Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Episode 11: The Ivy Curtain - 3/21/67

Barney Cahill is navigating a large jet for Cameron Air Cargo through a turbulent storm, while four men in suits hang on to some swaying crates in the cargo hold. Cahill says he can't make it home and is going to look for a place to land. One of the men comes to the cockpit to tell him he can't land down there, complaining that they're expected somewhere. Barney tells him to go back and lay down flat and use his coat as a pillow, which he and his fellow passengers do.

Barney tells them to hold on since it's going to be rough. He safely lands in an open field, but a large gear on top of a wooden shaft topples onto one of the men. He goes back to help the others lift it off the man and he sees that while the man's arm is cut open, he is not bleeding and does not seem to be in any pain. They all stand around him while he asks them what they want. He receives no answer.

Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
as Barney Cahill

as Stacy

as Mr. William Burns

as Dr. Reynard

Written by:

Directed by:

Act I

This is Mr. William Burns, educator, business administrator – here on the planet Earth for less than a year. David Vincent first saw Burns at an alien installation in Miami. Last week, he found him again in Omaha, and followed him here to Cameron, New Mexico, a small town whose peaceful streets shroud the presence of the Invaders.

David Vincent has been doing quite a bit of traveling in the US in his search for Invaders. He steps off a bus and observes Mr. Burns getting into a Midlands Academy car. He goes to a phone booth and uses the phone book to look up the address of the Academy. On his way there, he gets befuddled by a sign to Midlands Academy that does not match up with what he's seeing on his map. He decides to take the dirt road in the direction the sign points.

He is forced to stop when he comes to the Midlands Academy car blocking the road. He gets out of his car to check it out, when Mr. Burns sneaks up on him and demands to know who he is and why he's been following him. Just as he starts to deny following him, Burns' muscle grabs him and slams his head into the car, rendering him unconscious. He lifts his ID and hands it to Burns, who sees that David is 31, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Barney Cahill is brought into an ornate room with his hands bound behind his back. He is greeted warmly by Dr. Reynard, who waters his roomful of plants as he assures him he's in no danger. Cahill says that it's no school, and when offered a drink, he requests an explanation instead. He asks to know why he's there and Dr. Reynard admits they were going to kill him at first, but then they realized they needed a pilot.

He explains that their students meet at a central location and they transport them to various training centers that they plan to establish. Cahill asks why they don't fly commercial and Dr. Reynard explains that the students are immigrants who aren't familiar with the language and customs and might do something embarrassing if they had contact with the public.

Cahill doesn't want to get mixed up in a smuggling operation, but Dr. Reynard entices him with $1000 cash per head he transports, and stuffs some cash in his pocket for the morning's inconvenience, suggesting he would not like the drastic alternative. Cahill looks conflicted.

David is playing dead until Burns opens up the back door to get him out and he socks him a few times in the gut, causing him to go down. David sneaks into Midland Academy and is lucky to find the hallway deserted. He creeps down the hall and hears a door open, causing him to hide out in a red lit room with a shrieking woman on a cuboid view screen watched by a group of students. A voice describes fear as the emotion that dominates all human behavior and explains they will be programmed to simulate fear and will learn how to use fear as a weapon.

The alien students are told that they will learn to "twist anxiety into hate, suspicion into violence, cowardice into surrender," which will make the destruction of the human race inevitable. David sneaks out of the room and back into the hall. He peeks into Room 2 where a slowed down recording plays to a roomful of supine aliens in green jumpsuits and green skirts. As David observes them, they begin to sit up and stare at him, so he decides to leave.

He runs outside and sees Burns out in the street directing green uniformed aliens, so he hides out in the back of a mustard colored van with the Midlands Academy label. An alien gets into the van with Cahill. Mr. Burns enters Dr. Reynard's office and hands him David Vincent's ID. Dr. Reynard goes to a card file and takes out a computer card, telling Burns to take it to the programming room and feed the information to all the newcomers.

David sneaks out of the back doors of the moving van and jumps off when it stops. Mr. Burns goes to the programming room where the green clothed alien men and women are stretched out on tables, and pops the card into the flashy computer. The computer begins reciting David Vincent's stats and orders all the aliens to find and destroy him. They simultaneously get up from their tables and leave the room.

More clues that David Vincent may be an Invader? His ID says that he has brown hair and brown eyes, but he looks like a blonde and those eyes are definitely blue. It's a safe bet the aliens won't find and destroy him with the incorrect information they've been given. It's interesting to see the kind of programming happening at the alien training center. The map Dr. Reynard points to indicates that they are establishing them all over the world. I've got to wonder where the Invaders are getting all the cash they like to wave around. They must need it to afford all the luxuries they seem to enjoy. They are assimilating quite nicely into Earth culture. The training centers must be effective.

Act II

David Vincent goes looking for Cahill at Cameron Charter Flights and the receptionist tells him he's out on flights and won't be in until morning. She is concerned about the ugly looking bruise on his forehead and asks if he's okay. He pretends he's a reporter and claims he needs to get his story in by his deadline that night or will lose his job. The pretty lady offers to give him an interview and goes to close up.

Two aliens in suits wait in a convertible outside a swank nightclub where David is getting his interview with the gal in blue at the bar. She sucks on an olive while he attempts to steer the conversation back to the accident. She tells him that forced landings happen at least five times a year and that Cahill hasn't done anything wrong. He asks again if there's any way he could meet with Cahill before morning and she suggests they talk about it in the car, with a hopeful look. She stuffs the olive in her mouth and goes off to powder her nose.

One of the aliens enters the bar and stands by the exit. David goes out the front door and sees the other standing by the car. He lights a cigarette and as he passes, the alien comes at him with a disc. David slams his arm against a phone booth, causing him to drop the disc, then flips him over his back, and knocks him for a loop. The other alien comes out and helps his buddy, but David is long gone. The pretty lady comes out of the powder room and finds she's been stood up, but makes the best of the situation and orders a double.

Cahill is on a baby blue princess phone with Janet while he lays out stacks of cash and tells her nobody got hurt. The doorbell buzzes and he tells her it's his wife at the door, who probably forgot her key, and that he'll call her later. He answers the door and it's the gal in blue, Stacy. She apologizes for being late, claiming the car refused to start, as she kicks her heels off.  He recommends she fill it with martinis, since she runs pretty well on them. She slides off her skirt and says she only had one while she waited for the car to be fixed.

She asks him to unzip her so she can shower. He notices she isn't wearing her wedding ring and when she explains that she doesn't wear it at work, as it gets in the way while she types, he comments it also doesn't help in saloons either. The conversation further devolves into the usual marital bickering with her complaining about him being a reformed drunk, noting that he's old enough to be her father and just as broke as her real father, while she puts on a robe, runs the shower, slips off her stockings and then throws the robe in his face.

Two detectives meet David Vincent in the ER as he's being examined. Detective Alvarado notes that he said on the phone that someone tried to kill him and asks who. He says he's not sure, but they were from Midlands Academy. The Lieutenant asks why they would want to kill him and he responds that they want to keep him quiet. He explains that the school is a front, that it's really a school for people who are going to overthrow the government. David tries to get him to go out to the school with him to investigate, but the doctor says he's not going anywhere for a few days. Lt. Alvarado notes he's been drinking, suggests he get a good night sleep and they'll be back in the morning.

Stacy is getting out of the shower and finds a stack of cash under the robe she threw at Barney earlier. She asks him where the money came from while he pours them both drinks. He says it's just the beginning and toasts her to bigger things as he slams his drink and throws his glass over his shoulder. He grabs her and offers her a new dress, a new car and says she can have anything she wants. She continues to ask where he got the money and shuts her up by laying a big, sloppy smooch on her.

Dr. Reynard is taking in the scene at a groovy nightclub with couples bopping around a dance floor while a lunkhead at the bar argues with another dude about dropping a bomb on China before they drop one on us.

A dancing chick complains to her partner about power hungry cops and Dr. Reynard shakes his head at her, claiming she's being too passionate. He says they can't poison their minds and sow seeds of hate and destruction if they're not convincing.

He sits in on another conversation with a hipster asking his gal pal why make such a big deal about LSD and pot since it's groovy, and receives praise from Dr. Reynard. An alien whispers in his ear and he exits the faux club and steps into the Midlands school hallway where they observe the arrival of a police car from a window.

David steps out of the cruiser and Lt. Alvarado notes he's never encountered enemy agents in Cameron and he looks forward to meeting them.

Barney Cahill will keep helping the aliens because it's the only way he can afford his pretty, young wife. I expect it won't end well for him. So, the aliens are learning how to act like hip kids and discontented youth as part of their plot to destroy the human race and take over Earth. Dr. Reynard certainly seems to enjoy teaching it to them. Those aliens sure do love their cocktails and go-go dancing.


Mr. Burns is refusing to let Lt. Alvarado disrupt their classes by letting them take a look around the school. Dr. Reynard comes into the office and laughs off the accusation that the school is involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the government. Mr. Burns refuses again to allow them access without a search warrant, which Lt. Alvarado dramatically produces. Dr. Reynard directs Burns to show them around and David says he can show them what they want to see. He takes them to the classroom where he saw students being instructed on how to use fear as a weapon. They enter and see a bunch of students hard at work in study hall.

David hears music behind Room 3 and rushes over to open it and find subversive youth playing ping pong and doing that herky jerky dancing so typical of the late 60s. Mr. Burns tells them it's the rec room and is much busier at lunch time. David asks him to open Room 2. They enter a lab where a professor is giving a boring lecture on the periodic table. David tells the detectives that they changed everything around. Mr. Burns offers to take them to another room, but Lt. Alvarado says they've seen enough. They begin to leave and Mr. Burns hands David his wallet, claiming he must have dropped it somewhere.

Barney Cahill is taking Stacy joyriding in a brand new baby blue convertible. She's sporting a spiffy new red hot dress as they drive up to the Cameron Charter Air Service office. She tells him he can take her flying without a plane and then gets serious and asks if he's mixed up in something illegal. He tells her he made a legitimate deal but he can't talk about it. She says she doesn't want anything to happen to him, which means something is probably going to happen to him, especially after she tells him to be careful. She's decided she loves him now that he's got dough and is spending it on her.

David Vincent shows up and asks Barney if he can talk to him about Midlands Academy. He asks if he knows who those people are and what they're doing here. Barney says he's not sure he cares. David tells him the people he's picking up are foreign agents being trained to act like us, to infiltrate and eventually take over and destroy us. Barney asks why he doesn't go to the cops or FBI and he says it's because he needs proof and Barney can get it for him. Barney thinks it may be a loyalty test and says he can go back and tell them that he passed. David says they must be paying him a lot of money, which Barney affirms.

Stacy comes into the hangar looking for Barney. She stops short when she catches a glimpse of David Vincent's sweet baby blues and he says hello to her. Barney questions that he knows his wife and she says they met in the office yesterday. She tells him he needs to hurry, that the plane is waiting. He starts to go and David grabs him by the arm and asks him not to take the students to the Academy, but to bring them back to the airport there instead and he'll have the police and FBI waiting. Stacy wants to know what he's talking about and David says he's working for Midlands Academy and it may get him killed. Stacy begs him to stop and says she doesn't want to lose him. Barney agrees and says to tell the police to be there in two hours, that he'll have a plane with four passengers.

David watches as he takes off while Stacy goes into the office and makes a call requesting the number for Midlands Academy.

David Vincent still believes he can show up with the authorities and catch the Invaders in the act of doing their dirty work, but they are always one step ahead in hiding their nefarious activities. Will someone please give the guy a camera already. I guess we'll find out in the next act if Stacy is selling Barney out.

Act IV

Barney is waiting on an airstrip for his passengers when he observes a UFO taking off. When he lowers his gaze, he sees his four passengers waiting next to the plane. He asks if the "thing" brought them there. They walk away from him and he grabs one by the arm, demanding an answer. The alien looks down at his hand gripping his arm without responding and goes to board the plane with the others.

David is phoning the San Lucas County Sheriff's Office for help, saying that foreign agents are due in less than an hour in Cameron. After a slight argument over jurisdiction, the sheriff agrees to be there. The officers are forced to stop when they come across a Midlands car blocking the road. The sheriff gets out to inspect the car when he hears an electric hum and a thud behind him and turns around to see his partner slumped over the car with two men next to him, one of them holding a metal disc. The sheriff hears Barney's plane approach and looks up at the sky.

Barney requests landing instructions from the dispatcher in Cameron. David Vincent is at the airport and heading for the Cameron Charter office when he sees Mr. Burns and three other aliens arrive in a Midlands Academy car. Barney tries communicating with Cameron One but receives no response as we see the dispatcher slumped over on the desk. Mr. Burns picks up the com and tells Barney that the runway is clear for landing. David bursts into the office and asks Stacy where Burns is. She tries to stop him and he locks her in the reception office as she tells him that they promised her they wouldn't hurt anybody. She screams that she needed the money as David kicks the door in to the dispatcher's office and struggles with Burns for his gun. The gun goes off and the unfortunately named Mr. Burns glows as red as Stacy's dress.

David picks up the com and tells Barney that it's him and tells him not to land because the people from the Academy were tipped off and are there. Barney touches down on the runway and lifts back up. David says he'll call the police in Albuquerque and he should take the passengers there. Barney asks how they found out, but David ignores his question and asks if he has enough fuel. He says he doesn't and asks again who blew the whistle. David says to never mind, but good ol' Barney has figured it out and says to tell Stacy he said "thanks a lot." She listens with tears in her eyes.

David calls for Barney but he ends communication and takes his plane down toward Midlands Academy. Dr. Reynard hears the plane approach and he runs outside with other male alien personnel to watch it. David calls Barney and asks where he is, and he says he's on target over the school. Dr. Reynard and the aliens see the plane heading for them and begin running as Barney crashes the plane into the school as Stacy and David hear the impact.

I'll bet Stacy is feeling like a big jerk now. Barney redeems himself with a kamikaze ending. It's back to the drawing board for the Invaders again. They might be wise to take care of David Vincent once and for all.


Stacy enters a cocktail lounge at the bus station and spots David at the bar where he's halfway through his beer. He sees her, and when he hears an announcement that the bus for Albuquerque will be departing shortly, he guzzles most of his beer and starts to leave. She grabs him by the arm on his way out and asks to talk to him. She babbles about how she tried to contact him at his hotel and he blows her off and starts to leave for his bus. She continues to follow him, asking if he thinks she wanted Barney to die, and says that she just wanted some money. David Vincent is not interested and tells her he needs to catch his bus. He boards and it drives off into the New Mexico sunset.

An indoctrination center destroyed, where new arrivals on the planet Earth can learn the fine points of human behavior. A day later, David Vincent leaves the town of Cameron, New Mexico, grimly aware that sometimes human behavior can seem as alien as creatures from another world.

Barry Russo...Lt. Alvarado
Clark Gordon...Mr. Nova
Byron Morrow...Gilbert
Paul Pepper...Dispatcher
Jacqueline Mayo...Sobbing Woman
John Napier...Alien #1
Ted Markland...Male Alien
Laurie Mock...Girl Alien
Garth Pillsbury...Intern
Bud Perkins...Bartender

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:

Once again we see the Invaders use the lure of money to win over human conspirators. We also learn that the aliens think hip young kids will lead to the destruction of the human race. Another interesting glimpse into the machinations of the Invaders. While the formula may be getting quite stale at this point, it is still interesting to see what these power hungry, suit sporting, cocktail swilling aliens will come up with next in their misguided efforts to conquer Earth. I would think they might be getting ideas from the Prisoner, with their fondness for pharmaceuticals and mind control, but that series was still six months away. They have already ascertained that accumulating wealth on Earth is the first step to taking power.  

Look for Norman Fell and Ed Begley in next week's episode.


  1. One of my all-time favs; a real joy to watch. Both the Barney-Stacy dynamic and the whole Midlands Academy Indoctrination Center work well. Love the snappy dialog between Barney and Stacy when she comes home from the bar and claims she's late due to car trouble. They both get in some pretty good digs. Barney: "Why don't you try filling it with martinis? You seem to run pretty good on them." He notices she's not wearing her wedding ring, and she claims it gets in the way when she types, to which he retorts: "Doesn't help you too much in saloons, either". He recognizes it's really him she's tired of, to which she fires back: " 'It's me, it's me' like you're so important. You're a real big man who's misunderstood. Well, tell me something, darling. Who are you? What are you?". "Well, for one thing I'm your husband" "Yeah, who's old enough to be my father. And just as broke as him the day he died." Murray Matheson as Dr. Reynard is a pleasure, as always, with his dry, caustic wit. The scenes at Midlands are Sixties classics -- first showing the "normal" goings-on, with instruction in imitating human emotions, and even night-club demeanor! Then the old "switcheroo" showing staid classrooms, quiet study halls, and Ping-Pong for recreation. The nightclub scene alone is a "must" for any aficionado of the 1960s. A hippie band is playing in the background, and IMDB actually has the whole dialog!

    [The dialog is vintage 1967] Male Alien: Look, if you ask me, we outta drop the Bomb on China, before they drop it on us. I don't know why we're taking all this pushing around.

    Female Alien: You better believe it, baby! These new cops are all power-hungry. We keep playing ball with them and this country's gonna turn into a real police state! Is something wrong, Doctor?

    Dr. Reynard: Much too passionate. Fanatics never influenced anyone. Now, if we are going to poison their minds, sow the seeds of hate and destruction - we must be convincing, sincere. Now you've learned the theory - will you please put it into practice!

    Female Alien: Yes, Doctor.

    Alien #1: I mean, why make such a big scene about LSD or pot? It's groovy! Who are they to tell us how to live?

    Dr. Reynard: Now that is very good!

    The writing for this show is top-notch, and the plot is much more believable than many episodes. Smuggling aliens into the country and teaching them how to act "human". Stacy's final betrayal, and Barney's decision to kamikaze Midlands, seeing his life and marriage gone, are rather jolting, yet fairly credible.

  2. Epilog: Stacy arrives at the bar and I noticed a man standing with his back against the wall, outside. He looks like one of the aliens, Mr. William Burns. Inside the venue there is another actor who looks like one of the aliens (he also appeared in the end, boarding the same bus used by David to leave Cameron).


  4. Um, you do know the difference between a jet and a prop driven (a Douglas DC-3) plane, yes?