Happy Holidays to all and from all in Home Entertainment : Publishing, Music, Film & Television… & special look at the Wild Wild West
I want to thank all the companies that I correspond with, everyone from Vinegar Syndrome to MVD to McFarland Books to Kino Lorber to Warner Media/Archives to Mill Creek Entertainment to White Bear to Varese Sarabande to Dynamite Publishing to Kudos Memorabilia(Bruce Lee)to Korero Press to Titan & DK Books, TCM(Turner Classic Movies)Books, Penguin Books, the Streaming services-Disney +, PUB-D-HUB, Retro Reels, Kino Cult, Wu Tang(Martial Arts Old School and ), Arrow, Peacock & Funimation, Accuaradio, Tune-In and the list goes on.
Herbie J Pilato - Medium
Read writing from Herbie J Pilato on Medium. Herbie J Pilato writes about pop-culture, stays positive, and hosts THEN…
Special mention to author Herbie J Pilato for promoting a positive attitude and a hardest working writer who has writ-ten over 10: among them and both favorites of mine Girtls, Gidgets and the Girl Next Door & Dashing, Daring * Deboniar. Focusing on TV’s girl and male icons of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. More coming — and recently commissioned to 5 new books including one on the late Sean Connery. Most of his books regarding the pop culture of Television and why we watch. His moto Television worth saving. Herbie J also is the host of the TV series Then and Again with Herbie J Pilato and available on Shout Factory TV where he interviews various guests of classic iconic TV shows from the past inclduing the likes of Robert Conrad, Ed Asner and Burt Ward. If only I could get Herbie J to give up the the wonderfully decorated set …
***Then and Again with Herbie J Pilato via Amazon as a digital purchase.
They are the hardest working that includes the crews, restoration, the writers, publicists, marketing and graphic arts dept to manufacturing and shipping…artists and a shout out to Bally Hoo Productions & Daniel Griffith!!!
- **his company is so indemand and a jammed schedule in terms of all those docs and behind the scenes extras/bonuses that you see on alll those special and collector editions fo all those Blurays you hoepfully are finding under the the tree this year.
10 YEARS ON THE MIDWAY!
BALLYHOO IS CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF PRODUCING BONUS FEATURES AND DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE FILMS.
All the companies I just mentioned above and more are working overtime to produce numerous amounts of entertainment for us -you and me. At one time it was to give us a break from the hustle and bustle of the everyday work place or maybe to help with that film course that your taking and possibly that extra credit to help with a good grade from the prof. Or for that family night sitting on the couch munching on some popcorn or curling up to a good read before dozing off to sleep. I have to say that could not be anymore important to you , me , family, the neighbors next door-in fact the whole planet right now needs this because going out has become quite the risk thanks or maybe not “thanks” to the pandemic.
I wish all of you my friends( & yours) in this most important of businesses a safe well deserved merriest of Holidays as well as my family and friends outside of this wonderful realm love and the best always….
But before I go I want to let all those good folks at home what are some of the things you can be expecting or be on the look out for from these wonderful companies and the people there in.
McFarland - A Leading Independent Publisher of Academic & Nonfiction Books
The Origins and Evolution of Saint Nicholas, Spanning 50,000 Years "Gripping...studies as rich as this are few and far…
Do you rememeber that always dapper best dressed gentleman agent with all the gadgets and digs plus all that state of the art transportation that helped him get around for all those crazy adventures as he strove to protect us and the world from some of the most devious, diabolical ego maniacs and oh yes even mad scientists and would be dictators and trouble makers. And no I am not talking about 007- no I am referring to one of my all time favorite characters(actually it’s two characters) and the show from my pre-teen days!
The Wild Wild West and the very cool James T. West and the charming, multi talented disguise artists- Artemus Gordon. Jim and Artie as affectionately referred to each other in the show and by fans traveled across the country by rail-as in the railroad and a grand private train. Jim as the dandiest dandy and Artie was his partner. West was a crack shot and expert in hand to hand regarding various forms of martial arts. He was well eduacted and knew his way around labs and arsenals. Master equestarian — a most learned individual. He had been a ranking captain during the war in the Yankee/Northern army.
Artie/Artemus was a master of disguise-not only but he could speak many dialects and accents. An expert forger as well and dabbled in science. All this is on display in the pilot episode Night of the Inferno. Laid out is the characterization and themes of what would become one of the most iconic seriues in pop culture history.
The wild life of Wild Wild West-and some music by the Talikng Heads…
What drove the show aside from it’s fantastic plots was the relationship bewteen Jim and Artie. These two were not only partners but they were best friends. The audience knew this immediately. It also helped that Robert Conrad(West) and Ross Martin(Gordon) had a genuine chemistry together both on and off screen.
And now the pilot episode from the season one- Night of the Inferno…
Guest villain- Victor Bono(King Tut-Batman ’66) with James Gregory playing President Grant. See bonus amterial at close of article.
Now you can revisit each and every episode from this top rated “60s series in a brand new book by Don Presnell…
*This is only one of two books ever written about such an iconic part of TV history. Imagine that. The first book was published almost 40 years ago and yet, bring this show up to someone from the “60s , ’70s, thanks to reruns(syndication) or when TNT licenced the series with Robert Conrad hosting each show during the ’90s. Most likely you will get an enthusiastic reply.
Wandering The Wild Wild West by Don Presnell
The Wild Wild West took place during a real historic time period in the United States just after the Civil War, later 1800s while President Grant was still occupying the White House. In fact it was Grant who created the Secret Service to help over see the west and other parts of the US to protect it from domestic terrorism and would be unforseen outside forces(other countries) who may want to strike while the country was mending from such a devestating blow to our democracy at that time. Now this part is true.
What is not (at least that we know of )was a plethora of villians like Dr Loveless(James Dunn)-a dinutive criminal mind who had a real love of the arts and wanted to have all mankind either bow to or at least stoop -even in one episode become as close to his stature or smaller/shorter than him. He proved not only to be a most formidable foe but also very popular with the fans. so much so that he appeared several times and more than once per season over the 4 years(*too short)that Jim and Artie visited our homes each ad every week from 1965–1970.
Loveless was not the only villian to try to unleash there “well” concieved plans for a caper, theavery, an overthrow a plague or maybe just out live old age. A ghostly hound and an invisible man even tangled our two heroes.
The book give an excellent overview of the series and all it’s influences both what contributed to the concept and what effect Wld Wild West may have actually influenced then current series with it’s four year. Even the Batman ’66 connection is discussed as well as to the popularity of other detective/spy shows .. Honey West, Mission Impossible and the Man From Uncle and the connotation of all those The Night of The … For every episode title started with TNOT-. What does it bring to mind if you were to pick up a book with that in the title ..suspense, thrills & mystery. Foreboding. Something ominence to beware of. You get the idea.
One factor guiding TWWW along with a few other series at that time was the world phenonmena of James Bond. 007 had gadgets and so did James West including a hidden arsenal on his main mode of transportaion as he went from one assignment to another. Well two if you count his beautiful horse, which he rode in to most towns on. But to get there he traveled one an incredible train. And this where the arsenal was ..
Hidden behind retracble false walls and pictures- even sporting a billiards/pool table that came with an expploding cue ball for the occassional “bad” guy that might slip aboard. And to help him in those hair raising situations when all may seem at a loss, West carried a retarcble derringer under his sleeve. Boots with false bottoms or heals loaded with exploding putty,smoke bombs and mini grappling hooks that could be fired from that derringer I wa referring to earlier. No best dressed secret agent should be without one.
Loaded with stunts. most performed by it’s main stars especially by Bob(Robert). There were times when injuries were receieved in the line of “duty”. To the point of it representing a badge of honor. Speaking of stunts there was one particular stuntman/actor in residence for the run of the series. Red West who if you don’t know was Elvis’s bodygaurd and friend right from his beginning and through the early ’60s.
Guest stars galore including some big shoes as in Richard Kiel (Jaws — James Bond film franchise), Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr- on the same episode, Leslie Nielsen(Police Squad/Naked Gun), Nick Adams(The Rebel/Godzilla -Invasion of the Astro Monsters), Burgess Meridith(Batman ‘66), Barbara Luna, Agnes Morehead(Bewitched) and
The each episode was scored as if it was a mini film. And yes James West had his own specal theme whenever he would go into action. Woven into to other piececs of music that fit that particular story. It helped make the show. The minute you heard that rift you knew it meant something exciting was about to happen-a brawl-handf to hand or maybe James escaping from a pending danger at the hands of a boiling pit of acid, a lion or panther or perhaps something more pressing like a ceiling belowered upon our hero. with no supposed way out.
***La La Land Records a 4 dics CD set with featuring bonus tracks a 40 page liner -collectible book with an invaluable amount trivia on the production of soundtracks and score for music culled from every season with end titles and openings if any change from the previous. Plus a discussion on all the contributing artists and composers who provided and indelible imprint on the history of The Wild Wild West and Television history. * it maybe a hard to find item currently but here is the link for La La Land.
Anyways I can not say enough about this brilliant book on this most iconic piece of entertainment. But make sure this on your list it is a must on mines. Thanks Don for taking the time to enlighten us with a most intersting trip down memory lane.
I hate to cut this short but it looks like I my be needed elsewhere. Henrietta just got back. Oh who is Henrietta. She’s my homming/carrier pidgion who came flying in with a very important message. Looks like my services are required again. What can I say when the President “calls” you just don’t say no. Til the next time. And beware of diminutive chaps who have a penchant for the arts and beautiful women. You never can keep a “good” villain down.
And Happy Holidays from Reviews on the Edge and to all a good Night…
****Important Breaking Announcement From Medium and myself-it’s all about support and you can help all the writers on Medium … just by checking out this link… one that is most appreciated … That “starving artists” concept… and again Happy Holidays…
Other related material -
The Wild Wild West is avilable from CBS/Paramont via a DVD release that extra features plus those intors on every 1st season epsiode from Robert Conrad plus an interview with Robert and Ross Martin together during the ’70s. The entire series was remastered for this release and can be found at Walmart and on Amazon.
The series can also be streamed on Roku’s ScreenPix. Another recommendation as I give this service a 4 star rating. Loaded cult films and pop culture titles and all catgorized for any interest.
Women of the Wild Wild West-
A comic book series-
If you manage to get a comci book series based on your show then you know you made it…
- ** Dell and Gold Key were two of the main publishing companies turning out issues and series based on films and TV…
or TV Guide-
Did I hear some say Lunch time!!!?
- **I say cut short because The Wild Wild West or The WW West was canceled right during it’s most popular run with high acclaimed by critics and fans. And in a way by the cast and crew of the series. Why???!!! All becuase a very powerful no good do gooder society/agency who chose to try and dictate what was either good or not good for children to watch. Or may have a ill affect on them thought that the show was much too violent. Now was there violence yes was it for very young children probably not and if not then I say it should have been up the parents to to say yes or no and if no just turn the dial ,.. I mean there was always PBS and the other networks to tune to. yes folks the almighty heads at CBS caved and requested that the series theme and storylines be toned down to accomadate this agency… the Coalition of Parents Against Violence on Television. Well Robert Conrad and the rest of the cast and crew said if we toned the show we have no show and they quit and closed down production. They told the network if we have to change anything -no series-no show. That is how commited to the main theme and concepts the series they were. It would not have The Wild Wild West -more likely not even Wild probably just the west and that is probably not likely since there was a wild west … lawless at times , many times. Oh and by the way I was of those young kids that watched Wild Wild West and I turned out more than OK… good grades- no trouble — a defender of the undefended.
Just as popular today as back then and seems never to be out of syndication… The Wild Wild West playing some where as we speak …
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And now streaming on Roku and your phone-
Keeping it in the domain-public that is.