There are no words to adequately express the excitement created by this DVD boxed set release of the complete first season of The Wild, Wild West. While several episodes were only available on DVD in recent years through a pricey enrollment club, this represents the first time the ENTIRE first season of this landmark TV Western icon has been available in ANY format!
Starring Robert Conrad as Agent James T. West, along with the late and deeply lamented, Ross Martin, who portrayed his partner, Artemis Gordon, master of disguise and invention, the series ran on CBS from 1965-1969.
The series focused on their adventures as the country’s first secret service agents, working for President Ulysses S. Grant, to thwart all manner of evil doers who directed their villainy at individuals and/or the nation. Mixing espionage, thrilling adventure, western cliff-hanger suspense and high-tech, sci-fi gadgetry the likes of which had never been seen on network TV, the series propelled the actors into international stardom. On the series, West and Gordon traveled in style on a personal train equipped with the amazing gear they used each week to save the day and/or world (the interior of which was used in the epic Gunsmoke episode, “Death Train.”)
(Note: Martin, who suffered a heart attack during the first season, was replaced during the last season by the network because they were concerned about his health, which probably resulted in the series’ demise. Actor Charles Aidman joined the cast, portraying Jeremy Pike, also a master of disguise, who was supposedly West’s former partner. Two later made-for-TV movies, The Wild, Wild West Revisited in 1979, and More Wild, Wild West in 1980, reunited Conrad and Martin.)
The series (set in 1868 primarily in or around San Francisco) continues to be a source of fevered worldwide fan devotion. Like The Avengers, which also aired in the 1960s, The Wild, Wild West was made into a simply awful “blockbuster” big-screen feature film in the 1990s, which failed in every way to capture the quality, fun, adventure, action and entertainment of the original, beloved series.
The brilliant actor, the late Michael Dunn, guest starred in 10 episodes during the show’s run (several considered the best in the series) as the diabolical nemesis of West and Gordon, Dr. Miguelito Loveless, who suffered from delusions of grandeur. (At 3 feet-10-inches tall, Dunn suffered from chondrodystroyphy, which eventually took his life. He was also a child prodigy with an IQ of 178 and became a concert pianist at age 15, and was a remarkable singer.)
Dr. Loveless was ably assisted by the devoted Voltaire, portrayed by Richard Kiel (best known for his portrayal of the evil “Jaws” in the James Bond films, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Moonraker”), who is a towering 7-feet-two-inches tall! The juxtaposition of the two actors increased the pathos that Dunn used in his unforgettable performances expressing the doctor’s jealousy and hatred of West for his “perfect body” and society in general for its embrace of physical beauty and harsh rejection of those who do not meet that superficial, rigid criteria.
Throughout the series, Conrad insisted on performing all of his own stunts (which were minion) and viewed himself as a tough-guy, developing a devoted stunt crew “family.” Dunn, who was no slouch himself, also performed his stunts at the urging of Conrad, despite network fears that both actors would be seriously injured (Conrad did suffer numerous injuries and Dunn injured an ankle.)
As of this writing, the studio had not announced what, if any, special features would be included in the boxed set. The first season (the only one in black and white) had 28 episodes: The Night of the Inferno; The Night of the Deadly Bed; The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth (introducing Dr. Loveless); The Night of Sudden Death; Night of the Casual Killer (the only episode in the entire series to omit “The” before “Night of” in a title); The Night of a Thousand Eyes; The Night of the Glowing Corpse; The Night of the Dancing Death; The Night of the Double-Edged Knife; The Night that Terror Stalked the Town (also featuring Dr. Loveless); The Night of the Red-Eyed Madmen; The Night of the Human Trigger; The Night of the Torture Chamber; The Night of the Howling Light; The Night of the Fatal Trap; The Night of the Steel Assassin; The Night the Dragon Screamed; The Night of the Grand Emir; The Night of the Flaming Ghost; The Night of the Whirring Death (third Dr. Loveless episode); The Night of the Puppeteer; The Night of the Bars of Hell; The Night of the Two-Legged Buffalo; The Night of the Druid’s Blood; The Night of the Freebooters; The Night of the Burning Diamond; The Night of the Murderous Spring (Dr. Loveless’ final appearance in Season 1); and The Night of the Sudden Plague.
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The Wild Wild West was a landmark series in the 1960s. Only two other series from the Sixties stands out in my mind and that is “Star Trek” and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”. I find it fascinating the two best, TWWW and Star Trek, had main characters with the name James and middle initial T. Their cast, directing, writers, music, and the rest the ingredients made these series ahead of their time and unforgettable. Although there had been a couple other secret agent TV shows before TWWW like Danger Man aka Secret Agent Man and Avengers and several that followed it, it was unique in it’s approach. Slightly techie for the old West but not overly unrealistic. Several of the devices shown were actually used around that historical period, just watch the history channel. They obviously did their research and tried to keep it somewhat plausible. Certainly not as politically correct or ridiculously implausible as the Will Smith movie, there is no comparison. Robert Conrad and Martin Ross were outstanding as the lead roles and the guest stars where a who’s who of current stars for that time period. Many unknowns in it went on to gain stardom. Robert Conrad doing his own stunts made the show more impressive since even us kids could spot stunt doubles easy enough in most series. A couple good reviews here will actually give you the details of the stars since they are obvious fans themselves. It will be good to see those animated drawings duplicate the scene just before a commercial break, but no commercials. Michael Dunn and the rest the villians in this series were masterfully done. Dunn as Miguelito Loveless in particular was excellent and actually made you think about what he was, a complicated man. Unlike previous bad guys there was no black and white easy answer to stopping him. He wanted to accomplish good things, he just had the wrong way of going about it. This set is a must have not only for those of us that watched it when it first aired, but for any fan of westerns or just good TV entertainment.
This price is outstanding and you can choose free shipping. I don’t think you will find a better price. I pre-ordered mine here. I hope this set includes interviews. No matter I am sure it will be much better picture and sound quality than the VHS set I currently have. I got my TWWW set and it is great. The picture and sound quality are excellent. To top it off Robert Conrad gives an audio intro before each episode and there are a couple interviews with the production staff. They aren’t very good as far as audio-visual since when the series was made they did not think about this sort of thing, but they are at least understandable and give some insight into the making of the series. The reason the interview sound isn’t very good is they are from old reel-to-reel tapes, but they are still interesting to listen to for background on the series. I highly recommend this, especially to fans of the series.
This show is my dream come true, I always searched for this show in many sites looking for a complete set without luck during the past several years. Finally my dream came true.
The show first telecasted on September 17th, 1965 until it’s last telecast on September 7th, 1970 running for a total of Four seasons and a total of 104 episodes which I hope will be released soon.
The First season was rated 23rd out of the best 30 TV shows getting 22% of viewers according to the Nielsen rating (The Nielsen Rating is the percentage of all TV-equipped homes tuned to the program on an average night, as measured by Nielsen Media Research).
The First Season consist of 28 episodes and they are as follows:
1- The Night Of The Inferno – Aired 9/17/1965
2- The Night Of The Deadly Bed – Aired 9/24/1965
3- The Night The Wizard Shook The Earth – Aired 10/1/1965
4- The Night Of Sudden Death – Aired 10/8/1965
5- The Night Of The Casual Killer – Aired 10/15/1965
6- The Night Of A Thousand Eyes – Aired 10/22/1965
7- The Night Of The Glowing Corpse – Aired 10/29/1965
8- The Night Of The Dancing Death – Aired 11/5/1965
9- The Night Of The Double-Edged Knife – 11/12/1965
10- The Night That Terror Stalked The Town – Aired 11/19/1965
11- The Night Of The Red-Eyed Madmen – Aired 11/26/1965
12- The Night Of The Human Trigger – Aired 12/3/1965
13- The Night Of The Torture Chamber – Aired 12/10/1965
14- The Night Of The Howling Light – Aired 12/17/1965
15- The Night Of The Fatal Trap – Aired 12/24/1965
16- The Night Of The Steel Assassin – Aired 1/7/1966
17- The Night The Dragon Screamed – Aired 1/14/1966
18- The Night Of The Flaming Ghost – Aired 1/21/1966
19- The Night Of The Grand Emir – Aired 1/28/1966
20- The Night Of The Whirring Death – Aired 2/18/1966
21- The Night Of The Puppeteer – Aired 2/25/1966
22- The Night Of The Bars Of Hell – Aired 3/4/1966
23- The Night Of The Two-Legged Buffalo – Aired 3/11/1966
24- The Night Of The Druid’s Blood – Aired 3/25/1966
25- The Night Of The Freebooters – Aired 4/1/1966
26- The Night Of The Burning Diamond – Aired 4/8/1966
27- The Night Of The Murderous Spring – Aired 4/15/1966
28- The Night Of The Sudden Plague – Aired 4/22/1966
The First & Second season each consisted of 28 episodes and each of the Third & Fourth season consisted of 24 episodes for a total of 104 episodes.
I hope all the remaining three seasons will be released shortly after the 1st season. Thank Yoy for reading my review.