Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Revisiting the Wild Wild West: The Night of the Feathered Fury


"The Night of the Feathered Fury" 
Written by Henry Sharp
Directed by Robert Sparr
Synopsis: A woman offers to sell information to the government about Count Manzeppi. When she flees, Jim and Artie must unrival the mystery of a wind-up toy chicken that Manzeppi seems willing to kill over.

Trey: It's unfortunate that this is Manzeppi's last appearance. In some ways, I think it's a better episode than his first.

Jim: Again, the poor count has to deal with a disloyal female associate. Gerda runs to the government for protection, and West is pretty cynical about her lady in distress routine.

Trey: With good reason, as we soon see! If you notice, it's been a while since we had a full-fledged "girl of the week" romance interest for West. Those were much more common in Season One.

Gerda is played by Michelle Carey, probably best known for her role in the 1966 Western, El Dorado, which is known for being the second of three Westerns directed by Howard Hawks and written by Leigh Brackett where a sheriff and friends have to defend his office against an outlaw gang.


Jim: She was also in a lot of late 60s-70s TV. Back to Manzeppi: again he seems to display magical powers when he is turning on the lights in the train car. On a side note, it's sort of funny how many people end up appearing in the train car. 

Trey: They really need to get better locks. It happens so often, they seldom seem really surprised.

Jim: True! Overall, Manzeppi reminds me of early Silver Age appearances of Magneto in that he's supposedly capable of magic, but rather than ever use his abilities in any exciting way, he has cronies do all the hard work.

Trey: It's like that want a villain with magic powers, but they don't want a villain with magic powers. Manzeppi's associates are less interesting this time.

Jim: But they are sort of James Bond--as is the fate of Gerda. A definite homage to Goldfinger. Before that, though, I liked how Jim and Artie get her to turn on Manzeppi.

Trey: The humor is that is that he even lays out their plan for her (and lampshades the trope for the audience)! And so, as Manzeppi departs in a balloon, we say good-bye to Victor Buono on WWW.

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