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Every so often, I'll be adding a "Crossoverture" to the Tubeworld Mythos: an essay that examines a particular TV show or character, - perhaps a TV cliche or location, - which may have implications far more reaching than the actual TV show where it was originally found.
This Crossoverture is in connection to the Tubeworld Dynamic's theme of Western links during the month of August, 1997 and it spotlights my all-time favorite villain of Tubeworld........
"All faith must have a little doubt mixed in. Otherwise, it's just flabby sentimentality." - Dr. Miguelito Loveless, 'The Wild, Wild West'
In the early 1870's, Dr. Maitland performed medical experiments on people suffering from Lubbock's Distemper. It was a blood disorder similar to the disease afflicting members of the Sedgewick family. The Sedgewicks were cursed with rapid aging and Maitland hoped to stem the disease with the drug he created.
Had the drug proved successful, its impact would have had far-reaching effects. Not only would it be able to halt the advance of the Sedgewick Curse in its victims, but it's quite possible that it eventually could grant immortality to a healthy person.
Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon were able to stop Dr. Maitland. But what if his experiment, - his notes and his equipment, - were kept so that the experiment continued even after Maitland had been arrested?
Surely the U.S. government in those days would have taken a covert interest in the project; - even putting the incarcerated Maitland to work on the project, but under total supervision. I believe the government would have dabbled in such dirty tricks even back then. (Considering the fact that this was during Grant's administration, it probably was even worse than it is today.)
Too bad there wasn't a 'Wild, Wild West' equivalent to Fox "Spooky" Mulder in the 1870's.
But there was another...... A scientist of the time who was brilliant enough to take that formula and perfect it. A genius who knew how to build a mechanical man; how to travel through the dimensional barriers; how to shrink the molecular structure of a human being.....
Soon after their investigation into the Sedgewick Curse, West and Gordon had their final (televised) encounter with Dr. Loveless. Since Loveless had an elaborate scheme drawn up, he would have needed the time to study the agents before setting the trap. (Arch-villains probably enjoy their diabolical plans more as a game than as a means to an end.) The diminutive doctor probably knew all about the Sedgewick Curse and the drug hoped to counteract it.
I see Dr. Loveless getting ahold of the formula and perfecting it. And then, with the promise of ever-lasting life ahead of him, Loveless could afford the time to take over the world at a leisurely pace.
Since he would no longer be in a rush to achieve his goals, Dr. Loveless could now train others to do the work for him. By faking his own death (again!) so that he could work without disturbance, Loveless would have created his own spy organization bent on world domination....
We have to assume Dr. Loveless created KAOS, - after all, we saw him as "Mr. Big" of KAOS in the first episode of 'Get Smart'.
Agents West and Gordon learned of the doctor's demise from Miguelito Loveless Jr. (I have my doubts that Junior was actually his son. I tend to think that he was some poor delusional genius crippled by insanity [brought on by his short stature and his feelings of inadequacy]. Loveless would have recognized his usefulness to his ultimate plan and so he would have nurtured his development; treating him like a son.)
Loveless, Jr. served his purpose, whether he was the doctor's true son or not: West and Gordon believed that Miguelito was dead. That 'Junior' died as a result of his confrontation with the agents was of little consequence so long as Dr. Loveless now had his deep cover set.
As the decades passed, and Loveless developed his master spy organization KAOS, he would have seen the world begin its division into two major opposing philosophies. I am sure that as a lover of The Game, he would have relished the opportunity to pit both factions against the other in order to gain more.... control <ahem!> for himself.
It is my belief that on Tubeworld, Dr. Miguelito Loveless was the architect and master builder of the Cold War. And he may have envisioned a novel way to use that conflict to gain information.... information... information - by hook or by crook. Miguelito Loveless had the ambition, the vision, the genius, to create 'The Village' - that prison of the mind and soul for those who knew too much.
Perhaps it was there in The Village Dr. Loveless would take refuge between his schemes for world domination. Still in command behind the scenes as the mysterious 'Number One', Loveless would have assumed a disguise in order to escape detection by those captive Villagers who might have recognized him. And what better disguise than to hide in plain sight as the servant to his own second-in-command; as the Butler to Number Two?
A few added pounds; the loss of his hair; perhaps even a putty nose; - and Dr. Loveless would be transformed into the Butler.
No less an authority than Patrick McGoohan himself, - the "Guiding Light", as it were, behind 'The Prisoner' as a TV series here in the Trueniverse, - put forth the suggestion that the Butler was the true leader of The Village. In a question and answer forum at a Canadian college, McGoohan said about the Butler:
"There should be something sinister about him.... There was always the possibility that he might be Number One.... There should have been an implication he was a sinister character.... There should be that remaining sinister thing about it."
That's just a theory, of course. I have no proof for it. And the Butler did help bring about the down-fall of the Village with Number Six. And yet, the last we saw of the Butler from our Real World perspective, there was the intimation that he was still in league with The Village as the door to the row-house opened by itself.
And as we saw Number Six - now known as 'Sir', - drive off in his Lotus just as we first saw him at the beginning of the series, it is possible that he was still 'The Prisoner'. He may have been on his way to set the whole sequence in motion again; stuck in an endless loop to be played over and over again.
Which leads me to wonder about Number Six his own fine self. Many assume that he was in reality John Drake, British intelligence officer who once worked for NATO. But perhaps he was still another spy, a CIA operative named Nelson Brenner who was in charge of the entire Pacific Rim theatre of operations. Brenner certainly was evil enough to be allied with Dr. Loveless - resorting to murder to protect his secret identity as 'Steinmetz'. In fact, his disguise as Steinmetz may have been inspired by Dr. Loveless: there is a similarity between Brenner's disguise as Steinmetz and the disguise Loveless adopted to impersonate his uncle, Dr. Liebknicht.
Of course, Brenner's schemes were finally unravelled by a Los Angeles cop named Columbo. And Dr. Loveless may have been stopped ten years earlier by a bumbling agent for goodness named Maxwell Smart. You see, as the "Mr. Big" of KAOS, Dr. Loveless tried to steal Professor Dante's Inthermo Ray; but the CONTROL agent foiled his plans.
Poor Dr. Loveless, - you really had to feel sorry for him. Back in the Old West, it drove him crazy that West was able to beat him because he was physically superior. But I think he at least respected West's intelligence as an adversary. How humiliating it must have been then to be bested by an idiot like Max!
Or was he bested in that scheme? We here in the Trueniverse never saw "Mr. Big" again on 'Get Smart', - after all, at the end of that very first episode, "Mr. Big" was blown up - "blowed up real good!" - aboard his ship which had been disguised as a garbage barge. (By the way, - this inspired Albert Cerrico to camouflage his drug-smuggling boat the same way. But he was stopped by undercover agent Vinnie Terranova of the OCB.)
As any experienced traveller in Tubeworld knows - if you don't find a body after such an explosion, or after a plane crash, chances are excellent that the person in question survived and escaped.
Maybe it was because of that explosion Dr. Loveless ended up looking like the Butler. His confrontation with Maxwell Smart happened two years before the Butler was first seen (by viewers in the Trueniverse) in The Village.
Through introspection during his time of recuperation once he returned to safe haven in The Village, perhaps he finally saw the errors of his ways; perhaps he finally found peace with the world and within himself. Thus when Number Six rebelled against the structure of the quaint prison two years later, Dr. Loveless finally decided the time was right for him to change his ways as well. And that would explain why the Butler would suddenly change his allegiance - to make the total break from his past as Dr. Loveless.
So what would Dr. Loveless do with his newfound life and philosophy? Perhaps he would take on a new identity and offer his services to the very government he fought against over one hundred years before. Perhaps he would portray himself as Simon McKay, a wizard of toy-making who developed weapons and other inventions for use by the government.
Ironically, Dr. Loveless would find out for himself how James T. West must have felt - as McKay he would soon have his own arch-nemesis, Troyan.
Finally, - remember Dr. Maitland, the scientist who tried to create a serum to halt the effects of aging? Tubeworld was far from finished with his story-line; did you know that? It is my belief that Maitland fathered a child late in life - a son named Arthur who grew up to be a wealthy industrialist in the Southwest.
I think Dr. Maitland imparted his obsessions for everlasting youth into the psyche of the impressionable lad. In fact, when Arthur was an old man himself, he put his vast resources behind a scheme to extend his own life. But to accomplish this, he needed the genetic miracle locked within the blood platelets of a race car driver named Ben Richards. And so Arthur Maitland hunted down Ben Richards in order to have continuous access to the anti-bodies in his blood.
Links - 'The Wild, Wild West', 'Get Smart', 'The Prisoner', 'Secret Agent', 'Danger Man', Columbo', 'The Wizard', 'Wiseguy', 'The Immortal'.
References - 'The X Files', 'SCTV', 'The Guiding Light' ::sigh:: Sorry about that, Chief......
Hey, what do I know? It's just some theories that even The Lone Gunmen would think were crazy!
"The poor man is making a fool of himself. But it sure does make for fascinating Television, doesn't it?" - Evan Evans, 'Evening Shade'
Whether he's still a super-villain, or a force for niceness in the world, I think someday we will see the return of Dr. Loveless in Tubeworld. Obviously with the death in 1973 of Michael Dunn, the diminutive doctor won't look the same. But that's never been an impediment to 'The Powers That Be'; - a quick explanation of plastic surgery could cover that. And he may not be calling himself Miguelito Loveless either, - but never fear, Tubeworld is here! If ever a megalomaniacal little person appears in a show to bedevil the heroes, you can be assured that we here at Tubeworld Central will link it into the Master Sked!
"Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller, 'The Dennis Miller Show'
I want to know what you think, America!
"Send Tubeworld e-mail! And that's a direct order from The Chief! You can write to them via Tubeworld@aol.com, or go to one of the Tubeworld page links to use a hyper-link there."
Thank you, Agent Thirteen.......!
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"Gee, what an exciting comedy concept. I got off of Television just in time!" - Johnny Carson, 'Late Night With David Letterman'