Cult TV Essentials

Cult TV Essentials: The Invaders

The Invaders was created by Larry Cohen and ran for two seasons (53 episodes) between January 10th 1967 to March 26th 1968. The distinctive score for the show was composed by Dominic Frontiere (Twelve O’Colck High, The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, Matt Houston). The series was a Quinn Martin Production.

Architect David Vincent (Roy Thinnes), accidentally learns of a secret alien invasion whilst “looking for a short cut he never found.” Vincent travels the U.S. attempting to foil the aliens’ plots and warn a sceptical populace of the danger.

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As the series progresses Vincent is able to convince a small number of people to help him fight the aliens. It was notable that normally at least one individual, often a key figure, such as a USAF intelligence officer (‘The Innocent’), a police officer (‘Genesis’, ‘The Spores’), a U.S. Army major (‘Doomsday Minus One’), or a NASA official (‘Moonshot’) etc. would become aware of the alien threat and survive the story.

In ‘The Leeches’ a millionaire (Arthur Hill) survives an alien abduction after being rescued by Vincent, while in ‘Quantity: Unknown’ a scientist (Susan Strasberg) is convinced of alien technology, in ‘The Saucer’ guest stars Ann Francis and Charles Drake witness an alien saucer’s landing.

In the second season larger groups of surviving witnesses were featured in episodes (an entire group in the episodes ‘Dark Outpost’ and ‘The Pursued’) and three scientists in ‘Labyrinth’, most significantly millionaire industrialist Edgar Scoville (Kent Smith) who became a semi-regular character as of December 1967, heading a small but influential group from the episode ‘The Believers.’

Later episodes saw the military involved (‘The Peacemaker’) as Vincent’s claims were now clearly being taken more seriously. In ‘The Miracle’ (guest starring Barbara Hershey) after an alien encounter Vincent manages to retain a piece of alien technology both as evidence and for examination by both his group & the authorities.

The conclusion of the show left many fans confused. Where as The Fugitive had a distinctive resolution, The Invaders would instead remain open ended although Vincent does finally convinces a key figure, an initially sceptical special assistant to the Attorney General (Mark Richman), that the Invaders have arrived, after first defeating an alien plan with a special weapon (the aliens withdrawing all their key personnel from Earth prior to its use). Viewers were left with a closing narration telling us that Vincent, Edgar Scoville, and the now convinced Special Assistant will join forces as the vanguard to watch for any return of the Invaders!

5 replies »

  1. William Woodson’s dramatic baritone voice provided the opening narration each week for The Invaders.
    Multi-award winning writer Harlan Ellison was interested in writing for TI. He ended up in a intense argument with Adrian Samish(uber producer Quinn Martin’s assistant)that Harlan leaped over the conference table and punched Samish. Ellison was a brilliant writer and would have created some fantastic scripts for TI just as he’d done on The Outer Limits(TOS) & Star Trek(TOS).
    However,after this incident he was never hired to write for TI.
    Series creator Larry Cohen was inspired by the Alfred Hitchcock film The 39 Steps.In that movie the leader of an espionage group had a missing finger.
    Cohen created the crooked finger for the aliens.
    A number of the people who worked on TI thought that was a silly idea.
    Art director George Chan created the fantastic space ship for the aliens as well as the regeneration chamber. He created many other items as well.
    TI benefited from the variety of location shooting the series did over its 2-year run. Location shooting is quite expensive. Many television shows back then avoided doing such filming as much as possible.
    Quinn Martin wanted his many different series to do as much location work as was feasible because it would enhance the look of his shows.
    QM Productions received more phone calls & mail on TI than any other of his popular TV shows.

    Like

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