Question: Who played Artemus Gordon opposite Robert Conrad in the original Wild Wild West?

Televisionary: Secret Service agent Artemus Gordon was played by the late Ross Martin in the series, which ran on CBS from September 1965 to September 1970, before being yanked from the schedule to appease the politicos during a particularly down-on-violence period.

Born in Poland, the multitalented Martin — he spoke Russian, Italian, Spanish, French, English, Polish and Yiddish and had degrees in law and psychometrics — was twice nominated for an Emmy for his efforts on the show, but his Wild work wasn't all smooth going. He suffered a near-fatal heart attack late in the show's run and had to take a break from shooting it.

Not that the series was much easier on star Conrad, who played fast-fisted ladies' man James West. The actors performed many of their own stunts and took the bumps and bruises one might expect from such work: In one of the more extreme mishaps, Conrad fell off a prop and fractured his skull.

While it wasn't necessarily network brain food — OK, it absolutely wasn't — I was a fan of the show (currently running on TNT, by the way — check your listings for times) and its cool mix of pseudo-sci-fi, cloak-and-dagger mayhem and cowboys.

In addition, it boasted an impressive roster of guest stars, including Robert Loggia, Robert Duvall, Bewitched's Agnes Moorehead, Rat Pack-er Peter Lawford and others.

And, for my money, Kevin Kline as Gordon was apt casting in the big-screen version, but Conrad's West was far superior to that of Will Smith, whom I usually like. Conrad's got a much better tough-guy stare and few people would have a problem knocking a battery off Smith's shoulder. (If you're as old as I am, you know what I'm talking about.)