Sunday, April 27, 2014
W is for : The Wild, Wild, West!!!
(Due to some time constraints, yesterday, I pushed my "off day" forward taking Saturday as my day of rest instead of today.)
Little did the world know, but back in the 1880s, they faced all manner of odd and, sometimes, supernatural threat. The reason they never knew was due to the efforts of two Secret Service agent.....James West and his partner, Artemis Gordon.
That, ladies and gentlemen, was the Wild, Wild, West!
It ran on CBS from 1965 to 1969, during the Cold War/James Bond heyday. In fact, creator Michael Garrison pitched it as "James Bond on horseback".
True to the pitch, the show had almost every spy genre convention there was. Cool gadgets, pretty women, maniacal villains, doomsday devices, and deathtraps. Almost every episode was guaranteed at least one thing from each of those categories.
country in a souped up train, called The Wanderer, and did the work no other agents could get done. The two were the top Secret Service agents of the time, reporting directly to President Ulysses S. Grant and in charge of not only his safety, but the safety of the free world.
Who were they protecting the world from? Why such evil masterminds as Dr. Miguelito Loveless (played by the amazing Michael Dunn) and his cohort Voltaire (Richard "Jaws" Keil), Count Manzeppi (Victor Buono), and Emma Valentine (Agnes Moorehead) to name just a few. The show was a stopping off point for many guest stars....from Sammy Davis Jr., to Alan (The Skipper) Hale Jr., to Richard Pryor, to Boris Karloff. During the last season, Ross Martin broke his leg and, as he healed, the producers brought in other "partners" for West, but they just never had the same sort of chemistry as the West/Gordon combo. Speaking of lack of chemistry, we won't even discuss the fiasco that was the Wild, Wild, West movie starring Wil Smith and Kevin Cline. We won't discuss it because it NEVER HAPPENED! Do you understand? There was NO SUCH THING!
This has always been a favorite show of mine and was "steampunk", even before there was such a thing. Many of the gadgets were a bit anachronistic, but still very cool and a lot of fun.
Growing up, I used to play Wild, Wild, West with a friend of mine where I was (of course) James West and she was Artemis Gordon. We made our own "spy kits" and would go to them before our "missions". I had the little 'derringer up the sleeve' as West did and she would use Silly Putty to make different noses and such, a la Artemis Gordon's disguises. It was a lot of fun and the show really fueled our imaginations.
Hey, don't judge....it was before computers and the internet :P
Anyway, this show has always been one that I can watch over and over again and often do since I got them on DVD. God Bless DVDs!!
Honorable Mentions: WKRP in Cincinnati, Wonder Woman (a super strong contender for top spot), The White Shadow.
Tune in tomorrow for....o.k, I won't even make you guess....there weren't too many shows starting with "X" anyway.....The X-Files.