Wandering The Wild Wild West

A Critical Analysis of the CBS Television Series


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About the Book

The Wild Wild West premiered on CBS in 1965, just as network dominance of television Westerns was waning and the global James Bond phenomenon was in full force. Described as “James Bond on horseback,” the series was like nothing else on TV before or since—a genre hybrid that followed the adventures of 1870s Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon, on special assignment from President Ulysses S. Grant. The show featured clever gadgets and costumes, carefully choreographed action and fight sequences, and stories that melded elements of Western, science fiction, fantasy, espionage and detective genres. This book provides in-depth critical analysis of this unique, eclectic series, considered one of the primary influences on Steampunk subculture.

About the Author(s)

Don Presnell is the director of the Common Reading Program at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He has taught courses on “The Narrative Art of Comics”; “The Twilight Zone”; “Doctor Who”; “Dr. Seuss and Y(our) World”; “The Simple Complexity of Peanuts”; “The X-Files: Science Fiction Search for Truth”; and “Rabbit Tales: Bugs Bunny & American Culture.”

Bibliographic Details

Don Presnell

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 215
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8560-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4444-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
What This Book Is Not  2
What This Book Is  3
“TNOT Genre Conundrum”: Narrative Sharing and Influence in The Wild Wild West 7
“TNOT Innovative Opening Credits”  13
“TNOT Graphic Milieu”  16
Season One 19
Season Two 48
Season Three 80
Season Four 110
“TNOT Nights That Never Saw Daylight”: Unproduced Teleplays for WWW 142
Interview with Earl Barret (July 2020) 145
Episode Listings 147
By Original Airdate  147
By Production Order  148
“TNOT Four Tens” 150
“TNOT ­Ten-Year Reunion” 151
“TNOT Last Night” 153
“TNOT Misbegotten Misfire” 156
“TNOT Wild Wild Infographics” 161
Chapter Notes 181
Bibliography 183
Index 187