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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Still spooky, after all these years...

Author: poe426 from USA
25 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of a kind, THE WILD WILD WEST- no two ways about it: a pair of post-Civil War government agents (one, a man of action, the other a master of disguise), armed with enough high-tech gadgets to make James Bond green with envy, pitted against just about every kind of villain imaginable. Besides the action (Robert Conrad, in addition to doing his own stunts, also used gung fu in almost every single episode), there was an ambiance that, as a kid, I loved. In a word, it was SPOOKY. This episode was one of my favorites. The teaser (the opening scene), in which Conrad as Jim West is attacked by what looks like a white-faced Confederate cadaver, is STILL one of the great moments in teleseries history (in my own, ever humble opinion). The real twist is revealed later, in a very dramatic scene that is effectively suggested more than shown. Sammy Davis, Jr. shines: his performance is riveting, and it would've been great to have seen his character in a spin off series of his own (which could've been just as spooky as this one).

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

I remember

Author: Bill-16 from Pennsylvania, United States
17 October 2012

The very fact that I remember this from it's original broadcast says a lot.

When I saw it again today I realized that we only had a B&W TV back in 1966, so I was surprised to see it was actually a color episode.

I was a very young back in the mid 60's but certain TV episodes I can still remember and they stick in mind. I mostly watched McHale's Navy, Munsters, Addams Family and other comedies back then.

BUT, certain 1 hour shows the 'grownups' watched stick with me... The Spooky Ghost on the Horse must have stuck in my nightmares or something, because when I saw the start of this episode I let out a smile and knew I would sit down to watch it all.

Sammy Davis Jr was always a favorite in my house. Loved his singing, but his occasional acting gigs on TV back then was a treat.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Two Fifths of the "Rat Pack" Meet Agents West and Gordon

Author: theowinthrop from United States
8 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When the Will Smith - Kenneth Branagh - Kevin Kline film of THE WILD WILD WEST was made a few years ago, one of the interesting changes was that Will Smith, an African-American, was playing James West. The role of the hero of the original series (and the two television movies of the late 1970s) was Robert Conrad, a Caucasian-American. Many viewers of the show probably shrugged at this change (as much as making the insane dwarf genius Miguelito Lovelace (Michael Dunn) over as an ex - Confederate engineering genius who had lost his legs (Branagh)). The setting in the Grant Administration was the same, and the anachronistic science fiction devices was the same. So if you were a fan of the series, the change of the villain's motivation (world domination due to physical problems changed to revenge for losing the American Civil War) was really the only major problem to swallow - especially if (like myself) you admired Michael Dunn as an actor and a personality.

But the fact is there was at least one episode of the original series when it was suggested that the Post-Civil War Secret Service had African-American agents. This was such an episode. It was also one of the few that had two guest stars on it: Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford. The two members of the "Rat Pack" played their roles here fairly straight (as opposed to some appearances, such as when they were "Salt" and "Pepper"). In fact, they are antagonists in this show.

West and Gordon are visiting a small western town, whose leading citizen is Carl Jackson (Lawford). He was responsible for keeping the town (and that area of the territory) loyal to the U.S. in Civil War. One of the workers on his ranch is Jeremiah (Davis) an ex-slave, who is also a kind of religious type. There have recently been activities in the area that suggest some group like the Ku Klux Klan, naturally scaring the ranch hands like Jeremiah. But he insists that it is something more supernatural than that - the creatures look like dead men on horses. After one instance of this, West shows Jackson a clue - a piece of paper with the name "Beaumont Carson" on it. Jackson's calm facade cracks as he repeats the name...a name he has not heard in nearly a decade.

The name turns out to be that of a long missing Confederate officer who vanished with his men while transporting gold for the Confederate government - it being suspected they decided to turn from patriotism to greed and run off with the treasure. But Jackson's behavior (as well as that of others in the area like the Sheriff (Alan Baxter)) suggests some deadly secret that these know.

The episode was a slow moving one at times, but interesting, particularly in Davis' and Lawford's performances. Lawford (normally a fairly mediocre performer) did well as a man with a guilty secret who sees his seemingly secure position threatened. Davis played Jeremiah as not a stereotype but as a person with a mission:


Davis is actually a fellow Secret Service agent working behind the scenes with West and Gordon in investigating the circumstances of the disappearance of the gold and Beaumont Carson. He was very convincing (as would be expected) as a person of intelligence who was a government agent.

The supporting cast (Baxter, Hazel Court as Lawford's wife) did well in their roles. If not one of the best episodes of the series it was an interesting one in the casting and characterizations, particularly Davis' role.

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Giving up the ghost!

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
24 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John Kneubuhl's 'The Night Of The Returning Dead' features guest performances from two Rat Packers - Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr. Jim and Artemus are investigating rumours of a ghostly Confederate officer seen in some caves near the ranch of 'Colonel Carl Jackson' ( Lawford ). When Artemus pumps bullets into it, it rides off unharmed. Jackson has a stable boy called 'Jeremiah' ( Davis Jr ) who loves animals and music. He has been observed playing a flute late at night in the caves. Jim calls him a liar when he claims to know nothing of the spectre. Jeremiah reacts angrily, attacking 'Sheriff Woods', a display of temper for which he is punished by being locked in a 'Smoke House'. Jim and Artemus lay in wait for the night-rider. After a fight, it gallops off on Jim's horse. The explosive charge he had placed in the saddle not affecting it. A hat found in the caves identifies the wearer as 'Colonel Beaumont Carson' - believed to have died 13 years before in a fire.

This is a bit like a 'Mission: Impossible' episode in that there's a clever scam underway to smoke out a killer. Anyone expecting this to be a breezy romp like 'Ocean's Eleven' will be disappointed. There's nothing funny about it at all. Lawford is good as 'Jackson', who thinks his victims have come back from the dead to torment him. Sammy sings briefly, while locked in the Smoke House. He is a bit old to be cast as a 'stable boy' but never mind. Hazel Court, star of horror movies such as 'The Masque Of The Red Death', plays Jackson's lovely fiancée 'Elisabeth'.

Directed by Richard Donner, who later made 'The Omen' and 'Superman: The Movie'. Lawford and Davis Jr must have enjoyed working with him because they teamed up again two years later to make the Swinging London spy spoof 'Salt & Pepper'.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Rat Pack Meets Superman

Author: DKosty123 from United States
22 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sammy Davis Jr & Peter Lawford meet the director Richard Donner is what turns out to be a better than average outing on this one.

Davis appears to have a mysterious force while Lawford mugs up pretty well as the bad guy. Along with that is an early message of diversity thrown in as West & Artie & Davis team up to stop Lawfords bad guys in a super team. The Confederate ghost is a creation of the big bad Lawford who is trying to take everybody's ranches for pennies on the dollar.

It starts strong and is well done throughout as another of Director Richard Donners efforts shine up the Wild Wild West. A very good episode indeed. This is an episode that does take advantage of a top notch guest cast and a better than average script.

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