1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 9 (USA)
104 x 60 minute episodes
Entrusted by President Ulysses S. Grant to defend America from all manner of bad people, dashing secret Agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon roamed the West battling revolutionaries and other subversive types.
Artemus was a master of disguise and dialects, and an ingenious inventor of gadgets to foil the assorted madmen they constantly pursued.
The duo’s main nemesis (with a remarkable facility for evading capture) was the diminutive Dr Miguelito Loveless, a brilliant antagonist bent on taking over the world.
The two of them travelled in a special railroad car that supplied all the materials they needed to concoct all sorts of strange weapons and devices to foil their adversaries.
Beautiful women, fantastically contrived situations, and bizarre and creative devices populated this series throughout its four-year run.
The actors performed many of their own stunts on this CBS series and took the bumps and bruises one might expect from such work.
In one of the more extreme mishaps, Conrad fell off a prop and fractured his skull. Charles Aidman (as Jeremy Pike) briefly filled in for Artemus when Ross Martin had a mild heart attack.
A periodic panic about TV violence brought cancellation of the show in 1969, though a subsequent thawing in the moral climate saw revivals in 1979 (The Wild, Wild West Revisited) and 1980 (More Wild, Wild West).
Alas, both revivals were without dwarf actor Michael Dunn (a suicide in 1973) who played the series’ memorable mad scientist superfoe, Dr Miguelito Loveless.
A movie version of Wild Wild West was made in the late 1990s, starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline.
Jim and Artie had two different trains. The first was a dark-panelled model used in the first season (which was filmed in black and white). The second was a more functional model decorated in green and gold. It is this train – which housed the unique gadgets associated with the show – that most people remember.
James T. West
Ulysses S. Grant
Dr Miguelito Loveless
Colonel James Richmond