Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Episode 14: Panic - 4/11/67

A truck is ambling along a country road when some kid suddenly runs out in front of it, holding up his arms to stop it. He is panicked, saying his mother's had an accident back at the house and he's got to get to town to a doctor. The driver says it's against company rules. The young lad exclaims, "In the name of God, PLEASE!" to which he immediately responds, "Okay, pile in," with a friendly smile.


Two guys pull their car to the side of the road and scrutinize the cars passing by them. The truck begins to approach, but the kid spots them and pulls on the truck driver's arm to get him to pull over, and he sneaks out of the truck. The two guys see it and begin to follow the kid down the hill.


The truck is weaving in the road. The truck driver's buddy asks him what's wrong, but all he says is, "it's where he grabbed me," and clutches his arm. His buddy tries to take the wheel, but they go off the road. A passerby in a truck stops and checks inside the cab. The driver is a bit bluish with some frost about the temples and brow. His buddy notes that he's frozen, despite the fact that it's summer.



http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0611985/?ref_=ttep_ep14


Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
Robert Walker as Nick Baxter

Lynn Loring as Madeline Flagg

R.G. Armstrong as Gus Flagg


Written by:

Directed by:



Act I

A truck driver's bizarre death only added to the growing panic in a remote corner of West Virginia. Nine had died in a 48-hour period - all frozen. Six hours ago, it became the responsibility of Dr. George Grundy, United States Public Health Service, to bring this epidemic to an end - to find an answer to deaths for which medical authorities found no answer. One man suspects the true nature of this strange and terrifying blight; that its source lies somewhere out in the vast reaches of space. That man: David Vincent.
An officer introduces David Vincent to Dr. Grundy, saying he thinks he should hear what he has to say. David says he spoke with the truck driver's partner who said they picked up a hitchhiker who touched the driver before he died, and if he finds the hitchhiker, he'll find the cause to all the recent deaths. Grundy is not impressed. He says he also interviewed the partner, who didn't mention any hitchhiker. David explains that he was afraid of losing his job.

He pulls out a map and tracks the path where they picked up the hitchhiker and the places victims were found frozen, indicating he's heading toward Morgan's Corner. A nosy officer listens in as he peers over a partition. He says that's where he should have his men look. Grundy says it's interesting and he'll have men check on it as soon as they're available. David is not pleased with his response and asks for a car so he can try himself. Grundy dismisses him and leaves, but the officer who introduced them tells him he'll see what he can do. The nosy officer is watching.


The alien agents seen following the kid earlier head toward Morgan's Corner. One is speaking into a communication device to the nosy officer. He tells him where they're heading and says that David Vincent is his responsibility. He opens the door and watches him drinking a cup of coffee. The two aliens stop outside a shop at Morgan's Corner, while the kid watches them from the shop window. The shopkeeper is describing a map he requested, but he interrupts her to ask if there's another way out. She says the front has always been good enough. As he climbs over the counter, he says the two men outside were sent by his girlfriend's father to look for him, explaining that they want to get married but her father's against it. He begs with her not to expose him.

The aliens enter and say they're looking for a young man in a red plaid jacket and ask if she's seen him. She says that she hasn't. They say they may be back and warn her not to let him near her as he could be dangerous. They leave and she begins to make a phone call. She guesses that he's not getting married, but something else is going on, and says he should let her call the police. He grasps her hands and says he appreciates her trying to help him.


Deputy Wallace is driving David Vincent to Morgan's Corner. He asks why someone else would be looking for him. David says he doesn't know, except that he's running from somebody or something, which is why they need to get to him first, just as the alien officer in charge of taking care of David Vincent leans forward from the back seat.


They pull up to the shop at Morgan's Corner where a police car and ambulance are parked outside. They go inside the crowded shop and see the frozen shopkeeper being wheeled out on a stretcher. Deputy Wallace says David's map may be right and tells Officer Phil to keep an eye out for a young fellow in a red plaid jacket. David adds that he shouldn't touch him or allow himself to be touched by him. Deputy Wallace suggest they split up so they can work faster and prevent any more deaths. The alien officer stops to look at him and they all depart.

The young kid is running toward a Motel and sees the alien agents talking to someone outside. He turns and begins running through a creek. David is speaking with a gas station attendant who asks him why everyone wants to know about the kid in the red jacket. David asks who else has been asking, and he tells him two guys in a blue coupe and then two deputies came by and asked. He adds that one of the deputies is still there in the washroom. David goes in and finds Deputy Wallace on the ground without his gun. The gas station attendant asks if he's like the others, but David says when the doctor arrives, he'll find that it's a cerebral hemorrhage. He asks what happened to the other deputy and the man says he took off after the kid up the road. David tells him to call the sheriff and tell him what happened and jumps into the man's truck, saying he'll bring it back later.

David drives up on the alien deputy and passes him on the road. He turns off the road and sees the kid in the red plaid jacket. He pulls over and asks the kid if he needs a ride and tells him to climb in. The kid sees the police car at the end of the road and runs off. David pulls over and approaches the place he saw him run. The alien deputy gets out and begins to approach. David ambushes him and gives him a punch and a kick, while the kid runs out past them both. He grabs the gun and tells the sniffly kid to hold it. He tells the kid to drive and keeps the gun trained on him and a keeps good distance between them. The alien deputy struggles up from the ground and watches them leave.



The aliens are after some snot nosed kid who can freeze people just by touching them. This juvenile delinquent has already killed ten people and seems to be having better success at conquering Earth than all the other alien plots we've seen thus far, but the aliens seem to want to stop him. What's that all about then? David Vincent will no doubt find some answers in the next act.

 

Act II

David exchanges introductions with the kid, alien Nick, who attempts to shake his hand, but Vincent warns him off, telling him he knows who he is and what he is. Nick continues to sniffle. He asks where David is taking him and he says he's taking him to the sheriff. He says he couldn't help being sick and freezing those people to death. He says that the aliens are not all bad, just as humans are not all good, and demonstrates his knowledge of the human race by citing Capone and Hitler. He says that many of them have to follow orders and don't like what they have to do. David replies that that's what the Nazis said after they took Europe.


Nick slams on the brakes and David tells him to keep driving, but Nick says he has to hear him out or shoot him. David says he'll blow his head off before he takes the chance that he'll hurt another human. Nick says he has a virus from his planet that's communicated by touch. He says only his people can help him, and if he gets him to his people, he'll get David evidence of their invasion plans. He says they've just built a new landing site and a saucer is coming in before dawn that he wants to be aboard. David tells him to drive.

The alien cop communicates to the other two aliens pursuing by car and they determine that they have them trapped between them. The two guys block the road and David directs Nick to turn off on another road. They come across some bike riders on the path and David tells him to look out, but Nick barrels toward them, forcing David to grab the wheel and cause them to careen off the road. They crash into a stream and David tells the tandem bike riders to get out of there as the alien dudes arrive on scene. David and Nick take off running while the aliens get out to inspect the abandoned truck.



David and Nick wander in circles for hours until they are forced to stop and rest their weary selves in the grass, giving sniffly Nick the opportunity to say that half a dozen of his people are looking for them. He asks if it's worth it to save his precious mankind. They hear footsteps approach and as they go to get up, Nick jumps David, who holds him off with his gloved hands. They stop as they hear rustling in the brush nearby. David directs the brush rustler to come out and a girl in an ugly orange sweater emerges from behind a tree.


David asks who she is and she says she was just out for a walk. He asks if she lives near there and she gazes at alien Nick before she tells David yes. David tells her he has to get in touch with the sheriff and asks where her house is. She leads them back to her house while her Daddy stops chopping wood to go inside and get his rifle when he sees them approach.


David tells him that he needs to get in touch with the sheriff, but dear old dad says the nearest phone is at the cafe three miles away. He says he can make the call for him and asks how much it's worth. David offers ten bucks and the privilege of being a good citizen, but pappy is not impressed. He asks Nick how much he'll give him not to go. He says he doesn't have anything on him now, so Gus asks for $5 up front from David. He takes the money and says he'll be back in a few hours.

David and Nick enter the house with the girl and her dog. David locks the door behind them and tells Nick to put on the gloves. He asks the girl for a rope and he ties Nick's hands behind his back and secures him to a support beam. He asks when her dad will be back and she responds it will be some time after dark while she gawks at alien Nick.



I was wrong. David Vincent learned little he didn't already know about this alien kid. Now he's holed up with a doe eyed West Virginian teenager and an infected alien while Gus is probably spending David Vincent's five bucks down at the saloon as we slog through the next act. What kind of dad would leave his nubile daughter alone with two men out in the middle of nowhere anyway? It may have led to Lynn Loring and Roy Thinnes getting married a month after this episode aired.


Act III

The alien cop and pursuers meet up at the Bugler Cafe to ask the lady working there if she's seen a kid in a red plaid jacket accompanying a man, but she declines having seen them. The alien cop decides to take a drive to check out Pete's Place down the road while the alien dudes hang out at the Bugler to enjoy vending machine coffee.


Alien Nick tells David he should get some sleep since he's not going anywhere. He talks to the girl to try an win her sympathy. David explains his tactic to try and convince her to help him get free. She tells him to get off his back, but alien Nick concedes that's exactly what he was trying to do. His tactic starts working on her as she asks David how he's supposed to eat the eggs she made for him with his hands tied. David says his hands will stay tied and she argues that he's the one with the gun and is more dangerous. She quips he should let him make a run for it so he can have the fun of killing him and walks away in a huff.


David follows her into the other room and tries to explain to Madeline that if she tries to help the handsome, all-American boy she could become victim number eleven. She tells him to stop treating her like she "just fell off the Christmas tree." She tells him she's been to the big city and has been married and ditched. He tells her he's a good salesman and ten people are dead because they listened to him.

She goes back into the other room and Nick denies that he killed anyone, saying he can prove that he was miles away when they died. He continues to work on her with his lies as David gets woozy in the other room and collapses on the floor. Nick pleads with her to help him get away to find witnesses that can prove his innocence.


David comes to and finds his gun missing as well as Nick and the girl. The two alien men drive up in the car with Gus, who explains he ran into the deputies at the Bugler cafe. David sees who he's with and grabs his rifle to shoot the alien agents. Gus is shocked to see the men glow and vaporize, and turns on David to demand to know where Madeline is.





Will David and daddy Gus find a frozen Madeline in the next act? Will the Invaders finally catch up to the sick kid and deal with him? Surely something eventful will happen in the next act.


Act IV

Madeline is walking through the dark forest with Nick and an unsettled, whiny dog Charley. Nick's not happy to have him along, saying she should have let him tie the dog up. While she walks off, the bastard takes off his glove and pets Charley's head.


David and Gus are staring at a map while he asks if there's a place where a spaceship could land. Gus says it's all woods and asks about his daughter with the alien. David says he won't harm her as long as he needs her to guide him. He tells him to look again at the map. He then realizes there's a meadow in the area. They leave in search of it.

Madeline tells Nick it's not too much further off. She begins calling for Charley and he shushes her. She thinks something has happened to him and Nick says he must have gone home. She says she's going to go back to look for him. Nick tells her they've got to keep going and points the gun at her, saying he hasn't come that far just to get lost. Madeline seems to have realized her mistake.


Gus and David tramp through the forest and find poor frozen Charley. David stops him before he touches the dogsicle.


David asks if there's a quicker way to get to the meadow. They arrive by daylight and witness a spaceship in a field with green jumpsuit aliens walking back and forth from the ship to a truck nearby. Gus has an epiphany and just as he starts to fear that Madeline is on the spaceship, David spots her leading Nick toward the meadow.


Gus starts running off half cocked to sound an alarm, but David warns him he could cause the kid to panic and kill Madeline. He tells him to wait as he sneaks off down the hill under cover of brush. He ambushes the kid, who appears to be faltering, and kicks him down on the ground. He grabs Madeline and runs back up the hill, but the kid stumbles after them. Madeline is shocked to see the spaceship in the clearing.

Nick is relieved to see the ship and begins heading toward it. Gus sees him and decides he needs to stop them. He climbs the tower to sound the alarm, despite David yelling at him to get down. The kid tells him not to do it and begins shooting at him. Although he's hit by the third shot, Gus begins to wind the crank to the alarm as Nick continues shooting at him, hitting him several times until he finally falls from the tower. Madeline screams in horror. Nick heads to the spaceship which has lifted off and is hovering above the ground. He looks up at it, bathed in its red glow, and David arrives on scene to see the ship burn Nick up.






I'm glad the action finally picked up in Act IV and it did not disappoint. Nick is despicable for having killed ten humans, but it was the sweet, innocent dog he murdered that makes us unsympathetic to his demise. Gus was a jerk when we first met him, but after having seen the Invaders and realizing there is a universe beyond his farm, he sacrifices himself in a selfless act.


Epilog

David is driving a shocked Madeline and offers to take her to Wheeling, but she says she prefers to be alone. She confirms with David that her father saw she was safe and asks why he did it. David replies he must have thought the rest of the human race was worth saving. She asks if they really saw that saucer and he affirms that they did. He drops her off at the bus depot. She thanks him and says goodbye as she sits on the steps to wait for the bus and David gets in his car and drives off during the closing narration.



Freezing deaths apparently ended and an alien landing site exposed. Grudging victories for David Vincent. But the Invader still walks unheeded on the planet Earth. Somehow, some way, he must be stopped.



Co-Starring:
Len Wayland as Deputy Wallace
Ross Hagen as Jorden
Ford Rainey as George Grundy

With:
Rayford Barnes...Alien Deputy
Robert Sorrells...Station Attendant
Joseph Perry...Joe Bagely
Helen Kleeb...Molly
Don Eitner...Webster
Don Ross...Ed Larson
Mercedes Shirley...Woman Attendant
Ralph Thomas...Deputy in Charge


Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:



This episode dragged quite a bit and was about to be my first two alien pinky rated episode, but it redeemed itself in the end and earned a passing mark. The inherent question in this episode is whether the human race is worth saving when there are so many humans who do despicable things. Nick says not all the aliens are bad, though we have not seen evidence of any truly good aliens yet. Gus demonstrates that humans are capable of change, so we are left to wonder if perhaps some aliens can also change. It leaves us open to the possibility that perhaps not all of the Invaders want to destroy the human race and conquer Earth. 


Don't miss next week's episode with Peter Graves.

1 comment:

  1. This was among my least favorite episodes, probably because I never liked Robert Walker Jr and his usual "alienated (if you'll pardon the pun) youth" screen persona (Star Trek's "Charlie X" being just one other example). But overall it's a weak episode anyways, without any real "punch". Okay, we DO get to see Roy Thinnes and real life wife Lynn Loring together, so I guess that's at least SOMETHING to recommend it? They would be together again for the early 70s TVMs "Black Noon" and "The Horror at 37,000 Feet" (though interestingly they were not husband and wife in the latter TVM -- William Shatner was Loring's husband in that). Was this the first episode to show that aliens, for all their advancement, DO have certain problems like we humans? Robert Walker Jr and his disease, and later Suzanne Pleshette in "The Pursued" as a nut-job, homicidal alien. (I wouldn't count Pleshette's first turn as an alien, "The Mutant" because she actually sounds like what the alien race originally was, before largely evolving into the emotionless, logic-driven aliens we see). Walker's performance is typically hammy and rather over-the-top, as he's just too cheerful and eager to "make friends". Aside from his deadly disease, is he also a "Mutant" like Suzanne Pleshette? Cause he sure doesn't act like a real alien. Anyways, 'nuff said about this inconsequential entry, except to add that much as I dislike the son, Robert Walker Sr was always a joy to watch in movies!

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