Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Episode 19: The Saucer - 9/12/67

Police officers are out searching the desert because John Carter has seen a flying saucer and has photos to prove it. Since they find no evidence, the police chief claims he needs a doctor and says his photos don't make any sense.

Just as he's about to drive him back into town, Carter points out a disc in the sky, which turns out to be some kid's frisbee.

His dad comes running up with him, and when Jimmy says it's broken, his dad starts complaining about how toys these days are made of cheap plastic, which makes him seem like an alien who's trying too hard to appear human. The police chief asks if he noticed anything strange in the sky the night before, and he says he didn't last night or any other time, proving he's an alien, leaving us to wonder if little Jimmy is too. 


Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
  as Annie Rhodes

as Robert Morrison

as John Carter

Written by:

Directed by:

Act I

A man has seen a flying saucer. An old and familiar story to David Vincent. But John Carter swears he can predict the day and place when another saucer will land. If true, he could bring to an end Vincent's continuing war against the Invader.

John Carter is sitting on his motorbike on a country road at night as David Vincent drives up in a baby blue Mustang Fastback. Carter ascertains who he is, and asks Vincent to follow him. David pulls over and checks that his handgun is loaded before greeting Carter. He asks if it's the place he saw them, and Carter says both times were during the last night of the last quarter of the moon, and one hour before sunrise. David asks about the photographs he mentioned, and Carter notes that he brought a better camera than he has. He shows him the photos as well as the big shotgun he brought with him.

Annie Rhodes is in a plane with Robert Morrison flying toward Tuscon. She asks if they'll stay over, but he says he hopes they'll keep going to Mexico, since it will be over when they get there. She says they won't be looking for them until Monday morning, but cheerfully agrees to go to Mexico.

The sun is beginning to rise and Carter is looking disappointed. He tells David that they should have been there an hour ago, and asks if he believes him. He says that everyone thinks of him as a kook, and admits it may be in part because he's an unpublished writer who lives in a beat up house with four cats. Carter says it's five o'clock and they won't be coming, but David is willing to give it a few more minutes.

A truck begins driving up the road in their direction. Three men exit the vehicle, and one of them is the man we saw earlier with little Jimmy. David watches as they begin to hike through a rocky path. Carter spots a saucer approaching and alerts David.

Annie is sleeping as Robert flies the plane, when a light suddenly flashes and their engines cut out. She asks if he can do something and he tells her he can try to land.

David starts taking photos of the saucer as it begins to land and tells Carter to get closer.

Annie and Robert prepare for a bumpy landing in some rocks, and go down noisily.

Carter and David approach the Invaders' landing site and witness the three men they saw earlier approach the spacecraft. David continues to take pictures as the green jumpsuit aliens accompany the three to their truck.

David and Carter begin running toward the saucer, but Carter knocks over a rock, making a noise that alerts the aliens, who go running in search of the sound. David pulls his gun and shoots one dead. He encourages Carter to use his big shotgun, as an alien vaporizes a tree next to him. Carter moves to another location and shoots the alien, causing it to glow red and disintegrate.

David and Carter meet back up. David says he doesn't think there are any more, but Carter replies that the saucer could be full of them. They approach the saucer cautiously, and David takes a lot more photos. He stops and pulls out his gun, and the men make their way toward the saucer.

This is the second time David Vincent has thought to bring a camera to collect evidence. Let's hope he doesn't throw this one at any aliens this time, though I suspect the many wonderful photos he is taking will never be seen by human eyes. Have the aliens started appearing as children? That would be ingenious and terrifying, so let's hope so!


Act II

Annie and Robert are scraped up a bit, but managed to survive their crash landing. Robert asks if she saw anything big and bright on the way down, but all she saw was the ground coming up. Robert says he'll rent a car and come back for their suitcases and she asks if he has the blueprints, which he does. They limp off together through the desert.

David and Carter look up into the spaceship. Carter says it looks empty and David ascends the ladder into the craft, with Carter following.

They enter the helm, which is unoccupied, and David tells Carter to get somebody important out there. Carter says he knows a state assemblyman, Joe Bonning, and David tells him to bring him and the sheriff out.

Carter gives him the shotgun and David suggests he take something from the ship to show to Bonning. He plucks a piece of motherboard on acrylic and passes it to Carter. Carter leaves and David begins taking photos inside the spacecraft.

A green uniformed alien watches Carter take off on his motorbike and then begins running in another direction. David looks out the window of the spacecraft and sees Annie and Robert approach the saucer. He grabs the shotgun and points it at Robert as he begins climbing the ladder. He descends and tells them to put their hands up. He feels both of their wrists for a pulse and determines that they are human.

Robert says he's an engineer and wants to examine the craft, so he enters it as David and Annie chat each other up. Annie is strangely blasé about seeing an alien saucer, and asks jokingly what to do with a saucer when you catch it. David explains that a friend has gone for help from a state assemblyman and the police. She asks what happened to the beings and if he mowed them all down. He says that they want to take over the planet and will destroy them to get it. Robert comes out of the ship excitedly describing the advanced technology and Annie informs him that the police are on the way. She asks David if there were a way out if a girl should panic, and he says he has a car beyond the rocks. She asks to take his pulse.

Carter arrives at Bonning's home and asks the housekeeper to tell him he wants to see him as a music cue that seems more fitting to The Love Boat plays. The alien who had been watching him approaches an attendant at a gas station and requests change to make a call, which seems a really weird thing for an alien to do. He calls the alien leader we saw at the beginning, who tells him he knows what to do. He comes out of the phone booth and takes a lighted disc out of his pocket as he approaches the attendant.

The alien leader pulls a lever and a camera descends from the saucer, showing him footage of David, Robert and Annie waiting around a rock. He rings a bell and grabs a gun from a drawer as two henchmen come running.

We've got two lovebirds on the run from the law who both have abnormal reactions to encountering a spacecraft. No wonder David Vincent thought they were aliens. Something is definitely amiss in this episode, aside from the terrible music cues. Also, where's little Jimmy? Is he really an alien kid, and if not, what's he doing pretending an alien is his dad? 


David smokes a cigarette and Annie asks when his friends will be there. He says they'll be there soon, even though he doesn't really know. Robert asks if what they're looking at is too important for a local politician, and goes on to say that he thinks the saucer must run on a magnetic drive principle rather than fuel, and he could call someone higher up. Annie says someone else could do it while they were on their way to Mexico and reminds him of the envelope in his pocket. He thinks that it's too big and they should see it through, but she gets frustrated and storms off in a huff.

The sheriff pulls up to Bonning's house, where Carter and Bonning are outside waiting in the car. The sheriff says Carter is a nut, but Bonning says there is a saucer out there with a man guarding it. Carter hands Bonning the piece from the control room on the saucer and shows it to the sheriff, so he agrees to go with them to investigate.

David patrols with shotgun and Annie approaches Robert, whispering that she stole David's car keys from his pocket and that they should get out of there. David comes toward them and says it's taking longer than he expected and that he's going to look around.

Annie says they've got the money and they can drive out of there. She asks if the saucer is more important to him than she is, and he asks her why the money is so important. She says it was his choice to steal and he claims she helped him make the choice. She tells him she's not waiting around to be arrested and that she's getting out of there with or without him. He tells her that he's staying. She asks what he needs her for when he's got his saucer and $250,000 worth of blueprints. He hands her the blueprints and she grabs them and runs off.

Carter, Bonning and the Sheriff drive through the desert and encounter a man on the ground, reaching out toward them. They get out of the car and go to him. He says his car skidded off the road and they help him into the car, saying they'll get him help.

Annie gets into David's car and takes off. David hears her and runs toward the car and watches her drive off in it. He asks Robert why she took his car and he says he doesn't know. David says he needs that car, that their lives may depend on it, and the whole world may depend on it. Robert tells him to shut up, saying he just lost everything in his world and doesn't care about David's world. He tells him his company had blueprints for a new computer and he's not sure if it was his idea or her to take them, but they could have sold them for a quarter million dollars in Europe. He says she took his car because she didn't want to be there when the police came. He tells him he's a fool, but not a thief, and that she'll find that out when she sees that the blueprints are really just a bunch of blank papers.

Bonning continues to drive toward the saucer, while the sheriff leans forward in the back seat. As he does so, the man next to him reaches into his pocket and removes a lighted disc, which he slaps onto the sheriff's neck, silently incapacitating him. He begins to hold it to Carter's neck, just as he turns around to see him do it. Carter grapples with the alien, telling Joe that he's one of them. As they struggle, the car begins to weave on the dirt road. Annie encounters them, just as their car goes off the side of the road.

Bonning's head is bloody and he turns to see the alien in the back seat glow red and disintegrate. He tells a bloodied Carter that it's true what he said about the aliens, but then he loses consciousness. Carter tries to pull himself out of the car but is unable. Annie flags down the truck of aliens for help, who say she was with the others at the saucer. They grab her and the alien leader pulls out his ray gun and disintegrates the car. They all get into the truck and take off.

Oh, come on! If the aliens were willing to zap Carter and Bonning in the car, then why didn't they do away with Annie too? I would say that David is in for a surprise, but he should not really be surprised.

Act IV

David asks Robert what he was thinking by fooling his woman into thinking he stole for her. He says he wanted her to come with him and was hoping she'd fall in love with him before his money ran out. The truck approaches the landing site, and the aliens get out with Annie. David says they should get inside the saucer, as the alien group climbs up the rocks.

The alien leader approaches the saucer and speaks into a communicator, who instructs them to press a small switch next to the control panel which will enable him to hear them. David presses the switch and asks what he wants. The alien leader says they only want their ship back and that they can go. Robert asks if he'll let them and David says he wants the ship, which is what he tells the alien leader. He tells them that they have something of theirs and the aliens lead Annie out. Robert says they'll kill her, but David tells him to wait. He asks if he can figure out how to disable the ship if he can't get back and Robert thinks he can. David tells him to wait there and approaches the alien group.

The alien leader notes that his friend is still in the ship and David says he's prepared to shoot out the control panel if he has to. David asks their offer and the leader says that Robert comes out and they go in. David tells them to release the girl and he'll come out, but the alien leader won't agree. So he says he'll cover them while one of the aliens goes into the ship. He also asks for David's camera, which he reluctantly gives up. The alien pulls the film out of it and tosses it aside.

David heads back to the ship and tells Robert not to come down until he tells him. He comes back out and tells Annie to walk toward him, as the alien leader tells one of his men to go to the ship. David says he needs to leave his gun up there, which he does. The alien goes into the ship while Annie stands at his side. She asks what he's doing and David says they're making a trade. She says he can't do that because they murdered his friends and he has to keep the saucer. David says she's more important to them.

Robert and the alien exit the ship. Annie says without her they have nothing to bargain with and tells him she's getting out of there. The alien leader tells her to stop, and she sees more aliens coming and warns them. David tells her to get down, but the aliens incinerate a bush next to her, which causes her sleeve to catch on fire. Robert shoots and kills the alien leader while Annie demonstrates that she never heard of "Stop, drop, and roll."

Robert goes to her and wraps his jacket over her arm as an alien sneaks by David, who is shooting at the other aliens, and takes off in the saucer. He watches it fly away and goes to Robert who says they need to get an ambulance out there.

Apparently, they didn't scorch Annie in the last Act so they could use her as a bargaining chip, though with a track record of destroying any evidence that falls into the hands of the humans, it doesn't make much sense that they wouldn't just fry the saucer along with David Vincent and the two lovebirds. Another camera is lost and more photographic evidence destroyed, which surprises no one.


David brings paramedics back with him to tend to Annie. Robert explains that her arm was badly burned and they asked how it happened. He begins to explain, but David shakes his head no, and he asks if it matters how it happened. They put her on a stretcher and get her to the ambulance. Robert tells David that he's going to tell the man he works for what he saw. David says it won't make a difference without the saucer, but Robert says he'll tell him anyway.  Annie calls for him and asks him to open her purse. She pulls out the false blueprints and asks if they can take them back since they won't need them anymore. He looks at David, who says he thinks he should tell her.

Two others have seen what David Vincent has seen. Two others now know that flying saucers do exist. The search for Congressman Bonning and Police Chief Thorne will continue for months. Because of their disappearance, dozens of others will begin to wonder, reluctant to believe, what David Vincent knows is true: that alien beings from another galaxy now walk the face of the Earth.

Sandy Kenyon as Alien Leader
Kelly Thordsen as Sam Thorne
Robert Knapp as Joe Bonning

John Ward...Alien Pilot
Glenn Bradley...Doctor
Tina Menard...Maid
Christopher Shea...Boy

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:

David Vincent gets his hands on the best evidence he could possibly have to prove the existence of Invaders and he lets it slip away from him. The Invaders could have easily taken out the menace of David Vincent, but they let more of their own kind be sacrificed to battle it out with him once again. While this scenario may be getting tiresome to viewers, I see it as part of the charm of the series...for now. The ending narration allows us to hope that more people will become aware of the existence of the Invaders and that we may finally enjoy a surprise deviation in this formula. What continues to bug me is the incidental storyline of couples in conflict, which knocks off an alien pinky. 

The good Dr. Bennell, Kevin McCarthy, from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, appears in next week's episode, along with Shirley Knight and Leonard Stone. 


  1. This was ultimately one of the least satisfying episodes... probably because the "prize" -- a whole alien spacecraft -- was allowed so foolishly to slip through Vincent's hands. This couple (especially Anne Francis) are extremely annoying and ultimately so self-centered. I agree that their reactions to the alien ship are totally off-base. All they seem interested in is running off with each. And wasn't the guy some sort of engineer, making off with (or so we're lead to believe) his company's plans? Jeez, but his interest in something so different and advanced is hard to fathom. He must be so "love-struck" that he can't think of anything else... As for Dabney Coleman going off to get a local politician... oh, my goodness. How's about calling the sheriff, the state police, the fire department, and anyone else he can think of, just to get a big crowd up there fast? He could tell them anything (yep, even a plane crashed, though he didn't know one really did) just to get plenty of witnesses. We get the usual side-plot that doesn't advance the show (the lovebirds), and all they do is get in the way and make difficulties for Vincent (including Anne Francis being a convenient hostage). Had a few good moments, but ultimately unsatisfying. BTW, the kid possibly being an alien WAS interesting... wasn't Barry "Greg Brady" Williams another alien kid (or at least, a kid being utilized by the aliens)?

  2. The previous commenter made some great points. I would add, why do aliens who have traveled thousands, perhaps millions of light years, presumably, need to use pay phones? No communicators like the folks on the Enterprise?? I feel like at this point, the producers/writers were just interested in upping the cerebral hemorrhage body count, although that's kind of stupid on the aliens' part. Better to be surreptitious and not call attention to yourselves.

    This basically is a thinly-disguised rewrite of a Fugitive episode from eight months before with Drake and Francis and husband and wife EMBEZZLERS.