I've come to the realization that high-definition television is going to ruin a lot of childhood memories of old shows.
I had lunch this week with one of my friends, someone I've known since high school. After we ate the repast set by his wife, we settled down to watch three episodes of 'The Wild, Wild West'.
I chose two from the first season - "The Night Of The Druid's Blood" with Don Rickles and the "computer" made up of living brains, "The Night Of The Puppeteer", perhaps my favorite with Lloyd Bochner as Zackariah Skull, and "The Night Of Miguelito's Revenge". Michael had requested a Dr. Loveless episode, and I wanted it to be a Jeremy Pike episode rather than Artemus Gordon, just for the variety. So that last one was the perfect choice.
As I said, "TNOT Puppeteer" is probably my favorite episode of 'The Wild Wild West'. Upon learning the truth about Zachariah Skull, and seeing that miserable creature in its spider web of steam pipes - a combination of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Phantom of the Opera - well, it made quite an impression on a kid of eleven.
And for the most part, it still does. It now has the added benefit from an adult perspective of admiring the cinematography and comparing it to an episode of 'The Twilight Zone', "The Obsolete Man", and early German cinema.
But with the high-def capability of Michael's new TV.... We got to see Skull's pate for what it was: a rubbery bald cap, poorly fitted. The grotesquerie of his features were muted. Zachariah Skull was not nearly the hideous monster of my youth.
Even with reruns you can never go back....