Wild Wild West

Night of the Falcon, #6711

James West and Artemus Gordon help evacuate the town of Tonka Flats before it is destroyed by a cannon shell. Afterwards, they are notified that a man identified as "The Falcon" has threatened to obliterate Denver unless the U.S. government pays him $1,000,000. "The Falcon" is also in cahoots with syndicate leaders from Turkey, Spain, Prussia, and England.
During their investigation, Gordon is threatened by a whip-wielding Spaniard named Munez who suspects Gordon knows too much about the top secret weapon. West rescues Gordon from Munez, who is then killed by an explosive meant for the two agents. While searching Munez's body, West and Gordon find an invitation from "The Falcon." Gordon, disguised as Munez, prepares to attend the meeting while West attempts to penetrate the stronghold where the cannon is housed.

The Night of the Falcon marked Marvin Chomsky's first attempt at directing an adventure series. He had previously worked as an art director and then as the director of the children's show, Maya starring Jay North. Chomsky got his break on The Wild, Wild West when the director for The Night of the Falcon got ill and producer Bruce Lansbury gave Chomsky the job. CBS was so pleased with his work that he was kept on a regular director for the series. Recalling his experiences on this episode, Chomsky said, "We worked very hard and there were late nights so often that I was known as Captain Midnight. We took the lagoon (used for the Gilligan's Island set) at the back lot of CBS, drained it and put a camera at a low angle to a back drop of the town. We used an explosive, filmed the explosion, and then shot a high angle of the lagoon painted black filled with prima cord. After the black smoke cleared, a big hole appeared in the ground as if the town blew up." The Falcon's cannon itself was the biggest prop ever made for the series.

Marking his only appearance on the series, Robert Duvall played Dr. Horace Humphries in The Night of the Falcon. The son of an admiral, Duvall was born in San Diego, Calif in 1931. After two years of military service in Korea, he came to New York and trained at the Neighborhood Playhouse, after which he began acting in stock and off-Broadway productions. After a memorable debut as Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Duvall began a succession of distinctive character roles in film and television. As a result, he has become one of the most sought-after character leads and supporting players in Hollywood. He won the Best Actor Oscar® for Tender Mercies in 1983 and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather (1972) and Apocolypse Now (1979) and A Civil Action (1998) and as Best Actor for The Great Santini (1980) and The Apostle (1997)

Bonnie: Michele Tobin
Richmond: Douglas Henderson
Dr. Humphries: Robert Duvall
Marshal: William Phipps
Balya: George Keymas
Munez: Joseph Ruskin
Clyde Marchmont: John Alderson
Heindorf: Kurt Kreuger
Lana Benson: Lisa Gaye
Felton: Gene Tyburn
Directed by Marvin Chomsky
Written by Robert E. Kent
* The above information was compiled from The Wild Wild West: The Series by Susan E. Kesler (Arnett Press), "Michael Garrison's Wild Wild West," an article by Robert Alan Crick in Epi-Log Journal #11 and other sources.
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