The Wild Wild West (1969)

Season 4 Episode 2

The Night of the Doomsday Formula

Aired Friday 7:30 PM Oct 04, 1968 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

The Night of the Doomsday Formula

Dr. Crane, inventor of a new explosive, is missing along with his daughter. If his "doomsday formula" falls into the wrong hands, especially foreign ones, it could mean the end of the United States. West and Gordon must rescue the professor, his daughter, and the formula before it's too late.


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  • Kevin McCarthy most excellently portrays a disgruntled US colonel, fed up with the US military's interest in developing weapons of mass destruction.

    This is a very intense episode. Kevin McCarthy's character is by far the shining star of this story. As a former US colonel, he tries in vain to sell his military weapons of might to the US military, who seem disinterested. He's anxious to move his country he loves to the forefront of power and military might. However, they are not buying. Fed up, the colonel decides to sell them to the highest bidder, even if that means the end of his own country. McCarthy portays an intruiging and handsome character, who captivates the viewer from the moment he enters the gentlemen's club at the beginning to the end when he's firing away at James West venting his frustration with the country he loved so dearly. The escape at the end was way too easy, and the Colonel's demise was a bit lackluster, with him simply slumped over after a bomb goes off behind him. The explosions of the Colonel's elegant ranch and weapons fortress was spectacular!! I wish there'd been more episodes with the colonel. His character was interesting and true to life.moreless
  • Jim and Artie work together to find a kidnapped scientist who has developed a new powerful bomb.

    The second episode of the fourth season is a good episode – but not a great episode. Red West with two other thugs kidnap the scientist's daughter (not before a fight with West ensues) so as to encourage her father to give the doomsday formula to a former army colonel (Kevin McCarthy), fed up with the government's perspective on war and developing new weapons of destruction.

    Artie dons the disguise of the scientist to "return" to the bar where he was fooled into going by a fake note from "James West". Jim sees the cane that put him out during the above noted fight in the bar, and sees a man retrieve it from the bar and board a wagon. Jim jumps into the back, and which rides out to the Colonel's ranch.

    Here, he seems to have easy (far too easy) access to the ranch and the buildings.

    Artie dons another great disguise as a far eastern man, with a great accent, and terrible singing skills. He's great in this role, and steals the show.

    The escape is far too easy, with Artie and the now released daughter securing a wagon, which Jim jumps into the back of (all conveniently filled with hay), and ride off into the sunset as the farm explodes from the charges West has set in the armory. If all guards were so intently looking for them (and there were quite a few), this easy escape is quite unbelievable.

    A few very good things (Artie's disguises, West diving around to avoid capture in his blue suit), while a few bad things (easy escape) balance this episode back to average.moreless
Kevin McCarthy

Kevin McCarthy

Major General Walter Kroll

Guest Star

Melinda Plowman

Melinda Plowman

Lorna Crane

Guest Star

E.J. André

E.J. André

Dr. Crane

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Disguises: Dr. Crane, Arabian arms dealer Hassan Emir Ortuglo

    • Gadgets: handheld suction cups, windup music player, windup noisemakers, sleeve derringer, dart, & hand trolley

    • At the 11:03 mark, Robert Conrad says, "From time to time I'd mingle with a small group of officers from the 7th Calvary", rather than "7th Cavalry."

    • When Jim fires the dart at the wall, it's clear that the notch is already there before it strikes, indicating that they started the shot with the dart in the wall, pulled it out, and ran the film in reverse.

    • When General Kroll shows Dr. Crane his daughter behind the window, he remarks that it is "Bismarck" glass, clear on one side and mirrored on the other and that his daughter cannot see or hear them. However, at the beginning of the 3rd act we see the window from Lorna's perspective and we can see the general and the doctor through the window.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Lorna: Well, all I really know is he received this message from an agent named, uh... West.
      Jim: Not James West?
      Lorna: Well, yes. Do you know him?
      Jim: He's a colleague of mine.

    • Jim: You're going to hand over your formula, doctor? Doctor, you know you can't do that.
      Dr. Crane: I am doing it.
      Jim: We tested the explosive you left behind in the laboratory in Denver. "Doomsday formula," you call it in your letter to President Grant. Whose doomsday, doctor? Your country's?

    • Jim: Artie. No one sings off-key like you.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Commercial breaks: ll: Jim in a wagon, lr: Lorna surrounded by flames, ur: a disguised Artie coming in through the window, ul: the Wanderer

    • According to stuntman Dick Cangey's book, Inside the Wild Wild West, they were filming the incinerator shaft scene close to the end of the day and trying to avoid going over-budget. Despite that, Robert Conrad took out a self-lighting candle and illuminated the set during his cilmb up the shaft.