The Wild Wild West (1965–1969): Season 4, Episode 11 - The Night of the Avaricious Actuary - full transcript

When vibrations from a giant tuning fork destroy the palatial homes of extremely wealthy businessmen, Jim and Artie are called in to investigate.

( mysterious theme playing )

The devil?!

No, sir,
Secret Service.

We're here on urgent
business, Mr. Taney.

All right, Sloane.

Now, mister...?

Mr. West and Mr. Gordon.
Do exactly as we say.

Order everyone
out of this house.

( chiming )


I'll be hanged if I do.
Why should I?

Now that I have your
undivided attention, gentlemen,

just what is this all about?

Mr. Taney--

( rumbling )

( clattering )

What is it?
An earthquake?

You might
call it that.

Only a very special kind.

( cracking )

( high-pitched humming )


( humming continues )

Let's get out.

Get everyone out, Taney!
I'll take care of this.

( humming continues )

( humming increases in pitch )

( dramatic theme playing )

( upbeat western theme playing )

( dramatic theme playing )

I liked it better
the other way, Artie.

I knew a pretty face
would bring you around.

How about
an introduction?

Of course.
This is Arden Masterson,

Colonel Richmond's
new assistant.

How do you do, Arden,
and welcome.

Thank you. We were all
pretty worried about you.

Are you all right now?

I'm fine. My head's
just a little fuzzy,

but aside from that I'm--
I'm fine.

Uh, uh, that's General Caswell
over here.

General Caswell is head

of army ordnance

This is my associate,
Mr. James West.

How do you do, general?

Mr. West.

Artie, what about the wagon?

Oh, I'm sorry, Jim,
but that house

was disintegrating
around me so fast,

by the time
I herded everyone out,

the wagon was gone.

And the thugs
that I tangled with?

Now, gentlemen,
let's get down to cases.

Now, I'm an artilleryman.

My business
is demolishing things.

And your
particular interest

is in how the Taney house
was demolished, right, sir?

Yes, the Bergin house,
the Coughlin house.

I understand you got
within spitting distance

of that wagon.

Yes, sir, I did.

What sort
of infernal machine

did they have aboard?

Well, I think I can
answer that, general,

if you'd just be good enough
to follow me.

Come on in, general.
Uh, disregard the equipment.

( humming )

I think it's
a tuning fork device.

That demolishes houses?

Keep going, Artie.

Back in 1711, John Shore
invented the tuning fork.

Ever since then,
many scientists,

including Kovacs,
Helmholtz, and others,

speculated on the possibility
that it could be used to send

appreciable amounts of energy
over considerable distances.

Whoever destroyed Taney's house
and the other houses

simply succeeded
in achieving it at last.

Gentlemen, I think I've wasted
enough of your time.

Uh, general...

( humming )


Tuning fork, huh?

It would be a much
larger one, of course.

And a good deal
more deadly, sir.

Gentlemen, in the interest
of national security

I think we'd better
round that thing up.

That's what we intend
to do, sir.

I'll place a regiment
at your disposal.

Two, if you like.

Uh, thank you very much,
general, but no thanks.

What we want to do is
coax that little black wagon

out again,
not frighten it off.

Then what?
Then, sir,

we're gonna try and find out
who it is behind all this.

Oh. How's this
for openers, Jim?

I didn't get a chance to
show that to you before.

I found it in the rubble of
what used to be Taney's home.

CASWELL: What is it?
It's a letter

from the Cyclops Insurance
Company to Taney.

Suggesting that Mr. Taney
might be interested

in taking out some of
their household insurance.

Well, I fail to see
the importance

of a letter
from an insurance company.


The company is no more
than one month old.

There is no record of anyone

buying an insurance policy
from the company.

And I fail to see
the importance of that.

There's a fine fishy smell
about this company, general.

Extremely high premiums.

Johnny-come-lately status.

And now that I know
the name of the company,

I think I'll drop by
and pay it a visit.

Good. While you're
doing that,

I'll rub shoulders
with the wealthy set.

See whether any
of the others

have been approached
as well.

And how do you go about rubbing
shoulders with the wealthy?

Well, I'll talk my way
into the Midas Club,

where only tycoons of long
standing are permitted.


I don't know, gentlemen.

I don't know whether
to play it your way,

or to blanket the area
with troops

and make
a house-to-house search.

( humming )

All right, gentlemen,
we'll play it your way.

( dramatic theme playing )

Mr. Gordon?

Yes, sir.

Is there something I can
do for the Secret Service?

Yes, sir, there's a little
insurance matter

I'd like to discuss
with you.

Well, it's comforting to know
that the Secret Service

now handles insurance,
but I have all I need.

I'm delighted to hear that.

This involves the
Cyclops Insurance Corporation.

Mr. Gordon, I think
you'd better come up.

we have a development.

We certainly have.

Morton has just
raised you 500.

Are you in or out?

I was referring
to our visitor

from the Secret Service,
Mr. Gordon.


I'll call the raise.

And these gentlemen are--

I know, sir.
Mr. Shilling, Mr. Nay,

Mr. Crandle, Mr. Decamp,

Mr. Freitag--

I'll call your 500.

--and, of course,
Mr. Taney.

Well, gentlemen,
it seems as though

our little group is
not entirely unknown.

Not at all, sir.

It would be interesting to know
just how many boards

of major corporations
in this country

are controlled by
the little group assembled here.

Quite a few,
I should imagine.

You came up here all this way
just to tell us that, huh?

Not at all, sir.

I came all this way
simply to ask a question.

Have any other of you gentlemen
been approached

by the Cyclops Insurance

We all have.
What about it?

I hope you decided
to ignore

their offer
of insurance.

Oh, sure.

That's what I did,

and so did Bergin
and Coughlin.

Look what happened to us.

Gentlemen, we know
a good deal more

about what we're facing now.

If you don't subscribe,

it will give us time
to investigate.

We'll be ready and waiting
for any reprisals.

I can guarantee that.

Can you guarantee
when it's all over

that their houses will
still be standing?

No, sir,
I can't guarantee that.

But I can guarantee
you this, gentlemen,

if you do subscribe

to the Cyclops Insurance
Company's policy,

you won't be buying
any insurance.

You'll be knuckling under
to extortion

at an ever-increasing price.

( ticker clacks )

Young man,
as you've been talking,

I have just made more money
than you will probably make

in your whole lifetime.

( dryly ):

So you see,
as high as they are,

I can afford to pay the
Cyclops Insurance Premiums.

I was hoping you'd feel
you could afford not to.

I open.

Besides, if you should happen
to nab the extortionists,

we could always pull out,
don't you see?

Could you? I wonder.

Good afternoon, gentlemen.

Two cards.

MAN 1:

MAN 2:

MAN 3:
Get me a drink, will you?

You know...

you gentlemen are all like
the young lady from Niger

who smiled
as she rode on a tiger.

What kind
of nonsense is that?

They returned from the ride
with the lady inside

and the smile on the face
of the tiger.

Have a pleasant ride,

( dramatic theme playing )

( clears throat )

Excuse me.


My name's James West.

I'd like to see
Mr. Singleton.

I'm sorry, sir.

What are you sorry about?

About your wanting
to see Mr. Singleton.

He gave strict orders
he was not to be disturbed.

Well, why don't you try
and disturb him?

I couldn't do that.

You see, I've come a long,
long way

to see Mr. Singleton.

Why don't you tell him
that for me, please?

( sighs )

Excuse me,
Mr. Singleton,

but there's a gentleman
here by the name of--

Miss Lister,
I distinctly told you

I was not to be disturbed.

See what I mean?

It was a nice try,
Miss Lister,

but seeing
as how Mr. Singleton

won't come out here
to see me,

I'll just wander in
to see him.

It wasn't such a good idea
after all, Miss Lister.


( dramatic theme playing )

( typing )

( typing continues )

Miss Lister, I dis--

( typing stops )

( gun clicks )

( dramatic theme playing )

( dramatic theme playing )

( gunshot )

Get him!

( dramatic theme playing )

Miss Lister,
I distinctly told you

I was not to be dist--

It's him.

It's got to be him.

Got to be who, Artie?

Hey, isn't anyone
gonna eat?

No, thank you.
Yeah. Uh...

According to my theory,

a certain Dr. Tyborg Kovacs,
that's who.

Oh, that's the scientist
that was jailed

for selling
classified information.

I remember.
Right, right.

Look, whoever is behind
all this destruction

would, of necessity,
have to be an expert

on tuning forks,
wouldn't he?


How many of
Kovacs' scientific papers

did you dig up, Arden?

Over two dozen.

Covering such phases

as propagation
of acoustic waves,

augmented resonance,
energy transmission, et cetera.

All part of his basic research
on tuning forks.

See what I mean?

Yeah, he had tuning forks
on his mind.

I assume the doctor's
out of jail by now?

Oh, he's been out
for over a year.

You know, the one thing
really lacking...

is a solid clue.

One really solid lead that
links Kovacs to this case.

Artie, do you have
any idea what he weighs?

You got that
in your files, Arden?


According to the prison record,
284 pounds.

284 pounds.

Artie, here's that
nice link you wanted.

Two-hundred eighty four
and a half, 284,


They're weight
and fortune cards.

Where'd you find these?

There's a collection
of those.

Cyclops Insurance office.

Excuse me, I understand
what you're getting at--

Singleton is really
Dr. Kovacs.

--but why would he
go out of his way

to accumulate
all those cards?

Oh, it's just a fat man's
habit is all.

Every morning he gets up,
weighs himself on the scale,

takes the card
back to the office,

compares it with what he
weighed the week before.

Or, uh, what he weighed
the week before that,

or what he weighed
the month before.

Fat men
have a habit of--

( sighs )

Where are you going, Jim?

It's an unusual weight
and fortune card,

wouldn't you say, Artie?

Yeah, I never saw anything
like it before.

Artie, it occurs to me
if I find the machine

those cards came out of,

I'm gonna be very close
to the man himself.


He's absolutely right.

The cardinal rule
in all crime detection.

Cherchez la weight disk.

We won't
need this anymore.

What's this?

Moelleux Chablis,

consommé royale avec cerises
a belle grandé,

saumon glacé.

It's just a menu,
isn't it?

Just a menu?

It's a gourmet's delight,

a le culinaire repast,
an epicurean--

Arden, my lovely,

I think we're really
onto something.

What is it?

The weight disks
of a very fat man

and a gourmet's menu.

They go together just fine,
wouldn't you say?

Oh, a moelleux Chablis!

( makes kissing noise )

Consommé royale avec cerises
a belle grandé.

I quite agree.

Now, if you could tell me
what restaurant serves--

Saumon glacé
à la Chambord.

avec Sauternes.

Très bien. Formidable!

You're quite right. Now, where
would I be likely to find--

Boudin blanc à la--
Marcel, Marcel, Marcel!


Please, I beg of you, this is
of the utmost importance.

What restaurant
would be likely to serve

a menu like this?

Ah, Monsieur Gordon,
if I knew that,

I would consume
every meal there.

You mean,
you don't know?

Well, in, uh--
In, uh--

In Paris, in Lyons,
in the Provence-- Huh?

Oh, merci, non.
--mais oui.

But in America...

I see.

Well, thank you very much,
Marcel. Au revoir.

I'm sorry, monsieur.

Of course, there is
the Epicurean Society.

The Epicurean Society
serves a menu like this?

Well, I--
I have heard it said

that the most
renowned gourmets

gather from every part
of the globe

to savor their cuisine.

C'est merveilleux.

Now, if you'd
just be good enough

to tell me where it is,
we'll drop by and, uh, visit--

Oh, impossible.

You mean, non?

Definitely non,

You see, the Epicurean
Society admits no one

who is not a member,

and one cannot apply
for membership.

One is selected
by secret ballot only,

and then told.

So you see,
for an outsider to attend,

impossible-- Oh, pardon.

( speaks indistinctly
in French )

And now, will you
care to excuse me?

( speaking French )

Oui. Oui.

Au revoir, Marcel.
Vous êtes bien gentil. Merci.

Uh, pardon, monsieur. Uh...

Oh, merci, enchanté, monsieur.

Au revoir.
Au revoir.

Au revoir, Marcel.
Merci bien.

A total loss.

Well, not completely.

The artichoke hearts
were delicious.

I mean, look,
even if you could

get into
the Epicurean Society,

how would you recognize
Dr. Kovacs?

Do you know
what he looks like?

No, but I think it would
be very difficult

to overlook a man
who weighs 284 pounds.

( dramatic theme playing )

May I help you, ma'am?

There you are.

Hmm. Bye.

Would you like me to help
you with that, son?

Mm-hm. Thank you.

Pleasure. Go ahead.

That's very good.
What's your name?


Mine's Jim.
Just a suggestion, Joseph.

Shorten up your punch.
Don't pull it back.

Fire from there.


You're welcome.


All pennies, please.

That's what I like,
a big spender.

( chuckles )

Thank you.

I hate to ask
silly questions, but...

Oh-- Oh, you mean--
It's-- It's a hobby of mine.

A hobby?

Oh, yeah, it's a hobby like
people who collect sea shells

and stamps and
bath towels from hotels.

Mine's weighing myself.

Seems like kind of a waste
of pennies, ain't it?

I mean, you seem like you're in
pretty good shape to me.

Oh, it's not my shape
that's important.

It's the shape
of the cards.

Yeah, like what,
for instance?

A shape like this,
for instance.

I never saw
anything like it.

What's so important
about it anyway?

It's my collection.
It's very important to me.

Thank you anyway.

Hey, there's a warehouse
on Maritime Street.

The Arcade Supply Company.

They service
all our machines.

Oh, please, don't stop.
What's the address?

I think it's in
the 700 block.

If anybody would have
what you're looking for,

they would.

Thank you very much.

If I can ever return
the favor...

Yeah, I'll do that.

( dramatic theme playing )

( classical theme playing )

( humming )


Beautiful, Salvatore.

( Italian accent ):
Gràzie, signóre.

They will soon be here.

Everything is
in readiness, I hope?

Sí, signóre.
Down to the last detail.



There is one
small problem.

The soufflé Bellevue
has fallen?

Oh, no, no, no, no,

The soufflé remains
erect with pride.

It is about your
distinguished guests.


Should I not know
the names

so that I may greet them
with appropriate--


You are a waiter,
not a greeter.

Signóre, in Roma
I was both.

Let me tell you
something, Salvatore.

The members of
the Epicurean Society

give themselves up completely
to the savoring of food.

They have no desire to be
greeted by waiters or--

( doorbell rings )

They are here.

I must see
to the côtelettes.

( classical theme continues )

( chimes bell )

This wine is superb.


The selection committee has
outdone itself this time.


( bell rings )

MAN 1:
The soufflé
is delicious.

MAN 2:

The best I've had
since Maxim's.


I disagree, signorína.

Scusa, that I tell you
so free.

I forget myself
for a minute.

Why do you disagree?

Why bother,
Miss Lightfoot?

The man's only a waiter.

Because there are
sermons in stones,

as dear Master Shakespeare
reminds us. Go on.

Well, signorína,
forgive me,

but the white sauce
one can give big applause.

It is pure heaven,
but the soufflé...

If it had
a pinch less oregano, oh...

( door opens )

( laughing )

Hey, so I'm a little late.

Well, come on,
what's the big deal?

Hey, Pasquale!
Well, what are you waiting for?

Come on,
serve the grub, huh.

Sí, signóre. Prèsto.
Well, come on.

What have we got here?

Little wine, huh?

Boy, it's weak.

Hey, you people
look hungry.

Well, come on, eat, eat!
We'll talk later.

Hey, Pasquale,

what kind of a joint
do you run here?

Where's the ketchup?


I mean, ketchup.

Well, come on, come on!

Sí, signóre, ketchup.

( sighs )

The help nowadays.

Come on with the ketchup!

Sí, si, signóre.

Mm, good.

Very good.

How do you explain
this, maestro?

According to the bylaws
of the society,

a regular member may send
a guest in his place.

That, Salvatore,
is the guest.

One cannot help
but wonder

who the regular member
would be.

( dramatic theme playing )

No penny necessary.
This one is on the house.

( machine running )

The fortune is the best part
of this card.

Why don't you read it?

"Today, a special point
should be made...

to beware
of unfriendly Cyclops."

( dramatic theme playing )

( yells )

( electricity sizzles )

So help me, Salvatore,

I think I'm going
to be sick.

Look at the way he's
wiping the plate with--

What are you doing?!

Scúsa, signóre, but do
you have toothpicks

for your honored guest?

Toothpick?! Here?

Every hash house
should have toothpicks.

Well, in case anybody
here is interested--

As one gourmet
to another,

how did you enjoy
the cuisine?

Well, I ain't had any
of that, uh, cuisine, lady,

but I'll tell you
one thing,

the ketchup in this joint
is okay, see?

Hey, Pasquale,
you got a lot to learn

about running
a restaurant.

Where do you keep
the toothpicks?

I give this joint
one month.

Out of business.

( door opens, closes )

Where are you going?

I quit.

I am not working
in no hash house.

( dramatic theme playing )

Well, you finally decided
to join us?

I hope I didn't
keep you waiting, doctor.

Doctor? I?

Dr. Kovacs.

Although I must
compliment you

on the fine job
of playing Taney.

You hear that, boys?
I'm finally unmasked.

Nothing like pulling down
some time in prison

to get rid of excess weight.

All my life
I've indulged my taste

for exquisitely
prepared foods.

Can you imagine what
that prison menu did to me?

I would imagine
about 115 pounds.

120 to be precise.

The rest was easy.

You assumed a new name

and passed yourself off
as a wealthy financier.

( gunshots )

You don't mind
my assistants trying out

their freshly refurbished
shooting gallery, I hope.

Under the circumstances,
not at all.

You see,
repairing and refurbishing

penny arcade machines
and amusements is my business.

You mean your front.

You also tinker with tuning
forks that demolish houses.

Not houses, Mr. West,

Mansions of the very,
very rich, remember?


So little tuning fork's
going to have

an enormous big brother?

That's right,
and can you possibly imagine

what an appetite for money
big brother has had?

All those expensive months
of designing, computing,

and then the ordeals
and trials

of casting, forging,
machining, and assembling,

and the testing yet to come?

But, for what
real purpose, doctor?

Well, it seems
that a government,

not our own government,

is very interested
in my little device,

and prepared to pay
quite generously, of course.

A government whose military
knows that a device like this

can disintegrate ships,
cannon, fortifications--

Even our own, perhaps?

Quite possibly.
Yes, as a matter of fact.

( bell ringing )

( ringing )

Someone approaching,
Mr. West.

Deliverance for you,

Well... Well, how was it?

Okay, I guess.

You were privileged
to draw up a chair

at the Epicurean
Society table,

and you tell me it was
"Okay, I guess"?

What do you
want me to say?

Well, say that for a brief,
golden moment,

you were suspended
between heaven and hell.

Say that for a brief,
brief moment,

the wings of a pure,
unalloyed rapture

brushed against you.

That your earthbound grossness
fell away from you. That--

Durkin, the saumon glacé
au feu à la Chambord--

How was that?

You mean the fish?

Oh, it was okay,
if you like fish,

which I don't.

Did you hear that?
Did you hear that?

He doesn't like saumon glacé
au feu à la Chambord.

( scoffs )

Pearls before swine.

And I suppose the boudin blanc
à la Richelieu

gives you boils, huh?

And the consommé royale
avec cerises belle

gives you dyspepsia,
is that right?

Why, you swinish lout!

Here, do the one thing
you can do well.

Get rid of him.

( ringing )

Where in blue blazes did
all you folks come from?

( dramatic theme playing )

( dramatic theme playing )


Did I hear you
say something

or are you one
of them mumblers?

Who are you?

Well, I ain't
Little Lord Fauntleroy, bub.

I'm the city
gas inspector.

All right, what
do you want, old-timer?

First thing you can do is change
that tune of yours, sonny.

"Old man," is it?

I'll Indian-wrestle you!
Three falls out of three!

( both chuckling )

Get out of here.

Get-- Is that--

All right, fatso,
then I'll Indian-wrestle you.

Three falls out of three
and the loser...

( inspector laughing )

Well? Well, then,
how about you?

I'll Indian-wrestle you

with one hand
tied behind my back.

And that's not--

( laughing ):

Hey, that's something.

( laughing )

A shooting gallery!

( laughing ):
Oh, let me have a shot
at that, eh, bub?

Look, what are you
doing here anyway?

Well, if you must know,
I am responding to a complaint

about a gas leak
on the premises.

Let me have a shot,
huh, sonny?

You're wrong.
There's no gas leak here.

Don't you tell me nothing
about no gas leaks.

I may not be able
to see so good,

but I can sure
smell up a storm.

And what I can't smell,
Myrtle here can, see?

One whiff of gas
and she topples over, see?

Come on now! Come on now!
Let me have a shot, huh?

( inspector laughing )

I bet you I can shoot the eye
right off of that dummy.

( dramatic theme playing )

All right, old-timer.

Why not?

Artie, the control panel!

( dramatic theme playing )

No, no, don't!

( high-pitched humming )

( grunting )

( humming continues )


Away from the door,

I owe both of you
so much.

I owe you both
lingering deaths

with all the
lingering awareness

of the indescribable pain
you're suffering,

but I haven't got time
for that, so--

( chuckles )

Think Dr. Kovacs believes
in these fortunes, Jim?

I don't know, Artie.
What does it say?

"You're about to start
on a long, long journey."

He better believe
in that one.

( dramatic theme playing )

Ladies, this is Artie's
special retreat

where he often tinkers.

Oh, would you
look at this, Dee?

Yeah, I'm looking.

I've never seen anything
so fascinating.

Well, now that we've had
the grand tour,

shall we get started?

I've got a table waiting
for dinner.

Oh, yes.

Artie does
a marvelous trick, girls.

Would you like to see it?

The girls wouldn't
want to see that.

WOMAN 1: Yeah, we would.
WOMAN 2: We wouldn't miss it.

Artie, we have
plenty of time.

Here, hold that.

Are you sure this would be
interesting for you?


Well, all right.

Uh, hold that glass
away from you

so you don't get hurt
when it gets shattered, huh.

Now, the whole
principle of this

is to set up
a resonating vibration

which, when aimed
at the glass--


--sets up a sympathetic
vibration in the glass that...

( chuckles )

Some days a guy can't even
make a chime.

No, i-it'll work.
Artie, may I please?

Sure, be my guest.

I'll be very careful.



( laughs )

It's, uh, one of those
bad tuning forks.

This may be one
of our bad nights.

Shall we get started,

A tuning fork?
Really, Mr. West.

( humming )
( laughs )

I'm very sorry.

Well, now that we've had
our little demonstration,

ladies, please.

she got it to work.


( both laugh )

( glass shatters )

( dramatic theme playing )

( upbeat western theme playing )