Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Episode 18: Condition: Red - 9/5/67

A woman is enjoying an afternoon horseback ride as two gentlemen stand by awkwardly and watch her. She is about to cross the road when a driver speeds around the curve with squealing tires, spooking the horse and causing it to throw her off. The driver pulls over and pries open her eyelid before checking her pulse. He looks dismayed and removes her wallet from her pocket before heading to a police call box which is conveniently located a few steps away.


He identifies himself as Dr. Rogers and explains that a woman named Laurie Keller was thrown from her horse and died up on Highway 14. He says he'll bring her in, but as he walks back toward the presumed dead woman, he sees a man helping her sit up, while the other two seen earlier stand nearby.


They approach the good doctor, grabbing him by the arms, and drag him to a pond as he protests. They hold him under the water as the threatening Invaders music plays.



http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0611976/?ref_=ttep_ep1


Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent


Guest Stars:
  as Laurie Keller

as Maj. Dan Keller


Written by:
Laurence Heath

Directed by:



Act I

A physician reports the death of a woman. Two hours later, her husband, a NORAD Major, reports her very much alive. The newspaper account attracted no particular attention, but David Vincent knew that an alien, unconscious without pulse or heartbeat, might easily be mistaken for dead, even by a doctor. And so he arranged to visit NORAD's Combat Operation's Center, 1,400 feet beneath Cheyenne Mountain and a natural target for the Invaders.

David joins a tour at NORAD, posing as journalist, Robert Davis, which doesn't fool the security guard, who has a particularly goofy photo of him attached to his clipboard. He calls up Major Stanhope in Intelligence, and informs him he was right to suspect that Davis was actually David Vincent. Stanhope tells the guard to allow him to join the tour and goes to his file cabinet and pulls a file with David Vincent's name out of many labelled "Unidentified Flying Objects."


The officer leading the tour explains to the group of journalists in the jeep that the tour is designed to inform the public, as well as potential enemies, about the defensive capabilities of the facility, as he drives into a tunnel.


General Winters enters a door marked "Top Secret: For Concerned Eyes Only," and approaches Major Keller. He inquires about his wife, and Keller says she's fine, but more concerned about what happened to the doctor. The General hands a file to Keller who reads it and remarks they'll be able to install the new tapes the next day.


The tour enters the war room where uniformed officers sit around beeping computers in front of a large, lighted display of North America, as the tour guide informs them that they think of it as "The Peace Room." He explains that the map shows all objects in the air above North America, and that the defense of North America depends on the reliability of the computers tracking these aerial objects.


He shows them the computer section as they pass the door marked Top Secret, noting they will have to pass it up. David asks if they might be able to interview any of the section personnel, and is told he might be able to hook something up with the public information officer. Inside the room, data is being entered onto cards and large standing computers are whirring, while Major Keller rubs a small mark on his forehead as he studies a report.



David later arrives at Major Keller's home under the pretense of writing an article on the home life of a NORAD officer. Keller pours David a scotch and soda and begs forgiveness for not being able to join him as he's got to get back to work and is limited on time. David notices the photo of a woman on an end table, and Keller tells him it's his first wife, Donna, who died of a heart attack six months ago.


David sits down and asks how long he's known his current wife. Keller tells him he's known her three months, but gets uptight and asks why he wants to know about his personal life. David comes clean and explains he's not a journalist, but is trying to find out about a plot against NORAD's computer section. Keller reassures him they have excellent security, but David says he wanted to find out some things about his second wife, as she makes her way down the stairs. She offers to make them lunch, but Keller explains that Mr. Davis was just leaving. He tells Keller that he'll see him again before he departs. Laurie asks Dan what that was all about, but he puts her off.


David is on the road and gets stuck behind a slow moving RV trailer and impatiently honks his horn. The driver pulls across the road to block it and gets out, displaying his deformed pinky finger. David turns around and sees a car approaching from behind, but puts his car in reverse and pulls over to escape down an embankment. Two aliens follow him with disintegrator ray guns.


David is in the office of Major Stanhope, who asks him why NORAD hasn't spotted the alien spacecraft he's telling him about. Major Keller enters the office, suspecting he'd find Mr. Davis there, and Stanhope clarifies that his name isn't Davis, but the renowned David Vincent with the UFO theories. Keller asks if he believes him, and Stanhope remarks that after five years in UFO investigation, there are many unanswered questions.

He asks Dan to sit down and explains that David believes that Laurie may not be what she seems. Keller asks why, and David asks him why a doctor called state police, claiming she was dead. Keller claims he made a mistake, but David says it's not likely from a physician with 30 years experience, and that after he called, he drowned. David explains that there are aliens on Earth without heartbeat or pulse and that a doctor could mistake an unconscious alien for a dead human. He suggests that Stanhope have their doctors examine Laurie. Keller leaves in a huff.


Stanhope tells David that he doesn't have the authority to bring Laurie in and can't force her to have a medical examination. David says he'll see him later.

Keller is examining the mark on his forehead in the mirror as Laurie watches him from the bed. He chuckles to himself and she asks him what's funny. He tells her that the guy there earlier goes around the country preaching about aliens with no heartbeats or pulses. She says it's not funny, but sad. Keller tells her that he said she was an alien being, and then he mashes lips with her. She turns her ring around as she holds it behind his neck, and as it begins to impart a red pulsating light on his neck, he freezes up.


She sits him down on the bed and takes a control box from the dresser, along with a metal band that she fits around his head. She sits in a chair with a notepad and presses a button on the box, reminding him that they were talking about an area southwest of Alaska, within the NORAD defense perimeter, and asks what reel of computer tape that's on. She asks how the tape could be reprogrammed so it didn't detect 20 spacecraft approaching, and he responds with some techno gibberish. 



It is clear that the Invaders are not messing around this season as they immediately drown a witness at the beginning of this premiere episode. As in "Moonshot," we have another alien spouse posing as a human, only this one is using mind control on her significant other to gain access to North American defense systems. Pretty scary stuff! In addition, there are 20 incoming spacecraft, indicating growing numbers of aliens invading Earth. 

I have to wonder why the aliens don't work harder to conceal their pinky deformity? They're always rubbing their faces or adjusting their glasses, and letting their pinky fingers stand out. For a group of beings that's obsessed with remaining incognito, this is an area they need to improve.


Act II

Laurie is out riding her horse at night as David Vincent watches from behind some trees. She meets up with her alien buddies at a secluded cabin. Inside, she shares her notes with Mr. Arius, who asks a computer guy to reprogram what he hands him.

At home, Dan Keller wakes up in a sweat, shouting for Laurie. He stumbles downstairs, rubbing his neck and grasping his forehead. He looks in the mirror at the odd mark on his head, as the aliens in the cabin hand the reprogrammed tape to Laurie. She asks if the attack is still scheduled for the next morning, and Mr. Arius confirms it will happen at 10:22, which is the odd sort of time schedule you'd expect from aliens. David watches as she emerges from the cabin and rides off on her horse.


As he begins to follow, an alien jumps him from behind and they get into a fistfight. David knocks out the alien and manages to get to his car, but sees the aliens approach with their disintegrators, and rolls out of the car down the hill. They disintegrate his car, believing he is still inside it.



Laurie arrives home and quietly places the reprogrammed tape in Dan's briefcase. She sneaks into the bedroom and realizes Dan is not in bed. He calls out to her in the dark and she asks why he's not in bed. He explains he has a terrible headache and was worried about her. She says she couldn't sleep and went for a ride in the mountains. She offers him headache medicine, but he says he'll pass since he already feels drugged. He tells her he had a nightmare and felt that his brain was being scooped out of his head. He demands that she stop going for rides at night and they argue about it.


Laurie is using her human hubby to reprogram computer tapes and slip them into NORAD's computer system to hide incoming alien ships. If that weren't bad enough, an imminent attack is planned. Does this represent an escalation of the invasion that they're waging an all out attack that will surely expose their presence?


Act III

David has to hitch a ride back to NORAD since his car was disintegrated.

Meanwhile, Major Dan enters a room and removes Reel 9 from a queue and stashes it in a file drawer. He looks anguished, almost as though he were trying to fight the mind control, but he replaces the reel with the reprogrammed tape Laurie placed in his briefcase.


David explains his alien encounter that evening to Stanhope, who explains that a patrol is out in search of the alien cabin hideout. Keller enters the room, asking what David is after now. At the same time, the computer reels are being loaded into the machines. Keller admits to Stanhope that Laurie was out the previous night when David says that he saw her. David says he must have enough to question her.

The Captain enters and informs them that the patrol reported back that there was nothing in the shack but dust and it looked like no-one had been near it for years. David says they're experts at covering their tracks. David appeals to him as an Intelligence officer to consider every possibility. Keller agrees to bring Laurie in. David warns him that if she knows why he's bringing her, she won't come.


Keller arrives home where Laurie is busily arranging flowers in a vase like a good alien wife. He invites her to go with him to check out NORAD and talk to his friend, Pete Stanhope. She guesses it's about the "alien thing," and he says he didn't think she'd object to going. She says it's really about him and claims that something is troubling him. She asks if it's Donna, faking some human emotion as her eyes well up. She asks if he thinks she trapped him into marriage with some kind of witchcraft, then squeezes out a few tears and asks if aliens cry. He falls for it and embraces her, giving her a chance to twist her mind control ring around and train it on his neck. He stiffens, and she says she'll come with him, as she sits him down and makes a call, requesting for someone to come get her.


That mind control ring is a wife's best friend, though, isn't it? Things aren't looking good for Major Dan Keller. It seems like he may be struggling against the mind control device. Will he be able to escape before the aliens arrive and do away with him?


Act IV

Major Dan is acting twitchy as Laurie packs her clothes, with the metal mind control headband and a gun on the bed. Stanhope calls, but she doesn't answer, and he assumes they're on the way, but David is unsure. Keller grasps his neck and grunts, while David paces. Stanhope reassures him, saying he'll be there, but David says he won't if he served his purpose and they're finished with him. Stanhope makes a call requesting a rundown on what Keller did on base that day.


The mind control ring's effects seem to be wearing off on Dan as he stumbles upstairs.

Stanhope questions an officer who reports that Maj. Keller requested that he replace computer tapes. David pulls Stanhope aside, telling him that Laurie had something in her saddlebag, and asks if it could have something to do with the tapes.

Dan lurches into the bedroom and asks Laurie what happened to him. She calmly states that he just fell asleep, as she continues to pack. He asks where she's going and she says they're going on a trip. She picks up the gun from the bed, pointing it at him, and he exclaims that it's true. He asks why, and she explains that they need a base, and at 10:22, they'll have it. He rushes her and they struggle over the gun. It goes off and he immediately releases her when she begins to glow red. He is stunned to find remnants of ash on the carpet where she disintegrated.



The aliens arrive and Mr. Arius lets himself in the house, making his way upstairs, as Dan finds Laurie's reprogramming notes in her suitcase. The clock shows 10:15, so the alien attack is imminent. He calls Stanhope and manages to utter, "Reel...9" as Mr. Arius enters the room and shoots him repeatedly. Stanhope calls his name and sends officers to Dan's home, believing he's been shot. David asks what he said and Stanhope tells him. He asks a nearby officer if there's a way to alter a reel to make the computer ignore specific information and the officer says it's possible. Stanhope calls the general, saying there could be an error in the programming.



Mr. Arius packs up Laurie's suitcase, leaving Dan unconscious on the bed.

Stanhope hangs up, saying they're switching to backup computers as they watch the display. The display blips out for a brief moment and when it comes back on, a large group of ships in triangular formation crosses Alaska as alarms blare. David asks what's happening, and Stanhope tells him they have a Condition: Red. Airmen race out to their Air Force jets, which immediately deploy. They nervously watch the blips of fighter jets approaching the formation of alien ships.








Mr. Arius meets up with his alien buddies in the woods, saying they have to intercept them, as they dash to a truck with some type of radar on top of the vehicle. The group of alien ships immediately turns and retreats. David says they were warned.


Officers find Major Dan on the bed, along with a note addressed to him. The Captain calls Stanhope to inform him that the Major is dead. David asks about Laurie, and Stanhope says she left a "Dear John note."


I thought that cool footage of the fighter jets provided a realistic feeling that we were going to war with the aliens. The big news here is that NORAD has seen for themselves that the aliens are planning an invasion. Surely this information can't be shrugged off, can it? 


Epilog

David enters Stanhope's office, where he is standing before a map with a large red arrow showing the trajectory of the alien ships to the islands south of Alaska. He tells David that he's been trying to make some military sense out of what happened. He hands him the General's report on the Condition: Red, which explains the UFOs as natural phenomena. David notes it says nothing about the changes in computer tape. Stanhope explains that the General thought the Major was worried about his private life and made a mistake as a result. David asks how he feels and Stanhope says the talk on the base speculated that he may have married Laurie too soon after his first wife died, and supposes one could say he did make a mistake. He wishes David luck and tells him to stick with it.


The Invader has lost a battle. But David Vincent knows that somewhere in space, new strategies are already being devised. For the war has only begun.


Co-Starring:
Mort Mills as Mr. Arius
Simon Scott as Major Pete Stanhope
Forrest Compton as Captain Chester Albertson


With:
Robert Brubaker...General Winters
Burt Douglas...Capt. Burt Connors
Roy Engel...Doctor Rogers


Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:

Invaders Theme by:
 

The aliens have intensified their efforts by coordinating an attack to establish a base of alien ships, sparking a defense command response, which makes it all the more distressing that the government remains in denial about alien invaders, and quite confusing to see David Vincent calmly accept it. I assume if the aliens had engaged the Air Force jets, they would have obliterated them, but then the entire world would know of their presence.  

While it may seem like typical Season 1 fare, the narration at episode's end, informing us that the war has only begun, leads us to expect the aliens to get closer to leading an all out attack on Earth. Will the humans be prepared for it, or will they continue to stick their heads in the sand, and allow the aliens to make it their world? This episode receives a four pinky rating for the DEFCON style response, the late 60s computer technology, and the fabulous alien mind control equipment.



Dabney Coleman makes a second appearance on The Invaders next week, along with Anne Francis and Charles Drake.

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