The Wild Wild West (1969)

Season 4 Episode 17

The Night of the Sabatini Death

Aired Friday 7:30 PM Feb 07, 1969 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
16 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The Night of the Sabatini Death

Jim meets with crime czar Sabatini, who asks him to travel to Calliope, MO to protect a lady and give a man called Swanson a key. Accompanied by government chemist Ned Brown, Jim travels to Calliope where an Army finance officer died after stealing half a mil. Everyone in Calliope wants the hidden loot... and someone is willing to kill to find it.


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  • An atmospheric mystery with great guest stars.

    This was a highly enjoyable mystery episode. Dying gangster Sabatini makes James West an offer - West will protect a certain very special young lady, and in exchange it'll lead him to a criminal he's been pursing. And there's the matter of half a million in stolen army pay that everyone seems to be after.

    Some of the pieces to the mystery are obvious from the get-go, and other elements seem to be left a little vague. Regardless the build comes at a nice, steady pace and ends in what is now a horror genre staple - the stalking of a defenseless girl in the woods by a killer with an obvious physical deformity (in this case, a bum leg). This episode features two amazing locations, a rundown near-abandoned mansion and a mausoleum. The mansion is an especially creepy, atmospheric affair that at times made me wonder if this story was heading in the direction of the paranormal. The mausoleum is a well-built set that offers something different from the usual western exteriors of the series. But the big draw here is definitely the Gilligan's Island guest stars, of which we get Alan Hale Jr. and Jim Backus. Hale plays another one of Arte's replacements, and his distinct, jovial personality makes him stand out from some of the other Artemus clones. Backus has a nice turn as the town mortician. And yes as mentioned by other reviewers, there is a rather cute Gilligan's Island joke at the episode's end.

    In all, recommended.moreless
  • Already well-summarized.

    Another non-Arte, but terrific episode. This one features two Gilligan Island stars; namely, Alan Hale as Conrad's partner and Jim Backus as an undertaker. Alan and Jim Backus do not spend any screen time together.

    The plot is involved, spooky, and though there are no anachronistic or spy-fi elements, is one of the best instalments of the series. A virtually empty town, a woman (poorly disguised as an older woman) trying to trick a young, blind lady, and a graveyard.

    Besides the perhaps the greatest tag in the series, with Alan saying he's off to a desert island for a well-deserved vacation (and a few bars of the Gilligan's Island theme being played), there's a small homage to another then- current CBS series "Petticoat Junction" (though this may be unintentionl, it's quite a coincidence with this other CBS series). This occurs in the fourth act where an actor commands, "Joe, Carson, get them". I see this as a reference to Joe Carson, general manager of the Shady Rest Hotel.

    Red West makes two appearances (one actually credited). The first is at the very beginning as a thug wearing a full beard and the second time as either Joe or Carson, wearing a mustache. Of course, West beats him up.

    All the acting is solid, other than Alan who's a little off the top and a little out of his element -- but still enjoyable as you can easily see Skipper traits.

  • It was a fine tribute to Gilligan's Island

    The Night of the Sabatini Death was a fine tribute to Gilligan's Island. Hale and Backus did shine in this episode. With Conrad on his own this was still a classic with help coming fromn a deserted Island. And the best part of the whole episode was the ending where Hale said he's going to find a deserted Island with Gilligan's theme playing in the background. Of course I did miss Artis but Gilligan's Island was one fine replacement. If it wasn't for the ending I would say this was one boring episode even with Hale and Backus. It reminded me of Bob Hope's Thanks for the Memories.moreless
Jill Townsend

Jill Townsend

Sylvia Nolan

Guest Star

Bethel Leslie

Bethel Leslie

Melanie/Laura Samples

Guest Star

Don 'Red' Barry

Don 'Red' Barry

Farnsworth/Harry Boorman

Guest Star

Douglas Henderson

Douglas Henderson

Colonel Richmond

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Disguises: none (Artie or the other substitute back-up disguise experts aren't in this episode)

    • Gadgets: wind-up gunshot noisemaker

    • Three heavies jump Jim at the mortuary. They all manage to escape. However, in the two subsequent scenes involving the heavies (with Ned at the Nolan mausoleum, and later at the big showdown in the mausoleum), only two heavies appear. The third one's absence is never explained.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Sabatini: You scratch my back and I'll scratch your back.
      Jim: My back isn't itching, Sabatini.
      Sabatini: I think maybe you could develop an itch.

    • Jim: Back to Washington, huh, Ned?
      Ned: Nope. I'm off on a well-deserved vacation.
      Jim: London, Paris, or Rome?
      Ned: I'm going to make a big dream come true. And you know what my big dream is? I'm going to spend a vacation all alone… on a desert island.

  • NOTES (5)