The breathtaking landscapes and spectacular wildlife of some of Britain's most iconic National Parks, seen through the eyes of people who know them best.

A Year in the Wild - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2012-07-27

A Year in the Wild - The Wild Wild West - Netflix

The Wild Wild West is an American Science Fiction/Spy/Western television series that ran on the CBS television network for four seasons (104 episodes) from September 17, 1965, to April 4, 1969. Two television movies were made with the original cast in 1979 and 1980, and the series was adapted for a motion picture in 1999. Developed at a time when the television western was losing ground to the spy genre, this show was conceived by its creator, Michael Garrison, as “James Bond on horseback.” Set during the administration of President Ulysses Grant (1869–77), the series followed Secret Service agents James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) as they solved crimes, protected the President, and foiled the plans of megalomaniacal villains to take over all or part of the United States. The show featured a number of fantasy elements, such as the technologically advanced devices used by the agents and their adversaries. The combination of the Victorian era time-frame and the use of Verne-esque technology has inspired some to give the show credit as being one of the more “visible” origins of the steampunk subculture. These elements were accentuated even more in the 1999 movie adaptation. Despite high ratings, the series was cancelled near the end of its fourth season as a concession to Congress over television violence.

A Year in the Wild - Creation, writing and filming - Netflix

In 1954, Michael Garrison and Gregory Ratoff purchased the film rights to Ian Fleming's first Bond novel, Casino Royale, for $600. CBS bought the TV rights for $1,000, and on October 21, 1954 broadcast an hour-long adaptation on its Climax! series, with Barry Nelson playing American agent ‘Jimmy Bond’ and Peter Lorre playing the villain, Le Chiffre. CBS also approached Fleming about developing a Bond TV series. (Fleming later contributed ideas to NBC's The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) In 1955 Ratoff and Garrison bought the rights to the novel in perpetuity for an additional $6,000. They pitched the idea for a film to 20th Century Fox, but studio turned them down. After Ratoff died in 1960, his widow and Garrison sold the film rights to Charles K. Feldman for $75,000. Feldman eventually produced the spoof Casino Royale in 1967. By then, Garrison and CBS had brought a James Bond to television in a unique way. The pilot episode, “The Night of the Inferno”, was produced by Garrison and, according to Robert Conrad, cost $685,000. The episode was scripted by Gilbert Ralston, who had written for numerous episodic TV series in the 1950s and 1960s. In a later deposition, Ralston explained that he was approached by Michael Garrison, who “said he had an idea for a series, good commercial idea, and wanted to know if I could glue the idea of a western hero and a James Bond type together in the same show.” Ralston said he then created the Civil War characters, the format, the story outline and nine drafts of the pilot script that was the basis for the television series. It was his idea, for example, to have a secret agent named Jim West who would perform secret missions for President Ulysses S. Grant. (Ralston later sued Warner Bros. over the 1999 motion picture Wild Wild West based on the series.) As indicated by Robert Conrad on his DVD commentary, the show went through several changes in producers in its first season. This was apparently due to conflicts between the network and Garrison, who had no experience producing for television and had trouble staying on budget. At first, Ben Brady was named producer, but he was shifted to Rawhide, which had its own crisis when star Eric Fleming quit at the end of the 1964-65 season. (That series lasted for another thirteen episodes before it was cancelled by CBS.) The network then hired Collier Young. In an interview, Young said he saw the series as The Rogues set in 1870. (The Rogues, which he had produced, was about con men who swindled swindlers, much like the 1970s series Switch.) Young also claimed to have added the wry second “Wild” to the series title, which had been simply “The Wild West” in its early stages of production. Young lasted three episodes (2–4). His shows featured a butler named Tennyson who traveled with West and Gordon, but since the episodes were not broadcast in production order, the character popped up at different times during the first season. Conrad was not sorry to see Young go: “I don't mind. All that guy did creatively was put the second 'wild' in the title. CBS did the right thing.”

Young's replacement, Fred Freiberger, returned the series to its original concept. It was on his watch that writer John Kneubuhl, inspired by a magazine article on Michael Dunn, created the arch-villain Dr. Miguelito Loveless. Phoebe Dorin, who played Loveless' assistant, Antoinette, recalled: “Michael Garrison came to see [our] nightclub act when he was in New York. Garrison said to himself, 'Michael Dunn would make the most extraordinary villain. People have never seen anything like him before, and he's a fabulous little actor and he's funny as hell.' And, Garrison felt, if Michael Dunn sang on every show, with the girl, it would be an extraordinary running villain. He came backstage and he told us who he was and he said he was going to do a television show called The Wild Wild West and we would be called. We thought, 'Yeah, yeah, we've heard all that before.' But he did call us and the show was a fantastic success. And that's how it started, because he saw the nightclub act.” Loveless was introduced in the show's sixth produced, but third televised episode, “The Night the Wizard Shook The Earth.” The character became an immediate hit and Dunn was contracted to appear in four episodes per season. Because of health problems, Dunn could only appear in 10 episodes instead of 16. After ten episodes (5–14), Freiberger and executive producer Michael Garrison were, according to Variety, “unceremoniously dumped,” reputedly due to a behind-the-scenes power struggle. Garrison was replaced by Phillip Leacock, the executive producer of Gunsmoke, and Freiberger was supplanted by John Mantley, an associate producer on Gunsmoke. The exchange stunned both cast and crew. Garrison, who owned 40% of The Wild Wild West, knew nothing about the changes and hadn't been consulted. He turned the matter over to his attorneys. Freiberger said, “I was fired for accomplishing what I had been hired to do. I was hired to pull the show together when it was in chaos.” Conrad said, “I was totally shocked by it. Let's face it, the show is healthy. I think Fred Freiberger is totally correct in his concept of the show. It's an administrative change, for what reason I don't know.” Mantley produced seven (15–21) episodes then returned to his former position on Gunsmoke, and Gene L. Coon took over as associate producer. By then, Garrison's conflict with CBS was resolved and he returned to the executive producer role. Coon, however, left after six episodes (22–27) to write First to Fight (1967), a Warner Bros. film about the Marines. Garrison produced the last episode of season one and the initial episodes of season two. Garrison's return was much to the relief of Ross Martin, who once revealed that he was so disenchanted during the first season that he tried to quit three times. He explained that Garrison “saw the show as a Bond spoof laid in 1870, and we all knew where we stood. Each new producer tried to put his stamp on the show and I had a terrible struggle. I fought them line by line in every script. They knew they couldn't change the James West role very much, but it was open season on Artemus Gordon because they had never seen anything like him before.” On August 17, 1966, however, during production of the new season's ninth episode, “The Night of the Ready-Made Corpse”, Garrison fell down a flight of stairs in his home, fractured his skull, and died. CBS brought in Bruce Lansbury, brother of actress Angela Lansbury, to produce the show for the remainder of its run. In the early 1960s Lansbury had been in charge of daytime shows at CBS Television City in Hollywood, then vice president of programming in New York. When he was tapped for The Wild Wild West, Lansbury was working with his twin brother, Edgar, producing legitimate theater on Broadway. The first season's episodes were filmed in black and white, and they were darker in tone. Cinematographer Ted Voightlander was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work on one of these episodes, “The Night of the Howling Light.” Subsequent seasons were filmed in color, and the show became noticeably campier. The Wild Wild West was filmed at CBS Studio Center on Radford Avenue in Studio City in the San Fernando Valley. The 70-acre lot was formerly the home of Republic Studios, which specialized in low-budget films including Westerns starring Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and Saturday morning serials (which The Wild Wild West appropriately echoed). CBS had a wall-to-wall lease on the lot starting in May 1963, and produced Gunsmoke and Rawhide there, as well as Gilligan's Island. The network bought the lot from Republic in February 1967, for $9.5 million. Beginning in 1971, MTM Enterprises (headed by actress Mary Tyler Moore and her then-husband, Grant Tinker) became the Studio Center's primary tenant. In the mid-1980s the western streets and sets were replaced with new sound stages and urban facades, including the New York streets seen in Seinfeld. In 1995 the lagoon set that was originally constructed for Gilligan's Island was paved over to create a parking lot. Among iconic locations used for filming were Bronson Canyon (“Night of the Returning Dead” S02E05) and Vasquez Rocks (“Night of the Cadre” S02E26).

A Year in the Wild - References - Netflix