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THE INVADERS

The Invaders is an American science fiction television program created by Larry Cohen that aired on ABC for two seasons, from 1967 to 1968 and was a Quinn Martin Production.

Roy Thinnes stars as architect David Vincent, who accidentally learns of a secret alien invasion already underway and thereafter travels from place to place attempting to foil the aliens' plots and warn a skeptical populace of the danger. As the series progresses Vincent is able to convince a small number of people to help him fight the aliens.

In many episodes, at least one individual, often a key figure such as a USAF intelligence officer (in the episode "The Innocent"), a police officer (in "Genesis" and "The Spores"), a U.S. Army major ("Doomsday Minus One"), or a NASA official ("Moonshot") would become aware of the alien threat and survive the episode in which he or she was introduced. 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 Anne Francis and Charles Drake witness an alien saucer's landing. In the second season, larger groups of surviving witnesses were featured, as in episodes "Dark Outpost" and "The Pursued", and three scientists in "Labyrinth". Most significant of these is 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 star 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 and the authorities.

The series depicted an undercurrent of at least partial credulity among authority figures regarding Vincent's claims, even in the first season, as in early episodes such as "The Mutation" where a security agent (Lin McCarthy) is keeping an eye on Vincent and ends up inclined to believe him. In "The Innocent", the USAF Officer (Dabney Coleman) guns down an alien who incinerates in front of him, tying in with Vincent's claims, while at the end of the episode after apparently disbelieving Vincent he then phones USAF security to run a full background check on an officer who Vincent claimed was an alien. In "Moonshot", the NASA official (Peter Graves) is fully expecting Vincent to arrive, and in "Condition: Red", a NORAD Officer and staff witness an alien UFO formation onscreen, and are left convinced. Each of these incidents is kept to just the individual episode, with hinted official backing of Vincent (or at least 'semi-backing' suggested in the episode "The Condemned"). Elsewhere, Vincent is shown as being publicly 'dismissed as a crank' by the authorities, while behind the scenes they apparently take him seriously—for example in "Doomsday Minus One", where Vincent has been invited by an Army Intelligence official and then is given classified information; in the two-part "Summit Meeting" where he's present at a top security meeting without any question; and in "Condition: Red" where he's allowed into NORAD without question. Thus viewers were left to draw their own conclusions as to the situation regarding Vincent's actual standing.

Some controversy arose regarding the sudden ending of the television series after season two as it was deemed no proper ending had been written (unlike The Fugitive, another Quinn Martin show). Yet the final season-two episode "Inquisition" does stand as some kind of series conclusion where Vincent 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 had withdrawn all their key personnel from Earth prior to its use, and the closing narration is that Vincent, Edgar Scoville, and the now convinced Special Assistant will join forces as the vanguard to watch for any return of the Invaders. Thus this episode can be seen as showing Vincent achieve his goal of 'convincing disbelieving authorities' at least, and the Invaders' plans temporarily thwarted, leaving the door open for any possible later sequel or spinoff series.

The Invaders’ successful format combined the sensibilities of two creator/producers. Larry Cohen (below right), a brash wunderkind from the dying days of prestigious New York dramas like The Defenders, and Quinn Martin (below left), the steadfast, humorless king of sixties and seventies action television, overseer of a seemingly endless string of formulaic but exceedingly well-produced police and detective shows.

The Invaders began with Cohen, who freely concedes that his conception of the series was an amalgamation of several beloved pop-culture fixations of his adolescence. Body Snatchers, the eery 1956 B-picture in which Kevin McCarthy discovers that his friends and neighbors are gradually being replaced by identical “pod people” from another planet, as well as Invaders From Mars (1953).

Invaders buffs often assume that Cohen borrowed the series’ man-on-the-run format from Quinn Martin's The Fugitive, the 1963 hit starring David Janssen as a wrongly-convicted death row inmate who escapes to search for his wife’s killer. In fact, Cohen said, he took his cue from Alfred Hitchcock, "I always liked the Hitchcock movie where the hero is in a situation where he’s the only one that knows the spies are operating, and no one will believe him. And when he takes the police back to the locale where he saw their operation, everything has been removed, there’s no more evidence, everybody lies and says that he was never there before." Hitchcock made several picaresque thrillers in this mold, including The 39 Steps (1935) with Robert Donat, Saboteur (1942) with Robert Cummings, and of course North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant.

That is how the show originally pitched to Edgar Scherick at ABC-TV with the original concept as a twice-a-week serial, two segments a week and have a cliff-hanger in the middle (an idea the network used with Batman). Cohen was commissioned to write the pilot as a half-hour, and then wrote about fifteen story-lines for future episodes of the series.

Cohen sketched out the basics of what became The Invaders. Creating the protagonist, David Vincent, a Santa Barbara-based architect who suddenly becomes a pariah after he sees a flying saucer and tries to warn a disbelieving public of the alien danger. For the aliens, Cohen left their origins and characteristics a deliberate blank. "They were very intelligent, and very hard to kill, and very devious about hiding their identities and subverting themselves within the system," Cohen said. Never during the course of the series did viewers learn what life on the aliens’ world was like, nor even, for that matter, the name of their planet or their species. But Cohen did devise some visual signatures that became the most recognizable aspects of the show: the regeneration chambers; the spontaneous combustion that immediately follows the death of any alien and leaves only a trace of ash in place of a body; the glowing disk that, when pressed against the back of the neck, causes a cerebral hemorrhage in a human; the aliens’ inability to feel pain and their lack of blood or a heartbeat. And of course there was the deformed pinky finger, an imperfection in some aliens’ human bodies that served to tip off Vincent as to their true identities.

Cohen also inserted an element of subtle political content into The Invaders, just as he had with his previous series, the Chuck Connors western Branded, about a Civil War soldier falsely labeled a coward. "Branded was my way of doing the blacklist story on television, and The Invaders to me was a way of doing a show about the communist paranoia", said Cohen.

When Cohen turned this material over to ABC, the network requested a change. Even though Peyton Place was at the height of its popularity, having expanded from two broadcasts a week to three, and the Batman craze had begun, Scherick and company opted not to produce the show as a serial. ABC placed the show in the hands of producer Quinn Martin.

Quinn Martin was the son of a motion picture editor who learned the film business as he grew up and entered television as a sound editor at Ziv, the production outlet responsible for Science Fiction Theatre, Highway Patrol, and other cheap syndicated fare. Moving to Desilu, where his wife, Madelyn Pugh, was one of Lucille Ball’s head writers, Martin made a name for himself by producing The Untouchables and turning it into a huge hit. Capitalizing on this success, Martin launched his own production company, offering up the police procedural The New Breed under the QM banner in 1961. The New Breed, which lasted only a year, was a rare failure but by 1966, Martin had given ABC three big hits in as many years: The Fugitive in 1963, The F.B.I. in 1965, and in between them the already declining Twelve O’Clock High (which would bow out in the same week that The Invaders debuted). His production company was the hottest in town, and it continued to spawn massive ratings successes well into the seventies, among them Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco, and Barnaby Jones.

Quinn Martin was a notorious obsessive. On most sixties TV series, one or two producers oversaw the entire process of production, from the pitching of stories to the final dubbing of the music on each episode. But Martin compartmentalized his company, dividing the responsibilities for every series among four or five highly departments that rarely interacted with each other. The result of QM’s system was that it left Martin with virtually total control of all his shows.

"Quinn was a benevolent despot, with the accent on the benevolent," recalled John Elizalde who handled the scoring of music and dubbing of sound effects. "If you knew what you were doing, he gave you very free reign."

According to writer George Eckstein, Martin "was always a gentleman, he paid very well, he was very good to his employees, and he was very creative."

QM producer Anthony Spinner comments, "If it was a hit, may he rest in peace, it was Quinn Martin’s hit. If it was a failure, it was everybody else’s. And you were not to get your name too prominently mentioned in the trades or the newspapers. [QM] was sort of like a factory. There was only one person there who had autonomy, and it was Quinn Martin. He was a great friend and a terrible enemy, and you never knew which one he was going to be on any given day."

Martin’s greatest strength as a producer was his devotion to production values. Martin paid higher salaries to guest stars than any other company in Hollywood, often recruiting performers who rarely did television, and he shot on location extensively.

"He demanded quality. When it was night in a scene, he’d shoot at night; he wouldn’t shoot it day for night," said Invaders director Sutton Roley. "He spent some money. And he paid a little extra to directors, to writers, to everyone else to get that kind of quality." As a result, Martin’s shows had a pristine look, with none of the drab sets or phony backlot exteriors that characterized series shot at Universal or Paramount during the same period.

But Martin’s taste tended toward the pedestrian, and the story content of his series often exhibited a depressing sameness. His protagonists, with the exceptions of David Vincent and The Fugitive’s Richard Kimble, were always policemen or private detectives, and they were always unalterably heroic. Shades of gray occupied no space in Quinn Martin’s world. The Martin shows generally rivaled Dragnet in their unsmiling straightforwardness. "Quinn was notable for a lot of virtues, but one was not his sense of humor. You could never put much humor in. You had to be deadly serious at all times," said producer Anthony Spinner.

Most of Martin’s associates concede that the TV mogul really didn’t understand The Invaders. "It was a departure for Quinn," said producer Alan Armer. But, Martin’s trademark seriousness grounded the series in reality, providing a kind of credibility that made the show genuinely spooky and distinguished it from all its sci-fi contemporaries.

"[The Invaders] was not very far out, by any means. It wasn’t like The Outer Limits, where you were on Pluto today and Mars tomorrow," said John Elizalde, who worked on both shows. Irwin Allen’s kiddie fare (Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) offered up silly cliches, and even the intelligent Star Trek resorted to Nazis-in-space or gangsters-in-space shows. But The Invaders, whose impeccably dressed aliens were so clean-cut they could pass for FBI agents, seemed just plausible enough to be possible. At its absolute best, it could be as scary as The Twilight Zone.

To launch the series, Quinn Martin scrapped Larry Cohen’s serialized pilot script and commissioned a ninety-minute teleplay from Anthony Wilson, recently the author of a well-received Fugitive two-parter ("Landscape With Running Figures"). Another Fugitive veteran, producer Alan Armer, left the David Janssen series to produce The Invaders, and regular Fugitive cameraman Meredith Nicholson took time out to shoot the pilot, which was entitled "Beachhead."

"Beachhead' starts off with the familiar sequence of events that the opening titles of future episodes would recap. David Vincent, tired and lost amongst rural backroads, pulls over for some shuteye only to be awakened by the glowing lights of a landing spacecraft. When he brings the skeptical town sheriff (J. D. Cannon) back to the area, there’s no UFO, and Vincent’s insistence that he has encountered aliens from another planet earns him a stay in a sanitarium. Ultimately Vincent finds evidence of extraterrestrial activity in a small town near the landing site, but the discovery gets his best friend and business partner Alan Landers (James Daly) killed.

This initial installment introduced most of the motifs that became central to the series. The alien trick of making Vincent look like a buffoon in front of the authorities, as well as the ever-popular stiffened little finger, make their first appearance here. (But the first aliens Vincent meets, disguised as innocent-looking campers, also sport glowing silver eyes, which were never used again, apparently because the contact lenses irritated the actors.) Diane Baker guest stars as the first incarnation of one of the series’ archetypes: the lonely single woman and potential romantic partner for Vincent, who may or may not be an alien temptress. Wilson’s script also establishes the bleak tone of the show, relentlessly severing Vincent’s ties with his former life through the incineration of his apartment by an alien assassin and, of course, the death of his partner.

"Beachhead" was cut down to fit into a regular hour timeslot when it was first broadcast in January 1967, and Alan Armer has said wistfully that in its original form the pilot constituted The Invaders’ finest and subtlest effort. The Museum of Modern Art screened the unedited version of "Beachhead" in 1969, but it hasn’t been seen since. Some "extended" versions of the pilot can be found but these releases are not restored to its full 75 minutes.

To play David Vincent, Quinn Martin had chosen soap opera veteran Roy Thinnes. Born in 1938, the Chicago native began acting in high school and worked in New York in 1957, where he appeared on TV, in industrial films, and off-Broadway. After military service as an M.P., Thinnes moved to Los Angeles and married a then better-known actress, Lynn Loring (right), who had spent ten years as a juvenile lead on the daytime serial Search For Tomorrow (and who would guest-star in the Invaders segment "Panic"). In the meantime, the young actor racked up credits in various media – on stage in Genet’s "The Balcony" and Coward’s "Private Lives," a small role in the film version of Lillian Hellman’s Toys in the Attic (1963), and lots of television guest shots. Thinnes became a member of Quinn Martin’s unofficial stock company, appearing on The Untouchables, Twelve O’Clock High, The F.B.I., and The Fugitive.

A two-year stint on General Hospital, starting in 1963 is where female viewers started to notice Thinnes’ rugged good looks. His voluminous fan mail convinced ABC to use Thinnes to provide the testosterone quotient in its 1965 TV adaptation of William Faulkner’s The Long Hot Summer. Thinnes starred as Ben Quick, the role played by Paul Newman in the 1958 film of the same title (and his and the network’s press agents were quick to draw the comparison). Summer flopped fast, but Martin scooped up Thinnes, at $7500 a week, to play David Vincent in The Invaders.

Thinnes proved a bit of a departure from the usual Quinn Martin casting mold. Martin preferred affable leading men like Paul Burke or Buddy Ebsen, whose easy temperament on the set conveyed an essential warmth to the viewer as well. "They were a certain kind of actor," said second-season Invaders producer David W. Rintels. "They were not the Method actors. Stanislavsky was not big on our shows."

Though not formally Method-trained, Thinnes radiated intensity and had an artistic bent. According to press materials used to promote The Invaders, he was also a painter, pianist, and published author. Though he was always courteous and professional, some crew members found Thinnes distant and intense, a reaction that may have carried over to the show’s audience, as well.

Many QM personnel were non-plussed by how seriously Thinnes took his role as a modern-day doomsayer. "Roy, as I recall, began to believe that there were invaders - that he saw them over Wilshire Boulevard with his then-wife once," said Anthony Spinner. In fact, Thinnes did tell reporters that he and Loring spotted a UFO shortly before The Invaders debuted. The convenient timing smells of a publicity stunt but, according to Alan Armer, Thinnes "was a believer, and he believed in the series."

Thinnes himself described The Invaders as only a very narrow extension of reality. "We are theorizing with reality, theorizing as to who flies UFOs and why they are here," the actor remarked in 1967. "I believe in unidentified flying objects and that covers a vast variety of possibilities that are now being investigated by many of the finest scientific minds in this country."

Both Thinnes and producer Alan Armer took the time to explore the real-life world of UFO phenomena, attending a convention of believers and speaking to individuals with stories similar to David Vincent’s. "We saw a lot of kooks," recalled Anthony Spinner. "We interviewed people who claimed to have seen spaceships, or that we were doing very bad things and the aliens were very unhappy. They would seek us out and Alan, for some reason, would grant them time that we didn’t have. Maybe he was curious or amused."

The flying saucer design was influenced by two UFO photographs. The first case happened in 1965 in Santa Ana, California. On August 3rd, the highway traffic engineer Rex Heflin took several pictures of a flying craft, while working near the Santa Ana freeway. Heflin did not report his sighting, but the photographs were published by the Santa Ana Register on September 20th, 1965. The second is the Adamski case. On December 13th, 1952 in Palomar Gardens, California, USA, the contactee George Adamski took a series of photographs through his telescope, of a bell-shaped craft, today well known as the Adamski Scout Ship. The upper hull, and flat top from the Heflin case were combined with the bell-shaped outer flange and three rings of the Adamski case. The Invaders' craft added two more rings on the underside of the ship, for a total of five, and made them shallower protrusions. Numerous pieces of alien technology in the show featured 5-sided designs. It was a principle of the production crew not to show them with set and prop designs and control panels that were utterly alien from the conventional human ones.

George Adamski (1891 – 1965, above) was a Polish American citizen who became widely known in ufology circles, and to some degree in popular culture, after he claimed to have photographed spaceships from other planets, met with friendly Nordic alien Space Brothers, and to have taken flights with them to the Moon and other planets.

He was the first, and most famous, of the so-called contactees of the 1950s. Adamski called himself a "philosopher, wandering teacher, student and saucer researcher", although most investigators concluded his claims were an elaborate hoax, and that Adamski himself was a con artist.

Adamski authored three books describing his meetings with Nordic aliens and his travels with them aboard their spaceships: Flying Saucers Have Landed (co-written with Desmond Leslie) in 1953, Inside the Space Ships in 1955, and Flying Saucers Farewell in 1961. The first two books were both bestsellers; by 1960 they had sold a combined 200,000 copies.

German scientist Walther Johannes Riedel said Adamski's photograph of a UFO, taken December 13th 1952, was faked using a surgical lamp and that the landing struts were light bulbs.

In Santa Ana, California on August 3rd, 1965, highway worker Rex Heflin (above) got three photos of a supposed UFO out the window of his van, using his Polaroid instant camera. This series of photos has long been touted as a "classic" by NICAP and many prominent UFOlogists. This object supposedly flew right over the Marine Corps El Toro Air Station, plus the Santa Ana freeway (Interstate 5) in broad daylight, but no one else saw it. For many years the original prints could not be investigated, because Heflin claims that they were confiscated by an investigator who came to his house, flashing an ID supposedly from NORAD. Skeptics have argued that Heflin’s UFO appears to be a tiny model, just a few inches in size, hanging from something like a fishing pole propped up over the cab of his van.

For many viewers, the theme of paranoia infusing The Invaders often appeared to reflect Cold War fantasies of communist infiltration that had lingered from the McCarthy period a decade earlier. Series creator Larry Cohen has acknowledged that this was intended, along with a political theme for the series. In audio commentary for the episode "The Innocent", included in the first-season DVD collection, Cohen said his knowledge of the blacklisting of Hollywood screenwriters for their communist connections inspired him to make "a mockery" of the fear of the infiltration of society, by substituting space aliens for communists.

Cohen also acknowledged he was not the first to turn Cold War fears into science-fiction drama; such fears had influenced such films as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and especially I Married a Monster from Outer Space. Cohen also stated in his commentary that the political intent inherent in some of his creations, including The Invaders, was not always appreciated or shared by some producers and actors.

In an interview shown in the special features segment included on the DVD release of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, star Kevin McCarthy strongly denied any desire by director Don Siegel or the film's writer to connect the invaders to communists.

Neither the Invaders nor their planet were ever named. Their human appearance was a disguise; they were only shown in their true form in one episode, "Genesis", in which an ill alien researcher loses his human form and is briefly seen immersed in a tank of water. Unless they receive periodic treatments in what Vincent called "regeneration chambers", which consume a great deal of electrical power, they revert to their alien form. One scene in the series showed an alien beginning to revert, filmed in soft focus and with pulsating red light.

The aliens had certain characteristics by which they could be detected, such as the absence of a pulse or heartbeat and the inability to bleed. Most of the aliens, in particular the lowest-ranking members or workers in green jumpsuits, were emotionless and had deformed little fingers which could not move and were bent at an unnatural angle, although there were "deluxe models" who could manipulate this finger. There were also a number of mutant aliens, who experienced emotions similar to those of humans, and who even opposed the alien takeover.

The existence of the Invaders could not be documented by killing one and examining the body: When they died, their bodies would glow red and burn up along with their clothes and anything else they were touching, leaving little more than traces of black ash. On several occasions, a dying alien would deliberately touch a piece of their technology to prevent it from falling into the hands of humans. In episode 3 ("The Mutation"), one of them (a female alien who falls for Vincent and helps him escape from being killed but ends up being killed herself while running from a farm house to warn him he is in danger) tells David Vincent, "That's what happens to us when we die here on Earth."

The aliens use a small, handheld, disc-shaped weapon with five glowing white lights applied to the back of the victim's head or neck to induce a seemingly-natural death, which is usually diagnosed as a cerebral hemorrhage. They also employ powerful weapons to disintegrate witnesses, vehicles and - in one episode - a sick member of their own race whose infection's side effects were resulting in unwanted notoriety. Also in their arsenal is a small device consisting of two spinning transparent crystals joined at their corners which forces human beings to do the aliens' bidding or memory loss.

All of Quinn Martin’s show’s shared a highly distinctive visual signature. Each one was narrated by an almost impossibly deep baritone (most famously, Cannon star William Conrad on The Fugitive) who proclaimed over the opening credits that the series was "a QM Production." Every episode was divided uniformly into a prologue, four acts, and an epilogue, and lest the viewer remain unaware of this neat schematization, a superimposed title announced the beginning of each act. The Invaders featured perhaps the most imaginative variation on this visual tic. After each commercial break, the picture reformed in the center of a blackout, spreading outward to cover the entire TV screen as if emerging from some alien black hole.

Before each episode of The Invaders, an "in color" promo bumper, typical of most ABC programs of the era, appears, as ABC was the last network to adopt color programming: Next&ldots; The Invaders, In Color!

Then, following the bumper, each episode begins with a cold open, to help set up the plot of the episode to come. After the prologue, the main title appears, announced by Dick Wesson:

"The Invaders! A Quinn Martin Production.
Starring Roy Thinnes as architect David Vincent. The Invaders, alien beings from a dying planet. Their destination: the Earth. Their purpose: to make it their world. David Vincent has seen them. For him, it began one lost night on a lonely country road, looking for a shortcut that he never found. It began with a closed deserted diner, and a man too long without sleep to continue his journey. It began with the landing of a craft from another galaxy. Now David Vincent knows that the Invaders are here, that they have taken human form. Somehow he must convince a disbelieving world that the nightmare has already begun."

Then in a manner typical of Quinn Martin productions of the day, Wesson would announce "The guest stars in tonight's story&ldots;", and finally, the title of the episode about to be viewed.

Dick Wesson (1919 – 1979, left top) was an American movie and television announcer who started in radio and worked as an announcer on early television shows, among them Space Patrol. On the live television special covering the opening of Disneyland, Wesson appeared as the captain of the Rocket To The Moon ride and was interviewed by Art Linkletter and Danny Thomas. He occasionally did some acting, including appearances in the Golden Horseshoe Revue show at Disneyland.

Wesson did the narration for many movie trailers, The Wonderful World of Disney from 1954–1979, and other television series such as Hawaiian Eye and The Fugitive.

Dominic Frontiere, (1931 - 2017, left bottom) was an American composer, arranger, and jazz accordionist. After a period with a big band in the late 1940s and early 50s, Frontiere moved to Los Angeles, where he enrolled at UCLA. He eventually became musical director at 20th Century Fox. He scored several films under the tutelage of Alfred and Lionel Newman, while also recording jazz music.

An association with director and producer Leslie Stevens led to several projects, such as his innovative blend of music and sound effects for The Outer Limits. He scored several iconic themes of the '60's such as The Rat Patrol, Branded, The Flying Nun, and for producer Quinn Martin The Fugitive, and Twelve O'Clock High and The Invaders.

After scoring for TV shows, he went on to compose the music for the Clint Eastwood film Hang 'Em High. The title theme for that movie became a top-10 hit for the group Booker T. & the M.G.'s. He also composed the soundtrack to the 1971 motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday, which featured Steve McQueen and was directed by Bruce Brown.

Frontiere became head of the music department at Paramount Pictures in the early 1970s, where he again worked on television and film scores, while concurrently orchestrating popular music albums for, among others, Chicago. He won a Golden Globe for the score to the 1980 film The Stunt Man.

The guest stars on the The Invaders featured some of the popular TV actors of the time (some would go on to star in their own series or make the jump to the big screen). Some of those guest stars included: Roddy McDowall (from the original Planet Of The Apes movies), Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show), Jack Lord (Hawaii Five-0), James Whitmore, Michael Rennie (The Day The Earth Stood Still), Susan Strasberg, and Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible), Ellen Corby (The Waltons), Jeanette Nolan, William Windom, Diana Hyland, Peter Mark Richman, J.D. Cannon (McCloud), Susan Oliver, Ted Knight and Ed Asner (both of Mary Tyler Moor Show), Harold Gould, Ed Begley, Laurence Naismith (The Persuaders), James Daly (Medical Center), Dabney Coleman, Edward Andrews, Diane Baker, Ralph Bellamy, Joseph Campanella, Anne Francis (Honey West), Gene Hackman (The French Connection), Sally Kellerman (M*A*S*H the movie), Carol Lynley, Jack Warden, Barbara Hershey, Karen Black, Richard Anderson, Nancy Kovack, Kevin McCarthy, Marlyn Mason (Goodbye Girl), BarBara Luna, Julie Sommars, Dawn Wells and Russell Johnson (both from Gilligan's Island), Diana Muldaur, Norman Fell (Three's Company), Arthur Hill, Fritz Weaver, Lynda Day George (Mission: Impossible), Burgess Meredith (Batman), Susan Strasberg, Charles Aidman, Wayne Rogers (M*A*S*H the TV series), Michael Constantine (Room 222), Barry Morse, Louis Gossett Jr., Barry Atwater, Peggy Lipton (Mod Squad), Strother Martin (Cool Hand Luke), Barry Williams (Brady Bunch), James Sikking (Hill Street Blues) and many more.

The pilot episode of the series, "Beachhead", was remade in 1977 for another Quinn Martin series, Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (known in the United Kingdom as Twist in the Tale), where it was retitled "The Nomads".

In 1995, the premise was used as the basis for a three-hour television miniseries titled The Invaders (or The New Invaders). Scott Bakula starred as Nolan Wood, who discovers the alien conspiracy, and Roy Thinnes reprised his role of David Vincent, now an old man handing the burden over to Wood. The miniseries has been released in some countries on home video, edited into a single movie. The miniseries bore very little similarity to Quinn Martin's television series, however; the aliens had no characteristics in common with their predecessors besides just "looking human", and their technology differed. David Vincent, who made little more than a cameo, exits the story without explanation, and the miniseries has no continuity with where the television series left off.

Several seconds of footage from the opening sequence of the flying saucer approaching Earth from space appears in the opening of the episode "The Innocent Prey" of the series The Fantastic Journey. It aired on June 6TH, 1977. In the plot of that final episode of the series, the saucer was a prisoner transport ship of the future operated by humans that malfunctioned and crashed on Earth at night in the heavy vegetation of a jungle. The full-scale saucer used in ground scenes, however, was physically different on the outside and inside than The Invaders one.

The series proved to be enormously popular in France (first aired in 1969 as Les Envahisseurs), and it is still a local favorite, inspiring books, comics, songs, comedy skits (Les envahisseurs by Les Inconnus), and even TV advertising commercials.

In Italy, it became a popular "filler" for syndicated TV stations (like other 1960s series such as Hawaii Five-O and Mission: Impossible) in the 1980s. The series also met with success in South America, Germany and in the UK; where it was shown on ITV in the 1960s, with several repeat runs on BBC2 from 1983 onwards to Sunday mornings in 1993. It appeared on SciFi Channel in 2004 and 2013, and the seasons played throughout on Horror Channel in 2017.

The program was also very popular in Spain, a weekly street market in Albacete is still called Los Invasores as the market stalls invade the streets.

Despite its allegory of the Cold War, the series also made it across the Iron Curtain into Hungary, where it was dubbed and aired under the title "Attack from an Alien Planet" in 1980. Only nine episodes were shown (1/1, 1/11, 1/13, 2/12, 2/14, 1/4, 2/7, 2/6, 2/21). The nine black and white versions of these episodes were described in the media as the complete series, with no reference made to the existence of any other episodes. Newspaper reviews tended to be critical of the show being "more fiction than science". It was nevertheless well received by viewers.

Ten books based on the television series were published by Pyramid Books, Whitman and Autumn Road Company in the United States and Corgi (a Transworld imprint) in the UK. Gold Key Comics published four issues of an Invaders comic book based upon the series in 1967-1968, years before Marvel Comics published their own, unrelated Invaders superhero series. David Vincent is referenced in the Frank Black song "Bad, Wicked World" (on his 1994 album Teenager of the Year). MAD magazine issue #119 (June 1968), presented a TV satire of The Invaders titled “The Invasioners”. And of course we all built the plastic model kit of the UFO (flying saucer) that were made by Aurora and Monogram.

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