Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Episode 8: Doomsday Minus One - 2/28/67

An Army major enters the General's office to inform him he's checked the perimeter, that it seems clean but he feels that security is inadequate. He's interrupted by the secretary buzzing the intercom to announce that there's an urgent phone call for Major Graves from Mr. Spence. Major Graves asks the General if he can have more men and he says he'll let him know.

Major Graves takes the call from Spence, who asks where Vincent is, saying he was supposed to be there. Graves tells him to relax and reminds him that he said he wasn't coming in until the next afternoon. Spence is sweating bullets and asks how he can relax when he's being watched. Graves tells him he already closed his office and he can be halfway around the world tomorrow. He says he'll check with him later and hangs up on him.

Spence hangs up the phone in the booth he's in and finds that the door to the booth is stuck when he tries to exit. He starts banging on the door and yelling for help, but the alien patrons are too busy sucking on their martini olives and playing darts to give him any attention. One of the aliens signals the alien bartender (you may remember him wielding a pointy probe in The Leeches episode) to attend to him. He walks past the screaming man to turn on the juke box and then kicks the door open as another alien joins him. Spence steps out of the booth and asks what's going on. They grab him and apply the alien lighted disc to his neck and he goes down screaming.


Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Star:
William Windon as Major Rick Graves

and Special Guest Star:
Andrew Duggan as General Theodore Beaumont


Written by: 

Directed by:

Act I

David Vincent had received an urgent call from a man he'd never met, to come to a motel he'd never heard of, in a desert he'd never seen. But he came, because the message spoke of alien Invaders. The man he'd never met had disappeared; the motel he'd never heard of seemed menacing; but the desert he'd never seen promised him an answer.
David seems to know his way around the desert he's never seen and is able to craftily evade a car that's following him. He meets Major Graves at the edge of a very large crater. Graves tells him he's late and he explains it's because he had some trouble. He asks for his credentials and the Major accuses him of being suspicious. He says that he called him five minutes after Spence disappeared and that he was followed all the way from the motel.

Graves tells him they're at Graylock Crater which was made three months prior, that it was investigated and determined to be caused by a small meteor. Spence believes it was actually caused by a spaceship that crashed, because he had seen a spaceship land about fifty yards away from it a week before. Vincent asks if Graves believes him and he says he does because Spence is his best friend, he's a sane man, and because the spaceship was met by a man named Carl Wyeth. Wyeth is one of their top engineers who's connected with a major underground atomic test.

Graves needs proof that something is wrong on the base or he can't do anything about it. He wants David to get a job on the base because he's supposed to be an authority on these...'people'. He tells him to show up at 1200 hours. The Major points out that if he gets "jammed up," then he's never heard of him. David asks if Spence is also expendable and Graves says he has men out looking for him. David says the odds are he'll never find him.

David returns to the motel and walks past a man polishing a car. He asks an attendant whose car it is and is told it belongs to Mr. Tomkins. He watches the man polishing the car with his crooked pinky jutting out.

Tomkins is driven in his newly polished car to a ruined shack in the middle of the desert. He meets General Beaumont who asks what happened to Charlie Spence. Tomkins says it's childish for him to be concerned about one man when he's agreed to the death of a million. The General says he knows why he did it, but Tomkins wants him to tell him again, but he refuses and gets testy. Tomkins says if he changes his mind, he wouldn't have a chance to save his precious world. He tells him that Spence is dead and in parting asks him to let him know if David Vincent shows up at his post. David is observing the men through binoculars as they get in their cars and depart.

He meets Major Graves at Taylor's Cafe to tell him that he followed Tomkins out to the desert. Graves interrupts to say he's not interested in Tomkins. He says he should be, because he's an alien, and was the one following him the day before. He says he followed him to an adobe ruins where he met an army man. He tells him the man was a general and describes him. Graves says he's describing General Beaumont, who is the commanding officer of the post, and a highly decorated man that he's known for twenty years. David adds that he met an alien an hour ago and Graves doesn't believe him. He asks him to find out if he was on the post, but Graves says that even if he wasn't he'd still believe his business was legitimate. David asks what he should do and he tells him to go after the aliens and Carl Wyeth and that he'll take care of the General.

Carl Wyeth is in his office smoking as he takes a top secret envelope to his drafting table. He reads a document from the envelope and uses a compass to locate an area on a drafted plan. He marks the area with a red plus and then circles it repeatedly until he's got a huge red dot.

The Invaders are really settling in on Earth, enjoying their martinis and shiny cars. They have set their sights a little higher this week in finding a military man to collude with them. I imagine we'll find out the General's lame reasons for helping the aliens destroy a million people before the epilog rolls around. 

Act II

Major Graves informs David Vincent, in the presence of another officer, that he is a civilian employee and is not allowed to enter restricted areas. He asks where Carl Wyeth's office is and Graves tells him it's in a restricted area, then tells him exactly where. As he leaves, the Major secretly hands him a badge while shaking his hand. He passes the General on his way out and Major Graves introduces him. The General looks concerned and Graves asks if anything is wrong. General Beaumont says he thought he may have met him before.

Beaumont lets Graves know he checked over his security request and "put it through channels." Graves is upset about how long it will take to get through channels, and Beaumont says if it were anyone else, he would have rejected it right away. Before he can leave, Graves addresses him by his first name and asks that he postpone the test. Beaumont asks why and he says because he asked him to. Beaumont does not think it's good enough reason and requests concrete evidence. Graves is not able to offer anything concrete other than that "something stinks on this post," and if he doesn't postpone it, he will have to find out why. Beaumont thinks he must be losing it because he thinks he senses a threat in what Graves said. Beaumont cites how long they've known each other and Graves questions whether they can trust each other.

Beaumont recalls when his son died in Korea and says he felt empty, but then Graves and his wife and kids came along and helped fill the void. He asks him to try and forget what he thinks he knows and try to trust him. Beaumont leaves his office and stops in the hallway to collect himself, as he appears to be in some emotional distress.

David shows the badge to an MP, asking if Mr. Wyeth is in his office. The MP calls up and asks for Wyeth. He tells David that he's in the machine shop and directs him to where it is, granting him access to the building. David goes straight to Wyeth's office, passing the machine shop, and enters. He examines his drafting table and then goes to his desk and breaks open a locked drawer. He pulls out the plans that have the red circled X and then hears footsteps coming down the hall.

Wyeth and two MPs come into the office and one MP tells him he's supposed to say he was lost. David says he's looking for Wyeth and states it's his office. Wyeth introduces himself and confirms that it is. David says the guard outside told him it was okay. Wyeth remarks to one of the MPs that Mr. Vincent was told to go to the machine shop. David notes that it's funny he knows his name even though they've never met. They escort him out and he tells them to turn him over to Graves to sort it out, but Wyeth suggests they take him to General Beaumont. The sergeant argues that he reports to Graves and Wyeth says he'll call the General himself. The sergeant agrees to take him to Beaumont.

In the General's office, David Vincent is explaining that he only wanted to meet Wyeth and realizes he broke some rules. The General informs him that because he knowingly breached regulations he is confining him and turning him over to the Department of Justice. As he's escorted out, he glances back at Graves.

Two fellows from the Justice Department enter the detention building to pick up David Vincent. The officer behind the counter requests ID and David is turned over to them to be handcuffed and led away.

Those DOJ guys don't need to have crooked pinkies for us to know they are aliens. David Vincent is screwed! Will Major Graves be able to help him or not? What is the deal with the red X on Wyeth's plans? Does Beaumont's inability to cope with his son's death in Korea have something to do with why he's willing to work with aliens to kill millions of Earthlings?


General Beaumont is working thorough a big bottle of booze on his desk, which he hides when he hears Major Graves approach his office. Beaumont hands him leave orders for 24 hours starting that night. Graves says he understands why he was upset about the Vincent mix up, but that he should have told him something about him and intends to before he has him picked up by DOJ. Beaumont interrupts him to tell him two agents picked him up over an hour ago and asks what Graves wanted to tell him. Major Graves quickly exits the office, telling him it can wait. The General reminds him of the leave orders.

David is riding with the two agents and notes that it's taking a long time to get to where they're going. He turns to ask the agent in the back seat where they're taking him and is asked to turn around. They go off the road, heading into the sun, and while David needs to shield his eyes, he notices that the agents do not. They stop in the middle of the desert and the agent in back orders him out. David asks if it's another disappearance and is told he's not going to disappear, but that he's going to have an accident.

He barrels out of the car, knocking the agent down and begins to run away. The alien agent jumps into the front seat and they begin to chase him with the car. He runs in circles until he reaches an embankment, throws himself down into a roll, and the car careens over the edge, smashing into the ground. The occupants in the front seat glow red and vaporize. David walks off, still in handcuffs.

We see him again at Taylor's Cafe, meeting with Major Graves, who doesn't understand how his showing him a wrecked car with no bodies proves anything. David says no-one could have survived the wreckage and it proves they were aliens, explaining that when they die on Earth, their bodies disintegrate. Major asks if he expects him to believe that and David questions why he would have Spence call him in the first place if he didn't suspect as much. He further asks where Spence is, how Wyeth knew who he was before seeing him, and why the DOJ sent out agents so quickly to pick him up. The Major says he doesn't have answers and David suggests he try and find them by calling the DOJ to see if they sent agents or if they've even heard of him.

The General is riding in the back seat of a car with Tomkins as he tells him he can't leave the post whenever he decides. Tomkins interrupts him to say that two of his people died a few hours prior and the General says he's not interested. He says he should be since they were the ones sent out to pick up David Vincent and that they have a man running around who knows too much.

He asks what he wants him to do and Tomkins tells him to reschedule the nuclear test to move it up to within 24 hours. The General says it's impossible because a committee from the Senate has been invited to witness the test the following week. Tomkins says they'll have to be disappointed and that they'll have other things to think of by next week anyway. He tells him the antimatter device is ready and is en route from the saucer by refrigerated truck.  Beaumont says he'll think about it and Tomkins tells him he doesn't have time to think about it. He asks if he's willing to risk blasting millions of citizens to radioactive dust just to indulge a few senators, and says it's the one chance his kind has to survive. He decides it can be done tomorrow at noon.

David Vincent is resting his head on a table when Graves enters in a huff, saying that Beaumont has moved the test up to noon that day. David thinks his escape has moved up their timetable. He says Beaumont is the key and they need to face him with the truth. They both leave to confront him.

Tomkins and Wyeth are overseeing the transfer of the antimatter device from one truck to another. Wyeth checks his watch to see that they're 40 minutes away from the test, and Wyeth reminds him not to set the timer until he's at the detonation site.

David Vincent managed an easy escape, but what I'd really like to know is how he got from the desert in handcuffs to meet with Major Graves at Taylor's Cafe. Did he hitchhike? Did he use a payphone while handcuffed to call him? He is on his way to thwart aliens once again, but first he and Graves have to confront Beaumont to hear about his misguided reasons for collaborating with aliens, and find out their new horrific designs for dominion over Earth this week.

Act IV

Graves arrives at the base and confronts Beaumont, asking why the time of the test was moved up, and is told it was technical reasons. Graves says there's a man he wants him to see outside and Beaumont reminds him he's no longer on duty. He tells him if he won't see him, he'll call the Pentagon. Beaumont asks who he's about to risk his career on, and he tells him it's David Vincent, who he smuggled back onto post. He asks how Graves found him and Graves said Vincent found him. He further asks the General how he knew he wasn't still in jail.

David Vincent tells General Beaumont that he saw him in the desert meeting with Tomkins and that he knows he's an alien being. He further states that the men who picked him up were also aliens, that Major Graves confirmed that the DOJ never sent agents out and never even talked to the General. Beaumont asks where the aliens are and David tells him they died in a car crash. He says their bodies will then be available for examination and David says they won't and he knows why. Beaumont looks to Graves and says it's a busy day and he doesn't know why he's exposed him to Vincent's imaginings.

David tells him that if he continues to collaborate, he'll be serving the cause of beings who want only to destroy mankind and take over the planet. He says he can't believe a man of his record would knowingly do something like that and Beaumont tells him he knows nothing. He says his record adds up to a hundred thousand man that have died as a result of his orders, including his son. He starts raving about death, destruction and suffering, only to one day kill ourselves in one huge nuclear holocaust.

David asks if those are the words of his alien friends and Beaumont goes silent. Graves says he's going to call the Pentagon, but the General says he's wasting his time since no one outside the room would believe either of them. He says that time is running out and Graves asks, "as it did for Spence?" Beaumont concedes that he had to die because he was going to endanger the plan. David demands to know whose plan and the General finally tells him they made it between themselves.

He says that Mr. Tomkins told him they were able to land an antimatter bomb on Earth, that six of their craft were destroyed just to get that bomb on Earth. Graves asks what he's talking about. Beaumont explains that when their antimatter is brought together with our matter, it fuses and detonates. He tells them if the explosion happens on the surface, there's just a blast, but if it detonates underground, it will blow Earth off its axis several degrees.

David asks if he realizes such an effect could cause earthquakes and tidal waves and that millions could die. General Beaumont argues that many millions more will be spared a horrible atomic war. He says the world will be unaware of the antimatter bomb, so people will believe the tragedy will have been caused by a nuclear explosion, which will lead to a ban on atomic weapons and subsequently restore peace. David reminds him that millions will die. He asks what the Invaders will do when doomsday comes at noon.

Beaumont says he doesn't care because he'll call the Secretary of Defense as soon as the explosion happens and he'll expose them to the world. David says they'll kill him before they let him do that. Beaumont tells him that if anything should happen to him, Lt. General McIntyre at the Pentagon has orders to go into his safe and bring the contents to the president. He says there's enough evidence to convince the general staff. David suggests he call the Pentagon and have his safe opened since he doubts his evidence is still there. Beaumont thinks it's ridiculous since he's known McIntyre all his life, but Graves implores him to call, so he does.

Wyeth shows up with the antimatter bomb and is granted access to a restricted area. Beaumont is holding the phone receiver, looking stunned, as he tells Vincent and Graves that McIntyre died from a heart attack that morning. David asks about the evidence and Beaumont gets back on the phone and instructs the person to go to his safe and check the contents, saying he'll hold on and wait for an immediate report.

The aliens park the truck and begin to move branches to uncover a hidden underground access point. Beaumont hangs up the phone and says nothing is in his safe but his birth certificate and 201 file. Graves picks up the phone and gives instructions to hold any vehicle attempting to enter the test site and is informed that an army truck entered five minutes ago. Graves asks Beaumont where they are placing their bomb and he says they didn't tell him. David says he found a sketch in Wyeth's office that was marked. Graves gives him a map and David marks the spot, which Graves claims is a mile from the test. Graves orders a combat ready squad of men to the test site and says the General will meet them there. He tells the General to cancel the detonation, who is unresponsive until Graves yells at him to move. General Beaumont gets on the microphone and calls for a cancellation of the detonation.

Graves and Vincent get in a jeep and take off, while Wyeth sets the timer on the antimatter bomb. The jeeps roll in toward the truck and stop as they get out to exchange gunfire. Several aliens are shot and disintegrate. Wyeth continues to engage in gun battle as the other alien runs away. He shoots a soldier and Graves and Beaumont both check on the fallen man. Beaumont goes running off toward Wyeth, who shoots the General. As he falls, Graves comes out and shoots Wyeth, who glows red and disintegrates.

David runs over to the General who stumbles up and runs to get in the truck while David guards the back of it. As he starts it up, David gets in and they drive off. Graves gets in a jeep and takes off after them. David notes he's losing a lot of blood and offers to take the wheel, but the General refuses. He says he's going to give their bomb back to them. We see lights on the timer advancing. He asks David what time it is, and he tells him it's almost noon. The General says they're almost there and David should be out, but he refuses. He says he doesn't know who he's been the past few years but now he's General Beaumont and he expects to be obeyed. He pushes David out of the truck and continues on. Graves pulls up and picks up David, helping him into the jeep, and they continue to follow Beaumont in the truck.

Tomkins and the other aliens are standing around the truck that brought the antimatter device and see the truck returning to them. Beaumont drives straight toward them and they begin running away, just as the timer reaches the end. Graves and David are about to crest a hill when there is a huge explosion and they are forced to stop and duck under the jeep.

We find out that the General was really using the aliens to try and force an end to the threat of atomic war and was intending to expose them once they had served their purpose. He seemed to justify to himself that sacrificing a million lives would be worth what he expected to be a resulting peace. It's a plot almost worthy of a Super Friends episode. He naturally redeems himself by sacrificing himself in the end.


David asks Graves if he "struck out," and he tells him he spent three hours in front of a military board. He says the verdict is "attempted sabotage by enemies unknown." David says it's something and shakes hands with Graves, telling him they haven't lost. 

The earth turns on its axis, unaware of the disaster that never happened. And David Vincent goes forward again, very much aware that a far greater disaster can lie ahead - the final disaster, wrought by the Invader.

  Wesley Addy as Tomkins
Robert Osterloh as Carl Wyeth

Lee Farr...Justice Department Agent
Tom Palmer...Spence
Lew Brown...Non Com In Charge
K.L. Smith...Guard #1
Rick Murray...Parking Attendant
Don Kennedy...Guard #2
Dave Armstrong...M.P.

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:

I've got to wonder if the government keeps explaining away the reports of aliens because the Invaders have already infiltrated government level positions, or have gotten to the people in those positions. I feel like I should have enjoyed this episode more than I did. It raises the fears of atomic war, but the General's justification for working with the aliens to achieve peace in a roundabout way seems pretty ludicrous. Also, why would the aliens want Earth knocked off it's axis, as it would seem to make it a less desirable world to make their own. Most episodes have featured few women, but this one has no women present at all. I am beginning to suspect something behind that.

Look for James Whitmore, William Talman, Milton Selzer and Susan Strasberg in next week's episode.


  1. I quite enjoyed this episode; I'd agree that the General's reasons for collaborating with the aliens is pretty contrived. At last we see David Vincent at least getting a job as an civilian architect on the Army base... though he gets caught going thru Wyeth's office too fast to do any work! Good performances, especially by William Windom as the Major in charge of base security (best remembered today as Commodore Decker in "Star Trek"). Wesley Addy, who played the sheriff in "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" and an Navy intel officer in "Tora! Tora! Tora!" made a very good, chilling alien.

    The tavern scene were poor Spence gets cornered by the aliens is one of the best-filmed and most effective in the whole series. He's in a telephone booth, talking to Windom on the phone, and already showing signs of paranoia and fear. The door to the booth jams when he tries to leave, trapping him inside. This is a man on the edge, with his knowledge of what the aliens are planning, and his anxiety quickly rises to out-and-out panic over being trapped. He bangs fruitlessly on the door, pathetically pleading for help. Meanwhile, Wesley Addy and another guy calmly sip their drinks at a table, the bartender and waiter go about their business, another "customer" continues to play darts... all quite blaise and seemingly oblivious to the poor man's plight. It's a discomforting, claustrophobic scene -- the perfectly normal setting suddenly turned nightmarish. Finally the bartender walks right past the phone booth, puts some coins into the jukebox, and starts a song. Finally he turns to the phone booth, and after contemplating the panic-stricken Spence for a moment, he gives the booth door a kick and it opens. Spence, breathing hard and sweating, shakily comes out, wondering what's going on... then he realizes the tavern is filled with his alien enemies. They quickly subdue him and give him the cerebral hemorrhage disk treatment.

    The next scene is creepy in it's own way -- Vincent meets Windom out in the desert, at the newly formed, but mysterious "Graylock Crater". Don't know what this place was where they used to film... perhaps an old quarry? But it's a great piece of location work. We see it again when the phony FBI agents want to arrange an "accident" for Vincent, and end up plunging their car into it.

    The big weakness of the episode is another very murky alien plot. This one involves setting off an "anti-matter" bomb under the surface, knocking the earth off it's axis, with humanity blaming the resulting chaos on the nuclear test that's being conducted for cover. What?? And this, despite the fact that by 1967 literally hundreds of nuclear/thermonuclear bombs had already been detonated underground, none of which had this catastrophic effect. Seems a pretty "thin reed" for the General to be pinning his hopes for general nuclear disarmament on. There's some drivel about him losing troops in combat, including his own son, as his justification for collaboration. Yet how he figures killing millions and perhaps making the planet uninhabitable advances his cause makes his basic common sense sorta suspect.

    It's not even explained just how "knocking the earth off it's axis" will help the alien cause either, aside from killing millions of people -- which saves the aliens from doing it directly(?) Seems like the aliens are risking ruining the earth as a habitable planet, even for themselves. We DO find out that "at great expense to their 'people'," the aliens lost 6 ships & crews trying to get this 1 "anti-matter" bomb to earth. Again, we have to question the competence of these aliens; after all, they can zip around between the stars at will, but transporting one bomb to earth is almost beyond their skill? It was the crash of one of these ships that apparently created Graylock Crater.

  2. Hello. The minus in this episode is the strange lack of power when the bomb explodes. It was supposed to kill millions. There was something wrong with this script.
    Does anyone know the name of the actor driving Tomkins' car when Tomkins tried to persuade Gen. Beaumont to reschedule the mission? There was no credit for him, I guess.