Dr. Loveless

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Michael Dunn as Dr. Loveless

Dr. Miguelito Quixote Loveless is a fictional character, a villain who appeared in ten episodes of the 1960s television series The Wild Wild West. He is a brilliant (though insane) character born with dwarfism, portrayed by character actor Michael Dunn.[1] As a mad scientist, Dr. Loveless conceived numerous plots which were always foiled by Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon, though he always escaped capture.

Loveless' family had received a valuable land grant in California from the Spanish Viceroy of Mexico. Their land was lost, however, when California became part of the United States. His original goal was to recover his family's property and create a haven where the disadvantaged (presumably financially and, like himself, physically) could live without torment from society. As the series progressed, however, he became more and more megalomaniacal.

Loveless was created by writer John Kneubuhl after he read a magazine article about Dunn. The character was introduced in the 1965 episode "The Night the Wizard Shook The Earth," which was the show's third televised episode (although it was produced sixth). Loveless became an immediate hit and Dunn appeared in ten episodes over four seasons. Kneubuhl wrote five of them.

Loveless was known as a technological genius, producing gadgets far ahead of his time. In the series' first season, his inventions were more practical, anticipating the cathode-ray tube, airplane and a synthesized LSD-like hallucinogen. In the second season, the inventions became more fantastic and included a powder that shrank Jim West to one-twelfth his original size and a device that allowed people to enter paintings. Perhaps the most phantasmagorical of his methods for avoiding capture was when he and his lovely assistant Antoinette (Phoebe Dorin) escaped West and Gordon by changing into doves and flying away.

According to the 1979 TV movie The Wild Wild West Revisited, in 1880, Loveless eventually died from anger and frustration at having his plans consistently ruined by West and Gordon. (Michael Dunn died in 1973.) As a result, Loveless' son Michelito (played by Paul Williams) subsequently seeks revenge on the agents.[2]

Michael Dunn as Dr. Loveless and Richard Kiel as Voltaire, 1966.

Accomplices[edit]

Dr. Loveless initially had two companions: the hulking Voltaire (played by real-life giant Richard Kiel) and the beautiful songstress Antoinette (portrayed by Dunn's nightclub-act singing partner Phoebe Dorin). Voltaire disappeared after the doctor's third encounter with the agents; Antoinette, after the sixth. However, they each left such an indelible impression on fans that the 1990 comic book miniseries from Millennium Publications, a sequel to rather than an adaptation of the TV program scripted by Mark Ellis with art by Darryl Banks, included both characters.

Other versions[edit]

Loveless was adapted for the 1999 feature film Wild Wild West as Dr. Arliss Loveless, played by Kenneth Branagh.[3] Branagh's version was a former Confederate military engineer who had lost most of his lower body in an accidental explosion. As a double amputee he used a steam-powered wheelchair and similar innovative contraptions. Loveless was incensed at the South's surrender and sought to dismember the United States and return its territory to its European colonizers (while keeping the Northern Plains for himself). He also has a personal history with Jim West; an early tank he designed massacred the population of freed slave colony, including West's parents. The film concludes with West dropping Loveless out of his chair into a deep canyon.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cast of The Wild Wild West at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ The Wild Wild West Revisited at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Wild Wild West (1999) at the Internet Movie Database