hauled away. It’s time for the “Indian rope trick” anyway and in walks our favorite Indian rope trickster. Ross of course shamelessly overdoes it as the magician chanting some nonsense, even so it still cracks me up and I had to check it out several times. I love the set up, Jim is really not paying attention and Artie goes into his chant summoning the powers of the four corners of the earth, on “of thee West!” the camera zooms in on a surprised Jim. It’s a great little moment. (Anyone else catch those big black boots the “magician” was wearing? That cracked me up as well; it’s part of the charm)

After another confrontation with the brothers it is revealed that all is not what it seems (a running theme) Col Mayo is perfectly healthy and holding Jim at gunpoint. To make matters worse, Mayo is a lot more ruthless than Singh and has already bought out the mercenaries guarding the palace to his side; he also plans to get rid of all his partners and any other potential witnesses. It seems this has all been a plot to drive the Native Americans off their reservation which just happens to be over a large heretofore unknown reserve of oil. Mayo wounds Singh but the old man is a lot tougher than he looks and after killing two mercenaries, off screen, he confronts Mayo who is predictably boasting his find to Jim, Artie, and Veda. Mayo then fatally shoots Singh but not before the old man can knock him into the pool of oil and Mayo meets an appropriately ironic end. The whole plot of Mayo (the white man) taking advantage of the Native Americans is now politically correct and would be standard today but in 1966 this was a bit ahead of its time compared with WWW’s contemporaries. Just another reason why this show is so great at almost 40!

The tag comes full circle to the Wanderer a few weeks after the entire affair. Veda has sent the guys a thank you present: a rare white tiger. Artie is slightly nervous about the tiger but Jim pulls out a little tiger kitty. It’s cute, I hadn’t seen this episode in so many years I forgot what was in the box I was guessing it was going to be a stuffed tiger, but what was produced is a better idea and funnier. Jim leaves Artie with the baby and just as he’s getting friendly with the cute thing…”ROAR!” How about some more milk?

The commercial break art is the first produced in color and uses the short lived single color sepia
“Tintype” style artwork. It’s unusual but I like it, it looks appropriately 19th Century but the color gives it a touch of the modern. It would have been nice to have it for at least a full season. The artwork is all close-ups of the actors again: Veda for Act I (my favorite since at this point it seems there is no one Jim can trust and he is really trapped, but good), a great and fittingly creepy looking Boris Karloff peeking through the cell bars Act II, Jim under attack Act III, and the Wanderer chugging away to another adventure to close Act IV.

So overall, a nice first color episode, a bit too fluffy in terms of plot but Karloff’s presence bumps it up a notch. Let’s say three prosthetic noses out of four.

Mr. Phelps
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SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2004 :  21:46:25  Show Profile
Well done Mr. Phillips,

You made me curious about Boris Karloff and Frankenstein so I went looking and found to my surprisethat the first Frankenstein was made in 1910 and was the frist horror film made. It runs 16 minutes long and it's a silent film. There is only one print that survives today. Charles Ogle played the monster and did his own makeup.

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SS 1st assignment - desk job

417 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2004 :  06:54:44  Show Profile
Very interesting, I should have said that Karloff is perhaps the best known Frankenstein since even to this day when we think of the Frankenstein monster it’s the 1931 James Whale with the flat head and bolts sticking out of the neck version. That image of the monster is probably one of the most recognizable in the world even if people don’t know the actor’s name. Of course Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) was in identical make-up for the parody series.
Originally posted by couldron

Well done Mr. Phillips,

You made me curious about Boris Karloff and Frankenstein so I went looking and found to my surprisethat the first Frankenstein was made in 1910 and was the frist horror film made. It runs 16 minutes long and it's a silent film. There is only one print that survives today. Charles Ogle played the monster and did his own makeup.

Mr. Phelps
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Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

209 Posts

Posted - 07/30/2004 :  14:33:00  Show Profile
I really enjoyed this episode and did not feel like it was a let down or thin of plot. I truly thought that Singh was going to be the main villain with Jim having to marry Veda, Mayo as the villain was a complete shock. The redeeming qualities of this episode

-Jim does not recognize Artie at first(very rarely does Jim not recognize Artie right away in the series I can only think in here and maybe two others, This uncertainty makes Artie the master-of-disguise more plausible because even his own partner does not recognize him.

-Truly enjoyed Artie's frustration with John Mountaintop over losing to him many time in parchezze, oops I mean checkers lol.

-Jim gets seriously hurt during the Polo fight. Look where those Polo balls hit Jim Ouch!!!

-I loved the on again off again relationship between Jim and Veda:
"If we were to marry I would have to throw myself onto your burning body after my brothers kill you"
and: "Man's best friend is his horse, or maybe next best." as Artie watches Jim and Veda kissing as they try to escape the palace.

-Being a huge fan of the Universal Horror films brought me joy to see the superb acting skills of Boris Karloff who was truly menacing more than a cameo "He had the ultimate trap against Jim, which was that the agent might have had to marry Veda: Just think about the seriousnesss of that the female Jim fans in the audience. lol!!!

Lastly, I think it was a breath of fresh air from the usuall egomaniac trying to take over a territory or the world etc, or trying to assassinate Grant. I felt that these plot lines were used too often making Dr. Loveless returns less threatening over time especially around the third and fourth season because Jim and Artie had gone up against a bunch of these types in Lovless' absence. Singh and Mayo were out for oil and used the Palace to frighten away the natives that lived there: Plain, simple and refreshing.

"Just because you beat me four times at checkers is not bothering me" "Five was it not Mr. Gordon"- Artie and John Mountaintop talking through a game of parcheeze, opps forgive me, I mean checkers in TNOT Golden Cobra
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SS spy school graduate

60 Posts

Posted - 11/08/2004 :  08:35:52  Show Profile

Indian rope trick

'aonimus metemus septibus ARTIMUS'
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