_______ The Saint "The Desperate Diplomat" Originally aired October 20, 1968 (UK) Simon is summoned to the scene of a murder by Inspector Teal. The victim is an accomplice of Jason Douglas, the diplomat who absconded with US aide money meant for the African nation that he was posted in. Whoever committed the murder was obviously looking for something. Jason left a message for Simon, in the form of a lucky coin that each carries as a reminder of an experience that they'd previously shared. Simon makes contact with Jason's estranged daughter, Sara, who is soon abducted by the murderers, who want to know where Jason is so that they can grab the money. They use her as a hostage to persuade Simon, thinking that he knows Jason's whereabouts. Once Simon and Sara get out of that situation, they travel to Switzerland, where they have reason to believe that Jason is. Simon grabs himself a quick bit of publicity at the airport to make sure that it gets in the news that he's in the country. Soon Simon contacted by another associate of Jason's, Chatto (Kenneth Gardnier), who directs Simon to the house where Jason is staying. Jason, who's dying from wounds he'd taken in his escape from Africa, explains how the US aide was being used to buy luxury items for the new regime, and he wanted to see that it got to the people. The bad guys arrive and take Simon prisoner. Simon and Chatto free themselves and Simon sets a booby trap on the basement stairs for one of his keepers. A gunfight and a car chase ensue. Chatto, who'd been in unconscious in the back of the bad guys' car, wrestles for control of the vehicle with the main bad guy, Faber (Robert Hardy), causing the car to go over a cliff. The money is recovered and Sara plans to return it. This was nothing to write home about...a thin story with half-baked bad guys that felt pretty padded. For example, at one point there's a nice bit of business in which Simon attempts to overpower the bad guys after tossing a glass of liquor into a fireplace as a distraction...but his attempt is unsuccessful. _______ The Wild Wild West "The Night of the Gruesome Games" Originally aired October 25, 1968 In the teaser, Jim's pursuing said evil scientist, Dr. Raker (Robert Ellenstein), on horseback when Raker sets a booby trap across his path consisting of a box of rockets with a trip wire. Jim and his horsey get through it OK. Artie's already embedded in town as an "old" drunk (barely looks middle-aged), who turns rabble-rouser to create a distraction so that Jim can sneak into the closed saloon that Raker was seen entering. Jim enters the upstairs window of a room occupied by actress Lola Cortez (Sherry Jackson!), who seems quite unphased when she comes in half-dressed from the bathroom(!). Jim catches the doctor out in the hall but Raker holds Lola at knifepoint to make his escape. Raker falls to his death, but Jim discovers afterward that he's already sent the vial to the home of a wealthy socialite named Rufus Kraus (William Schallert!). Jim and Artie manage to make the coach that's taking Lola to Kraus's party...Artie now disguised as Raker, who insists that he and Jim were just joshin' back there with the knife. I might not have recognized Schallert, as he's in heavy old-age makeup for the role, including a beard. He puts on a colorful performance as the wheelchair-bound elderly gent. Kraus's guests are put off when one of his games involves knocking a player out with a drugged needle, but decide to stick around when they learn that the prizes include rubies, sable, and gold. Meanwhile, Jim gets caught sneaking around upstairs looking for the vial and ends up caged in the basement furnace room. During a game of hide and seek, Artie discovers that the drugged guest was indeed fatally poisoned as he'd originally thought, and has to deal with an exploding doorknob to boot! Lola disappears in a trick cabinet with a chute down to the furnace room, where she aides in Jim's escape via thermite. After they've rejoined the party, Kraus reveals that all of the guests are in his will, but the games are booby-trapped in order to whittle down the heirs...who, under the circumstances, don't seem to mind so much. To learn who Raker's accomplice was, Artie takes the place of the temporarily bedridden Kraus, calls off the games, and announces that he knows one of the guests is a murderer. The person who sneaks into Kraus's bedroom to silence Not Kraus is...Dr. Raker, who faked his death by slowing his pulse and breathing. He also reveals that his accomplice is Charity (Helen Page Camp), Kraus's games mistress, who'd been rigging the booby traps to be more deadly than Kraus had intended; and, in a nifty turn, that the vial was hidden in the literal ticking clock in the parlor that Artie had his eyes on all night. By that point the vial is ready to blow any second, so Jim makes good use of that trick cabinet to dispose of the plague in the furnace ASAP. In the train coda, Jim and Artie are just coming back from a date with unseen twins...the most bizarre case yet of ignoring a dating opportunity with a perfectly good guest heroine, who in this case was being flirty with Jim throughout the episode. Filling in for Red West this week is Lee Kolima as a heavy named No-Fun. It's hard not to enjoy an episode with Sherry Jackson and William Schallert in it. For once, it seems like the episode could have been expanded to better play out its colorful premise. _______ Out of crotch, out of mind.