Wild Wild West

Night of the Raven, #6603

Secret agents James West and Artemus Gordon must find an Indian chief's abducted daughter, Wanakee, within three days or face a tribal uprising. Led on a wild goose chase, the agents are confronted by their archival, the diminutive Dr. Miguelito Loveless, who wants to rule a world of "little people." West and Gordon are taken prisoner in Loveless' home where they are held with Wanakee.

Loveless gives West a cigar laced with a size-reducing powder and he wakes to discover he is just six inches tall. West is placed in a dollhouse with the miniaturized Wanakee. Gordon, who is still normal size, is brought into the room and is astounded by what he sees. Loveless proceeds to detail his play to shrink the human world and restore the balance of nature.

West attempts another escape, this time, through a mouse hole, and eventually finds himself in a miniature arena facing Loveless' cat. Wanakee, bound to a post, is forced to watch helplessly as her would-be rescuer faces off with the mammoth feline.

A technical achievement in its day, "The Night of the Raven" is one of the best-loved Wild Wild West episodes. According to Irving Moore, neither he nor assistant director Lenny Katzman had much experience with special effects prior to this episode. They used blue screens, split screens, planned carefully and made a lot of lucky guesses to get the proportions of the characters right.

According to Moore, the Raven itself was less than cooperative. Unable to get the bird to move, the crew tied a string to the bird's leg and when the SPCA man wasn't looking, they pulled on it. The bird would take off and fall to the ground, but they were able to get a few feet of flight on film. Originally, Garrison had hoped to get Sonny and Cher (who appeared as a couple in a Man from UNCLE episode) to play the Indian maiden and her fiance'.

Wanakee: Phyllis Newman
Antoinette: Phoebe Dorin
Chawtaw: Sandy Josol
Dr. Miguelito Loveless: Michael Dunn
War Eagle: Howard Hoffman
* 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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