The Wild Wild West (1969)

Season 2 Episode 5

The Night of the Returning Dead

Aired Friday 7:30 PM Oct 14, 1966 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Night of the Returning Dead

Jim and Artie face the undead when they confront a ghost rider who is immune to bullets.

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  • Features 2 members of the famous Rat Pack and a compelling story. In fact, the modern TV series "The Mentalist" (2008) practically rip-off this plot.

    An excellent episode and a standout performance by Sammy Davis, Jr. This one contains no campy material. The other member of the Rat Pack is Peter Lawford playing a cowardly land-owner with a mysterious past. The characters of "James West" and "Artemus Gordon" are in supporting roles on this go-around. There are a few gimmicks and some unusual abilities on display with the spotlight holding fast on Sammy Davis, Jr. The episode being directed by Richard Donner (best known of the Christopher Reeve "Superman" movie) adds to the quality. Too bad Davis' character never returned. It was written almost like you would a series spin-off.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Trivia: The Wanderer does not appear in this episode, nor does Artie use any disguises.

    • Gadgets: Flare bullet, exploding saddle horn, hidden explosive in boot heel compartment.

    • Jeremiah claims that the night rider only rides at night. Later, Jim says that "last night someone threw a knife at him" when they were in the cave. However, in the shows before and after the horseman rides into the cave, there is clearly daylight outside.

    • When Elizabeth goes by the smokehouse, she hears Jeremiah singing. This is at approximately the same time that Jeremiah is posing as Carson's ghost out at the cave. It's never explained how Jeremiah can be at the ranch and the caves at the same time. Even if there is an implied time gap, Jeremiah would have no way of knowing that Elizabeth (or anyone else) wouldn't check on him when he was posing as Carson's ghost a mile or more away.

    • Although the agents have a fake explanation for investigating the Colonel's ghost (the bogus letter to them in Denver), it is never explained why Secret Service agents are investigating Jeremiah's claim in the first place. Investigating massacres isn't a duty performed by the Secret Service.

    • Despite the fact that Kellogg and the others have captured two dangerous government agents, when they go into the basement to kill them, they all turn their backs and face away from the agents.

    • When Jim and Artie set up their makeshift pipe cannon, there's nothing on top of it. But when the three men come into the basement, there's suddenly an empty bag on top of the cannon.

    • When Jim and Artie blind the three businessman and fight them, it's clear in several shots that much younger stuntmen are filling in for them.

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Elizabeth: You know, Jeremiah, sometimes I think they really understand what you say to them. You're quite wonderful.
      Jeremiah: Well, life speaks to life, Miss Elizabeth, and all life is one. You know, when I go into the hills at night and I play my music, my brother the coyote answers me and tells me of his yellow day. And in the cool of evening my sister the mockingbird sings, tells me of her joy of being alive. And in the first heat of the morning, my brother the lizard tells me of his...

    • Jim: Artie?
      Artie: Hmmm?
      Jim: Can you play one of these things?
      Artie: It's a musical instrument, isn't it? Of course.

    • Jeremiah: The dead only walk to seek out evil, Mr. Jackson... and I have done no evil.

    • Artie: I want to know what happened to the Barbados accent. The voodoo, the witchcraft, the whole act.
      Jeremiah: Well, don't you think that would be putting it on a little thick, huh?
      Artie: You can't do a Barbados accent.
      Jeremiah: Now wait a minute, Artie, I didn't say I can't do a Barbados accent. I can do any accent in any voice.
      Artie: Ah...
      Jeremiah: I can do your voice. (as Artie) "I want to know what happened to the Barbados accent. The voodoo, the witchcraft, the whole act." Or Jim's. (as Jim) "You got in a few good licks of your own."
      Artie: You know, that smokehouse has improved him. Smoked ham.

    • Jim: What happened to you?
      Artie: Fighting on the Sabbath? Never on Sunday.

    • Artie: Oh, I remember this recipe now--powdered potpourri surprise. Specialite de la maison of the hotel desperation, right?

    • Jim: Where are you headed for now, Jeremiah?
      Jeremiah: Home.
      Artie: Where's that?
      Jeremiah: I don't know yet.
      Jim: Why don't you come to Washington and work with us?
      Jeremiah: Thanks, but no, Jim. I... well a man's got to look until he finds his place. And I'm still looking.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Sammy Davis, Jr. is billed as Special Guest Star.

    • Music: No More Auction Block (sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.)

    • Commercial breaks: The hatband reading Col. Beaumont Carson (ul), Jackson clutching a gun and concerned about his fiancée (lr), Jackson looking down from the stairway (ll), Jeremiah riding away as Jim and Artie watch (ur)

    • Richard Donner credits this episode with launching his motion picture directing career. After working with Lawford and Davis, he was contacted to direct their first collaborative effort sans Sinatra, Salt and Pepper.


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