Columbia Broadcasting System
Okay, the above has got nothing to do with today’s review, but I always liked that song.
Jim West (played by Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (played by Ross Martin) star in this post-Civil War spy caper in the American West. Their preferred method of transportation is their own private car “Wanderer 1” towed by (natch!) a steam locomotive.
Although I’m reviewing a black and white episode from the first season, I will supplement with color views of “The Night of the Vicious Valentine” from season 2.
Motive power for the train was provided by venerable Virginia & Truckee 4-4-0 #22, “The Inyo”. This is from the days when she was owned by Paramount Studios. All exterior train shots were filmed around Menifee, California.
Compare B&W and color poses of Inyo, a baggage car and Wanderer as they pause for Jim and Artemus to leap into action!
There’s trouble afoot on the Central & Western RR. Management-by-handcar comes upon workers walking off the job. They soon make a grisly discovery. Which I won’t bother to show.
Nah, it’s more fun to see the smoke-belching Inyo and train blasting by the camera.
Subtle differences in the opening credits from b&w to color.
The artists’ sketch of the locomotive as #5.
As the credits finish, the run-by reveals close ups of the entire consist. I wonder if those two passenger cars are still around?
Interior views of Wanderer 1 (a large sound-stage setup, of course). The color really pops, doesn’t it?
In this episode, the boys enjoyed the services of a snooty butler. Here he is unloading a horse for Artemus. Look at that fancy back railing on Wanderer 1. Also notice the 8 painted on the tender of Inyo. This was so film could be reversed to show the train traveling in the opposite direction.
Artemus prepares to ride as V&T #22 smokes it up. Pan shot of the train doing a fast roll-by with better views of the baggage car and Wanderer 1.
Coming into town, we get a view into the car from the rear platform.
It’s Leslie Nielsen! shaking hands with Jim West. This is the last train view for a while.
As Artemus puts on another disguise, Jim pours Sheila (played by Katharine Ross) a drink.
As a worker takes a belt, Artemus babbles authentic frontier gibberish. Artie is down on the railroad construction site snooping around.
Uh…hold on. Just TWO guys carrying that rail? Assuming a 60lb rail (per yard), that’s 20 pounds a foot times a 39 foot rail section, or 780 pounds they’re carrying on their broad shoulders!
Cheesecake interlude! Anyways, Jim and Artie are soon captured and brought to an Indian camp. Jim and his tight pants are tied to some sort of scaffolding as Little Willow, Rahr-RAHR! (played by Susan Silo) comes after him with a big knife. Of course, Jim gets the girl as they engage in a little bondage smooching.
Artemus is no slouch in the feminine pulchritude department either, being pampered by several Indian maidens including the lusty Jackie Joseph (hubba-hubba!).
Okay, back to the trains. Establishing shot in B&W and in color. Note the V&T #22 is flying RED flags up front. Danger? Normally railroads would only fly white (extra train) or green (section following) flags on the locomotive. Unless it was backing up. ;p
Here we find Inyo wearing its #22 and pushing a work car of “golden spikes” along the tracks in a curious scene (it’s how the bad guys transport their loot – long story).
V&T #22 pushes the “bait” along — but the crooks have placed boxes of dynamite (you KNEW dynamite would be involved) next to the tracks — which a henchman proceeds to blow up with a rifle shot — to stop the train.
Surprise!! Jim and Artie have armed the Indians with Winchesters who then proceed to decimate Leslie Nielsen’s bad guys in a great train side shoot-em-up.
Back on the private car, the TWO girls (Zowie!) have fixed up some grub for the boys. “You must decide: Irish stew or buffalo tongue?” Ah, lucky Jim…
I include two color views of interior locations for comparison. The sofa Jim and the girls are sitting on, appears to have been replaced with some sort of buffet/bookcase? And I WANT that smoking jacket Jim has on….
Wasn’t that fun? I apologize for not reviewing a full color episode — there just weren’t enough train scenes to keep my interest. Besides, Inyo put on a really good show like the movie star she is.
Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Wild Wild West:
If you have ANY information about this movie you’d like to share, please contact me at: Lindsay.Korst@gmail.com, or leave a comment. Thanks and enjoy the blog!