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The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Torture Chamber

Jim and Artie receive a telegram from President Grant. Governor Bradford has requested help thwarting a conspiracy against his life. When Jim and Artie arrive, the governor and his assistant confirm the plot and request the agents guard the governor until he can bring his own resources against the conspirators. Strangely, in the span of a few hours assassins make two attempts on Jim’s life and none on the governor’s life. And what is it about the painting hanging behind the governor’s desk that disturbs Jim? The agents must uncover an evil man with an artist’s gift for skulduggery before he can complete an audacious scheme to ensure his posterity at the expense of the state coffers!

Episode Info


Episode number: 1x13
Production Number: 6513
Airdate: Friday December 10th, 1965



Guest Stars
Alfred RyderAlfred Ryder
As Professor Horatio Bolt
Recurring

Co-Guest Stars
Henry BeckmanHenry Beckman
As Governor Bradford
Recurring
H.M. WynantH.M. Wynant
As Durand
Recurring
Sigrid ValdisSigrid Valdis
As Miss Piecemeal
Recurring
Vivienne VenturaVivienne Ventura
As Angelique
Main Cast
Robert ConradRobert Conrad
As James T. West
Ross Martin (1)Ross Martin (1)
As Artemus Gordon

Recap

A carriage arrives at a stately building, the Bolt Museum. Governor Bradford and his trusted assistant Miss Piecemeal disembark and enter the building. Inside, the lady instructs a guard to tell Professor Bolt that the governor has arrived. The governor asks Miss Piecemeal to remind him to draft a letter of thanks to the professor for a private showing. She comments that the statue the governor is here to see is said to be a remarkable likeness; the governor replies that it had better be, or there will be no public showing!..

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
Corner Slides
Upper Left: Miss Piecemeal and Professor Bolt admire the weapon that will kill Jim West!
Upper Right: A guard arrests Jim on the orders of the fake governor.
Lower Left: Jim, Artie and Miss Piecemeal learn a winepress can be used to crush other things.
Upper Left: Jim and Artie leave with Helva and Angelique.



Episode Quotes
Miss Piecemeal: How’s your nerve?
Imposter: Holding up fine so far.
Miss Piecemeal: Good. There are two secret service agents outside, from Washington.
Imposter: Oh. Can’t we…? Can’t we tell them the governor’s busy?
Miss Piecemeal: He sent for them. Somehow, secretly, without telling me.

(Miss Piecemeal is about to escort Jim and Artie to see the false governor.)
Miss Piecemeal: Be calm. If there’s any trouble, we’ll kill them.

Miss Piecemeal: I have arranged for Mr. West to stand… here. Durand himself will be at the ballista.
(Durand releases the mechanism and the spear flies through the air, shattering the vase and impaling the painting behind it.)
Professor Bolt: It’s a primitive concept, Miss Piecemeal, but dynamic. Raw. Vigorous. Exciting. I like it!

Professor Bolt: Do you know what I intend to buy next? Something… extraordinary. Something personal to hang in my own private chambers. I shall share it with no one. The Mona Lisa.
Governor Bradford: (laughing) this is insanity!
Professor Bolt: Is it? I’ve already sent out feelers. The French government is having a financial crisis. It may cost a few million, but I intend to have it!
Governor Bradford: You can’t take that much out of the state coffers without somebody exposing you before long.
Professor Bolt: Expose me? My dear governor, why do you think I’m keeping you alive? You shall have to face the charges, if and when they come.

Professor Bolt: Now… do you begin to appreciate the artistry of the scheme? It’s delightful symmetry?

Professor Bolt: (throwing knife into door between two henchmen) Remember! West dies, or you do!

Jim: Have you noticed anything odd about the governor?
Miss Piecemeal: No. And I’ve worked for him for three years. Have you noticed me at all?

Artie: (as Gaston) To own a great treasure, one must be worthy of it!

Professor Bolt: A wine press, Mr. Gordon. But it can be used to crush other things.

Professor Bolt: Console yourself, Miss Piecemeal! At least you won’t live to lose your beauty!

Professor Bolt: You’re a few seconds earlier than I expected, Mr. West. (He operates a lever that closes and bolts the door behind Jim.) You can’t escape. And you can’t get any assistance.

(Jim holds a painting before himself as a shield.)
Jim: It’d be a shame to wreck a Rembrandt.
Professor Bolt: Put that down!
Jim: It’s the only way you’ll get me.
Professor Bolt: It’s irreplaceable. It’s my favorite!
Jim: I was hoping you’d say that.
Professor Bolt: You have no appreciation, Mr. West, or you wouldn’t do such a thing.
Jim: At this moment, my appreciation is limitless.
Professor Bolt: It’s an art treasure - a masterpiece! Compared to it our lives are as nothing!

Governor Bradford: You know, it’s a shame that Mr. Jamison has to go to jail, too. I could use a good double.



Episode Goofs
To enter the Bolt Museum, Jim burns out the lock on a door of iron bars. When he snatches it open, that iron door wobbles significantly. A real iron door would not, but a set piece made of balsa or other light wood or metal might.

When Jim climbs to where guards operate the winepress, two of them move the hand crank. One faced away from the ladder and one faced towards it. That guard should have seen Jim, who was only about five feet away, yet he never yelled a warning.

Artie notes that the redwood walls of the wine press are damp, soaked with wine. They may be damp, but they are not soaked with wine! Although called a wine press, the mechanism actually crushes grapes to extract their juice. It is not until that juice is properly fermented that it may be called wine.

Professor Bolt tells Jim that all the doors in the museum are locked except the one leading to the guardroom. He further tells Jim that the guards will arrive at his office shortly. Once they leave their guardroom, how will they pass any of the other doors that Bolt has locked?



Cultural References
The Mona Lisa, or as Artie’s character Gaston insists on calling it, La Giaconda, is a work of Leonardo, probably begun in 1503 and completed in 1506 or 1507. It depicts a seated woman with an enigmatic smile. Probably the most famous piece of artwork in modern times, it is the property of the French government and hangs in La Musée du Louvre in Paris.

Rembrandt van Rijn, usually referred to as simply Rembrandt, was a Dutch painter who lived in the first half of the seventeenth century. Widely considered a master painting, one of the finest European painters and the finest Dutch painter ever, Rembrandt produced hundreds of paintings and etchings and around two thousand drawings, including about a hundred self-portraits. Many of his paintings employ bold contrast between light and shadow, a technique called chiaroscuro.



Episode References
Miss Piecemeal (played by the same actress) and Governor Bradford (played by a different actor) previously appeared in 1x03, The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth. It is these events to which Jim and Artie refer early in the episode and they are the reason the agents hold the governor in low regard.

Professor Bolt's vicious multi-bladed knife (or one exactly like it) previously appeared in the lair of Ansel Coffin, in 1x06, The Night of a Thousand Eyes.



Analysis
Unlike Orkney Cadwallader, the villain of the previous episode, “The Night of the Human Trigger,” Professor Bolt seems quite sane, if extremely focused in what he regards as important. He feels strongly enough about the value of art that he commits treason, kidnapping and attempted murder all in an effort to divert huge amounts of capital to the pursuit of it. The strength of this focus blinds him to the obvious: sooner or later someone will discover what his ersatz governor is doing and put a stop to it. Presumably his plans included killing Jamison to sever their link and restoring the governor. The problem is that the governor knew who Bolt was, and at the very least investigators might wonder how Bolt acquired so many art treasures, and demand some sort of fiscal accounting.



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