The Wild Wild West (1965–1969)
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The Night of the Avaricious Actuary 

When vibrations from a giant tuning fork destroy the palatial homes of extremely wealthy businessmen, Jim and Artie are called in to investigate.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James T. West
Arden Masterson
General Caswell
Steve Gravers ...
Lou Krugman ...
Maitre d'Hotel
Judi Sherven ...
Cora Lister
Sharon Cintron ...
Girl #1
Linda Cooper ...
Girl #2
Barbara Hemingway ...
Fat Lady


When vibrations from a giant tuning fork destroy the palatial homes of extremely wealthy businessmen, Jim and Artie are called in to investigate.

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Release Date:

6 December 1968 (USA)  »

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| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


While filming and rehearsal the episode, Ross Martin tosses the rifle aside to run, but the rifle hit the wall and bounced back into his path. He tripped over the rifle and broke his leg. He was quickly replaced by someone else, who finished his scene. See more »


Unfortunately for the plot of this adventure, the use of a tuning fork as a weapon depicted here is not feasible. First of all, using sound to destroy a structure and everything in it requires knowledge of that building's resonance frequency and each item inside. The fork depicted was of a solid piece, therefore capable of emitting a single note. This means that the maker of the fork would have to have known the resonance frequency beforehand and manufactured the appropriately tuned device. A corollary to this is that a new fork would have to be made for each building destroyed. Second, the sound waves produced by each tine of the fork are 180° out of phase with each other, meaning that the further from the vibrating end of the fork you get, the fainter and less energetic the sound (for the same reason, Artie's demonstration for the skeptical general Caswell would not have been possible from across the train car). Amplifying a tuning fork's sound is done by resonance at the base, not the tip. Third, the larger the fork, the lower the pitch. A giant tuning fork could not emit the high-pitched tones depicted. It's possible that such a large fork could produce sounds in the range below the level of normal hearing (i.e., below 20 Hz), waves which are known to have unusual effects on the human body and senses, formal studies of subsonic vibrations and their effects did not begin until the 1960s. Finally, the demonstration in the closing scene is completely impossible as each shattered item has a different critical frequency. See more »


Artemus Gordon: You know, you gentlemen are all like the young lady from Niger who smiled as she rode on a tiger.
Asa Dempster: What kind of nonsense is that?
Artemus Gordon: They returned from the ride with the lady inside, and a smile on the face of the tiger. Have a pleasant ride, gentleman.
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User Reviews

West's Big Fork
2 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

A giant fork is destroying mansions and the boys become involved trying to figure out who's behind it. A great episode with Ross Martin shining as an uppity waiter carving tooth picks for an unsavory guest.

Harold Gould who would later go on to be the bad guy in Mel Brook's 'Silent Movie', is the guest villain and we also get a terrific appearance from Fritz Feld who gets to pop his mouth like in every other TV show he appeared in such as Lost in Space.

The action skips around and West and Arte get to go on a date at the end. Watch for the henchman rip his pants right up the backside as West punches him.

You can't miss it.

Unfortunately Gordon would injure himself in this episode and miss a few episodes

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