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The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season

The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season

James West and Artemus Gordon are two agents of President Grant who take their splendidly appointed private train through the west to fight evil. Half science fiction and half western, the Artemus designs a series of interesting gadgets for James tha

Rating: (out of 42 reviews)

List Price: $ 39.98

Price: $ 19.97

posted by chris in Westerns and have Comments (5)

5 Responses to “The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season”

  1. Thomas Rucki says:

    Review by Thomas Rucki for The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season
    Rating:
    Witness if you will the fourth (1968-1969) and final season of “The Wild Wild West”, still produced by Bruce Lansbury and that continues his updated and rugged treatment of the series with the paranoid political tales: “The Night of the Doomsday Formula” (guest starring Kevin McCarthy as the fanatical General Kroll) and “The Night of the Pistoleros” showing a future nations’ conflict triggered by Mexican look-alikes of American military officers.

    You will meet James West’s new partners because Artemus Gordon is sent to Washington: secret agent/master of disguises Jeremy Pike (played by Charles Aidman) in four episodes (“The Night of the Camera”, “The Night of Miguelito’s Revenge” that is the last Dr. Loveless’ offering, “The Night of the Pelican”, “The Night of the Janus” that is Charles Aidman’s best performance as Baron Klaus Esterhauser and in which we catch a glimpse of James West’s training academy), secret agent/master of disguises Frank Harper (played by William Schallert) in the two parter “The Night of the Winged Terror”, and chemist/agent Ned Brown (played by Alan Hale Jr) in the gloomy “The Night of the Sabatini Death”.

    Moreover, we will again foray into the off-centered and the macabre fantasies as the Hammer Productions-like “The Night of the Sedgewick Curse” dealing with the theme of the fountain of youth, the tribute to the classic “The Phantom of the Opera” in “The Night of the Diva” (Robert Conrad even sings “Buffalo Gals” with his friends Richard Cangey and Red West) and a veiled reference to Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in “The Night of the Bleak Island”, and two Jules Verne-oriented ones in “The Night of the Kraken” (which highlights a Captain Nemo type of character) and “The Night of the Winged Terror, Part I & II” (describing a secret organization of subversive mad scientists ruled by a hypercephalic mastermind).

    One episode, directed in late season 3, depicts Robert Conrad’s tragic fall while performing his stunt: “The Night of the Fugitives” (guest starring Simon Oakland).

  2. Eric Pregosin says:

    Review by Eric Pregosin for The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season
    Rating:
    Well here we are, the final adventures of James T West and Artemus Gordon. Hard to believe the series only ran 4 years. Growing up in New York, the reruns ran aplenty during the 70s. Sadly though, series co-star Ross Martin didn’t get to appreciate the whole season as he was side lined by a heart attack. Replacing him was a young Charles Aidman as Jeremy Pike who was as good at his trade as Arte (you get the impression he learned from the master himself) and others including Alan (the Skipper) Hale, John Dehner and William Schallert (Carson Drew, Nils Baris, Martin Lane) in a 2 part episode. Their names got billed in the ending credits in the episodes they appeared in though Martin continued to appear in the opening credits for the remainder of the run. Martin would recover to be able to do the sequel films made in 1979 and 1980, Wild Wild West Revisited and More Wild Wild West which according to http://www.tvshowsondvd.com will sadly not be included in this set. Fortunately, they are shown often enough on Encore Westerns so you can copy them yourself uncut (the prerecorded VHS tapes I believe are copy protected). Martin passed away soon after making the sequel films, but I am sure if we looked up him up on the IMDB we would find a lot of good stuff under his name including a villain on Wonder Woman in 1977, and an attempt to bring Charlie Chan back just before or after More Wild Wild West. So get this last season, and appreciate 4 years of one of the shortest yet popular Western series of the 1960s.

  3. R. Scandura says:

    Review by R. Scandura for The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season
    Rating:
    I have been a fan of the Wild Wild West since I was a kid. It’s great to see that all the seasons are finally available on DVD. It won an Emmy and was nominated for 2 Golden Globes!! Like most successful TV shows it got better each year. What is interesting about TWWW is that is was a show that was way ahead of it’s time. It was without a doubt the X-Files of the 60′s.I firmly believe that the creator of the X-Files(Chris Carter) grew up watching The Wild Wild West! Robert Conrad was a health buff and trained in karate and boxing which allowed him to perform his own stunts that made Secret Service Agent James West that much more realistic. Even Ross Martin was an experienced stage actor which made Secret Service Agent Artemus Gordon believable. The show was an amazing mix of spy, western and sci-fi television and also was the first TV show to cross-mix with other successful TV shows – In episode #97, “The Night of the Sabatini Death”, there was a tribute to the TV series, “Gilligan’s Island” due to the fact that both Alan Hale Jr. (The Skipper) and Jim Backus (The Millionaire) were guest-starring on the episode. At the very end of the episode, Alan Hale’s character said that he’s going off to a deserted island for a vacation while a few notes of the Gilligan’s Island theme song played in the background! That was cool to watch and again way ahead of it’s time.

    The show’s theme as well as the spellbinding music within made the show that much more intriguing and exciting. The humor that was introduced at times also added to the success of the show. On top of all this it introduced other stars into each episode. Robert Duvall, Don Rickles, Alan Hale Jr. Jim Backus, Boris Karloff, Victor Buono, Richard Prior, Jack Elam, Ray Walston, Willam Schallert,Agness Moorehead,Burgess Meredith,Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Carol O’Connor,Ricardo Montalban,Suzanne Pleshette, John Astin, Martin Landau,Ed Asner,Ted Knight, Richard Anderson,Red West, Martin Brooks,Norman Fell and many more!!!Unfortunately however the movie remake of TWWW in 1999 starring Will Smith/Kevin Kline was an insult to not only the cast and characters of the original TV series but to the original series itself.However it now lives again on DVD and I suggest you check it out for yourself especially if you were a fan of the X-Files.

  4. Scott T. Rivers says:

    Review by Scott T. Rivers for The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season
    Rating:
    “The Wild Wild West” encountered a few production problems toward the end of its run. Ross Martin’s mid-season heart attack resulted in a variety of guest agents. There also was the issue of Robert Conrad’s near-fatal stunt mishap in “The Night of the Fugitives,” followed by a Congressional crusade that forced CBS to place restrictions on the show’s comic-book violence. Amidst the behind-the-scenes turmoil were classic adventures such as “The Night of the Big Blackmail,” “The Night of Fire and Brimstone” and “The Night of the Kraken.” Unfortunately, Michael Dunn’s farewell appearance as Dr. Loveless (“The Night of Miguelito’s Revenge”) suffered from a lackluster script and Martin’s absence. Though uneven, Season Four marked a welcome return to the bizarre fantasies that were largely absent in the 1967-68 episodes. “The Wild Wild West” remains the only series in television history to be canceled for “excessive violence” – a political scapegoat in the aftermath of the King and Kennedy assassinations. Perhaps it was for the best. Unlike other TV heroes, James West and Artemus Gordon rode off into the sunset without overstaying their welcome.

  5. Robert Badgley says:

    Review by Robert Badgley for The Wild Wild West – The Fourth Season
    Rating:
    I hadn’t seen the show since it went off the air in 1969.

    I’ve bought and viewed now all four seasons.In my memories the last season was the worst of them all.If you had have asked me almost 40 years ago,my rating would barely be two stars.However,I think being able to see them 1) in good quality colour(no one I knew owned a colour set back then) and 2)and on MY time instead of a networks’(over a period of several months),it has changed my oppinion slightly.Actually seeing any TV shows on home video can’t help but change the dynamic;some for the good,some for the bad.

    I found the positives few and far between but nonetheless they were/are there.Michael Dunn returns as everyone’s favourite villain Dr.Loveless.I don’t think any Wild,Wild West fan ever disliked Dunn for his performances.

    It is well known about Ross Martin and his health problem that resulted in him missing alot of the last season filming.It’s obvious they held some shows in abeyance and ran them later instead of in shooting order because of the negative feedback they got from the public at the time about his “stand-ins”.He was able to return for a precious few eps,but was unable to appear on the last.But every appearance he made,made you miss him all the more when he wasn’t there.He was sorely missed which says alot about the man and the good actor he was.And speaking of acting it seems to me that Robert Conrad improved in that department as this season wound down.He stepped up when he had to and I thought his character was becoming more fleshed out also.He came into his own.This is in sharp contrast to earlier seasons when his good looks carried him farther than the quality of his acting and the lean scripts given him.

    Another positive is the marvellous stunt work by Robert Conrad and his fellow actors/stuntmen.As a bit of trivia you may or may not know,Red West appeared in many Wild,Wild West eps as one of the actor/stuntmen.Red is well known to Elvis Presley fans as being part of Elvis’ inner circle/entourage.

    And speaking of stunt work you get to see a stunt Robert Conrad made that went terribly awry and by the look of it could have ended his career and/or life had it gone a little differently.It shows him jumping from a landing area at the top of a long flight of stairs.He grabs onto a chandelier but looses his grip and crashes to the ground.The camera cuts about a second after his landing and they “covered” the scene and went on,but it shows you how dedicated Conrad was in the making of this show.He bumped alot of heads with the shows’ brass and other actors and even his co-star Martin at times.He didn’t get his “tough-guy” image for nothing.But no one can ever say he didn’t give his all during the making of this show and it’s one of the reasons this show has remained a fan favourite since its’ debut.

    On the other side of the coin there is ALOT to say.The first shot must go to the man who had the unenviable task of first stepping in for Ross Martin when he fell ill.Charles Aidman was the worst choice for Martins’ part.He simply tried too hard but came up short every time.He also had a terribly annoying “the-cat-that-ate-the-canary” smile on his face almost all the time.Then William Schallert stepped in for a bit.Schallert I didn’t mind as much but he seemed to go to the opposite extreme of Aidman and was kind of a milquetoast.And of course two “Gilligans Island” refugees stepped in in the same ep and that was Jim Backus and Alan Hale Jr.And speaking of “Gilligans Island”,the opening of the ep “The Night of Bleak Island” is the same opening from “Gilligans Island”,the one showing the boat being pitched about in a storm!

    It’s obvious the budget for this season was next to non existent as the locations were becoming eerily similar,from ep to ep.In fact San Francisco was visited ALOT in this final season…must have been for the fresh ocean air! In fact any city that had a waterfront looked alot like San Francisco.

    Footage was also pulled right out of a season three ep to make up time in one of this seasons’ eps.It concerned Conrad getting put down a perilous deep hole and landing on a ledge which is close to breaking away.Same precarious position and he extracates himself exactly the same way because…it’s the same footage.

    I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture.

    However this season,again like the others,has been remastered and most eps here are in good,crisp colour and haven’t been seen this well ever.

    In conclusion, there are alot of negatives which will be of concern to some and little to others,and visa versa.But there are also some positives and I think it’s worth getting.When all is said and done and what matters most,is that Martin and Conrad helped create two unforgettable TV characters that have endured and stood the test of time.As long as you keep that in mind when you are watching this final season,it will help you overlook the drawbacks that creep in from time to time.

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