Real Name: Artemus Gordon  Other Aliases: Arte, Aaron Addison, Angus MacGordon, Ascot Sam, Beldon Scoville, Jr., Captain Hull, Caruso del Artumo, Claude Renard, Colonel Cross, Colonel Doyle, Colonel Hernandez, Colonel Mosley, Count Draja, Count Felix Von Schleiswieg, Count Vladislov de Raja, Dirk de John, Dr. Crane, Dr. Gentry, Dr. Raker, Dr. Romonede Pettriere, Dr. Sloane, Dr. Zorbe, Ellsworth R. Caldwell, President Grant, Mojave Mike and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.  Marital Status: Single  Known Relatives: Aunt Maude (but she is never seen and may be deceased or fictional)  Group affiliation: U.S. Secret Service  Base Of Operations: Primarily the American West  Height: 5’11” Weight: 175 lbs  Eyes: Brown Hair: Brown

Although there is scant information to go by, it can be surmised that Artemus Gordon was born in 1827 or the year before or after. Most likely, he was raised in the Eastern United States and his parents were wealthy and educated. He was clearly educated in just about every science and technology that existed as well as in numerous arts. Considering how quickly he learned skills, it is easy to see him as taking multiple majors in college. These probably included Drama and he clearly spent time on the stage as an actor. Even years later, he could still quote Shakespeare soliloquies verbatim. One theory is that it was not his scientific and technical skills that caused him to be recruited by the government but his ability to play an endless variety of characters convincingly and to look the part through his mastery of disguise. Or it may have been that and his knowledge of science and his skills with technology.

Whatever the reasons, he was recruited probably between 1865 and 1870. By the end of 1870, he was one of two U.S. Secret Service agents (the other being Jim West) who were working for and answering directly to the President of the United States, Ulysses Simpson Grant. Even when we first encounter Arte and Jim, estimated to be 1871, they have already been working together long enough to have become best friends and to implicitly trust each other. They are presented as troubleshooters sent by the President to investigate threats to American security. They traveled in a train replete with numerous fancy and futuristic gadgets. There was never any explanation for how these gadgets existed in that time period. It seemed normal in that reality. It is quite possible that Arte built them all but that is never explicitly stated. He definitely built some of them as some are explicitly stated to be his inventions.

During the first year that we saw them working together, Artemus tended to be the gadget man, providing Jim West with a handy gadget or two and some information and then Jim seemed to do most of the job, often getting captured and Artemus spending most of the mission trying to find him. Even then, he came up with devices like a diving mask that could allow a man to stay underwater for five minutes or an adhesive that could support a man’s weight for several seconds. [Humorously, he seemed to have forgotten that he invented those two things and reinvented them later]. His devices were almost always a critical factor in Jim’s ability to survive. There was also a good-natured rivalry. Artemus wanted to be a Ladies Man every bit as much as Jim West was but just could not compete in that department. He did quite well but not to the level of success that Jim had. When Artemus was on the scene, he was always helpful as the inside man. Sometimes, even Jim did not realize it was Artemus until he revealed himself. “Jim, it’s me” was a common yell as he jumped back and threw his arms up just before he would have gotten punched.

But the problem is that what really distinguishes Artemus is not winning or even being in the big fight scene at the end (which was usually left for Jim West) but his gadgets (often used by Jim more than by Arte himself) and his seemingly endless array of disguises and his ability to play the different personas that went with each disguise. He was capable of portraying any race, both genders, any ethnic group and almost any profession with a realistic knowledge of what such a person would know. It is almost pointless to summarize the plots or mention that Jim got to defeat the villain and usually got the girl. It was Arte who set him up to be able to win the day.

Artemus Gordon accompanies Jim on most of his adventures, but usually operates in a support role. Clever and intelligent, Artie devises most of the specialized gear he and Jim use, as well as many tricks and traps contained within the Wanderer's lavish compartments. An expert at disguise, Artie can infiltrate enemy strongholds to support Jim (and all too often, extricate him from trouble). He is also a talented singer, musician, and fencer, but only an adequate hand-to-hand fighter and horseman.

In his own mind, Artemus Gordon is every bit as handsome as Jim West and he does not always understand why Jim gets more female interest than he does. He is decent looking but nothing extraordinary. He usually wears a suit appropriate to the setting, often grey or even purple, with vest and cowboy hat.

When not in disguise, Arte can run the gamut from deadly serious to joking around. This makes sense because, while in disguise, he exhibits just about any personality imaginable. In one episode his disguise worked too well-when he showed up disguised at a villians meeting, the real villian showed up as well {Ross Martin played both parts{!}. By 1880 he had retired from the Secret Service and was the leader of a thrope of a touring Shakespearean company of actors.

Artemus Gordon original h2