The Second Agnes Moorehead Blogathon is running from December 6 - 8. Our hostess, friend and fellow movie writer Crystal is hospitalized and fighting for recovery from a devastating illness. A message from Crystal's brother Jarrahn Brett.
Michael Garrison's "James Bond on horseback" ran on CBS for four seasons, 1965-1969, and was followed by two television movies in 1979 and 1980. The Wild Wild West was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards: 1966, Ted Voigtlander for Individual Achievement in Cinematography; 1969, Ross Martin for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series; 1967, Agnes Moorehead for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Drama which was the only win for the series.
THE NIGHT OF THE VICIOUS VALENTINE
Written by Leigh Chapman and directed by Irving J. Moore
First aired on Friday, February 10, 1967
The Wild Wild West follows the steampunk adventures of Secret Service Agents in the Victorian era Old West. Nattily dressed Jim West and nattily dressed, if not in disguise Artemus Gordon are a prime crime-fighting resource for President Grant. In our adventure, they are on the trail of a clever killer.
Whitey Hughes, Jack Perkins
Someone is killing recently married wealthy men, leaving their widows more than fixed for life. The third victim has been dispatched by a booby-trapped piano. These are not your average bump-offs! The first clue our heroes follow leads them to a garish, even by the show's standards, print shop. A melee is in the offing when equally garish thugs attack our boys. The giggler is especially disturbing.
Ross Martin, Henry Beckman, Sherry Jackson
The detective work for which our agents are renowned (a marriage announcement at the print shop) has led them to the proposed next victim. The wealthy Paul J. Lambert played by Henry Beckman is set to marry the much younger Michele LeMaster played by Sherry Jackson. Aha! Artemus sets about trying to dissuade Lambert from an action that could result in his murder while Jim goes back to the print shop.
Jim's investigation at the print shop brings him into the orbit of Miss Emma Valentine played by guest star Agnes Moorehead. Miss Valentine is a renowned Washington hostess who has been touring the west and treating her guests to amazing parties and personalities. By the way, she also hosts weddings. H'm. Perhaps Jim would consent to be presented at one of her parties. A real live Secret Service Agent! Perhaps.
Refusing to wait for the official invitation, Agent West surreptitiously begins his own investigation of Miss Valentine's home. Jim should have realized that the clever Miss Emma Valentine would have her own unique and colourful alarm system.
Agnes Moorehead, Robert Conrad
Jim finds himself trapped! It is a device of Miss Valentine's consisting of robotic arms that can caress or crush at the touch of a button. Oh, dear! At least it gives Jim time to hear Miss Emma Valentine's ultimate goal. Villains do love to boast! Why is she arranging the marriages and deaths of these men of wealth?
Emma Valentine: "I regard myself not as a criminal but as a savior of all womankind."
Jim West: "And what do women have to be saved from?"
Emma Valentine: "From domination of the spirit, economic exploitation, annihilation of the mind; in brief, all of the injustices wrought by men."
Emma Valentine will control enough wealth to become a political power. She would like to be queen for a time before releasing a grateful nation into a democracy where she will be elected president. It is good to have goals.
Agnes Moorehead, Diane McBain, Ross Martin
Arte is in disguise as that necessary component to a successful wedding, an effusive and fussy tailor. However, he is recognized by Elaine Dodd, a not-so-bereaved widow in the case played by Diane McBain. While tonight's bride Michele is an unwilling participant in Miss Valentine's scheme, Mrs. Dodd is a sincere follower. Arte's goose is cooked.
Agnes Moorehead, Robert Conrad, Ross Martin
After the commercial break, we find our heroes, in serial-like fashion about to meet their demise in a most ingenious fashion. Jim and Arte are tied to the stained glass rooftop of the wedding chapel, surrounded by wires attached to the piano downstairs. When Mrs. Dodd strikes the final chord of the wedding recessional they shall tumble lo those many feet below killing themselves and the wealthy, newly-married Paul J. Lambert. Will our heroes win the day?
Let the vanquishing begin!
The Night of the Vicious Valentine concluded with Emma's incarceration yet it was open-ended enough that we were teased with the idea of the villain making a re-appearance. Sadly, it was not to be but we did have one perfect, tidy episode featuring the talented Agnes Moorehead.
Actress (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and writer (Dirty Mary Crazy Larry) Leigh Chapman wrote The Night of the Vicious Valentine giving us the welcome feminist slant presented by our quirkily megalomaniac villainess. It is one of six episodes Leigh wrote for The Wild Wild West.
"I wrote action-adventure. I couldn't write a romantic comedy or a chick flick if my life depended on it. I could write a love story, but it would have to be a Casablanca type of love story, and some people would have to die." - Leigh Chapman quote on the IMDb
Agnes was Emmy nominated seven times, six times for the role of Endora on Bewitched, and a win for her guest-starring role of Emma Valentine on The Wild Wild West in 1967.
Agnes Moorehead as Emma Valentine
Agnes Moorehead is a joy to watch in the role of the confident and crazy Emma Valentine. Agnes's performance is enhanced by an array of colourful and exquisitely detailed costumes. She looks magnificent and handles the hats, skirts, bustles, and capes with aplomb. Aggie preens, toys with adversaries, rules with an iron fist, and gleefully orchestrates all sorts of mayhem in the creation of her memorable, award-winning character.
Note: My contribution to the first Agnes Moorehead blogathon in 2016 was the noir western Station West, 1948.