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.
"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 seriouslyfor 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 wifes 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 hes 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,
theres 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 Balls 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 OClock 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 QMs 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
Martins hit. If it was a failure, it was everybody elses.
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."
Martins 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
"He demanded quality. When it was
night in a scene, hed shoot at night; he wouldnt 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, Martins 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 Martins 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 Fugitives Richard Kimble, were always policemen
or private detectives, and they were always unalterably heroic.
Shades of gray occupied no space in Quinn Martins 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
Most of Martins associates concede
that the TV mogul really didnt understand The Invaders. "It
was a departure for Quinn," said producer Alan Armer. But,
Martins 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 wasnt like The Outer Limits, where you were on
Pluto today and Mars tomorrow," said John Elizalde, who worked
on both shows. Irwin Allens 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 Cohens 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."
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,
theres no UFO, and Vincents 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. Wilsons script also establishes the bleak tone of
the show, relentlessly severing Vincents 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 hasnt been seen since.
Some "extended" versions of the pilot can be found but
these releases are not restored to its full 75 minutes.
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 Genets "The Balcony" and Cowards
"Private Lives," a small role in the film version of
Lillian Hellmans Toys in the Attic (1963), and lots of
television guest shots. Thinnes became a member of Quinn Martins
unofficial stock company, appearing on The Untouchables, Twelve
OClock 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 Faulkners 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 networks 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 shows 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 Vincents. "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 didnt 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 Heflins 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 Martins shows
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."
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 19541979, 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.