Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Revisiting the Wild Wild West: The Night of the Tottering Tontine

"The Night of the Tottering Tontine" 
Written by Norman Hudis & Elon Packard
Directed by Irving Moore
Synopsis: West and Gordon are assigned to protect Dr. Raven, who is developing a secret weapon for the U.S. Government. Raven's life is in danger as members of a tontine he joined years ago are being killed off so the murder can inherit all their wealth.

Trey: They could have titled this one "And Then There Were None in the Wild Wild West," except that would have messed up the "The Night of..." convention. 

Jim: I'm a big fan of whodunits, so this riff on And Then There Were None really appealed to me. I particularly liked the round of introductions for each of the members of the tontine. There are were talented actors amongst the members (Robert Emhardt, Henry Darrow, Harry Townes).

Trey: It's a fine group of murder suspects! I liked this episode, too. Sure, It's a standard classic tv riff, but the house full of death traps gives it an adequate dose of WWW oddity.

Jim: I agree! The dark-hooded villains and death traps are just the touch that was needed. Question: After escaping the rocket car death trap in the mine shaft, West walks by what looks like a big circuit box on a wall. What the heck was that supposed to be? Was it actually a circuit box? I'm never sure how widespread electricity is in this time period.

Trey: It's an anachronism. 

Jim: At first I thought the seance was an anachronism, but apparently the practice was well established in America at this time with Mary Todd Lincoln being a fan.

Trey: Yeah, this would have been about the middle of the heyday of Spiritualism, I believe.

I got a question: Why would anyone hire are architect and give them free rein to the extent you wouldn't know that had built a secret railway and all sort of death traps into your house?

Jim: I'm Howard Roark, and I approved this message.

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