The CBS series The Wild, Wild West ran four four season, from September 1965 to April 1969.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of watching Season One. Like other CBS series Gilligan’s Island and Lost in Space, it was filmed in black and white in its first season, and went to color in Season Two.
But I had forgotten that the Season One opening credits were not the same as the ones from season Two and forwards.
Oh, the format was the same. We saw a series of panels similar to pen sketches; each panel came to life and interacted with the middle animation of our leading man.
First off, the panel on the left came to life and a bandito backed out of the bank with bags of moolah. But our trusty leading man dispatches the bad guy with a well-placed karate chop, and the buzzard bites the dust.
Next the top right-hand corner comes to life, and somebody tries to sneak that hidden card from their boot. But a bullet from our main man’s gun causes that cheatin’ hand to curl up like a stomped-on spider.
Thirdly, the top left-hand corner comes to life. A bigger-than-life hand points that bigger-than-life revolver at our hero, forcing him to drop his own shootin’ iron. But James West is always prepared, and he pops a Derringer from up his sleeve -- and dispatches this threat too. Then he pops his full-sized gun back into his holster.
Just in time for the deadliest threat of all to come to life! Little does our leading man know that while he’s kissing the gal, behind his back she’s got a knife!
But never fear … Superman’s “super-kiss” from Superman II has got nothing on James West’s super-smoochin’ talents!
Yep, just his kissin’ made her forget her murderous ways. She leans back against the edge of her panel, satiated. All the meanness just got lipsmacked out of her.
And then we get our credits with our cast and show names.
I had forgotten that this final sequence, the gal with the knife, ended with a kiss-and-desist action. I was instead remembering the sequence as presented in the color seasons. You see, in Seasons Two and forward, the girl pulls a knife -- and Jim West socks her in the kisser! That is, he punches her in the face and decks her!
I don’t know which version I like best -- the disarming kiss of Season One, or the pop-in-the-snoot of the later seasons.
But that’s not why I called this meeting!
For some silly reason, the *last slide* of the ending titles of the FIRST TWO episodes of the Season One DVD (the pilot and “The Night of the Burning Bed”) have a very interesting characteristic to them. Here’s the pilot’s last shot:
Did you notice anything funny? Try again.
Yep, I think that somebody was being a little silly here. I never watched The Wild, Wild West (or any other show, come to think of it) on the ‘CBS TELEVISISON NETWORK.” I think they meant “TELEVISION,” don’t you?
Yep, in my proofreading experience this can happen. Sometimes a headline will slip by everybody easier than a misspelling in a paragraph. In the same way, I think that because this caption was in ALL CAPS, and also the last slide of the episode, somebody was a little asleep at the switch.
I sure wish I could find out if the original broadcast versions of these two episodes were wrong!
See you next time, campers!