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The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Dancing Death

Jim and Artie must ensure that Princess Gina of Albania reaches her destination. The coach bearing Her Highness arrives and she disembarks... and Ambassador Perkins realizes the woman is an imposter! To prevent a diplomatic incident, Jim and Artie must determine who has kidnapped or killed the Princess, and if she is still alive, rescue her.


Episode Info


Episode number: 1x8
Production Number: 3224-0118
Airdate: Friday November 05th, 1965



  • Currently 6/10
6/10 (1 Vote cast)
Guest Stars
Arthur BatanidesArthur Batanides
As Marius
Recurring
Byron MorrowByron Morrow
As Majordomo
Recurring
Peter Mark RichmanPeter Mark Richman
As Prince Gio (as Mark Richman)
Ilze TaurinsIlze Taurins
As Marianna
Booth ColmanBooth Colman
As Xavier Perkins
Wolfe BarzellWolfe Barzell
As Landgrave
Lynn CareyLynn Carey
As Imposter

Uncredited
Mickey Golden (1)Mickey Golden (1)
As Servant
Recurring
Leslie BranderLeslie Brander
As Princess Gina
Main Cast
Robert ConradRobert Conrad
As James T. West
Ross Martin (1)Ross Martin (1)
As Artemus Gordon

Recap

James West walks along a porch, pausing to check the guards posted there. He checks his watch. The coach he expects is just over six minutes away. At the steps to the road Jim speaks briefly with Ambassador Perkins, telling the official that his information might be in error. The princess’ enemies have just six minutes to make a move before she arrives at her destination and moves beyond their reach. The ambassador nods but reminds Jim how disastrous any incident would be, reflecting poorly on the United States...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Corner Slides
Lower Left: Two thugs set a trap, rigging a doorknob to explode when Jim turns it!
Upper Right: Jim staked out for spear practice!
Lower Right: A knight creeps up behind Jim to bash his brains out!
Upper Left: The Wanderer departs for New Orleans.



Episode Quotes
Artemus: Why the vacant stare, Mr. Ambassador? Surely you remember her royal highness?
Perkins: That’s exactly the trouble. I remember her vividly. This is not the princess!
Gina Carlotti Imposter: That is the pitfall imposters have to face. The unexpected can always occur to expose one. Now, if you’ll excuse me, gentlemen…

(Jim and Artie’s latest mission has started poorly: an important guest of the government has been kidnapped on their watch.)
Artemus: (as Jim exercises) Getting in shape for the firing squad?
Jim: No, trying to figure out how we got outflanked.
Artemus: So am I…

Prince Gio: Concentration is the secret of all great strength and power. A philosophy I was taught in the East… a long time ago.

Prince Gio: I have already been informed about her disappearance. My government will express its disgust with your government in a formal note.
Artemus: If you will just permit us to explain the circumstances your highness, I’m…
Prince Gio: Circumstances?!? She comes to this barbarous country, where there is no respect for a woman, where a crime against an alien is no crime at all…

(Jim and Artie have enraged Prince Gio with questions and aspersions.)
Prince Gio: Because I am a diplomat, I will control my emotions. I will merely remind you that your American arrogance and pride have allowed you, this once, to forget you are not Americans standing on American soil. No! Indeed not! You are aliens in Albanian territory! (to his secretary) Show these, uh… gentlemen… out, please.

Marianna: The wearers of the C have spread far and wide. They have organized in well-disciplined units, ready to die for king and country. Upon signal, they will take from your ill-gotten riches that which will make our nation strong and prosperous.

Jim: Why is it you criminals always assume you can buy a man simply because he works for the government? And I don’t work for a pittance.

Prince Gio: I will permit no one to interfere with my plans. That means not even my lovely sister.



Episode Goofs
Prince Gio's Scar chances noticeably from scene to scene.



Cultural References
The Camorra was a loose association of criminal clans, or "families" organized in Naples. It achieved greatest influence there in the nineteenth century. After Naples became a part of unified Italy attempts were made to suppress the group and many of its members fled to the United States. Whether the Camorra existed in Albania is a matter of speculation on the part of the writers, but it is worth noting that Albania is a relatively short trip across the Adriatic sea from southern Italy, and not much farther from Naples.



Analysis
The Impostor
It seems to take the ambassador the better part of a minute to realize the woman who emerged from the coach is not really Princess Gina. This implies the villains selected the imposter for her resemblance to the princess. Only the direct scrutiny of a close friend or acquaintance revealed the fraud. From comments Marianna makes to Jim West at the barn, we can infer the plan Comorista always planned to kill – that she was not killed simply because she was discovered. The gang doubtless hoped the faked death would permit them time to execute their plan without the inconvenience of agents investigating a kidnapping. The imposture would have survived return of the body to the Albanian embassy - it was riddled with Comorista who could have concealed the truth easily.

Tear Gas Grenades
Artie gives Jim a new invention – smoke grenades containing pungent matter that affects the tear ducts. What he has invented is essentially tear gas. Jim and Artie bandy comments about how effective such weapons might be in war. Interestingly, the first military use of tear gas was by United States forces, during the Vietnam War - whose first major engagement, the Battle of Ia Drang Valley, would occur just nine days after this episode first aired. The military use of tear gas is now banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Typewriter
Remington began manufacturing typewriters of the general sort shown in 1873, although devices based on similar principles existed prior to this time. The previous episode, “The Night of the Glowing Corpse” took place during 1870 or 1871 (the Franco-Prussian War was part of the story); this episode must take place at least two years later, at the earliest in the middle of 1873, before typewriters would be generally available.

Marianna and the Typewriter
At the end of the episode, Marianna practices for a new career as a typist, since the Princess has carried out her father’s instructions to disband the Camorra. One can only wonder why such a high ranking member of the Camorra is not in custody. Even if the Albanians chose to extend diplomatic immunity, it seems likely she could look forward to a prison sentence – at the least – for kidnapping the sovereign’s daughter when she returns home. And without such immunity, the United States government would doubtless wish to try her for murder, attempted murder, and sundry other crimes.



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