The Invaders: A Short-lived but Good 1960's Scifi Series

by Guy Belleranti
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A number of science fiction television series hit the airways in the mid to late 1960s. One of these was The Invaders.

Created by Larry Cohen and produced by Quinn Martin, the series had a short, but quite popular, 1½ season run on ABC. The series had some similarities to the hit Quinn Martin television program The Fugitive.

Among these similarities:

- Both featured main characters who slowly develop an almost doomed attitude: The Invaders' David Vincent (played by Roy Thinnes) and The Fugitive's Richard Kimball (played by David Janssen). However, unlike Kimble, Vincent isn't being hunted for a crime he didn't commit. Instead, he is trying to do everything in his power to warn the public that invaders from another world are on earth and plotting to take over.

Like Kimble, Vincent travels the countryside week after week, episode after episode.

Each episode of both programs featured opening narrations explaining the main character's predicament. The Invaders narrator began: "Alien beings from a dying planet. Their destination: the Earth. Their purpose: to make it their world." It then went on to explain how David Vincent had become lost one night on a lonely country road, stopped by a deserted diner, and then witnessed the landing of a craft from another galaxy.

The Invaders was set in the present time, unlike many of the other Sci-Fi television series of the era. It undoubtedly was influenced by the great 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

For 43 episodes David Vincent battled The Invaders. These aliens always took human form, but Vincent, and the viewer, soon learned how to distinguish an Invader from a real human. First, most Invaders had no emotions. Many couldn't bend their little finger, though some more advanced forms could. Invaders never bled, and when killed their dead bodies would glow and then disappear, clothes and all. In addition, each Invader needed to regularly regenerate itself.

A number of guest stars appeared either as Invaders or as people whom Vincent tried to convince of the alien plot. Vincent did get a few believers to help him fight the invasion, including millionaire Edgar Scoville (played by Kent Smith). However, a number of people, both believers and non-believers, also died in the fight, being killed when an Invader pressed a glowing disc to the human's neck, causing a cerebral hemorrhage.

The series featured an otherworldly musical score composed by Dominic Frontiere, the man who also did the score for the television Sci-Fi classic The Outer Limits.

Why the program was cancelled after 1½ seasons is anyone's guess. In 1995 an attempt to revive it was made with a 4 hour TV miniseries. A much older Roy Thinnes even had a tiny guest spot as David Vincent, with Scott Bakula having the lead as a man named Nolan Wood. However, the program wasn't anywhere near as good as the original series.

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