By Beau Smith
From time to time I feel it’s my job to enlighten you of things in pop culture that are truly noteworthy and important. This is one of those times. Today I’m here to urge you to learn about, or revisit, a TV show from 1967 that was “ahead of it’s time.” That show was The Invaders.
The Invaders…In Color
Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, Quinn Martin produced some very serious dramas and cop/thriller programs on TV. The Fugitive is what he is best known for. Martin was also noted for shows like The Streets Of San Francisco, Dan August, Cannon and The Untouchables. He had a very distinct template for his shows. The were serialized with four acts and an epilogue, there was always a pre-cap to every episode, the episode’s guest stars were always introduced with video captures and the great announcer/narrator, William Woodson was always present as a commanding voice to tell you that the show was a “Quinn Martin Production.” I remember as a kid all this made a huge impression on me. Quinn Martin shows were always very serious and there were rarely any light moments. In 1967 Martin took a very unusual turn when he produced The Invaders, a very serious, sci-fi/invasion series starring Roy Thinnes.
In 1967 the last of the black and white shows were dying off and the networks were very excited to let you know that their show was “in color”. What I love about The Invaders is that at the beginning of each episode William Woodson would announce “The Invaders…In Color!” Recently I bought the DVD set of The Invaders: The Complete First Season for a mere $24.99. As a kid, I watched it a few times during its two season run, but never really appreciated the show as much as I should. I blame that on being young and not getting to see it all the time. As an adult I appreciate this show in a whole new light.
It’s a very tight, well put together series that even today, has some very creepy moments as well as an incredible theme of paranoia. Nothing shows this better than the exclusive pilot episode on the DVD set. Roy Thinnes has to be one of the most underrated actors ever. He wore great suits and clothing, had a great haircut and looked like a cross between Daniel Craig and Paul Newman. I can see why my mom always thought he was “A dreamboat”, as she put it. What I can’t understand is why this Thinnes didn’t end up a huge movie star. I think you’ll agree with me once you see the series.
The Invaders took alien invasion seriously. I think it was ahead of its time in its respect towards science fiction on network TV. I also think that the creators of today’s Lost must have been big fans of The Invaders because there is such a massive feel to Lost that could have only come from a love of The Invaders. Here’s a bit of trivia that I discovered while watching The Invaders, the music for the show was done by well known composer Dominic Frontiere. He did the music for lots of TV shows and films and always had a very unique sound that screamed his name. Anyway, there is a running piece of music in The Invaders that is also used in Lost. That has to be a tribute to this wonderful series. It plays throughout the show and is highlighted during the end credits. Once you hear it you’ll recognize it from Lost as well. It’s even used in the same situations of both shows when impending doom is about to happen.
Roy Thinnes plays David Vincent, an architect who comes across the alien invaders one late night on his way back from a road trip. His run into with the aliens causes him to dedicate his life to stopping them from taking over our planet. He finds it very hard to do when they look like us and have already embedded themselves within our society. I like the way the writers hint that David Vincent was once in the military, it turns up handy as there is always a great fist fight, gun fight or both in every episode. In fact, the David Vincent character was one of the first to use bits of martial arts in a regular TV series. Granted, it wasn’t as realistic as it is today, but you can see the people that made this show really put forth the effort for this time period.
I cannot recommend this DVD set enough. Any fan of sci-fi, Lost, Heroes or X-Files (where Thinnes had a guest role in) will really like this. It’s very smart and looks great. There are lots of extras on the DVD and Roy Thinnes even intros all the episodes. I’m hoping they put the second season out really soon. I’ve been savoring each episode and driving my buddies Flint Henry and Chuck Dixon crazy with my raves about it. Here’s a nice unofficial site that you’ll have fun looking at: www.theinvaders.co.uk. Check out Amazon.com, Sam’s Club or your regular DVD retail outlet for this boxed set. This is one I know you’ll write and thank me for. After all, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?
Busted Knuckles Manly Cover of the Week: Fury #6
Cover By Tom Beecham
“I Ate The Sex Plants Of Ponape?And Lived!” With that blurb on the cover how could you not buy it? Well, the striking cover painting by Tom Beecham is also a great motivation. It’s a beautiful action piece with amazing colors. The time of “Men’s Magazines” from the 1940’s through 70’s were a very special time for incredible painted covers, not to mention the wildest blurbs ever. Enjoy them both!
Busted Knuckles Babe of the Week: Rosa Blasi
She’s as multi talented as she is beautiful. She acts, she a trained mezzo soprano, she’s won multiple beauty contests, she dances, plays piano and is married to New York Giants fullback Jim Finn. I even met her years ago when she was starting her career on the TV series HITZ. Yeah, I know, how did I let that one get away…
Check her out in the upcoming horror film Memories of Murder. If she’s in it, it has to be good.
This summer has been filled with annoyance for me. Two bouts with poison ivy, some sorta nasty spider bite and five days of hangover-like headaches. I hope that was the last of the pestering. The doctor said I’m in great shape, so I guess I just need to grind this stuff out and keep moving. Hard to hit a moving target.
Big thanks goes out to my fellow West Virginian, David Campiti from Glass House Graphics. David was kind enough to send me the great manly book Men’s Adventure Magazines hardcover from Taschen. Put together by amigo Max Allan Collins and George Hagenauer, this is a great hardcover that covers all the Men’s Magazines in postwar America. Over 350 pages of great covers by such icons of manly sweat as Mort Kunstler, Will Hulsey, Clarence Doore, Syd Shores, Norm Eastman and many more. There are enough manly covers in this to keep me in Busted Knuckles Manly Cover forever. If you like your world as politically incorrect as I do, then this is the book for you. Hours of entertainment and incredible art. Thank you, David. If you get the chance, check out Glass House Graphics’ site at www.glasshousegraphics.com.
Well, In Plain Sight on the USA Network is over for the year. All I have left now until the return of Fall/Winter season is Burn Notice (USA Network), Eureka (Sci-Fi Channel) and sports. I’m looking forward to the return of Lost, Life, Heroes, 24, Numb3rs and possibly getting all the Corner Gas DVDs for Christmas. Our local cable company dropped WGN out of Chicago, the channel that carried Corner Gas, so I’ve been without ever since. Hell, I even wrote and complained to them and WGN. All I got out of it was my local cable company saying that WGN wanted too much cash and WGN told me to get DirecTV. So I’ll just get the DVD’s and they can both miss out on my business.
Lots more stuff coming up in the next few weeks here at Busted Knuckles. Stick around. I ain’t done yet.
Prove your manhood by visiting Beau at the Flying Fists Forum!