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The Wild Wild West - The Complete First Season

4.7 out of 5 stars 221 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jun 06, 2006)
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40th Anniversary ed.
$15.44 $9.41
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


CBS had an instant hit on their hands when The Wild Wild West made its network debut on September 17, 1965. While many of the popular TV Westerns were running out of steam, series creator Michael Garrison ripped a page from the Ian Fleming/Sean Connery playbook and conceived The Wild Wild West as a "James Bond Western," energizing the genre by combining a traditional Western setting (primarily the San Francisco region in the 1870s) with the accoutrements of the spy genre. It was a foolproof formula, further refined by producer Fred Frieberger (who later produced the third and final season of Star Trek), and TWWW held its popular time-slot (7:30-8:30 on Friday nights) for its entire four-season run. Smart casting proved to be another source of audience appeal: While Robert Conrad fit nicely into his role (and tight-fitting costume) as macho Secret Service agent James West, doing his own challenging stunts and charming each episode's obligatory beautiful female guest star, Ross Martin proved an equally excellent choice to play West's skillful sidekick Artemus Gordon, a debonair dandy whose mastery of disguises and dialects would prove essential as they tackled dangerous crime-fighting assignments from President Ulysses S. Grant.

The series' unique appeal arose from its clever and frequently bizarre plots. Every episode title began with a variation of "The Night of..." (including the pilot, "The Night of the Inferno," with more unusual titles thereafter), and as Jim and Arte plotted strategies from the comfort of their tricked-out custom railroad car, their exploits frequently led them into realms of the occult, mad science, bizarre inventions, and villains so eccentrically twisted that they became instant favorites among the show's growing legion of fans. Best of them all was the nefarious Miguelito Loveless, first appearing in "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth" (original airdate 10/01/65) and played to perfection by dwarf actor Michael Dunn, a '60s TV regular familiar to Star Trek fans from his memorable role in the original series episode "Plato's Stepchildren." A gifted, intellectual renaissance man (like Ross Martin) with an angelic singing voice, Dunn was an overnight sensation, guest-starring in four of the first season's 28 episodes, with six more appearances in subsequent seasons. Dunn's gleeful malevolence (accompanied by his mute henchman Voltaire, played by giant actor Richard Kiel) was an essential addition to the series' sideshow esthetic; weirdness, humor, gorgeous women, and devious ingenuity (in plotting, action and gadgetry), became the trademarks that set TWWW apart from its more conventional TV Western competition. --Jeff Shannon

On the DVD
For this much-anticipated DVD release, Paramount has made above-average efforts to satisfy fans. Virtually every episode looks and sounds practically brand-new, and with TWWW expert Sue Kesler serving as DVD co-producer, this seven-disc set features a wealth of archival extras, many culled from Kesler's own research as author of the out-of-print guidebook The Wild Wild West: The Series. In addition to excerpts from audio-taped interviews with Frieberger, writer (and "Dr. Loveless" creator) John Kneubuhl (who tells a fascinating story of how Liberace almost guest-starred on the show), music composer Richard Markowitz, and special-effects technician Tim Smyth, each episode includes brief but informative audio introductions by Robert Conrad, who also appears (with Martin) discussing the show (and their subsequent TV-movie revival of TWWW) in a 1978 talk-show appearance. Excerpts from the original music-theme scoring sessions were found in UCLA's Film and Television archive, and other extras include a network series promo clip (from a later season, after TWWW switched to color), a sketch by Ross Martin, a photo gallery, and even one of Conrad's notorious Eveready Battery commercials from the late '70s. All in all, this 40th Anniversary package should give TWWW fans ample reason to celebrate, boding well for the other season-sets to follow. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • 28 episodes on 7 discs
  • Robert Conrad audio intros
  • Lost original opening
  • Ross Martin sketch
  • Network promos
  • Theme storing sessions
  • Photo gallery
  • Audio interviews with John Kneubuhl, Ethel Winant, Fred Freiberger (Producer), Tim Smyth (Special Effects) and Richard Markowitz (Music)
  • Original Pilot Opening and Bumpers
  • Pilot promo
  • Intro blooper
  • Robert Conrad and Ross Martin on "Every Day"
  • Everyready Commercial

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Conrad, Ross Martin, Lloyd Bochner, John Hoyt, Imelda de Martin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: June 6, 2006
  • Run Time: 1347 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (221 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,368 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Wild Wild West - The Complete First Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Hornaday on March 3, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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.
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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.Read more ›
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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).
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