The Wild Wild West: Season 2, Episode 20

The Night of the Vicious Valentine (10 Feb. 1967)

TV Episode  -   -  Western
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 55 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

To warn some of the country's wealthiest men about recurrent murders, Agents West and Gordon visit Curtis Dodd, who could become the next victim. Dodd, who is playing the piano, is killed ... See full summary »

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Emma Valentine
Diane McBain ...
Elaine Dodd
...
Michele LeMaster
Henry Beckman ...
Paul J. Lambert
Walter Sande ...
Col. Crockett
Shepard Menken ...
Itnelav (as Shephard Menken)
J. Edward McKinley ...
Curtis Langley Dodd
Don Dillaway ...
Griffin the Butler
Owen Cunningham ...
Minister
...
Aide (as Mitzie Evans)
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Storyline

To warn some of the country's wealthiest men about recurrent murders, Agents West and Gordon visit Curtis Dodd, who could become the next victim. Dodd, who is playing the piano, is killed as a lethal spear is fired from the piano keys. Through a series of clues, West and Gordon realize that murdered men were all married to younger women whose marriages were arranged by matchmaker Emma Valentine. Written by Anonymous

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Western

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Release Date:

10 February 1967 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Agnes Moorehead won an Emmy as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Emma Valentine. See more »

Goofs

In the first scene aboard West and Gordon's rail car, the window on the right has mismatched backdrop images in it. See more »

Quotes

[after extracting information from her computer]
Emma Valentine: Your ideal mate, Mr. West, is a combination of Aphrodite, Helen of Troy and Lola Montez. Oh, Mr. West, I'm afraid it can't be done.
Jim West: Well, frankly, I like to do my own shopping anyway.
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User Reviews

 
When Agnes finally won one
31 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Agnes Moorehead was a pretty terrific actress, and could actually play all types of roles: Charles Foster Kane's self-sacrificing mother, the love-sick and jealous old maid in THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSOMS, the put upon Countess Fosco who finally turns on Sidney Greenstreet in THE WOMAN IN WIFE, the hypocritical socialite who is not very patriotic in SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, JANE EYRE's evil but finally broken aunt...Moorehead was talented enough to breath life into all her roles. She was as convincing as the nurse and friend of Jane Wyman in MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, as she was convincing in the sophisticated and malevolent witch and mother-in-law Endora in television's BEWITCHED.

Yet for all of her performance excellence Moorehead failed to achieve major recognition from any of the performing awards. She was up for Oscars on four occasions (as late as HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE) and failed to get one. This lack of recognition ended in 1967, when she got an Emmy Award. She was nominated in two categories that year. One was for best actress in a supporting role in a comedy (as Endora). It was one of four nominations for that role she would get - and she never won any for her best remembered television part. But she was also nominated for the role of Emma Valentine, Grant Administration hostess, matchmaker, and murder conspiracy organizer - in this episode of THE WILD WILD WEST. And finally she got the award she deserved.

It's doubtful that people (outside of fans of Robert Conrad's series) recall the performance. Jim West and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) are sent on a mission involving the deaths of several of the nation's wealthiest men. All have had sudden violent deaths, and their wealth seems to be the only key to their demises. But West and Gordon discover that all have recently married younger women, and the person who arranged the marriages is Moorehead. Having failed to save J. Edward McKinley (speared to death by his piano when playing it), the agents try to rescue shipping tycoon Henry Beckman. And they start looking closer and closer at Moorehead's Emma Valentine.

Moorehead (like most of the villains on the show) is an egotist with a twisted set of goals (she's determined to raise the position of American women - in suffragette America - by making herself the richest and most powerful woman in the nation). Like other villains (Michael Dunn's Dr. Miguelito Lovelace comes to mind, as does Victor Buono's Count Mazzini), she has one trap after another to preoccupy Conrad and Martin, and they just manage to beat her each time. But she also has a charm and grace (although she pushes too hard at times). She can be deadly when she wishes.

I suspect that her winning this Emmy was a type of "booby prize" award for failing to give her the Emmy for Endora so frequently. Moorehead is very good as the villainous Emma, but the episode is hardly that brilliant to merit such recognition for her performance. In fact, it's another performance in the episode that in retrospect is far more memorable (if not major).

Emma (like all good WILD WILD WEST villains) has minions and roughs working for her. One is a middle aged, thin man, who is constantly laughing his head off (except when he is knocked down by Conrad). This minion (who is really insanely laughing - not "giggling" as this thread's description of the character suggests) was played by Mickey Daniels. Daniels was the former child star member of the Hal Roach OUR GANG in the 1920s and early 1930s, and was also in the series (with Grady Sutton) of "Boy Friend" comedies as well. After a final minor film part in the late 1940s, Daniels (who had a drinking problem) did not have any other acting job until he did this episode of THE WILD WILD WEST. And it would prove to be his last performance. Working normally as a cab driver, he was found dead (of cirrhosis of the liver) in his motel rooms in 1971. So forgotten had he become, it was 20 years or so before scholars found out when he had died.


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