Sunday, February 18, 2018

Seven Things to Know About Dr. Miguelito Loveless from "The Wild Wild West"

1. Michael Dunn appeared as the diabolical genius Dr. Miguelito Quixote Loveless in ten episodes of The Wild Wild West. His first appearance was in the third episode, "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth," which was shown in October 1965. That same year, Michael Dunn appeared in Ship of Fools and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His last appearance as Dr. Loveless was in "The Night of Miguelito's Revenge," which aired during the show's fourth and final season in 1968.

2. Dr. Loveless's original scheme (in "The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth") was to take back land (well, the state of California) which had been stolen from his mother. He planned to use the land to "build a kingdom where children can grow, be strong and happy...a world without pain." As the series progressed, though, Loveless became a megalomaniacal genius who wanted revenge on society as a whole.

Phoebe Dorin and Michael Dunn.
3. Dr. Loveless was assisted by the lovely Antoinette (Phoebe Dorin) in six episodes and the giant Voltaire (Richard Kiel) in three episodes. Michael Dunn and Phoebe Dorin had performed a nightclub act together prior to The Wild Wild West. When series creator Michael Garrison saw their act, he thought Michael Dunn would be a fabulous villain and signed both performers to be guest stars. Dunn and Dorin frequently performed musical duets on The Wild Wild West.

4. Dr. Loveless's beverage of choice was Cognac La Grande Marque, as revealed in the season four episode "The Night of Miguelito's Revenge." That should come as no surprise since Napoleon--another height-challenged "villain"--was also a connoisseur of brandy.

Loveless as Robin Hood.
5. When Dr. Loveless meets James T. West for the first time, he comments to one of his colleagues (Leslie Parrish): "Ah, Greta, you've done what I was unable to do. You've brought Mr. West--but with one serious oversight. You've brought him alive."

6. The highly-intelligent Dr. Loveless created many clever gadgets, but his most devious invention was a drug planted in Jim West's shaving cream. It apparently caused Jim to go bonkers and fatally shoot Artemus in cold blood. Fortunately, the incident turned out to be a hallucination caused by the drug!

Paul Williams as Junior.
7. Michael Dunn died in 1973 at age 38. Thus, in the 1979 made-for-TV reunion movie The Wild Wild West Revisited, it's revealed that Dr. Loveless had died. The new villain is his son Miguelito Loveless, Jr., played by Paul Williams. Kenneth Branagh played Dr. Arliss Loveless in the 1999 theatrical film Wild Wild West, but the less said about that, the better. By the way, when The Wild Wild West reruns first debuted on TNT, they began with a marathon of all ten Dr. Loveless episodes; Robert Conrad served as host.

This post is part of the Classic TV Villain Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. Be sure to click here to view the schedule featuring other fabulous classic TV villains!


  1. Wonder if Loveless started out less lethal cuz CBS was uncomfortable showing such a person as totally negative. Richard Kiel said Dunn had him fired - too distracting.

  2. Dunn/Loveless apparently inspired an excellent series about Mongo - dwarf PI with a genius IQ.

  3. I didn't know that Richard Kiel had played his henchman. I guess the DP of those episodes enjoyed the challenge of fitting Kiel and Dunn in the same frame.

  4. Perfect choice! I introduced my daughter to WWW and Loveless last year because...well, because I'm a good mother!

  5. Michael Dunn was such a fine actor, especially in Ship of Fools, and he's terrific in this series. He has such a flair in the role. As with Gerard in The Fugitive, I think it was wise to use him as sparingly as he was. It makes every one of his episodes a special one.

  6. I love Dr. Loveless so MUCH! I'm almost embarrassed to admit how often I pull out my www DVDs just to watch the Loveless episodes. Of course, I prefer "Night of the Whirring Death" because of the scrooge-like Ratch and the toymaker character--reminds me of Christmas. Loveless as a villain is so....human. There may be ten episodes but I wish there were more.

  7. Great list! Thank you. I have been a fan of WWW since I was a child and Dr. Loveless was always (Always!) one of the coolest villains around. Plus, the man who removed my wisdom teeth back in 1992 was a Dr. Loveless. I giggled whenever I said his name.

  8. Many great memories stirred up by this list. Michael Dunn fans back in fall 1968 could enjoy him on STAR TREK's "PLato's Stepchildren" in November and then catch his final Loveless appearance on WWW a month later.

    Does anyone remember Dunn as Mr. Big on the very first GET SMART episode (the sole b/w ep)? One of my favorite Dunn appearances was as Dr. Kiss in THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON with Dean Stockwell, which dates to 1973, the year Dunn passed away. "Done/Dunn too soon," as Neil Diamond would later put it in song.

  9. Despite his best efforts, he eventually succumbed to "Yes, Master" roles in cheap horrors. In FRANKENSTEIN'S HOUSE OF FREAKS, he was presumed to be on of the title characters. And a necrophiliac.

  10. You're right from the get-go - I didn't know any of the seven things listed. Once again, this is a show I am unfamiliar with, but Dr. Loveless sounds like a hoot! Drugs in the shaving cream? GENIUS!


  11. Dr. Loveless was a mesmerizing villain! He left the viewer wanting to see more of him. Excellent and informative choice for this Blogathon, Rick!

  12. Dunn's Dr Loveless is the perfect counterpoint to James West...brains vs brawn.
    And it seemed to me he (almost deliberately) left a way out of his various death-traps, as if he didn't really want to kill West...

  13. Tom Weaver interviewed Phoebe Dorin in one of his books, Science Fiction Confidential.

    Ms. Dorin maintains that one major reason for Dunn's receding from Wild Wild West was his marriage to a woman whose name escapes me at the moment, who was a barracuda.
    The wannabe Mrs. Dunn insisted on replacing Ms. Dorin as Dr. L.'s sidekick, but WWW's producers found out soon enough that she could neither act nor sing. That's why Dunn kept getting different leading ladies as the show went on.
    This in its turn led to an uptick in Dunn's consumption of alcohol, which didn't do his precarious health any good.
    By WWW's final season, they were only using Loveless once in any given year; this might have changed had the show ran a season or two longer (or past the breakup of the Dunn marriage, whichever came first).

    As it stands, the original apportionment - three or four episodes in a season - seems about right for an "enhanced" character like Dr. Loveless.
    Personally, I always wondered why WWW didn't use Victor Buono's "Count Manzeppi" more than just the two times ...

    1. I, too, wish WWW had used Count Manzeppi more often. That was a great part for Victor Buono!

  14. Dunn was so underrated as an actor. One of the shining stars of sixties television.

  15. My all-time favorite TV character. And that’s saying something when the competition includes Buddy Sorrell, Number Six, and the Doctor.

  16. The first animated version of The Lone Ranger (which was a hybrid of that series and The Wild Wild West) had a similar recurring villain named Tiny Tom (and sometimes his henchman, Goliath). I don't know how many episodes he appeared in, though, or what their titles were (can anyone help me out here?).

  17. Michael Dunn's cousin, Sherry Kelly, wrote a sweet biography of Mr. Dunn titled Big Life of a Little Man. It is available on Kindle.