At this time last year I was super busy writing about not one, not two, but three of my biggest character crushes! Narrowing it down to a single fictional person was too hard, so I went large with ambition.
First up was the irrepressible Archie Goodwin from the Nero Wolfe series of books by Rex Stout. (Read the original post here.) Archie is witty, sly, highly intelligent, and almost too charming for his own good.
Then it was The Night Stalker‘s Carl Kolchak’s turn to be honored. (Read the original post here.) Carl is an irreverent, sarcastic every-man who always manages to do the right thing, even when the right thing requires an almost super-human amount of courage.
Last, and in no way least, was Hamilton Burger from Perry Mason. Hamilton gets an immense amount of flack for doing the very things which make him such an honorable man. He is a dedicated public servant whose sense of fair-mindedness and justice never wavers. (Read the original post here.)
Why this trip down memory lane? It’s neither for kicks nor clicks, rest assured. No, it’s simply because my choice of character crush for this year’s Reel Infatuation Blogathon embodies ALL of the above-mentioned characteristics. In one merely human man, you ask? In one merely human man, I reiterate.
Here’s why Artemus Gordon (Ross Martin) ticks off as many boxes as three extraordinary people.
ARTEMUS GORDON, THE SECRET SERVICE AGENT OF MY DREAMS:
Being a Secret Service Agent in a steampunky version of the Old West is quite demanding. In addition to dealing with all of the usual hazards (assassins and villains of every stripe and motive), they must face, outsmart, and defeat countless other challenges, as they work to shield the president and ordinary folks alike, including: magic/magicians, mad scientists, the supernatural, and impressive weapons the likes of which have never been seen. Fortunately for the sleepy citizens of the burgeoning United States of America, James T. West and Artemus Gordon are at the top of their field. There isn’t a scary or violent situation they won’t run into, head-first, with a first class plan. Sometimes they emerge beaten or broken, but emerge they always do. Thanks, guys!
Jim is serious (and seriously handsome), dedicated, smart, fearless, and quick-thinking. He even has a sense of humor, making him pretty fine character crush material in his own right. I won’t be upset if you prefer him. After all, the show’s title refers to both a place and a person. This person:
Of course, a team requires at least two people. Jim couldn’t do what he does so well, without the help of another, even more impressive agent. That agent is, of course, Artie. Or, “Gordon, Artie Gordon,” if you prefer. (Series creator, Michael Garrison, called the show “James Bond on horseback.”)
Agent Gordon is, well, remarkable. By any metric. Seriously remarkable. He meets and exceeds all of the standard Secret Service requirements as well as Jim does, but Artie is an overachiever of the highest caliber. Jim doesn’t do anything that Artie couldn’t, but Artie does things that Jim couldn’t master given a time frame of one hundred years.
Artie is basically the Lon Chaney of the 19th century. His impersonation skills are legendary. If a disguise is necessary, he creates one…no matter how complex. He doesn’t stop with the visual, but completes the package with a believable characterization and appropriate accent (taking advantage of star Ross Martin’s fluency in a half-dozen languages). Not one to master a task or two and call it a career, he is also the inventor of cool high-tech gadgets which serve to get our heroes out of any jam, no matter how fraught.
In or out of costume (his repertoire consists of 100+ people), Artie is quick with a quip or put-down. He’s defused many a potentially deadly situation with well-timed sarcasm or clowning, and isn’t above cunning and conning. The man IS a government agent, after all.
What he does, and however he gets there, is always for the greater good of both individuals and collective humanity. He’s there to see evil vanquished and justice prevail, fairly, in a wonky world composed of every shade of grey.
Perhaps his most shining asset is, however, a fully developed ability to charm. No matter the situation, he’s equipped with a winning smile and what can best be stated as a little something extra, or: that amorphous, elusive thing known as magnetism. Ya have it or ya don’t. Jim wears that fine blue suit to match his sparkling eyes and perfect physique, but Artie has it. And for that, we should all be thankful.
THE WILD WILD WEST (1965-1969):
(Thanks MeTV for the screenshots. That’s the wonderful Victor Buono in the bottom right corner.)
- 4 Seasons
- 104 Episodes
- Starring Robert Conrad and Ross Martin
This is my entry in the Reel Infatuation Blogathon, hosted by Silver Screenings and yours truly.
14 thoughts on “[2018 Reel Infatuation Blogathon] Artemus Gordon, the Secret Service Agent of My Dreams”
Reblogged this on A Small Press Life and commented:
My post for the Reel Infatuation Blogathon, which I co-host!
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I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’ve never heard of Artemus Gordon before you mentioned him for this blogathon. Happily, YouTube has a few episodes, and I agree with your appraisal of Artemus G. He’s smart, funny, and has a beautiful smile. No wonder you chose him for the blogathon.
Thanks for being a terrific co-host, and for introducing me to a new television show – and a new screen crush!
I do what I can! I owe this crush to my mom, who introduced me to this show years ago. We are both on #TeamArtie. MeTv runs the show (sadly, it’s only currently on Saturdays), and I’ve had a great time watching all of the episodes (which I’d never done before).
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I am happy to see a post on Artemus Gordon. He is not forgotten 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
This show was what I lived for on Fridays nights, after school. I loved them both, equally 😊
Thank you! He’s definitely not been forgotten in my family, that’s for sure.
TWWW was before my time, but my mom watched it! I’m just lucky that reruns are a thing (thanks Lucy and Desi!).
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Your mom introduced you to Wild Wild West! A couple of years ago I introduced my daughter to Wild Wild West. The fantasy element and the crazy characters drew her in. Robert Conrad with his ease and good looks drew her in. “Why didn’t you tell me about Ross Martin?” she asked. “I was saving him for a surprise,” I told her. “I like surprises!” she said.
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She did, indeed! You mothers definitely know what’s up! I think you’re correct… You come for the concept and Robert Conrad, and stay for Ross Martin! It’s a win either way! Thanks so much for stopping by.
I’ve never seen this show, but it sounds so fun, and he sounds marvelous. Thank you for the introduction, and for being such a great host!
It is so much fun. Part Western, part spy thriller, part science fiction… with comedy sprinkled in. Not to mention two fantastic leads and tons of amazing guest stars (including Ida Lupino and Victor Buono). Thanks so much for stopping by, and you are most welcome.
I’m with you! Every Holmes needs a Watson. Plus, I was a secret agent gal (Napoleon Sol was my guy, but Secret Agent was a close second). I am old enough to remember this show in real time (ack!) and it was great fun. Plus, we smart girls always know who does the heavy lifting (intellectual-wise). Great post and many thanks for co-hosting a fun event.
My mom watched the show in its original run, but it was before my time. She’s the one who introduced it to me decades later, though. Indeed we do! Jim was wonderful, but he needed Artie. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
Artemus has always been my favorite character- so glad to see a post devoted to him! I loved the show when I was growing up. He saved Jim from trouble in almost every episode. Ross Martin played him wonderfully.
I have also introduced my daughter to the show. She likes it so much that the threat of losing her chance to watch it on MeTV is an excellent behavior modifier!.😆
So happy to see other Artie fans out there!
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