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The Wild, Wild West was my favorite TV show, along with Star Trek, when I was 8. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Robert Conrad, Star of TV’s ‘The Wild Wild West,’ Dies at 84
2:23 PM PST 2/8/2020 by Mike Barnes and Duane Byrge

Robert Conrad, the athletic, two-fisted actor who starred as Secret Service agent James West and did his own spectacular stunts on the 1960s futuristic CBS Western The Wild Wild West, has died. He was 84.

“He lived a wonderfully long life and while the family is saddened by his passing, he will live forever in their hearts,” family spokesman Jeff Ballard told People magazine. No other details of his death were immediately available. …

The Chicago native also was known for starring as real-life World War II pilot Maj. Greg “Pappy” Boyington on NBC’s 1976-78 period drama Baa Baa Black Sheep (later known in syndication as Black Sheep Squadron), one of the first series created by Stephen J. Cannell. …

On The Wild Wild West, the lithe, blue-eyed Conrad starred as a government agent, working for President Ulysses S. Grant, who employed modern technology to combat villains in the 19th century. Jim West, who wore his spiffy clothes a bit too tight, rode a champion horse and had an eye for the ladies, was paired with Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin), a master of disguise.

The show was “James Bond as a cowboy,” and indeed, series creator Michael Garrison had once owned the movie rights to Ian Fleming’s first 007 novel, Casino Royale. Wild Wild West lasted four seasons, on the air from September 1965 through April 1969, and attracted another legion of fans in reruns.

Conrad and stuntman Whitey Hughes usually choreographed the show’s acrobatic fights (the scripts gave them an amount of time to do them, and they figured things out). Near the end of one season, Conrad said he almost was killed when he fell 14 feet onto a cement floor; he suffered what he described as a “six-inch linear fracture with a high temporal concussion.”

Concerned that they would lose the star of their show, CBS executives insisted a stunt double step in for Conrad, but that practice lasted only a couple of episodes, and, after a summer of healing, he was soon back “breaking things,” just as he always did.

He was one of the few actors to have been inducted into the Stuntmen’s Hall of Fame.

“Ross Martin once said in an interview on the Johnny Carson show, ‘Robert does his own stunts, and I do my own acting,’ ” he said. Asked if he took offense to that, Conrad replied: “I applauded it, it was the truth. I did my acting tongue in cheek. I didn’t take any of it seriously. The last year, I didn’t even read the scripts, I just read my part. And it worked.”

Conrad’s ego and toughness also were on display during the Battle of the Network Stars specials, where he more often than not captained the NBC squad to victory. (He did lose one memorable race to Welcome Back Kotter’s Gabe Kaplan, getting caught down in the stretch.)

And in three years as a popular Eveready pitchman, Conrad stared into the camera and challenged anyone to knock a battery off his shoulder.

“Come on, I dare you,” he said.

 
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  1. Liked him better than I ever did Steve McQueen.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    , @Anonymous
  2. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:

    I am 50 and remember him most from the Battery commercials and Battle of the Network Stars.

  3. This news may shatter Quentin Tarantino.

    • Replies: @Lagertha
  4. Aging (but still living) Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters thinks he can just say whatever he wants. And advertise his shows, even? We’ll see about that!

    https://www.rt.com/news/480384-roger-waters-mlb-bds-israel/

    People who criticize the Ruling Class or their pet projects should not be permitted to earn money!

  5. J.Ross says:

    WWW was a very clever treatment of ideas that were ubiquitous but rarely as thoughtfully handled.

    • Agree: TWS
  6. The final coup de grace was in the fall of 1981 when Kaplan was starring as Stewart Lewis in Lewis & Clark, which allowed him to captain the NBC team.

    Also dying was Orson Bean, who was famous for three things: his appearances on The Tonight Show and game shows, being Andrew Breitbart’s father-in-law, and

    [MORE]
    having a giant cock.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @Anonymous
  7. syonredux says:

    The Wild, Wild West was my favorite TV show, along with Star Trek, when I was 8.

    I caught The Wild, Wild West in syndication when I was a kid and loved it. It was steampunk before anyone knew what steampunk was. It also had a great opening:

  8. RickinJax says:

    You had good taste Steve.
    RIP

  9. Coemgen says:

    It used to be that being parodied by Mad Magazine meant that you’d made it but now, having a lengthy celebheights.com page is a better indicator of your impact on popular culture:

    https://www.celebheights.com/s/Robert-Conrad-3849.html

  10. What would William Conrad have done to that cement?

  11. @syonredux

    It was steampunk before anyone knew what steampunk was.

    The Wild Wild West was also the first, and probably the best, and best known of any, “Weird West,” TV series:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_West#Television_series

    I enjoy the, “Weird West,” milieu, but it’s hard to get right.

    Despite high ratings, the series was cancelled near the end of its fourth season as a concession to Congress over television violence.

    Weak.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  12. I always like Conrad. Baa Baa Black Sheep was a great show.

  13. Kirk Douglas
    Orson Bean
    Robert Conrad

    There’s your three.

    • Agree: ScarletNumber, MEH 0910
  14. @ScarletNumber

    Orson Bean shows up in this 2019 Mark Steyn Christmas special:

    According to Wikipedia, R. Conrad went to both South Shore and Hyde Park High School in Chicago.

  15. Acilius says: • Website

    My one objection to Robert Conrad was his appearance as G. Gordon Liddy in the TV movie adaptation of Liddy’s autobiography WILL. While I suspect some of the people who comment on this website might admire Liddy’s politics, his spectacular ineptitude as a secret agent was such that he should never have been played by the man who brought us Jim West. The only actor who should ever have played Liddy was Don Adams of “Get Smart” fame.

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
    • Replies: @The Whistleblower
  16. J.Ross says:

    OT, this was being discussed but I forget where, in the matter of Calvin “Snoop” Broadus versus Gayle Fake Journalist Person: warmonger, ambassador, and former horsegirl of the apocalypse Susan Rice has now weighed in.
    So if Snoop replies they, uh, have to have a dance-off? Is that how this works? Is it on?

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
    , @black sea
  17. Robert Conrad was like a combination of the Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio characters from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

  18. @syonredux

    steampunk before anyone knew what steampunk was

    I question its historical accuracy, however. In particular, I don’t think spandex and hairspray were really in common use during the Grant Administration.

  19. @Reg Cæsar

    William Conrad was the original Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke. How is that possible, when Conrad would kill a horse? Well Gunsmoke started on the radio.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  20. My favorite show was (and still is) Colombo.

    An Exercise in Fatality

    Robert Conrad as health club owner Milo Janus

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072802/

    • Agree: M_Young, Charles
    • Replies: @Charles
  21. Steve, did you ever see the movie version, with Will Smith in the Robert Conrad role?

  22. Rapparee says:

    I loved WWW in reruns as a kid. This sad news has me wondering how well it holds up to adult eyes. Star Trek and Jonny Quest still remain fairly watchable, so I think I can probably safely trust eight-year-old Steve Sailer’s already-astute critical judgment.

    • Replies: @Kolya Krassotkin
  23. Rapparee says:
    @ScarletNumber

    We must pray for his sake that he did not.

  24. Matra says:
    @Anonymous

    I only know him from Battle of the Network Stars. IIRC he started races well but quickly ran out of steam leading my dad to say it was because he was a smoker. Anyway, 84 is not a bad innings.

  25. BB753 says:
    @ScarletNumber

    Don’t watch it, Steve! The Will Smith flick will ruin your childhood!
    BTW, my favorite show of his was Baa Baa Black Sheep!

  26. Robert Conrad was great! He also depicted G Gordon Liddy in a movie about the same.

    And, yes. I remember the battery commercials as well.

  27. Lagertha says:

    When I moved here, he was my first crush on a guy.

  28. Lagertha says:
    @San Fernando Curt

    Quentin lives in LA, he so, knows, how old all the greats are/were. My hope for Quentin: bring food & drink to even, the lesser known people/actors……sigh.

  29. Lagertha says:
    @syonredux

    don’t spoil my childhood, and, more importantly, how, as an immigrant, I should have realized how profound this is! smirk faces allowed?

  30. The best of the Battle of the Network stars. Conrad v. Kaplan.

    Throw in Bruce Jenner, Telli, Farah, and Howard.

    Pure 70’s Gold.

  31. 68W58 says:

    Is “Baa Baa Black Sheep” the only serialized TV show ever about the Pacific war? I see now that it was only two seasons, but I suppose that there were only so many variations on the theme “today we are going to have a dogfight with the Japanese” you can get (so many of those actors would later appear on Magnum PI). I loved the opening theme when they cranked that air raid siren when I was a kid, RIP.

    Edit-there is also a pretty good episode of Columbo where he plays a fitness industry mogul and murderer that is worth a look.

  32. Anon7 says:

    The Wild Wild West was a terrific show that combined Jules Verne-style Victorian science fiction with American Manifest Destiny. Amazing stunts done mostly by Conrad himself made the show a favorite of boys (and men and yes women – my mom never missed an episode either).

    Great villains, of course. My favorite was the twisted genius Dr. Miguelito Lovelace, played with megalomaniacal glee by Michael Dunn. Dunn was a dwarf and as a little boy I was fascinated by Dr. Lovelace’s many inventions and escapes that were scaled just for him.

    • Replies: @Known Fact
  33. @68W58

    “McHale’s Navy” started in the Pacific then moved to the Italian War for a season or two.

    • Replies: @hhsiii
    , @Anon7
  34. J.Ross says:

    The FBI continues their never-ending quixotic search for Phantom Nazi as — aaaaaand another leftist has attempted to kill Trump supporters. That’s some fine police work there, Christopher.
    https://www.dailywire.com/news/breaking-man-deliberately-rams-vehicle-into-gop-tent-full-of-volunteers-trump-responds/

  35. hhsiii says:

    I was shocked when Kaplan smoked him in that race. Good times.

  36. hhsiii says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I loved Joe Flynn in Barefoot Executive. I still remember his shock when Kurt Russell’s monkey predicted some show called Mother Carey’s Chicken as a hit.

  37. anonymous[117] • Disclaimer says:

    My most significant memory of Conrad is when he appeared on some ’70’s talk show (maybe Merv?) and was challenged to an one-arm-wrestling contest by a young woman (clearly a set up)…she quickly threw her entire upper body into the wrassle, and won…which is cheating, of course.
    In a moment of the kind of honesty we rarely see anymore , Conrad was pissed, and demanded a rematch. He didn’t get it, of course.

  38. Anon7 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I recall The Wackiest Ship in the Army, a series inspired by the movie of that name, as well as Mr. Roberts inspired by the excellent film with Henry Fonda and James Cagney and of course Jack Lemmon who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

    Also, one of the best Pacific war films, In Harm’s Way, was a mid-Sixties movie with a tremendous cast including Kirk Douglas. It was one of the last films shot in black and white, to match the archival film clips used to great effect in the movie.

  39. My father was friends with the son of a WW2 Pacific Corsair ace.

    Probably the most underrated fighter aircraft of WW2.

    This report states the F4U was superior to the P51 everywhere under 25k feet:
    http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/f4u/p-51b-f4u-1-navycomp.pdf

    Here’s some F4U porn for y’all:

  40. @J.Ross

    Snoop Dog can threaten physical violence and still star as a lovable celebrity spokesman for Dunkin Donuts. Sadly, what that indicates is that black people are regarded as children who shouldn’t be taken seriously when they say crazy stuff.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  41. Charles says:

    For anyone 50-ish or thereabouts, he’ll always be Greg “Pappy” Boyington.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  42. Charles says:
    @The Whistleblower

    Yes, “Columbo” is the greatest show of all time.

  43. @Reg Cæsar

    Robert Conrad could never have narrated Rocky and Bullwinkle.

  44. @Acilius

    My one objection to Robert Conrad was his appearance as G. Gordon Liddy in the TV movie adaptation of Liddy’s autobiography WILL. While I suspect some of the people who comment on this website might admire Liddy’s politics, his spectacular ineptitude as a secret agent was such that he should never have been played by the man who brought us Jim West. The only actor who should ever have played Liddy was Don Adams of “Get Smart” fame.

    I met the “G Man” once at his radio studio back in the 90’s. Couldn’t have been nicer. Sad for him that his son the former Marine officer and California Deputy AG turned out to be a pedophile who was just convicted of possession of child porn.

    https://nypost.com/2020/02/06/son-of-watergate-operative-gordon-liddy-convicted-of-possessing-child-porn/

    Son of Watergate operative Gordon Liddy convicted of possessing child porn

    SAN DIEGO — Raymond Liddy, a former California state prosecutor and son of Watergate break-in organizer Gordon Liddy, was convicted Wednesday of possessing child pornography.

    Liddy was convicted after a non-jury trial in San Diego federal court and could face up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on May 1, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

    Liddy had been free on bond since his 2017 arrest. FBI agents searched his home in the San Diego Bay resort city of Coronado after an Internet service provider contacted a national tip line to report a user had uploaded child pornography images, the paper said.

    Liddy had been a state prosecutor since 2008. After his arrest, the state attorney general’s office placed him on administrative leave and said Wednesday that he had stopped working there in November 2017, the Union-Tribune said.

    Liddy is the son of G. Gordon Liddy, who helped orchestrate the 1972 burglary of the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.

    The scandal surrounding the break-in and subsequent cover-up led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon and Liddy spent nearly 4 1/2 years in prison for conspiracy, burglary and refusing to testify to a Senate committee.

    • Replies: @danand
    , @Hunsdon
  45. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:
    @Curtis Dunkel

    I remember watching that. Total hilarity. He messed with the wrong Jew.

  46. @ScarletNumber

    I went to grade school with William Conrad’s son. I called him Cannonball.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  47. black sea says:
    @J.Ross

    Funny, and a bit sad, as so much of America’s vibrant urban culture — even at its “highest” reaches — seems to be.

    Bit by bit, Idiocracy is being realized.

  48. S says:

    Yes, great actor.

    Wild, Wild, West, was a well done show.

    Robert Conrad was always surrounded by hot actresses in that series, too, such as Elisa Ingram in a 1965 episode of the series.

    RIP RC.

  49. Conrad was superb in The Wild Wild West, but my favorite regular on the program is Ross Martin in his portayal of Artemus Gordon, the brains part of the brawn-&-brains duo. The only complaint I have against the show is its habitual reliance on Michael Dunn as the monotonously repeating villain: I just feel that the series would have been better served by featuring a greater variety of bad guys.

    The only other Pacific Theater TV series I can think of are Navy Log, most of its episodes were about action in that theater because that was the chief WWII locale of U.S. naval action, and The Silent Service because almost all U.S.N. submarines sailed in the Pacific. My Dad having been a WWII sailor meant that our TV set always tuned in to those two programs.

  50. It’s almost as if we all have something in common.

  51. Anonymous[265] • Disclaimer says:
    @ScarletNumber

    The last of those three is complete news to me. He may well have been bejingled but he sure was not famous for it. It’s a subject much talked of about Hollywood men but no where ever did I see his name.

    In the old days Steve Cochran, Forrest Tucker, and of course Uncle Miltie were rumored huge-the latter confirmed to me by the guitarist of a New York band who was NOT married to the lead singer, who saw one of his famous cockouts. Orson Bean was never on any of the many lists of sizequeen-pleasers.

    Bean WAS an adherent of Wilhelm Reich for a while.

  52. On Season 3 Episode 4 of TV show Mannix, titled “The Playground”, Conrad guest stars as a overindulged, arrogant TV actor who nearly meets his maker, but for smooth and cool Joe Mannix to help keep watch over him. Conrad plays the role to a T. Excellent. He also appeared in late ’90’s or early 2000’s on Bill Mahers show, and made some disparaging remark against one of the Backstreet Boys trying to transition into an environmentalist. Conrad was having none of it. Said something along the lines of “your music is what my grandkids listen to. Just kidding.” You could tell he was thinking “I can take this pretty boy out with one hand tied behind my back.”

    Very sad. A true legend in the industry.

  53. Dtbb says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    My public library has a signed copy of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” by Greg Boyington. I doubt they even realize it.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  54. Mr. Anon says:
    @Auntie Analogue

    There was McHale’s Navy – although it was about as realistic as Hogan’s Heroes.

  55. Anonymous[265] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    A superb ground based fighter and attack aircraft then and a really desirable warbird today, but a pilot killer in carrier operations.

    Wolfgang Langewiesche was a production test pilot on them and flew several hundred of them, never wrecked one. But he never carqualed. He had almost no time in airplanes over 100 hp and flew the R-2800 P&W Double Wasp powered Corsair with no problem. And people wonder why I promote his book.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  56. Mr. Anon says:

    Wild Wild West was brilliant marketing. Robert Conrad was a hero that jocks could identify with; Ross Martin was a hero that nerds could identify with (being a nerd, I always identified with Artemus Gordon). It also featured wierd, wild stories, great villains, and lots of beautiful women. 1960’s television had some incredibly gorgeous women.

    Speaking of which, Marj Dusay just died. R.I.P. She guest starred in WWW, but was best known for her turn on Star Trek, playing the leader of the planet-of-stupid-women.

    https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0244582/

    • Replies: @danand
    , @syonredux
  57. Mr. Anon says:

    Conrad also played G. Gordon Liddy in the TV movie based on Liddy’s memoir, Will.

  58. Anon[338] • Disclaimer says:

    After watching that ‘Battle of the Network Stars’ clip I was curious about Bob Conrad’s height. Lol, a lot of assessments and personal anecdotes on the celebheights.com page:

    https://www.celebheights.com/s/Robert-Conrad-3849.html

  59. danand says:
    @The Whistleblower

    “I met the “G Man” once at his radio studio back in the 90’s. Couldn’t have been nicer. Sad for him that his son the former Marine officer and California Deputy AG turned out to be a pedophile who was just convicted of possession of child porn.”

    Whistleblower, I guess Raymond’s lucky he didn’t get arrested in Pakistan. Disappointing to hear of his behavior.

    “Pakistan resolution calls for public hanging for child molesters”
    https://www.france24.com/en/20200207-pakistan-resolution-calls-for-public-hanging-for-child-molesters

    My favorite Gordan Liddy story came from his own lips. Liddy said the first thing he did when entering prison was to walk up to the biggest guy he saw, and punch him straight in the mouth. Gordon knew he had to show he was nobodies punk right off the bat (or something to that affect).

    • Replies: @Harry Baldwin
  60. anon[291] • Disclaimer says:
    @68W58

    Combat, starring Vic Morrow was huge with Australian children in 1968.
    Europe though rather than Pacific.
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055666/

    Robert Conrad was also in a detective show with Stephanie Powers that ran over here.
    It wasn’t much good.

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    , @Brutusale
  61. danand says:
    @Mr. Anon

    “Speaking of which, Marj Dusay just died. R.I.P. She guest starred in WWW, but was best known for her turn on Star Trek, playing the leader of the planet-of-stupid-women.”

    Mr. Anon, she sure impressed me in that Star Trek episode, even though I was all but seven. My remembrance is that she was in soap operas later, but I could be confusing her?

    Loved all those mid-late ‘60’s shows, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek, Batman, & Get Smart with their gadgets, cads, and “vixens” when I was a kid. All those women in mini-skirts warped my young mind.

    • Agree: Coemgen
    • Replies: @Dissident
  62. JMcG says:
    @The Wild Geese Howard

    I was acquainted with the gentleman who designed the landing gear for the Corsair. He was a talented pilot himself, even in his eighties.

  63. JMcG says:
    @Anonymous

    I didn’t know that about Mr. Langewiesche. My son is currently learning to fly, and I made sure he absorbed Stick and Rudder.

  64. @Steve Sailer

    If you had been more prescient, you would have referred to young Christopher Conrad as Fatboy.

    • Replies: @Dissident
  65. Woodsie says:

    Conrad’s battery commercials were so iconic that Springsteen did the move (the touch to the shoulder before saying “knock it off”) in a stadium – all he did was stand mid-stage in a ‘tough guy’ pose and mime putting something on his shoulder – and the 70,000 strong crowd collectively reacted with a hushed intake of breath. My wife had looked away but still felt / heard the reaction and quickly asked, “what’d he do?” (circa 1984)

  66. Mr Mox says:
    @ScarletNumber

    I’ve seen the movie and found it silly but entertaining anyway (the original show never made it to my country) Just for the heck of it I checked the movie on IMDb, and the reviewers seem to either hate it or love it. Perhaps some sort of a “Don’t mess with my childhood memories!” syndrome?

    • Replies: @Hunsdon
  67. @Reg Cæsar

    I also thought it was going to be William.

    On the Kirk Douglas obit thread on another website there was an eighty comment argument over whether or not he raped Natalie Wood. Aye^7.

  68. @Anon7

    WWW’s creator supposedly first spotted Dunn doing a musical cabaret act (with Phoebe Dorin, the gal who played his sidekick, Antoinette, on the show)

  69. One frequent topic in the Manosphere is whether short guys suffer a decided disadvantage in scoring chicks. I always use Robert Conrad as an example of attitude and studliness transcending your physical height.

    WWW has always been a big favorite for me. Of course it was mostly camp, but they did one brilliant episode, with Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Hazel Court, that was actually meant to be taken seriously — The Night of the Returning Dead, directed by future big-screen success Richard Donner.

    Much like Shatner, when Conrad was between series he had to guest star as a bad guy, and was enjoyably sleazy in two Mission Impossibles.

  70. @Auntie Analogue

    A comedy/drama TV version of Mr. Roberts was pretty good but lasted just one season, 1966 — that was set in the Pacific, I recall.

    As far as WWW villains, along with Dunn there was the great Victor Buono in several fine episodes as Count Manzeppi, kind of an evil magician type. Robert Duvall, Ida Lupino and Agnes Moorehead also were memorable evil-doers

    • Replies: @syonredux
  71. Sean says:

    He started work aged 12 in a bar, his job entailed cleaning out the spitoon; he was not a sensitive type.

    Connie Stevens said when young he “stopped the traffic”, and on Hawaiian Eye the other actors complained about Conrad having his shirt off in so many scenes.

    Initially thought to resemble James Dean, by the end of his career Conrad could have convincing played Donald Rumsfeld. Granite faced.

  72. @The Wild Geese Howard

    The Corsair was the only propeller-driven fighter aircraft that the U.S. continued to produce after World War II. You’re right–it was a very underrated fighter aircraft.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @flyingtiger
  73. @68W58

    HBO ran a 10-part miniseries called, “The Pacific” in 2010. It’s arguably as good as or better than the much-revered, “Band of Brothers.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pacific_(miniseries)

  74. An old-line Chicagoan to boot:

    “Yeah, I was a friend of Spilotro’s,” said the Republican National Convention guest. “He was my best friend growing up. What of it? He was never convicted of anything.”

    One need not seek the wisdom of presidential historians to suggest that there are few gatherings less likely to reveal a hint of underworld seediness from Chicago’s West Side than a GOP convention.

    It’s why I was appreciative of running into actor Robert Conrad, an old chum of Michael Spilotro, late brother of late reputed mob boss Tony Spilotro.”

    Paging Gus Russo: wouldn’t the late twentieth century GOP have had more than a few connections to underworld sleaziness from Chicago’s West Side? But then this copy comes from Colonel McCormick’s rag.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2000-08-06-0008060441-story.html

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  75. as says:

    Wow. He’s handsome.

  76. Friday nights were absolutely loaded back then — Wild Wild West, Star Trek, Robert Vaughn as The Man From UNCLE, Anne Francis in the short-lived Honey West and the underrated Carl Betz as Judd For the Defense.

  77. syonredux says:
    @Mr. Anon

    1960’s television had some incredibly gorgeous women.

    Indeed….

  78. @HammerJack

    I loved Wild Wild West whilst a kid; watched the reruns five days a week during the 1970s. Comparisons between Conrad and McQueen are unrealistic. Conrad did not have a Bullitt or Papillion on his resume.

    • Agree: duncsbaby
  79. @The Wild Geese Howard

    “I enjoy the, ‘Weird West’, milieu, but it’s hard to get right.”

    Clint Eastwood’s satisfyingly violent High Plains Drifter (1973) and S. Craig Zahler’s gruesomely violent Bone Tomahawk (2015) are fine examples of Weird Westerns.

  80. J.Ross says:
    @Harry Baldwin

    Statement is equally true about the other interlocutor, who used the word “army” almost against the fact that she was instrumental in deploying real armies.

  81. Dr. Doom says:

    Robert was also in the Sean Connery movie Wrong is Right.

    He also was memorable in Schwarzenegger’s Jingle All The Way.

    Wild Wild West is one of the best James Bonds on TV.
    Up there with The Avengers and Secret Agent Man.
    They had a so-so reunion movie in the 1970s.

  82. @Curtis Dunkel

    Lynda Carter! You forgot to mention Lynda Carter! The original “Wonder Woman”!

    (She towers over Farrah beginning at the 7:13 mark)

    I am proud to say that in the summer of 1976 at the age of 14, the bedroom I shared with my brother was adorned with both of these posters:

  83. All those 60s TV shows really, really sucked. Just because you watched them as a child doesn’t make them “good.” Even 50s TV shows were better. And 50s TV shows sucked. And, while most 70s TV shows sucked just as much, a few were slightly better. At least somebody seemed to have realized by the 70s that 60s TV shows were so bad, they maybe ought to throw in a couple half-bearable ones (as they did in movies–a few 70s movies are better than anything from the 60s, which is not saying much), just for variety.

    • Replies: @Known Fact
  84. @SunBakedSuburb

    Zachariah (1971) “The First Electric Western” (Country Joe and The James Gang had some good songs on the soundtrack):

  85. @Curtis Dunkel

    Thanks for uploading the video. Bob Conrad is bitching about being penalized, but should have been dq’d. He and the chick he passed the baton to spilled on the track and dropped the baton, automatic dq. How about Farrah and Lynda Carter being on the same team? I would have paid no attention to any of the events if I were on that team.

  86. @The Wild Geese Howard

    the p-51 was the most famous but from what i understand, the hellcat, p-47 thunderbold and corsair were all just a good for their theater – i think where the p-51 shined was long rage escort of b-17s – solved a huge problem there…

  87. syonredux says:
    @Known Fact

    As far as WWW villains, along with Dunn there was the great Victor Buono in several fine episodes as Count Manzeppi, kind of an evil magician type.

    If memory serves, Buono’s Manzeppi and Dunn’s Loveless were the only bad guys who appeared more than once:

  88. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @syonredux

    That first compilation brought back some great memories. (And that looks like Richard Pryor in the last scene.)

    • Replies: @syonredux
  89. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @HammerJack

    You might have liked him better but overall McQueen was the better actor and star (and pilot) and had a way better CV, even though he died relatively young.

  90. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Chris Handsome

    If you were into politics, show business, or the business side of sports you had connections with the connected. That’s just how it was. On the whole a DNC convention would have ten times the number of people one or two degrees removed from mafiosi than a RNC one but both had lots of them.

    • Replies: @Chris Handsome
  91. syonredux says:
    @anonymous

    That first compilation brought back some great memories. (And that looks like Richard Pryor in the last scene.)

    It was was. Pryor played one of Manzeppi’s henchmen in “The Night of the Eccentrics”:

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0748530/

  92. BB753 says:
    @syonredux

    Yeah, women used to have prettier, more feminine faces then. Now they look like men in drag. What’s happened to mankind, particularly, to our womenfolk?

    • Replies: @Anon
  93. @Rapparee

    Just waiting for TPTB to remake WWW and Johnny Quest with female protagonists.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  94. @Curtis Dunkel

    “Pure 70’s Gold.”

    It, too, made out of polyester?

  95. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    The Corsair was the only propeller-driven fighter aircraft that the U.S. continued to produce after World War II. You’re right–it was a very underrated fighter aircraft.

    The Grumman Bearcat and Tigercat were made after WWII as were (technically not fighters) the AD Skyraider-used by both the USAF and USN/USMC and the Martin Mauler. The USAF wanted more Skyraiders well into the sixties but Wright claimed they could not supply any new R-3350 engines. It was bullshit because they were still supporting the 3350 Turbocompounds for cargo airlines and for the Navy’s “Careless Connie” AEW aircraft. They were still making license built versions somewhere overseas but the unions had political power and just buying them from them was a political non-option. The Brits were also making the Centaurus pretty late and that was a pretty compatible option as well.

    That no one had any tailwheel aircraft experience was not considered a limiting factor, and neither was the avgas issue-the Navy banned gasoline from its carriers only well into the seventies, they used it for the S-2 Tracker and for some flight deck equipment that late.

    The Corsair was still quite useful as a ground attack airplane pretty late-you could still deploy them in Afghanistan if you had the avgas and the pilots. It doesn’t have anywhere near the punch of the A-10 with its huge cannon, but it can fly slower and get in tighter, and is quieter and faster than a helo. As a fighter it was of course outclassed even by the first generation jets, though in Korea they did manage to bag a MiG or two.

    One reason it is a desirable warbird today, aside from the history and distinct appearance, it is that it is a lot of fun to fly and it has the great R-2800 engine, usually now a CB17 variant originally used in four engine fifties airliners. Owners are confident enough in it to fly night IFR when approvable and will take it out as one would any GA aircraft. But no one has to fly it onto a carrier any more. A few years back the Navy hoisted a couple of them aboard one of the nuke carriers and let them deck roll off, but wisely were not about to let them trap. For one thing, no one would trust those old tail hooks, and for another, even pros that did it every day lost a lot of them that way.

  96. @syonredux

    Was it just my imagination or could those female villainesses back in the 60’s really throw their karate kicks longer, higher and wider than they can today?

  97. @syonredux

    Thank you! And it is indeed Richard Pryor as one of Manzeppi’s Eccentrics.

  98. Hunsdon says:
    @The Whistleblower

    There sure seemed to have been an awful lot of arrests for child pornography and or pedophilia in the last three and a half years, haven’t there? It is one of the things that restores my faith in the Donald.

    • Agree: sayless
    • Replies: @Dissident
  99. @syonredux

    And let’s not overlook Lee Meriwether, Stephanie Powers, Susan Saint James, Mariette Hartley (who my dad photographed in her modeling days!) and the odd but hot Lee Grant

    • Replies: @syonredux
  100. Hunsdon says:
    @anon

    I am glad I decided to read the comments, before adding my own comment. Yes, I did want to mention the old show Combat.

  101. Hunsdon says:
    @Mr Mox

    I found it thoroughly, horribly bad. And with that said, I had gone into it thinking that it had tremendous potential.

  102. Anon[314] • Disclaimer says:
    @BB753

    Yeah, women used to have prettier, more feminine faces then. Now they look like men in drag. What’s happened to mankind, particularly, to our womenfolk?

    The pill has made woman less feminine and men more feminine. Women who’ve used the pill then go on to have screwed up offspring. You rape mother nature and she will come back and mutilate your genitalia.

    • Agree: Ron Mexico, BB753
  103. sayless says:
    @syonredux

    Perhaps there was a shout-out to Michael Dunn in Joker. The dwarf clown (“you were always nice to me”, says Joker) is named Gary, which was Dunn’s given name.

  104. @Dtbb

    “My public library has a signed copy of “Baa Baa Black Sheep” by Greg Boyington.”

    He showed up at an EAA Oshkosh one year and I actually saw him.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  105. @Anonymous

    yep, same here. Was surprised he was only 84, first thought he was already dead, second, figured he was about 94 if still alive. RIP, he will also be whatshisface from Centennial. Clay-basket’s husband. “Friends” with Shogun.

  106. @Diversity Heretic

    Wheels up, the corsair was a great ac. It was the first single engine fighter to fly more than 400 MPH, had a fast roll rate, low wing loading dived and climbed fast. On the ground it had problems landing and taking off. You also needed an experienced pilot to get the best out of it. The Hellcat was stable and easy to fly. It was perfect for the 90 hour ensigns they were getting then.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  107. @obwandiyag

    Oh, admit it, you’d love to be the bad-guy guest star on one of those shows. Go ahead, let’s hear you smugly say, “Well played, Mr. West, but unfortunately I’m afraid it is time for you to die, bwahahahaha” (freeze frame and cut to commercial break)

  108. @Anonymous

    Plausible calculation, though less so in the context of the Supermobbed up California GOP politics that vaulted Nixon and Reagan to prominence. And in fairness, if you read the rest of that article (from James Warren: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Warren_(journalist)), it’s hard to miss the deliberate irony of those opening sentences:

    “Conrad waved my way at a party at which GOP leaders curried favor with Teamsters President James B. Hoffa…

    Early steps were made on the film, but during preproduction, the actor lost interest because of what he thought was an uncharacteristic scene. Hoffa was making nice with Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, an archenemy, in a call from a pay phone.

    “That just didn’t seem to be him,” said Conrad…”

    Looks like the Rock was more openly conservative in 2000.

  109. @danand

    My favorite Gordon Liddy story came from his own lips.

    I enjoyed Liddy’s Will, but there’s no way to fact-check his accounts of his derring-do in prison. I’m skeptical.

  110. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @flyingtiger

    If you could fly a T-6 (SNJ in navyspeak) you could fly a Corsair, off pavement. It is not particularly challenging and has not had a huge ground wreck rate when flown by doctors, lawyers and 747 pilots with <100 hours in conventional gear a/c, and it didn't even back then. BUT carrier operations were subject to a high wreck rate. Fatalities were not that much higher but a lot of crunched ones were pushed off the deck into the ocean.

    Hellcats are also a great airplane and had a better carrier operations record, certainly. Both airplanes have the R-2800 which is relatively supportable. There are a lot more Corsairs still flying than Hellcats. (As with the B-25 and Catch-22, Baa Baa Black Sheep was partly responsible as several dubious wrecks were expensively restored because flying them for the series made it economic.)

    The real plum is the postwar Bearcat, which has a pretty high survival rate ( though lower total surviving numbers, because few were made) because they were used up into the era where people really wanted to have one, and the Navy sold them surplus intact to private buyers. It was the fastest radial engine piston fighter and had a tremendous climb rate, it could outclimb anything in the inventory until the Century Series aircraft and the F4D Skyray came out. It flew in Naval Reserve service long enough to embarrass the hell out of the A-4 Skyhawk and the navalized Sabres (the FJ Furies). They were faster but in a dogfight the Bearcat could out-turn and outclimb them up to a fairly high altitude. A fair percent of the surviving Bearcats have been heavily modified for air racing, though.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  111. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Joe Stalin

    Boyington after the war lost a lot of years to alcoholism, and famously was a pro-wrestling referee in California. After he sobered up he built a RV-4 homebuilt and got heavily involved in the EAA and made the rounds of talks and book signings and whatnot. He did okay with revenues from his TV show and the book and whatnot in his later years.

    I remember his famous dictum, “Just name a hero, I’ll prove he’s a bum”. He died relatively youngish, at 75, in 1988. But considering what an alcoholic he was (by his own admission) that was not too bad.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  112. Conrad lived for a long time in Bear Valley, CA (Alpine county). He was an avid skier.

    Some years back I recall he was in a single-vehicle accident on Hwy. 4 in Calaveras county and his passenger was killed. Alcohol may have been involved. I don’t remember much happening to happening to him legal-wise. I think he moved out the Calaveras/Alpine county area shortly after that. Back to LA or nearer family?

  113. The Chicago native also was known for starring as real-life World War II pilot Maj. Greg “Pappy” Boyington on NBC’s 1976-78 period drama Baa Baa Black Sheep (later known in syndication as Black Sheep Squadron)

    Real-life Pappy Boyington made a couple appearances on the show himself.

  114. JMcG says:
    @Anonymous

    I can’t speak for its veracity, but I found Boyington’s autobiography to be one of the best of its type. I read it long ago, but it seemed very candid about human frailty.

  115. JMcG says:
    @Anonymous

    A guy local to me had a Corsair for a while. He lost the engine on final, but landed without incident. He did have 5400 feet of runway to use. Another local man had an FM2 for many years. I had a glider in tow once and he flew by me on an opposite course a couple hundred yards off my right wing. It was pretty cool to see a Wildcat in its natural environment.

    • Replies: @danand
  116. Brutusale says:
    @anon

    Yes! Combat and The Rat Patrol, the show that had us dreaming of owning a Jeep with mounted machine guns!

  117. @Kolya Krassotkin

    Margot Robbie’s new movie Birds of Prey is looking like a bomb, and the feminazis are already blaming men of not wanting to see a movie with strong women. Truth is, the movie is not very good.

    • Replies: @BB753
  118. syonredux says:
    @Known Fact

    And let’s not overlook Lee Meriwether, Stephanie Powers, Susan Saint James, Mariette Hartley (who my dad photographed in her modeling days!) and the odd but hot Lee Grant

    There was definitely an abundance of pulchritude in the ’60s-’70s….


  119. Dissident says:
    @danand

    Loved all those mid-late ‘60’s shows, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek, Batman, & Get Smart with their gadgets, cads, and “vixens” when I was a kid. All those women in mini-skirts warped my young mind.

    Imagine if you had been subjected to men in mini-skirts. What will become of this generation?

  120. danand says:
    @JMcG

    “He did have 5400 feet of runway to use.”

    JMcG, sounds like the long runway out at Livermore, CA. That must have bee an experience staring down that Wildcat!

    When I was a kid a favorite WW2 fighter was the P-40, it seemed so dominate with its tiger graphics. So I was a bit shocked/taken aback when seeing one parked alongside a P-51 and a Corsair. Though not differing that much in measure, the P-40 looked like the runt brother of the P-51, that in turn looked junior to the imposing Corsair.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  121. @Reg Cæsar

    Obviously he would have eaten it.

    I recall an episode of Cannon in which the eponymous protagonist is tailing someone and stops to purchase a sandwich or hot dog or like item from a vendor’s cart, as cover for his lingering in the area. When the target of the tail leaves the area again, Cannon dismissively throws the food into a trash can as he gets into jia own car to continue pursuit. I clearly remember thinking “No way; that’s not in character. Anyone that large obviously take the sandwich with him and eats it while driving!”

    • Replies: @black sea
  122. Dissident says:
    @ScarletNumber

    [Steve Sailer:]I went to grade school with William Conrad’s son. I called him Cannonball.

    If you had been more prescient, you would have referred to young Christopher Conrad as Fatboy.

    I know nothing about William Conrad’s son. Was he, in fact, obese as his father was? How did you know? As best as I can tell, Christopher Conrad does not seem to have been famous.
    (In one of the documentaries included at the link I provide below, William Conrad’s obesity is offered as a reason for his not being chosen for the television role of Matt Dillon.)

    William Conrad is one of my absolute favorite actors from the genre of old-time radio that I am such a fan of. Conrad was indeed, as you noted previously, the original “Matt Dillon” on the radio version of Gunsmoke! that preceded the television one. A complete Old Time Radio Researchers Group certified set that includes all known existing episodes of that iconic show as well as various documentary features and other meta materials is available at this Archive DOT org link.

    [MORE]

    In one of the documentaries included in the above-linked set, Conrad is called “one of the unsung heroes” of American acting. Although such a characterization might well be justified just by Conrad’s performance in Gunsmoke! alone, his extensive and versatile career includes many other outstanding accomplishments. For an example of Conrad’s versatility, listen to his portrayal of the eccentric character Ah Sin in Episodes #6 and #16* of The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen— another of the gems to come out of radio’s Golden Age.

    (*On the linked-page, these files are numbered and titled, respectively, as follows:
    7 Scarlet Queen 47-08-07 (06) The White Cargo Act and Ah Sin – 54:49
    17 Scarlet Queen 47-10-16 (16) Ah Sin and the Balinese Beaux Arts Ball – 49:26)

    Note that it has been suggested that The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen served as the inspiration for Star Trek.

    Concerning Gunsmoke! (and note that my familiarity is exclusively with the radio version), I must note that are particular ways in which I find it noteworthy and perhaps even exceptional for an offering of its genre. No, it does not escape the formulaic predictability, likeness between episodes, and fantastic implausibility of plot (no matter how impossible the odds against them are, the regular characters always prevail and survive) that (to one degree or another) are endemic across any of the genres it could be categorized under. But I often find Gunsmoke! to portray the human condition rather masterfully; in a manner that is brutally realistic, strikingly moving, and remarkably sensitive and tasteful.

    Particularly and especially the following. The moral ambiguity that Dillon regularly must wrestle with, as he often finds himself having to choose between terrible options. (In one of the episodes, Dillon, speaking to Kitty, laments, in a general sense, the terrible difficulty and frustration of not knowing what the right thing to do to is. Kitty responds with something like, Well, if you figure it out Matt, let me know, will you?) And all of the tragic situations that, in his role as U.S. marshal, Dillon is forced not only to witness but also to interject himself into– while knowing that he will not be able to do anything that will actually change them.

  123. black sea says:
    @SunBakedSuburb

    I consider High Plains Drifter to be a kind of mythopoeic masterpiece, an assessment apparently not shared by a great many other people.

    • Agree: JMcG
  124. black sea says:
    @Autochthon

    “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”

    One of the great improvised lines of film history.

  125. Dissident says:
    @Hunsdon

    There sure seemed to have been an awful lot of arrests for child pornography and or pedophilia in the last three and a half years, haven’t there?

    More so than during any other period of that length during the past twenty-or-so years since Internet usage reached a critical threshold?

    At any rate, have you ever considered that hunting and prosecuting individuals for what, in many cases at least, is nothing more than the mere viewing of images might not be the most prudent use of limited, already-strained public resources? That such draconian criminalization as that which prevails in this area has the inevitable result of incentivizing the hiding and destruction of evidence of heinous crimes– evidence that could prove invaluable against the dangerous predators who actually commit such crimes?

    Is there any other area in which we treat images of a crime even nearly as bad as the crime itself?

    By all means, those who abuse children (or adolescents, or anyone, for that matter) or who are complicit in their abuse should, be rigorously pursued and prosecuted. But this is true whether or not such abuse was filmed or photographed. It is the abuse, and not any mere images of it, that is the problem.

  126. JMcG says:
    @danand

    No, it happened in Pennsylvania. It was indeed a thrill seeing that little bumblebee looking plane scooting along. If you think the Corsair is big, have a look at a P-47!

  127. BB753 says:
    @Jim Don Bob

    You should watch the new Batwoman series. It’s SJW preachiness non stop. She’s an angry butch lesbian fighting the patriarchy.

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