back to feature page


by Craig Reid


Together the natty, nervy James T. West and the resourceful master of disguise Artemus Gordon adventurously and bravely prevented dastardly villains and intellectual madmen from taking over America and the world in 104 episodes from 1965 to 1969. Given the show's success, venturing to define the best episodes is almost ludicrous. How can one prioritize excellence? That being said, here anyway are the author's picks for a Top-Twenty Episode Guide in original air order.

seaon one    season two    season three    season four



"No one would ever expect a fat Chinese of being a revolutionary."
           -- A dying Wing Fat (a.k.a. Juan Manolo) (to West)

Produced by Michael Garrison
Directed by Richard Sarafian
Written by Gilbert Ralston

Washington's best Secret Service agent Captain James T. West is asked to pose as an Army deserter to facilitate a secret meeting with President Grant (James Gregory). He's told that Mexican revolutionary Juan Manolo is creating havoc in the Southwest Territories and he must be stopped and peace restored to the area. Travelling aboard his newly acquired, souped up train, The Wanderer, West arrives in the recently raided town of Quemeda, New Mexico and is greeted by his assigned partner Artemus Gordon, who was previously disguised as a heckler that demeaned West at the show's opening.

West visits the only building in town that survived the raid. It's owned by Wing Fat (Victor Buono), a fat Chinese man that directs him, for a price, to Manolo's supposed kept lady and casino partner Lydia Montera (Suzanne Pleshette), who West had previously imprisoned. She replies a la Sgt. Schultz, "I know nothing." West and Gordon discover a secret arsenal chock full of secret passageways leading to Lydia's mansion. Showing her the tunnels, Lydia still denies involvement. Manolo shows up and imprisons them. With a derringer in his boot heels, bullets from a belt buckle, a lockpick in his coat lapel and a smoke bomb, West escapes and overcomes the returning Manolo.

Back at the train, West confronts Wing Fat, Manolo in disguise. Amidst exploding pool balls, and a flying rapier hidden in a pool stick later, Manolo succumbs to West's wiles.

Director Sarafian humorously recalls, "When Bob threw that sort of spear at Buono, rather than ejaculate a shout of pain, he let out with the tinniest, little whimper. It was like "ooo." That was funny. What was a challenge is they fired the director and I basically had to come in at the 11th hour and directed the show with no prep."


"You meddler, interfering meddler. You vile, egregious Secret Service man."
           -- Loveless (to West)

Produced by Fred Freiberger
Directed by Bernie Kowalski
Written by John Kneubuhl

As the deranged dwarf Dr. Miguelito Loveless (Michael Dunn) prepares to kill Professor Neilson, he gleefully glares at his giant gofer Voltaire (Richard Kiel) squash a dock guard. Loveless objects to Neilson handing over the formula of a new explosive to the U.S. Government that he helped create. Jim, assigned to protect the professor, is disguised as Neilson but Loveless detects the charade and shoots Neilson with an explosive pea from his scoped peashooter.

Neilson's secretary, Greta (Leslie Parrish), is in cahoots with Loveless and arranges for West's demise to no avail. Jim feigns knowledge of the formula offering to work for Loveless. After a singing duet with his henchwoman sidekick Antoinette (Phoebe Dorin), Loveless tests West's "loyalty" by sending him to the Governor of California, demanding an area of the state that previously belonged to his ancestors. If West fails, he'll blow up an area inhabited by 5,000 settlers. The Governor's aid Miss Piecemeal (Sigrid Valdis), who works for Loveless, witnesses West's deception about Loveless to the Governor.

With Greta's help, West finds Loveless who has wired the explosives to a clock tower's mechanism set to blow up at eight. Walloping Voltaire, West damages the clock only to watch the insane Loveless leap a la the mouse of Hickory-Dickory-Dock upon the clock's swinging pendulum in an effort to jump-start the timer. But the mouse fails and is sent to prison. Gordon and West cackle at Loveless' claim that he has invented a glass tube that can catch pictures and send them through the air.

Producer Freiberger remembers, "On this show, we had Michael (Dunn) jump onto this swinging pendulum thing on the clock. When he jumped and landed on this thing he hit himself in the balls and boy was he in pain and that ended him wanting to do all his own stunts from then on."


"Le Yankee. For-mee-dah-bull."
           -- Consul-General Potez on West and Gordon leaving a meeting with beautiful women.

Produced by Fred Freiberger
Directed Irving J. Moore
Written by Henry Sharp

When an intelligent Frankenstein-like man (Charles Horvath) karate-kicks down metal bars to help Frenchwoman Amelie (Marion Thompson) steal the powerful, French-invented, radiating substance called "franconium," West is blamed. The Prussians, who are at war with France, will do anything to get it. West's mission is to find the culprits and return the missing substance.

Meanwhile, Artie's inventing "bug" has created a chemical leech which can suspend a man's weight for 10 seconds, and an artificial lung that can keep a man alive underwater for 5 minutes. West confronts Amelie, she shoots him. He's wearing a bulletproof vest and follows her to the real traitors, Cluny Ormont (Kipp Hamilton), French Lt. General Renard's niece.

Captured, West is put in a metal fumigation box. Using the artificial lung, he escapes herbicidal oblivion using an explosive device. Artie appears as an 1880's version of a FedEx courier. As he confronts Iron-Foot, West bursts out and using his shoe knife, adds new meaning to the compliment, "sharp shoes." West is dumped over a balcony into a pit of boiling lye but is saved by the leech. West grabs the leaning over Iron-Foot and tosses him Southward into the scolding soap. An international crisis has been averted.

This was the first of 25 episodes that the late Moore directed. Conrad shares, "Yes, I worked with Irv on an earlier show I did called HAWAIIAN EYE and I was happy to have him onboard the show." Although we never really learn what franconium does, during the second season in the show THE NIGHT OF THE CADRE, when franconium chips are inserted into the brain and activated by a whistle, the crystal can render men impervious to pain. Iron-foot Horvath returns as the sword swinging Sultan guard Gombal in the second season's THE NIGHT OF THE GYPSY PERIL.


"There should be a law against educating women."
           -- Gordon (to West)

Produced by John Mantley
Directed by Lee H. Katzin
Written by Calvin Clements

As West enters a sailor's shop on the wharf, he witnesses the death of a man named Gilbert at the hands of an assassin named Torres (John Dehner), who is part steel and part human. West's attacks are futile as bullets harmlessly bounce of his body leaving chip marks on his face. Driving him off with a smoke bomb, West learns that Torres is seeking revenge against 7 Civil War army officers that cheated him into guard duty that resulted in him being severely mangled in an explosion. Nina (Sue Ann Langdon), Gilbert's niece, appears waving a picture of Torres and the other officers, one being President Grant (Roy Engel). Fearing for Grant's life, West and Gordon unsuccessfully try to divert Grant away from his speech in a nearby town. To the backdrop of Bach's Dorian Tocadda and Fugue in D-Minor, Torres traps Nina and uses her to capture West. Dangling in front of 2 wireless remote controlled rockets, one aimed at him the other at Grant, West frees himself in time to prevent the rockets red glare and confronts Torres by an underground river. The fight ensues as West pounds the Ironman into the river where he sinks like a knight in shiny armor into the river Thames.

"It was my first stunt on this show," future stunt coordinator Whitey Hughes recollects, "I dreamed up this gag and I didn't know Bobby at that time, so I said, "Mr. Conrad, when you put that boy over there, I'll be up on top here and dive down at you." Bobby said, "You mean jump don't you?" I said, "No, I'll dive at you," "Dive at me?" "Yes, when I call "Bob" just put your hands up and I'll be there." He looked up at me and said, "You're kiddin'." I said no and so we did it." Conrad was so impressed with Hughes that he asked him to be the show's stunt coordinator. It really was a balls-y dive and lay the groundwork for thousands of outrageous stunt falls and dives, which would become part of the show's signature.


"In the house of delights even a painful truth is sugar sweet."
          -- West reading a fortune cookie.
"I'll drink to that, whatever it means."
          -- Gordon.

Produced by John Mantley
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Written by Kevin De Courcy

Disguised as a coolie on the docks, Gordon finds himself in a line-up of smuggled aliens being questioned by a dragon lady in Chinese trying to weed out the imposter Artie. Faked out by Gordon's Chinese she shoots them all. Airborne, West dives across the dock, knocking Artie into the Bay. West and Gordon are trying to crack an opium ring in San Francisco being used to finance ex-British soldier Clive Allenby-Smythe's (Ben Wright) plan to overtake Hunan province. Smythe employs the Sons of the Stalking Tigers tongs to kidnap Princess Ching Ling (Pilar Seurat) from the loyal Crimson Dragons, so he can use her as a royal puppet.

Disguised as Captain Sumatra, a Chinese illegal arms dealer, Gordon wins Smythe's confidence as West rescues Ching and kisses her more times than any other woman ever in the show. They all get caught and West and Gordon are put in a giant lobster broiler. Using vest buttons they burn through the broiler doors and confront Smythe. West takes on a record breaking 11 different attackers in one quick fight sequence, a fight that looks like something from an old Shaw Brothers' film.

Mysteries of the Orient never looked so good as in this episode. Jokes about Chinese food, coolies and stuff not thoroughly understood by the writers might be considered today as politically incorrect but after all it was 1966. Every Chinese character refers to themselves as, "This worthless one" and speaks in fortune cookie language. And speaking of the message delivered to West in a fortune cookie? In reality, fortune cookies weren't introduced into the United States until 1918. Final note, West kisses the Princess Ching Ling more than any other woman in the show.


"How can our bodies stand this?"
          -- West
"Our reflexes are incredibly fast, we react before we allow our momentum to injure us."
          -- Morgan Midas

Produced by Gene Coon
Directed by Irving Moore
Written by Ken Kolb

West is accused by the proud Serbian Minister for the sudden disappearance of his country's Kara diamond, which literally vanishes right before their eyes. West visits Lady Margaret whose diamonds are scheduled to appear at an impending exhibit. Much to the dismay of her nephew Morgan Midas (Robert Drivas) and his girlfriend Lucretia (Christiane Schmidtmer) the diamonds are gone and West figures so is Lady Margaret. Midas abruptly leaves Lucretia to entertain West. Moments later West is struck by an invisible force.

He awakens hanging upside down on an electrocuting device. While torturing West, Midas explains that the stolen diamonds are used to make an elixir that speeds up his metabolism thereby rendering him invisible. Artie comes to the rescue only to be smote by the invisible Midas who ask them to join him.

Under the potion's power, the three attend the exhibition. West and Gordon are warned not to move quickly because in their accelerated state, friction would char them. Midas fools Artie's "fool proof" booby traps and steals the diamonds. As the elixir wears off, our heroes are left trailing in slow motion, trapped by a security cage and tossed in jail accused of the robbery. They escape prison using an acetylene torch disguised as a cigar.

West confronts Midas. They drink the diamond elixir and engage in high metabolic battle. Midas spills alcohol on himself and friction bursts him into flame. As West reappears, he tells Lucretia that her old flame in the corner is the burning Midas.

Writer Ken Kolb shares, "Oh yes, I actually got the idea for this episode from an H.G. Wells story I think it is entitled "The Time Elixir." I told Gene (Coon) that this was a terrific story and it would be easy to film and not costly. Things like just let go off a beaker and have it hang on a wire to give us the appearance of speed. I changed the drink to the diamond elixir."




"Come back. Oh, come back. Oh, you, 'fraidy cat."
           -- Loveless to his "just needled by West" feline

Produced by Michael Garrison
Directed by Irving Moore
Written by Ed Di Loreno

West and Gordon are given 3 days to find War Eagle's daughter Wanakee (Phyllis Newman) or there will be an Indian uprising. Our heroes learn that the Voltaire-less Dr. Loveless kidnapped her as a ruse to capture them. They escape using an acetylene torch disguised as a pencil only to be recaptured. After smoking one of Loveless' mickey finn cigars, West awakens to realize he and Wanakee are only 6 inches tall and for the first time he must look up to Loveless.

Upon seeing West at suppertime, Gordon looks like he has eaten some bad turkey as Loveless explains that he has invented a size-reducing powder and plans to shrink mankind so animals can play in the sun and man will recapture the Garden of Eden.

West escapes his doll house prison and outruns Loveless' cat guard by diving into a mouse hole filled with the required stuck in the tarantula web (tarantulas don't have webs), avoiding mouse traps and using thread and needles as weapons and climbing rope gags. Stumbling into a fighting arena, West stabs Loveless' scared-y cat in the paw. Artie tosses West the restoring formula, he grows, beats up Loveless' henchmen but as usual they are too late as Antoinette and Loveless have shrunk and escaped on the back of his pet raven. Treaty signed, the wedding proceeds.

This episode obviously pays homage to INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. Apparently, Garrison originally wanted Sonny and Cher to play the parts of Wanakee and her mate. However, the biggest challenge of this episode was getting the raven to act. To do this, they tied string to its leg and pulled it when they needed it to fly. Animal rights would lay on egg on that one today.


"I'm still looking for my place."
           -- Jeremiah (to West)

Produced by Michael Garrison
Directed by Richard Donner
Written by John Kneubuhl

West and Gordon investigate the appearance of a Confederate night riding ghost who pied-piper-ishly appears when a stable boy named Jeremiah (Sammy Davis Jr.) plays his spooky flute music. Jeremiah also has the power to speak to and have animals obey his commands. West openly accuses Jeremiah of being in cahoots with the eerie equestrian and vows to the wealthy and very nervous ranch owner Carl Jackson (Peter Lawford), who is also Jeremiah's boss, that he will get to the bottom of it. To stop the ghostly gallop-er, West booby-traps his saddle horn with explosives.

An explosion and tussle later, West faces the skull faced apparition who rides off unharmed dropping his hat that bears the name label "Colonel Beaumont Carson," a man who suffered a fiery death 13 years prior at the hand of Jackson and his cronies that now run the local town.

West and Jeremiah actually arranged the fake scenario in an effort to scare Jackson into admitting the crime that Jeremiah witnessed as a child. Jeremiah announces that Beaumont's ghost will speak through him at the courthouse that night. At the courthouse, Jeremiah enters a trance, and under the guise of Beaumont rage, he has the horses stampede through town warning that the horses will return unless the truth be known.

Held captive in a basement with Jackson's wife, Artie and Jim build a cannon loaded with Artie's "Powder potpourri surprise" a la (STAR TREK - GORN EPISODE) & to pound and pepper their would be killers. Jeremiah's puppetry skill finally gets the whining Jackson to admit his crime.

Dick Donner laughingly tells, "I don't remember much about that show, I've done so much stuff since then. What I do remember is what I did after the show. Peter, Sammy and I became good friends and after the show they got me involved in their movie SALT AND PEPPER." Stunt coordinator Whitey Hughes adds, "I doubled for Sammy because he couldn't handle the horse. (Ironic since his character could control horses with his mind…) I rode the horse into the canyon, and I put on the burned skeleton mask and Bobby bulldogged me (jump up and knock him off the horse). He did that himself and took me down then we had to get right back up and fight."


"This poor Gaspard."
          -- Le Cochon
"Yes, it's a pity in a way. On the other hand, I never really trusted him in spite of his records. I seem to detect a lingering shred of decency."
          -- Gustave Mauvais

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Robert Sparr
Written by Ken Kolb

West goes undercover to Devil's Island as inmate Henri Couteau to search for fellow agent Vincent Reed (Tom Drake) who was unjustly imprisoned there. Gustave Mauvais (Theo Marcuse), the prison commandant and his powerful, right iron-legged aid Le Cochon, immediately dislike West. While saving an old man from becoming road pizza, West lays his grubby hands on the cleanliness fetish Mauvais, who hatefully orders Cochon to kick the 5000-pound cement roller out of the way. West is thrown in the pit where he finds Reed and the insane inmate, monkey-like Le Fou.

Enter slippery, former French Legionnaire discharged for the good of the Legion Pierre Gaspard (Artie) applying for prison guard work. Gordon must defeat 2 other applicants in the "room" to get the job. Amidst a comical interlude of noisemaking, the cocky Gordon emerges nonchalantly spinning a cane on his fingers acting full of himself. He's hired.

West escapes, narrowly avoids becoming fire ant food, and is recaptured by Gaspard. But they are ratted upon by the not-so-mad Le Fou (Steve Frankin) and West is sentenced to die by fighting lead-foot Cochon. After defeating Cochon, West, Reed, Artie and Mauvais' wife Camille head for a hidden boat that unbeknownst to them Mauvais and Cochon await with cannon in hand. As Mauvais steps forward to shoot them, he falls into quicksand and Cochon walks into the water hoping to also escape. Shot in the back by the sinking Mauvais, Cochon joins JAWS for supper.

Producer Lansbury comments, "I liked this show for the jungle feel and it is reminiscent of PAPILLON." Fans will recognize lead villain Theo Marcuse who not only often appeared in HOGAN'S HEROES, but first starred in the earlier B&W episode as the crazed microbiologist Dr. Kirby in THE NIGHT OF THE SUDDEN PLAGUE then in the third season as the Egyptian Hassan who wants to corner the world's cotton market in THE NIGHT OF THE HEADLESS WOMAN.


"Many are called, but only few are chosen."
          -- Gordon (to West after being chosen for a magician's disappearing act)

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Written by Henry Sharp

As a magician makes Gordon disappear, West's concern overflows when Artie never reappears and all we hear is his voice fading into oblivion. West's only clue is the magician's sword left on stage with the inscription NBV, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

A bar room brawl in Vicksburg later, West is slipped the address, Live Oak Manor, the run down mansion of the wheelchair bound, Confederate officer Colonel Vautrain (Ricardo Montalban). West learns that during the Civil War he saved his life but not before his legs were irreparably broken. Vautrain wants to travel back in time with West via the 4th dimension to restore the use of his legs. He directs the disbelieving West to a room telling him Gordon is in there.

West is transported back to the 1700's and helps a man named Jack Maitland, the unaware Gordon, win a swordfight. Maitland is shot and dies saying, "I feel we've met before." Returning to the present, Gordon comes back to life. Vautrain explains that with focused mind energy he can enter warps in space that can help them travel back in time. Energy focusing later, the trio relive the Civil War as a younger Vautrain joyfully runs around his mansion in his full splendor.

His hidden agenda emerges. His mansion doubles as a weapons arsenal and plans to use it to turns the tides of war. Suddenly a shell rips through his mansion setting it afire. As the smoke clears, the leg shattered Vautrain is trapped beneath a post. Amidst his burning house and realizing his 2-fold scheme has failed he forgivingly orders West and Gordon to leave and return to the present before his mansion explodes. Boom!

Writer Henry Sharp reminisces, "This was an idea that had fermented in my brain for a while. I had always played around with it. I was amazed when Michael Garrison said go ahead with it even though it involved science fiction of a high order, H.G. Wells and time travel. Had a dueling scene with Ross in that one, I thought he did very well with it." Fans may also regard Montalban's eerie yet existentialist performance similar to his STAR TREK'S Khan character, a bad guy you cheer for.


"Now they're turning the money over to a scholarship fund for deserving students."
          -- West
"Yes, that's not only a noble gesture, but it also does wonders for the life expectancy."
          -- Gordon

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Written by Elon Packard & Norman Hudis

West and Gordon are assigned to protect secret weapon inventor Dr. Raven (Harry Townes), who is also a member of an investment group known as a tontine who are being mysteriously wiped out. The rule being, whoever is last standing gains all the group's assets. Raven attends the annual meeting with West as his bodyguard and Gordon disguised as Scotsman Mr. MacGordon.

At their secluded Ocean view, cliff top mansion, West warns the group that someone is trying to kill them. Scoffs later, the group gets trapped in the meeting room when a security lever goes awry. Either through, electrocution, knives sticking out of chairs, backfiring guns or exploding devices, members dwindle.

West is captured by hooded attackers and put on a rocket-powered sled aimed to fly out of a cave 200 feet above the craggy-rocked ocean coastline. Using an acid vile hidden in his boot heel, West escapes and discovers that the mansion filled with secret caves, rooms and corridors with a giant beer-barreled entrance was created by deceased tontine member Martin Dexter.

Everyone a suspect, Amelia the actress suggests they seek answers through a seance and her magic crystal ball. The ball explodes and she disappears. Searching the basement, West narrowly escapes a spike-walled shrinking room and emerges in someone's bedroom to fight more of the hooded men.

West figures out that Dexter has a twin brother who has replaced his brother in the tontine. West is put in a room with a lowering giant lawn mower blade. He stops it with his jacket. As Dexter rushes in through the room's revolving door, West grabs his jacket and exits leaving Dexter to 'hang and spin'. The tontine is secure.

Being a fellow Brit, Lansbury and I laugh in agreement that although Ross Martin is well versed in his English dialectical approaches, his rendition of Scotsman Mr. MacGordon from Edinburgh was one of his phoniest sounding impersonations.

The show also featured prizefighter Wilhelm von Homburg who also later appeared in THE NIGHT OF THE BIG BLACKMAIL and in THE NIGHT OF THE IRON FIST which starred Mark Lenard (Spock's father in STAR TREK) as Count Draja.

(Amusingly true perhaps, but it should be noted that the Scots accent for TNot Tottering Tontine was clearly done as it is on purpose by Martin. As with most of the characterizations in THE WILD, WILD WEST, MacGordon is played as a stereotypic, exaggerated character. That's the whole gag. Hence the stereotype accent. MacGordon is supposed to sound as what the general viewing audience would expect to hear, meaning the average US viewing audience circa 1967. He is not meant in any way to sound genuinely authentic. Very few if any of Artemus's disguises in THE WILD, WILD WEST were actually meant to fool anyone. Martin was directed to do characterizations such that the audience would always be "in on it". Martin discussed these required broad characterizations in multiple articles of the time.

Ironically, Mr. Ortuglo, the author's admitted favourite from TNot Doomsday Formula, is a perfect example of this broad type of portrayal in practice. -ed. )



"What is it you want?"
          -- West
"The world is in a very untidy state Mr. West. In order to put it to rights, I shall have to come close to destroying it."
          -- Braine

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Lawrence Peerce
Written by Calvin Clements

In a cryptic cave, an effigy of West is moved around a chessboard as the unseen, mysterious player amply predicts each of West's movements. West and Gordon attend the performance of their magician friend's, that, they were told by tomorrow's newspaper today, was going to die. He dies. Another tomorrow's paper and chess move later, West is warned about another friend who will die, Colonel Arnette. West visits his friend and unwittingly drinks drugged wine. He helplessly watches his friend perish.

Scouting the print shop responsible for the early editions, West's investigation leads him to fortuneteller Voulee (Brioni Farrell) who tries to dissuade him but West's persistence finds him rocketed up into CBS' cave set which now double‘ for Mr. Braine's (Edward Andrews) cavernous abode. The bonkered Braine wants West to join him in his quest to rule the world by killing all the world leaders during a secret meeting and replace them with his own clones. Braine kills one of his own men (he's missing a button) with a rocket shot from his steam-powered wheelchair, which he uses for transportation purposes as to conserve energy for thinking. As West tries to escape he is flattened. Artie, who is really Braine's henchman Leeto in a mask of Artie.

Artie now arrives as Artie-Leeto-Artie, which causes just enough confusion that West is eventually able to overcome Braine's brain and outsmart him with physical ability and a little help from a "bomb-y" thing.

Lansbury chooses this show as also one of his favorites, commending lead villain Edward Andrews' performance as memorable. The use of face switching and complete facial changes was the sort of thing Lansbury made universal in his next show MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. If you look closely in Braine's lab you'll notice Ross Martin's actual life mask on one of the benches.


"What do you demand in a women, intelligence or beauty?"
          --Emma Valentine
"Beauty if they are intelligent and intelligence if they are beautiful."
          -- West

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Written by Leigh Chapman

West and Gordon arrive just in time to watch wealthy businessman Curtis Dodd get shot by an arrow that emerges out of the piano he was playing. He was a victim of the Alphabet Murders, systematic murders of the nation's wealthiest men.

When West and Gordon receive a thank you card from Mrs. Dodd, they notice the same letter "M" flaw found on a card from a previous victim's wife. Tracing it to the Friendly Card Company, they are attacked by henchmen led by a crazed, cackling redhead (Whitey Hughes). They notice printed wedding invitations for a P.J. Lambert, the next victim. Gordon assumes Mrs. Dodd is involved and West visits Emma Valentine (Agnes Moorehead), the matchmaker that is arranging Lambert's wedding.

While West is captured and squeezingly embraced by plastic giant women-hands attached to her chair, Valentine explains that she marries her young girls off to rich men, kills them, then plans to use the money to become Queen of America and vie for women's total independence. Meanwhile, the Jewish tailor disguised Gordon is discovered by one of Valentine's harpies.

West and Gordon are tied to a huge glass dome and after the service, when the right piano cord is struck, they will come crashing down on top of Lambert thus killing him and our heroes. Using his shoe knife and sleeve gadget (that has a wire-shooting pellet today), West prepares them to drop on key, except they land safely, apprehend the marrying matrons and it's the crazy redheaded henchman that gets to eat the wedding cake.

Agnes Moorehead received an Emmy for her performance as the red-haired maniacal matchmaker while director Moore awarded stunt coordinator Whitey Hughes his red-haired character. Hughes explains, "Moore noted I had a habit of screaming on set, you know those wild karate screams. I'd do it for fun just to let out and they'd say don't do that Whitey. So Moore said he'd write a part for me so I could just scream out. And he did. He said to just scream every time I moved and with the red hair I was just nuttier. It was one of my favorite gags, plus I got to bury my face in the wedding cake."


"Where am I?"
          -- West
"You stepped through a picture Mr. West, into my newly discovered dimension. Make no mistake, death is just as real here."
          -- Loveless

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Alan Crossland Jr
Written by John Kneubuhl

West and Gordon are assigned to guard the famous Herzberg crown, which mysteriously disappears. Wealthy rancher Axel Morgan removes his Wellington painting of a Western scene from the same museum under the guise of its safety. Gordon notices the painting is fake so thinking something is amiss, he weasels dinner invitations for he and West.

At Morgan's ranch, we learn that Loveless painting hobby is behind the theft. After Loveless catches our heroes red handed in something that could spoil his plans, Gordon escapes but West is captured. Using sound effects and gizmos featured in previous episodes, Loveless explains how his new machine can transport people in and out of his artwork and that he plans to distribute these paintings worldwide. These painting will house assassins that will kill world rulers thereby placing him in charge.

Loveless invites gunfighter Lightening McCoy to see just how fast West really is. Gordon intercepts McCoy, drugs him and arrives in his place. Loveless transports everyone into a Western painting, where West and Gordon feign a gunfight, kill Loveless' other gunmen then via musical notes, transport back to reality to face the real McCoy.

In a rare, mono-a-mono, GUNSMOKE-like gunfight, and much to Loveless' chagrin, we learn that West has the fastest gun in the West. Loveless escapes into a painting of carpenters. Not knowing which painting he has entered, West and Gordon crate them all. The final scene shows all the paintings in a train car as we hear the sound of sawing coming from one of the crates.

This was the final Loveless episode written by John Kneubuhl after which he resigned from the show. Apparently Michael Garrison's secretary wanted to go to Australia to get married and couldn't afford it. She told Kneubuhl of an idea for an episode and he not only wrote it but also gave her the money he was paid as a wedding gift. One wonders if they are still married or even in Australia for that matter.

If Garrison's secretary reads this, please send us a note - we'd love to know.




          -- West looking at an arrow in a dead man's back.
          -- Gordon.

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Written by Max Erlich

West visits the Washington Archeological Museum to discuss with Dr. Mallory plans for an upcoming expedition to find Montezuma's lost treasure. He is in fact greeted by an imposter (Ray Walston) who under the control of the freaky-eyed Zack Slade (Jack Elam) has assumed Mallory's identity.

The Mexican government sends Colonel Pedro Sanchez (Edmund Hashim) who immediately thinks West is some big shot "gringo" out to make a buck for the US government. West rescues Sanchez during a fight with the help of a Swedish immigrant waiter (Artie) who, "Yust harppen to be in de nayborhuud."

Only Sanchez knows the way but Gordon tags along posing as an aged desert guide. Midway through the grueling journey, West and Gordon get that "we are not alone" funny feeling which climaxes as one of Slade's men gets an Aztec arrow in his back.

After finding an Aztec Temple they're surrounded by Aztec warriors. One of Slade's men shoots two of them and an act of bravery by West, removing the mask of the Sun Goddess (Carla Borelli) and kissing her, results in her decision that only two of them will die in retaliation. Tossed in prison, Slade decides that West and Gordon are the volunteers.

Escaping the "dropping ceiling to crush you" gag via an explosive pellet in West's shoe heel, Slade and his men attack worshipping Aztecs in the treasure room. West and Gordon emerge from the sacred dragon's mouth and are thought to be gods. West stops Slade and although for a split second he has something else on his mind, he tells the Sun Goddess that her thanks are enough.

Although there isn't much action in this one, it's one of my personal favorites. Perhaps it's what West represents as what is honorable in America, or maybe the beauty of the Sun Goddess and the corny ending when in the train West sees the image of her on her mask saying "Friends."

Lansbury adds, "We shot that as one of our outside episodes out in Lancaster, 50 miles into the desert." Which explains why the score has a sun drenched tone that injects mystery into their journey. Note that the Aztec chanting is a beefed up version of the devilish cult chants from THE NIGHT OF THE DRUID'S BLOOD.


"Demis. What did I do to him? What did I do?"
          -- Senator Buckley, cradling his dead son.

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Michael Caffey
Written by Robert Dennis & Earl Barret

West and Gordon arrive at Senator Buckley's (Dabbs Greer) home concerned about his lengthy absence from Washington. They arrive on a story night to discover that a plantation worker was apparently just crushed by a gigantic beast. Dr. Leibig confirms the death as Gordon recognizes him from somewhere.

As West dines with the beautiful daughter Naomi (Grace Gaynor), Gordon ignores warnings and breaks into the forbidden nursery. He overhears the 3 sons tell the Senator that they want "It dead." Gordon is knocked out and recovers in time to tell West that the family meeting was about family church records. The church bell tolls. West speeds over to find one of Buckley's sons crushed and the church's father swearing he saw a giant ape swoop past the door.

Gordon recalls Leibig is an ape specialist and visits his lab as Dr. Marvin Gentry. He stumbles upon a secret door where the giant Demis (Richard Kiel) emerges and attacks him. Gordon locks himself in a cage. Hearing church bells, Demis leaves.

Meanwhile, Naomi is captured by a gorilla and when West tries to rescue her he unsuccessfully kung-fus the ape. Stuck in a cage with Naomi, Demis tells West he will kill all Buckleys for depriving him of his birthright. Guarded by the ape, they escape by throwing fire at it. It now chases them in hot pursuit.

Back at the ranch, West arrives and fights Demis after he has killed another brother. The ape bursts into the house and bear hugs Gordon. West whack‘ Demis over the banister and the fall breaks his neck. The distraught ape sadly leaves and is shot to death by the ranch workers. The Senator cries in anguish.

Actor Richard Kiel strangely relates, "What I really learned from the show was not wanting to play characters that don't speak. The guy that played the gorilla he was actually a famous actor from all those swashbuckling swordsman and pirate films. He created this gorilla suit and was proud of what he could do with it, the only thing is that is the only thing he ever did in Hollywood again, play a gorilla. He ruined his career. So I never play a non-speaking character again."




"As Plutoc once said, 'To create harmony one must investigate discord.'"
          -- Gordon disguised as Mr. Ortuglo.

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Written by Samuel Newman

West arrives at Dr. Crane's home to be told by his daughter Lorna (Melinda Plowman) he's already meeting a man named West. Not wishing to alarm her, he abruptly leaves but smashingly returns after hearing her screams. A fight erupts as West is blindsided. His fading out image is metal-fisted cane handle.

West and Gordon search Crane's home and find his Doomsday Formula. A mushroom cloud explosive test later, they realize the implications of the formula being in the wrong hands, belonging specifically to the kidnapper, General Kroll (Kevin McCarthy).

Disguised as the foul singing Arab Hassan Tamir Ortuglo, Artie bumps into Kroll as Hadian's Club offering to buy the formula. Kroll feigns ignorance, but succumbs when Ortuglo points at his suitcase, insinuating it is full of money for him.

West finds Crane at Kroll's farm who is forced to make the explosive while his daughter is in plain view balanced on a small platform surrounded by fire. He gives West one hour to save his daughter or he will be forced to relinquish the formula. Ortuglo starts singing, "A yata hi yako, a yata eeee eeee." Zooming in on Artie's voice, it is coming from a wind up recording device.

West is spotted with another intruder. Artie's box sticks, "Anata waaay, anata waaay, anata waaay." Kroll imagines who the other intruder is. Bursting into Ortuglo's room, Artie is seen repeatedly strumming the same cord singing, "Anata waaay."

Before dinner, Gordon creates a firework diversion, and with a "slide for life" stunt gag, West rescues Lorna, escapes Kroll's gattling gun target practice room then tosses a bomb at Kroll blowing him and his plans to pieces. The world is safe.

Another one of my personal favorites and probably for the wrong reasons. Mr. Ortuglo is my all time most favorite disguise that Martin does. I just remember constantly singing his crazy song after I heard it. Whitey Hughes describes, "I was the stunt double for the lady standing on the pedestal. That was Jimmy George standing in for Bobby. He slide down with the one hand and picked me up and carried me on his shoulder. I remember we went over to this building and it was 50 feet up coming out of the wall and I had faith in Jim and he said he had no problem with it. You'll see me turn my head away from camera at the critical time so you can't tell it's me."


"By the way, where is Mr. West?"
          -- Baron Hinterestoisser
"He said something about showing the big dipper to the daughter of the Lithuanian Ambassador."
          -- Gordon

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Irving J. Moore
Written by David Mossinger

While President Grant attends a fencing competition at the German Embassy, Baron Hinterestoisser (Harvey Koran) informs Grant he should be present at a special reception later because he has something very "interestink" for him to see. Red flags waving, West sneaks out and discovers a black box inside a dumbwaiter and replaces it with a heavy book. The dumbwaiter closes and the box is sealed with wax.

Back at the train we see Grant and his agents watching a Kinetoscope showing a phony re-enactment of Grant signing a secret treaty with Japan. If this got out it could cause worldwide distrust among America's allies. West and Gordon sneak back into the embassy and find that the box is placed inside a vault that is covered by a giant metal plug that looks like a huge car engine valve that opens by steam pressure. West finds the pressure release but it is heavily guarded.

West holds the steam lever open with one hand and fights off several guard with the other. Gordon places the film back in the box. Searching for a way out they find the bottom of a well and using the rocket gag (place explosive under a bucket, West stands on a bucket, boom, it shoot West up), the 2 arrive just as Grant enters the embassy.

As they all start to watch the Kinetoscope, Grant sweats but Artie winks. Moments later Artie is seen on screen dressed as Grant turning it into a Chaplin film. Laughter later, Grant's face is saved while the Baron's boss, the "fearrless leaderr" reminds the Baron what squad he will face back home.

Moore would laugh uncontrollably every time Koran made an entrance because he constantly thought about Koran constantly snickering during the live comedy skits on the CAROL BURNETT SHOW. Again we also see that THE WILD, WILD WEST is ahead of its time. The Kinetoscope, which is really a short piece of film less than 50 feet and runs for about 13 seconds, was invented by George Eastman in 1888.

(When you watch this episode, it's pretty clear that both the stolen "film" and the one it is replaced with is a cylinder which has multiple photographic plates of some sort secured upon its perimeter. When it is "shown", the "projector" clearly has a geared crank which when turned rapidly rotates the cylinder, flipping the cards past some optics and a light source. The images on the cards are projected in this manner on the wall for viewing.

Research shows that is not Eastman's (or as it is usually credited, Edison's) Kinetoscope that is in use here, but the invention of Charles Coleman Sellers, who in 1861 patented his Kinematoscope -- a sequence of stereoscopic photographic image pairs flipped in rapid succession past projection optics which simulates motion when viewed. Kinematoscopes were seen in a couple of flavours: a single-viewer unit where the viewer themselves cranks the images, and another where a 'projectionist' does the work while an entire audience views the images. As opposed to these sequenced, paired stereoscopic image plates, Edison's Kinetoscope uses a single piece of film with multiple exposed images upon it. The single film strip with multiple exposed images is then looped and pulled past somewhat more complicated projection optics, much as modern motion picture projectors do.

We see James West treated to a single-viewer Kinematoscope of Count Manzeppi in TNot Feathered Fury... -ed.)



"If they were not government men, I would give them a good fight."
          -- Aquilla
"Unless they reissued Civil War uniforms, those sailors are as phony as nine dollar bills."
          -- West

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Michael Caffey
Written by Stephan Kandel

Amidst foghorns, mist and clanging buoy bells, while Navy Lt. Bartlett tries to tell West and Gordon about why fishing has been banned in the local water they are attacked by salty seaman. As the fight continues, a giant tentacle reaches up from the murky ocean waters and kills Bartlett. Admiral Hammond (Ford Rainey informs them that the order to stop fishing was given due to a giant squid frequenting the water.

However, Jose Aquilla, spokesman for the local fishermen warns the Admiral that he must defy the order because he must feed his family. West accompanies him to a bar trying to reason with him. They form a friendship after dispersing a pseudo-batch of Navy sailors and Aquilla convinces West to join him at sea. The kraken drags them both underwater, killing Aquilla while West cuts out a piece of its tentacle. It's vulcanized rubber.

Back at Hammond's office, they learn that Admiral Farraget is arriving on the USS Missouri and assume that whoever is behind the mechanical monster will be after Farraget. An explosion kills Hammond as he was about to reveal a model of an underwater installation, which our heroes find behind his broken aquarium.

Using Hammond's experimental diving helmet, West finds a way into the installation and discovers Hammond's wife Dolores (Marj Dusay) is in cahoots with the local pseudo-bible puncher Daniel (Ted Knight) who is out to destroy the USS Missouri.

West is captured but Gordon finds a way in, releases West but not before the bomb, which looks like a WWII sea mine, is released. West swims after in and reprograms it to return to the installation and blow it up. Farraget lives.

Ross Martin was still nursing his broken leg from the set of THE NIGHT OF THE AVARICIOUS ACTUARY and is still wearing his cast, so you'll note that with his main disguise, a Portuguese fisherman, he uses a crutch as part of that disguise. Furthermore, the first diving helmet ever used was by the British designer H.A. Fleuss in 1879.

As an inside nod, back at the train, when West and Gordon are going through Bartlett's books, West is reading a book from playboy millionaire Irving Moore.

(About diving suits and helmets, NOAA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says: "The first major breakthrough in surface-support diving systems occurred with Augustus Siebe's invention of the diving dress in 1819. Around the same time, the Deane Brothers, John and Charles, were working on a design for a "smoke apparatus," a suit that would allow firefighters to work in a burning building. They received a patent for this system in 1823, and later modified it to "Deane's Patent Diving Dress," consisting of a protective suit equipped with a separate helmet with ports and hose connections for surface-supplied air. Siebe's diving dress consisted of a waist-length jacket with a metal helmet sealed to the collar. Divers received air under pressure from the surface by force pump; the air subsequently escaped freely at the diver's waist. In 1837, Siebe modified this open dress, which allowed the air to escape, into the closed type of dress. The closed suit retained the attached helmet but, by venting the air via a valve, provided the diver with a full-body air-tight suit. This suit served as the basis for modern hard-hat diving gear. Siebe's diving suit was tested and found to be successful in 1839 when the British started the salvage of the ship Royal George, which had sunk in 1782 to a depth of 65 feet (19.8 meters) (Larson 1959)." -- ed.)



"How is Artie bearing up under his Washington assignment Sir?"
          -- West
"The question is how is Washington bearing up?"
          -- President Grant

Produced by Bruce Lansbury
Directed by Marvin Chomsky
Written by Ken Pettus

West is witness to the arrival of a raven at a railroad dedication, which causes the entranced local mayor to put on a pair of orange tinted glasses and blow up the railroad. West an his new partner Frank Harper (William Schallert) see a professor wreck his art collection and a sheriff release criminals under the same circumstances, raven, trance, glasses and the act.

The common denominator is eye specialist Dr. Occularis. He puts eye drops in his patients, and using a Kinetoscope showing swirling color, he conditions people to commit bad acts. West follows the raven while Frank poses as Mayor Sneed, Occularis' next appointment. Sneed (as Harper) is ordered to kill West and Harper, but fails.

West visits a cantina and finds Laurette (Michelle Carey) who he knows is somehow involved. She drugs him. West wakes up in a meeting room of the evil organization RAVEN lead by Thadeus Toombs, who is under the command of the large-bulbous headed Tycho (Christopher Cary). They plant to disrupt US-Mexican relations by inducing West to kill Mexican Ambassador Ramirez. He unwittingly complies. However, it was Harper in disguise.

By showing West pictures of his crime, Tycho convinces West to join them. West notice Harper's ring in the picture and goes along with them then tries to subdue Tycho. He fails.

Harper arrives disguised as Professor Krowler, Toombs' former mentor. He tells Toombs he has perfected his conditioning serum and blows up West's hand arm to proof that under the serum, West feels no pain. Everyone leaves so Krowler can talk to Tycho. West snaps out of it and they blast away Tycho's protective glass wall. But the agents are captured and left to die as Toombs rigs the hideout to explode. Using West's boot knife, they escape and apprehend everyone except Tycho. Back at the train, Harper explains the explosive is harmless as he totally obliterates an ice bucket. West is beside himself saying, "Frank do me a favor, don't ever do me anymore favors."

This was the only 2-parter story in the four-year history of the show. It was also the 5th and 6th episode without Ross Martin who was recovering from his first heart attack. Actor William Schallert recalls his stint as West's partner, "I think they thought of me for the part because I had already appeared in 2 previous episodes and they knew I could handle different characters and they figured I would just do stuff like what I'd already done. Back then I was known as a character actor."

back to feature page      back to top