Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Wild Wild West

There isn't a lot from the sports world to write about, so let's move to something else.
Before I start though, I would like to thank those of you that have written thus far on the post asking for your thoughts.
I have read all of them and enjoyed the one common thread that you seem to like my work.
It is quite humbling to read the notes and I am listening to your responses.
The funny thing is so many of them feature different things that you like, so there is soul searching to do, but I plan a post later in the week that will deal with your notes.
If you have not sent me anything, there is still time to do so and I ask you to drop me a line.....

I am a passionate fan of many shows throughout my life, but there are a select few that rank above all.
There is one that ranks very highly from the first time that I watched it and it never deviated from its position.

The Wild Wild West was an unusual mix of science fiction and western action that never saw a drop in the ratings, but became a casualty of the tightened regulations on television violence in the late 1960s.
The show basically was James Bond hits the 1800's with a pair of secret service agents traveling the country (usually the Western half) battling threats to then-President Ulysses Grant and the nation itself.
"James West" used gadgets to get himself out of trouble, usually gadgets that would have been way ahead of the time that the show was based in and "Artemis Gordon" was the jack of all trades that used various disguises as his M.O.

Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were the stars and played off each other very well as a team that needed each of their individual skills to survive.
The show used various nefarious villains each week to combat the duo, but the main bad guy was a dwarf "Dr.Miguelito Loveless" played by the brilliant Michael Dunn.
Loveless appeared in ten episodes as a megalomaniac that wanted to install himself as ruler of the world through plots that often involve things well before their time, only to have them foiled by West and Gordon, although Loveless was never grabbed before getting away.

The show aired its first season in black and white and that might be the best season of the show.
The first season was a bit darker than the color shows that started in the second season.
The episodes that air in color are a bit funnier and campier than season one, but despite the differences, the show is still terrific.

The show is quite violent as the stunt work is among the best that you can see of its time as the timing and choreography are almost perfect.
Conrad did most of his own stunts until a fall from a 12-foot chandelier that ended a season early and that forced some changes in the stunt formats in the show, although you would need to watch the entire run of the series to really see the difference.
Fights are a part of the Western genre' anyway and WWW fought-a lot.
The number of fights was mentioned twice in congressional hearings and CBS canceled the show despite the ratings not having dipped as an olive branch towards the new legislation.

I always watched the show as a child when it was aired in afternoon syndication after school in the days before VCR's and simply loved it.
I could not get enough of it (and Star Trek, but that's another post) and was such a huge fan that I did not want to miss an episode

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