the 1960s, it seemed that whenever you turned on the television, the same male
voice would intone the name of the show you were about to watch and then
continue, “… a Quinn Martin Production. Tonight’s Episode,…”. Quinn Martin
produced streams of popular series like The Streets of San Francisco,
Cannon, Barnaby Jones, The Fugitive, 12 O’Clock High, and many others
including The Invaders.
Roy Thinnes starred as architect David Vincent, whose life changed forever after
he took a late-night shortcut off the main road and witnessed the landing of an
alien spacecraft. The occupants that emerged were visually indistinguishable
from humans but lacked a few human traits (such as emotions, or a pulse). Some
had deformed fifth fingers causing their pinkies to stick straight out as
if they were at high tea. Pure oxygen was poisonous to them and they had to
regenerate about once a week or would die. These other worldly visitors
would incinerated if killed.
They had come
to Earth because their own planet was dying. They had not come as friends.
They intended to make Earth their home.
together with friend and partner Alan Landers (James Daly), who was killed by
the alien invaders, tried to convince the authorities of the alien menace (Lt.
Holman, played by J.D. Cannon). He was later befriended by millionaire
electronics manufacturer Edgar Scoville, played by the late Kent Smith, who
financed Vincent’s hunt for the alien infiltrators.
better known to science fiction fans as Professor Crater in the early Star Trek
episode “The Man Trap”, portrayed the alien leader in the 3rd-season
episode “The Peacemaker”.
ran from January 10, 1967 through March 26, 1968 and created a total of 43
episodes. It was very much a product of its time, drawing heavily from the
strong public interest in the developing US space program. Real-life
progress in the exploration of space had renewed discussions about the
possibility of life “out there” and the influence of the Cold War was nearing
its peak. It presented the darkest view of encountering extra-terrestrial
boasted some big-name guest stars, such as Roddy McDowell, Arthur Hill, Jeanette
Nolan, William Windom, Andrew Duggan, James Whitmore, Peter Graves, Strother
Martin, Edward Asner, Burgess Meredith, Ted Knight, Gene Hackman, Michael Rennie, Suzanne Pleshette, and an early appearance by Barry (Brady) Williams.
values were definitely representative of its 1967 origin. Rather than
showing the “alien of the week”, most episodes focused on a crisis that usually
required David Vincent to escape. He was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, and
always managed to escape in the nick of time, usually after killing several
aliens, causing them to incinerate. He occasionally found the alien's
regeneration equipment, which seem to have been the forerunning of Star Trek's
Borg regeneration stations.
single most recognizable symbol from this show, though, was the Invader’s alien
ship. Based on the classic “flying saucer” design, the saucer was mimicked in a
number of faked UFO films throughout the late 60s and early 70s.
Presently, the Monogram model of this ship is a highly sought after collector's
In 1995, the
Fox network produced a four-hour Invaders miniseries that starred Scott Bakula
as “Nolan Wood”. This was more of a horror-style production than the original
series. The miniseries was only moderately successful and gained very mixed
reviews. Roy Thinnes reprised his role as David Vincent in a momentary
appearance. This remake deviated from In this version significantly and showed
how the aliens “possessed” humans and melted the flesh of their victims rather
than merely appeared human.
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