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I have this season on disc(25 shows) and this is one of Robert Conrad's
favorite shows. It is also one of my favorite shows.
I want to point out that at the beginning of each show there is a little "debriefing" by James West himself. I also want to point out that if you do not want to know anything about the story, do not listen to Robert Conrad's introduction. In my mind, that intro is full of spoilers.
The madman in the "The Howling Light" is a scientist and technically a clinical psychologist. A cruel, sick, Pavlovian behaviorist. The other guest star is a Native American, most likely educated in American schools, yet a vehement man who does not like whites. Probably despises them, but does not like Ocularis much either.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jim is summoned to the Samaritan Hospital by 'Dr.Arcularis' ( Sam
Wanamaker ) who tells him that Arte has died. The man in the morgue is
not Arte. Jim is gassed and taken to the lighthouse off Barrows' Point
where he is subjected to intense brainwashing - loud bells, blinding
light etc. - to make him murder a native American leader named
'Ho-Tami' ( Ralph Moody ). A peace conference is due to be held at
St.Louis and one of the participants - 'Akeema' ( Scott Marlowe ) - is
keen to stop it happening, regarding any form of peace as slavery. By
murdering Ho-Tami, Jim will ensure no peace exists between native
Americans and white men.
Written by Henry Sharp, 'The Night Of The Howling Light' showcases a fine, menacing performance from the talented actor/ director Sam Wanamaker. The episode was nominated for an Emmy for Ted Voightlander's lighting, but lost out to 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'. The scenes in the lighthouse where Jim is brainwashed are disturbing, rivalling anything seen in 'The Ipcress File'. Linda Marsh is 'Indra', the daughter of the lighthouse keeper whom Arcularis brainwashed. She winds up assisting Jim.
Produced by 'Gunsmoke' creator John Mantley. Like Fred Freiberger, he is also notorious for screwing up a hit sci-fi show, in this case 'Buck Rogers In The 25th Century'.
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