Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Episode 4: The Leeches - 1/31/67

Two aliens in standard issue green jumpsuits are dragging Dr. Markham towards an alien seated device, while a third stands at a set of controls and informs him it's the last time, since they've extracted nearly all the information they need from him. He struggles with them, telling them to go back to their own world, and manages to break away and escape. He makes his way out and runs away and hides while the three aliens wander about wondering where he went.


Dr. Markham awakes repeatedly screaming, "No more!" and begs the doctor who holds him not to let them find him, while a nurse injects him with what is likely a sedative. He lays back down as his pleas weaken.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-yFMAWQxqM

Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars: 
Mark Richman as Tom Wiley

 Diana van der Vlis as Eve Doneghan

and Special Guest Star:
Arthur Hill as Warren Doneghan

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0611999/?ref_=ttep_ep4

Written by:

Directed by:


Act I

Two men with their eyes on the heavens, coming together now in a small southwestern city. David Vincent, who seeks the Invader, and Warren Doneghan, president of JAE, Jet Electronics. Two men with their eyes on the heavens--one dedicating his life to an unknown frontier, the other, to an undeclared war for survival. 
David is at the Maricopa Airport looking very dapper as he continues his quest in Arizona. Warren Doneghan waits in the back seat of a car and sends his driver, Tom Riley, out to meet him. Doneghan introduces himself and asks him to sit in the front seat, offering to take his bag. As they drive off, he informs David that the driver is head of security at his plant, as well as his best friend, who can't or won't believe beings from another planet are already here. David asks if Doneghan believes they are here, and he tells him he thinks it's possible and needs David's advice, for which he'll be well paid.


Doneghan relates that five men, each an expert in his own field, have disappeared without a trace in less than a year, with the exception of one who turned up last week. David shares that it was Dr. Markham, who was found in New Mexico, and Doneghan adds that he was insane. As David turns to look at him, Doneghan tells him not to and explains that he had him sit up front so he could see that they were being followed in the rear view mirror. Doneghan says he's been followed for some time and he believes it's because his disappearance is being planned. He tells David he believes it may be aliens because of the fields represented by the abducted men. He asks David what he'd advise. David suggests he let them kidnap him and then follow them. His best friend is not keen on the idea.


Eve Doneghan is giving husband Warren a hard time about telling her he may be leaving for an undetermined amount of time, while Tom smokes a cigarette and enjoys a cocktail at the bar in their living room as he watches them. She attempts to get more information from him, but he tells her that he's told her all that he can and she needs to leave it alone. She gives up and he asks Tom to take her to the Morrison's party that night, which he agrees to do. Before he departs, Warren asks her to trust him. When he's gone, she asks Tom the name of her husband's mistress, but he says he doesn't have a girl. She said she's finished with him and moves into Tom's personal space, but he holds her off saying he needs to go change if they're going to go to a party.



Doneghan shows David a video recording made after he spoke to him, showing the route he takes from the plant to his home. David asks about the change in cars and he explains that Friday is Tom's day off and he drives to work alone, which is likely when they'll hit. David asks him to consider what to do if they should lose him, and Doneghan hands him a transmitter with a range of 40 miles. Tom asks where he'll hide it, and when he suggests his chest, he tells him it will be the first place they search, causing Doneghan to point out that Tom is an ex-cop. David suggests he hide it in the St. Christopher's medallion he wears around his neck. Tom says the police should be in on it, but Doneghan says they'd never let him do what they were planning. David asks why he's risking his life and when he suggests he may be doing it for publicity, David points out that he made four national magazines in the past month. Doneghan asks David why he's doing it, but he does not respond.


David and Tom are parked amidst the trees on Doneghan's route. Tom notes that it's 5:23 and that he should be getting into his car, which he is. David observes the transmitter receiver and notes he's making a turn. A large truck comes by and parks in the road, blocking it. Doneghan pulls up and stops behind it. While a man in a white jumpsuit approaches to explain, another sneaks up and clubs him unconscious. Other guys in jumpsuits pop out of the truck, lay out some tracks, and drive his car, with him in it, into the truck. As David and Tom prepare to follow, their car crackles with blue sparks jumping out of the hood, which blows open, billowing smoke. As they examine it, the engine compartment is filled with a red alien glow, which dissipates, leaving it completely empty.




Doneghan doesn't have much in the way of evidence to believe that aliens want to kidnap him, and his supposition that the fields represented by the abducted men signifies alien intervention is somewhat weak. Luckily, he turns out to be right. I'm wondering how the aliens could have tampered with their vehicle, and why only the engine compartment was affected. Could Tom be an alien informer? At least we don't have to worry about David having to drop his pursuit of alien invaders and go back to architect work anytime soon since he's being paid well to help Doneghan.
 

Act II

David and Tom arrive in taxi and approach a helicopter awaiting them in a parking lot. Eve comes running out of a building screaming for Tom, but he does not hear her, and has to be told by a man waiting by the helicopter that a young lady is calling him. David asks who she is and he tells her it's Doneghan's wife, that he called her when he called for the cab, as she had a right to know.


He approaches her, explaining he felt he had to call her and she interrupts him with a full force backhand to the chops. He sarcastically says that will help Doneghan a lot, as he rubs his face. She asks who did it and why he let it happen, and then caresses the unslapped side of his face. She asks what it's all about, but he says there's no time to explain and they'll get him back. She asks if he's sure he wants to and he responds that he's more sure of that then she is. He begins to walk away and she calls to him to apologize and beg forgiveness, but he turns away and heads toward the copter. Up in the air, David suggests they spend a half hour trying to pick up the signal, and then head for the hospital near Tuscon where Dr. Markham is staying, since he's their last lead.


Meanwhile, the truck carrying Doneghan arrives at its destination and he is escorted out by aliens in green jumpsuits. One of the aliens informs him there is no pointing in hoping since his friends aren't coming now or ever. Doneghan tries to run away, but is held by two aliens who load him into a van waiting nearby.


David Vincent slides open an observation panel on a door, and he and Tom look in at Dr. Markham, who is clad in robe and jammies, cowering in a corner with bloody bandages taped to both temples. They are informed by a doctor that he's been that way ever since they brought him in. David asks if he's said anything and is told that they had one session with him when he arrived and it's on tape. David says it's important that he hear it and the doctor readily agrees to share it with nary an argument about patient confidentiality.


On the tape, Dr. Markham states they're not human and describes the terrible pain, that they're leeches and he's got to get out, and he begins sobbing. He adds that they've got Hastings and all of them, that they're buried in hell and they've got to save them. He gets agitated and asks how they can do this and what kind of beings they are and begs them not to do it anymore as he repeatedly cries no. The doctor shuts off the tape. David asks if that's all and is told they were the last words he said. David reflects on Markham's statement that they're buried in hell and asks where he was found in New Mexico. The doctor replies that he was found forty miles north of Silver City.


Tom and David are back in the helicopter and David examines the silent transmitter receiver. Tom informs him that they passed over Silver City a half hour ago while David peers through binoculars. The receiver in his lap begins to emit a sound and he picks it up, saying they've got him. He directs Tom to head left and then more left.


The van with Doneghan arrives at a mining company and he's led to the underground mine where Markham escaped. He is brought in front of an alien indicator device that begins beeping as he passes by. They stand him in front of it while a third searches him and tears off the medallion and stomps on it. The signal on the receiver David is holding goes silent. 




We hear the first mention of leeches, which may refer to the devices they are using to extract information from the abducted experts, or to the aliens who are somehow profiting from their knowledge. Eve Doneghan seems to be our token female this episode, though she seems to have little use other than making us wonder if Tom will not try very hard to find his best friend so he can have his best friend's wife all to himself. Eve is unfortunately portrayed as a hysterical female who vacillates between anger and love, and is most definitely not an alien. I am still wondering how the aliens knew that Tom and David were planning on coming for Doneghan. If Tom didn't tell them, then how would they know?


Act III

David stares at the silent transmitter and Tom says he doesn't think they have enough fuel to get to the nearest airport, but David tells him to keep going. He says he can't fly on his nerve and David says to give him ten minutes since they were going in the right direction when they lost the signal, and that the longer they stay up, the better their chances of spotting something. Tom agrees to give it ten more minutes. 


Doneghan is brought to a room with mattresses laid on blocks. Two men are sleeping and another is sitting up. Doneghan recognizes him as Bill Hastings from Caltech, but Hastings does not immediately recognize him, and says he's sorry to see him there. Doneghan identifies himself and reminds him that they worked together on the coast a year ago. He asks what they've done to him and he describes the machines that literally probe the head, taking from it whatever knowledge is desired. 


Doneghan explains that he's not there by accident, that he's working with others who will be trying to find him, and that if they do, they'll need his help. Two aliens enter and grab Doneghan by the armpits and drag him to a mattress. One holds him by the throat from behind, while another maintains his grip under his arm. A third alien enters with his hand behind his back and brings out a pointy probe that rotates as he brings it toward the viewer. We hear Doneghan give a muffled groan as something gets probed. 



 
Tom lands the helicopter in the middle of nowhere while David gets out and looks through binoculars and consults a map. Tom sarcastically says that this was a great idea and David tells him not to worry, that they'll find him. He adds that he told Doneghan he shouldn't have talked to him in the first place and David responds that he was really eaten up as evidenced by his interaction with his wife at the heliport. He immediately apologizes, claiming lack of sleep, but Tom acknowledges he's right to say it, that it's true he's been in love with Eve for over a year. 


David says to leave him out of it, but Tom continues, explaining that Doneghan's been his best friend since the landings at Pusan, and that he didn't want to fall for his wife. He says that a guy like Doneghan has no business getting married, that he spends all his time at his factory and has no time for her. He says it's not her fault, he was around, he loved her, and she knew it. He tells David he doesn't believe they're going to find Doneghan and when David asks if he's going to quit, he says he is. He says they've lost him thanks to David and that Eve needs him more than David does. David says he's quitting without conscience or remorse, which elicits this strange bit of dialogue from Tom: "Who do you think you're talking to Vincent, some schoolboy? Well I've got news for you, pal. Life is no Sunday school picnic. You take what you can get when you can get it, and right now I'm taking." He takes off to catch a ride on the highway and David is left on his own.


Two aliens are dragging Doneghan to the alien probe chair and he's secured in place while metal prongs are place about his head. While an alien pulls levers, Doneghan grimaces, grunts and groans as lighted view screens display equations, schematics and rockets taking off.






I agree with David Vincent. It's none of our business if Tom loves Eve and he should just leave us all out of it. He's not much of a best friend to just give him up for dead so he can run off with the wife, leaving David on his own to try and find him. I do enjoy the simplistic alien technology. They appear to have a fondness for geometric shapes. It seems their technique of extraction actually removes the knowledge from the victim, which is in keeping with the leech motif.


Act IV

David is wandering along, when a filthy old guy stumbles along, crying for help. He falls and David goes to him, asking if he escaped from them. He identifies himself as Professor Arthur Millington and asks him for help. David agrees to help him, but that first he has to show him where they kept him. He says he won't go back, but David insists he's got to go back because there are other men there that need to be freed. The prof says he can't do any good because there are too many of them and that they're too strong. David says he doesn't have to go all the way, just close enough to show where he was kept. He asks for a minute because he's so tired. He tells him he can see the place he wants just over the rise.


As David goes to look, the old guy gets up and pulls out an alien gun. Just as he is about to fire it at David, we hear multiple gunshots that strike him from behind. David draws his gun and turns around to see Tom with a gun as the old man glows red and disappears. 


He asks David what that was and he explains that he was an alien and that's how they die on Earth. He asks where Tom came from and he explains that he changed his mind. He says he was wandering around looking for David, when he saw a jeep tearing across the desert suddenly stop to let the old guy off and then took off again. David asks where the jeep came from and Tom leads him to look at the deserted mining camp. David recalls that Dr. Markham said that they were buried in hell, and that he must have meant the mine. David says they should get moving before they miss their buddy, and adds that he's glad Tom came back. Tom says he's glad too...so far.


The aliens observe the desert on their view screen, noting that he's not back yet. The alien in charge sends the other two out to investigate and they patrol outside with weapons drawn. David and Tom creep toward the mine. David kicks an alien down and karate chops him to put him out. Tom sneaks up on the other and knocks the weapon from him, slams his fist down on his back, and knees him in the face. The alien falls to the ground, seemingly unconscious, though holding his face out of the dirt. 




David and Tom enter the mine with guns drawn. They take separate paths and David hears bats squeaking as they crawl along the wall. Tom hears the sound of alien machinery from behind a door. David sees aliens carrying trays and follows them to where the men are kept on mattresses, where they are serving Hastings a bowl of food. David creeps up behind the alien at the door and Doneghan sees him give him a nod. When the alien brings the tray to Doneghan, David slams the butt of his gun on the alien's back, while Doneghan body slams the other one against the wall. As he rolls around and wrestles with him, David hits the alien on the back with the butt of his gun. David helps Hastings while Doneghan helps another man, stating they'll come back for the third. 


Tom is prying open the door to the room where he hears the sound of machinery, and sees an alien monitoring the device. He enters, and when the alien in charge comes in behind him and yells, he whips around and shoots him and then turns back to fire at the other one, causing him to glow red and dissipate. Other aliens come running in and he shoots and kills the first one, but when he attempts to fire at the second, he finds that he's out of ammo. He fights him off with kicks and punches while the wounded alien in charge crawls on the ground and presses a button that reveals a knob that he pulls down, apparently engaging a self-destruct device as there are many resulting explosions and cave ins.





Tom tries to make his way out, as do David and Doneghan, while dirt and rocks fall. David and Doneghan make it out, but Tom gets buried in rock as he screams for Vincent. David runs to the door, but an explosion throws him back, plastering his face with earth.




So Tom redeems himself by coming back at the right time to save David Vincent, who has been tricked by an alien again. It is interesting to note that David does not shoot and kill the aliens, but knocks them out instead.
 

Epilog

Warren Doneghan comes to visit David in the hospital, telling him it's been three days when David asks how long it's been. He asks how he's feeling but then says not to bother to answer. He tells him that Tom didn't make it and neither did the other abductee. He also says there's nothing left of the mine but debris. David tells him they've got to go to Washington and he says he's been there, that he got them to send an investigator out, but there was no real evidence. David asks about the kidnapping, which he says they acknowledged, but they don't know who or why, and would investigate based on the evidence. 


He tells him that Hastings and the real Arthur Millington are worse off than Markham. David asks if their minds are gone and he nods. He asks David if it was worth it and David says yes, because they destroyed what they were doing and destroyed them. Doneghan tells him not to quit and that he doesn't intend to. David replies that he's counting on it and asks about his wife. He says she's alright, that he loves her and will do his best to convince her of that. He leaves the room and meets her where she waits outside the door, while David lays in bed staring as William Woodson begins his narration.

Two men with their eyes on the heavens who now share a common knowledge. Together they have faced the Invader. Together they have learned the grave threat he represents to the human race. And now, as they again pursue their separate destinies, they remain more than ever, men with their eyes on the heavens.

Co-Starring:
Robert H. Harris as Hastings
Theo Marcuse as Noel Markham

With:
 Peter Brocco...Millington
Noah Keen...Psychiatrist
William Wintersole...Alien in Charge
Hank Brandt...Man
Ray Kellog...Guard

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:
Dominic Frontiere


The Invaders are torturing humans by 'literally' probing their brains and sucking knowledge out of them, leaving them as mindless shells, but at least they feed them and give them soft mattresses. They are a funny lot that way. What they will do with the information is left to our imagination. It was unusual hearing one of the green suited aliens talk since they usually stay silent and just look menacing. 

Now that David has finally found another person who's seen the Invaders and lived to tell about it, they each decide to pursue separate paths rather than teaming up. I guess Doneghan is going to be too busy trying to prove to his wife that he loves her to be able to spend too much time chasing down aliens.  

The detailed information about Warren's marriage and Tom's betrayal seemed unnecessary and I'm trying to find a reason to justify its inclusion so I won't interpret it as a drag on the episode. Was it just padding the storyline or was it supposed to make us feel less disappointed that Tom bit it in the end? Perhaps it was meant for us to understand that just as some humans are flawed, the same may be true of the aliens, and you can't judge the entire race of beings by the characteristics of a few. It's still an enjoyable episode and we get to learn more about what the Invaders are doing to meet their goal of making Earth their world.




Frank Overton will be on hand in next week's episode.

2 comments:

  1. This is the first episode that I distinctly remember seeing in 1967.

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  2. A good, "workmanlike" episode that's enjoyable to watch, just don't expect too much. Not sure, though, just why aliens capable of inter-stellar flight need all these human scientists captive for their "knowledge"?

    Nevertheless, a basically interesting plot, as far as it goes. We do get another chance to see more alien "Mid-Century Modern" devices and equipment, which is always a joy.

    Okay -- yet another rather tedious sub-plot involving scientist Arthur Hill, his (unfaithful?) wife, and his best friend and bodyguard Mark Richman. I just sorta dismiss these standard TV sub-plots as both "time filler" and some effort to try and inject interest in these guest characters. The tedious home scenes I assume were included to "flesh out" the characters so that we really care what happens to them. Yeah, right. The irony of it all is that the star of "The Invaders" -- David Vincent himself -- remains a rather "cardboard character" throughout the show... yet who cares? We enjoy "The Invaders" all the same!

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