While James West might have been the star of The Wild Wild West, he could not have succeeded without the help of his associate Artemus Gordon, played by Ross Martin. Although just as suave and debonair as West, Gordon was more the cerebral type, utilizing his mastery of disguise and mechanical devices to foil the villains’ various nefarious plots. Gordon’s mechanical device were often instrumental in rescuing West at some critical moment. It was a perfect contrast to West’s more direct physical approach and provided a nice one-two punch that set the show apart from either the usual sorts of Western or spy television series of the 1960s.
Today we’ll take a brief look at Gordon’s costumes which tended towards the flashy (when he wasn’t in disguise). We begin with a few in black and white:
Gordon dresses just as flashy as West although his clothes tended to be a bit more functional (no wardrobe malfunctions here! 🙂 ). Interestingly enough, the gunbelt pictured above is far more historically accurate than the usual run of low-slung “buscadero” rigs that were usually used in film and television Westerns during the 1950s and 60s.
Below are a few pictures of Gordon in his various disguises:
And here are a few of Gordon as himself- note that like West, the colors on Gordon’s outfits were selected to take advantage of the newly emerging color television technology: 🙂
Gordon’s bright blue suit with complementing tie and waistcoat makes an interesting contrast to West’s more understated brown/green color palette.
And here we have a contrast between Gordon’s brown windowpane plaid coat and West’s hunter green jacket. And finally, here’s Gordon and West at their finest:
The above is a little over-the-top, combining 1960s rental wedding wear with older elements. The waistcoats could work for c. 1900 although the ivory silk satin might be pushing things a bit (by the 1870s, waistcoats/vests were becoming subdued). It’s hard to tell from the picture what sort of coats they have on but they work. The shirts are a bit overdone with the ruffled sleeves; it definitely reads 1960s formalwear. While the above outfits are by no stretch of the imagination representative of the historical 1870s, they work for the purposes of the show. 🙂