Monday, June 11, 2018

Episode 20: The Watchers - 9/19/67

A frantic man parks a company car from The Lodge on an airport runway. A worker tells him he can't park there and the man asks if the Washington flight has left yet and he says it's due now. Another car from The Lodge pulls up, and as two men get out and approach them, he tells the worker that they've taken over The Lodge. He says they look, talk and act like real people, but they're not, and they're going to kill him.

He runs willy-nilly around a truck, and is easily intercepted by one of the men, who holds up an alien mind control crystal and tells him that a plane will be landing momentarily.

He calmly strides out onto the runway in the path of the incoming plane while the worker chases after him. There is a loud thud and the worker winces and turns away, while the two aliens behind him share a pleased look with one another.

Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Star:
  as Margaret Cook

Special Guest Star:
as Paul Cook

Directed by:

Act I

The manager of a famed resort hotel has been driven to suicide by the delusion that alien beings had taken over his hotel. Convinced that the man's story was no delusion, David Vincent promptly traveled to the small Virginia airport.
David Vincent is at the airport hearing firsthand from the worker how the man walked out into the path of a landing plane. Two cars from The Lodge pull up and the new manager, Mr. Danvers, gets out and gets snippy about asking that the area be cleared for a private plane.

David appeals to the worker to tell him who's on the incoming plane, and he leaves him with the information on his clipboard with a wink and a nod. He learns that "electronics wizard," Paul Cook, is returning from Switzerland on the plane. He thanks the worker, who refers him to the bus company for a job, when he asks about employment. David Vincent observes two aliens with extended pinkies as they watch the plane land.

Paul Cook exits the private plane with his fashionable niece. They enter The Lodge company car and drive off with the aliens, as David Vincent looks on.

One of the deformed pinky aliens goes into a shack with a bright red sign warning of high voltage, that seems an ideal alien hideout. Inside, aliens watch Paul Cook on a large, circular video screen. On screen, Cook is calling for Ramsey and Simms as he takes a drink.

Ramsey and Simms come quickly as Cook asks what they've done with his briefcase. He asks to see the breakdown on radar and missile sites, and then asks if they've finished unpacking his suitcase. As they haven't, he dismisses them to finish doing so, while he tosses items around on his desk.

Cook's niece, Maggie, exits her room calling for Cookie, Ramsey, Simms, a bellhop, chambermaid, or anybody. She finds Uncle Cookie and informs him that when he dies, she's going to check in to a hotel with people in it, which seems a rather morbid thing to say. He reminds her that she knows how he feels about people.

The phone rings, and although he's right next to it, he calls Ramsey from the other room to pick it up. Ramsey tells him that the Secretary from Washington is calling to ask if he won't change his mind about security. Cook says he expects them as planned and doesn't want anyone with a shoulder holster or trenchcoat.

Maggie asks what kind of deal it is and why he needs protection. He says he's involved in something larger than usual and she correctly guesses it has to do with the fate of all mankind. She claims he never shares anything with her anymore and suggests he trade her in for a poodle. He tells her not to start a war and then apologizes, telling her to be the beautiful girl she is. She says, "That's groovy," and heads to the pool in hopes of finding a sexy lifeguard.

Cook tells Ramsey to get off the phone, saying they'll do their talking when they get there. He says that someone is watching him. Ramsey asks how they could be, and Cook calls for Simms to check the room for bugs.

Back at the alien hangout, the aliens watch the scene on the giant screen while an alien who closely resembles Paul Cook practices imitating his voice, saying he's getting the hang of it.

The Twin Mountain Bus Service, driven by David Vincent, arrives at The Lodge. Maggie is using her cane to find an empty chaise lounge next to the deserted pool area, as David walks up and observes her approaching the edge of the pool. He calls her name and she stops. He goes to meet her and offers her his hand, informing her she's about to step into the pool. She tells him that she's an adept swimmer and can also hike, climb, ski, and can pitch horseshoes.

She asks who he is and he describes himself as the Mountain Bus driver as well as a crusader, out to save the world. He says people think he's a nut because he goes around the country chasing flying saucers and asks what she thinks of that. She says she thinks he's fun and asks how he knows her. He says it's because he read about her and her uncle in the newspapers. She guesses that he'd like to meet her uncle and he admits it. She refuses to help him and leaves.

The aliens watch Cook on their viewer as he asks Maggie about her morning while seated at the dining room table with Ramsey and Simms. She tells him she met a young man in the crusading business. He suggests she take Simms with her for protection in the future, and she claims she's 25 with a great right arm, and leaves in a huff.

David Vincent runs up to a door of The Lodge and enters. He hides at the end of the hallway as Maggie blindly makes her way to her room. As she unlocks the door, he silently follows her in and starts going through her dad's briefcase. She is aware that someone is there, but he refuses to identify himself. He continues to look through papers in the briefcase as she goes to close the door.

At the table, Cook tells Simms to go get Maggie.

Maggie sits down and there's a knock at the door. Simms enters and draws a gun when he sees David. She asks who it is and Simms informs David that if he moves, he'll kill him.

The aliens are eavesdropping on a reclusive electronics wizard who has powerful ties to Washington with the obvious intent of impersonating him to obtain information. It's double the fun to have Kevin McCarthy playing two roles in this episode. I suppose we may hear the story that explains why Paul Cook is scarred, and if it relates to his desire to isolate himself by the end of the episode. I am more interested in why there are still aliens with deformed pinkies. It would seem easy enough to mask by not making fists, yet we continue to see them standing around letting their pinkies hang out. Silly aliens.

Act II

Paul Cook wants to know why David Vincent wants to see him, and he tells him that he came to stop him from making a deal with the aliens to give them America's defense secrets, saying that their goal is to take over the world and they'll turn on him once he gives them what they want. Cook directs his henchmen to lock him up, and David asks what they promised him. Maggie tells Uncle Cookie that she's a good judge of character, and he responds that he is too, and asserts that David Vincent is a crackpot.

Simms escorts David Vincent through the halls at gunpoint and David grabs one of the wait staff collecting linens in the hall and tosses him into Simms, escaping out the door to his bus. Simms aims his gun, but realizes he's too late, as David has already taken off in the bus.

Maggie is bugging Cookie about the meeting he's having and he attempts to throw her off by claiming that her bus driver got to her. She wants to know what the secrecy is about, and he says he can't tell her. He then decides to confide that he's helping the government upgrade the country's defense system. Sims arrives and tells him that David Vincent got away.

David is on a pay phone talking about a matter of national security when Maggie arrives at the bus station in a cab. He disconnects the call when he sees her, and offers to help her inside. He asks why she came, and she tells him he's wrong about Cookie, that he isn't selling anything. She says he misunderstood the papers he saw on his desk. She warns him that her uncle can be nasty, and David warns her of how nasty the aliens can be, offering to tell her what he knows.

Ramsey and Simms are running around the grounds, searching for Maggie. Ramsey comes across one of the aliens who warns him against going to the power station, but Ramsey goes to check it out, saying Maggie could be in trouble. He manages to make his way in and observes the aliens watching Cook on their mega view screen. He sneaks back out without attracting attention.

Maggie is incredulous to learn of David's beliefs, but claims that Cookie wouldn't help them, and that he won't have the updated information until that afternoon. Ramsey calls David at the bus station and asks if Maggie is with him. He shares what he saw at the power station and David says he'll bring Maggie back, while advising them to get to Cook right away. Just as he hangs up, some aliens approach Ramsey and Simms with a mind control crystal.

David is busing Maggie back to The Lodge, and she confides that she worries about her uncle who was hiding away in Switzerland for three years before she talked him into getting back into the action. David asks what happened. She says Cookie was driving, and that he came out of it with scars and guilt, while she got herself a fancy white cane.

David pulls to the side of the road where a mustang is wrecked and burning on a hill. He goes to investigate and finds Ramsey and Simms scattered on the ground outside the vehicle, dead and bloodied. Maggie asks him what happened.

Well, we sort of found out why Paul Cook is scarred. We're left to assume that he may have been driving drunk, though it's possible he was just a bad driver. Either way, he's responsible for Maggie's blindness. The aliens in this episode seem to favor using the mind control crystal to take out humans instead of the more efficient brain hemorrhaging lighted disc. Perhaps they weren't issued any lighted discs.


Maggie tries to cheer herself up by saying that Ramsey and Simms didn't have any families as she rides in the bus with David. They arrive at The Lodge and he says he'll take her to her uncle, but she tells him to go on ahead to the power station. Cook is on the phone yelling at Danvers about his missing niece and men. Maggie enters and tells him that Ramsey and Simms died in a car accident, and claims they were murdered. She says he's probably next. She tells him that the people running The Lodge are not people, and that they mean to use him to take over.

David arrives at the power station and sees four aliens gathered around the view screen, watching Cookie tell Maggie that, although two powerful generals are scheduled to arrive, he'll cancel the meeting and that she should go pack. He is unable to reach Washington because all the circuits are out and he begins hastily packing his briefcase. One of the aliens turns off the view screen and makes a phone call, announcing it's time.

David sees the other three aliens leave the power station, so he goes inside and begins to make a call, as the fourth alien sneaks up and grabs him from behind. They engage in a wrestling match, and though David pulls out a gun, they continue to punch each other out until he finally knocks the alien into some high voltage equipment, causing him to expire and glow red.

Maggie enters the room, calling for Cookie, unable to see the phone off the hook and Cook's briefcase and blueprints scattered on the floor. Alien Cook calls her over and tells her he talked to Washington and was told the meeting would still take place. She is confused by his change of plans, but asks him to let her know when he hears from David. He promises he will. She leaves the room and he replaces the receiver and begins to pick up the papers.

Maggie gets a call from David in her room. He says he can't reach her uncle because the phone is busy, and she relays that he's been talking to Washington, and that he's refused to leave. David urges her to talk to him again, insisting they'll kill him and put one of their own in his place, and that he has to get out of there. David says he'll meet him at the pool in five minutes. The aliens escort the real Paul Cook, who is subdued, to a car.

Maggie tells the unscarred, alien Cook about David's warning, and relays that he wants to meet him at the pool. He asks why these inhuman beings would want to put someone in his place, and she says it's because they want Washington's defense plans, and he'd be easy to impersonate since no one has seen him since the accident, besides herself and his two dead assistants. He says he'll go meet Vincent and that she should go to her room and lock her door. As she leaves, she tells him that he's two completely different people and she only likes one of him. Alien Cook makes a call informing his buddies that Vincent will be at the pool.

I would have expected both Maggie and David to figure out that the aliens had already replaced Cook. He should have warned her that it may have already happened, and she should have figured it out with her heightened sense of hearing, especially after accusing him of being schizophrenic.

Act IV

Officials from Washington are escorted to one of The Lodge company cars waiting for them at the airport.

David is heading toward the pool when he spots two aliens with their pinky fingers jutting out, and goes to hide behind a wall. After they pass, he makes his way to the Lodge.

Fake Cook tells Maggie that Vincent is not at the pool. She says she knows he'll be there, but Cook says there's no time, as he wants to inform Ramsey and Simms' families about their deaths before the conference. Maggie notices the oversight.

The generals arrive at the hotel as David observes from the woods. The aliens meet them and lead them to the conference room.

Maggie exits her room.

The generals get ready for their meeting.

Maggie knocks over a statue in the hallway in her haste, which causes her to drop her white cane. She is unable to locate it and wanders off with arms outstretched.

Alien Cook finds her cane and goes to look for her.

David sneaks up on an alien guard and gives his head a twist, rendering him unconscious.

Mr. Danvers comes across Maggie and notices she's without her cane. Alien Cook shows up with her cane and she tells Danvers to get her out of there as that man is not her uncle. Danvers says he knows, and grabs her. Alien Cook says they never intended to harm her and she can continue her life with him as she would have with Paul Cook.

David shows up and points his gun at Danvers, demanding that he let her go, which he does. David says some generals want to meet them and Danvers whips out his trusty mind control crystal, aiming it at David, who manages to shoot them both dead before he can fall under its spell. Maggie says she's glad she didn't see it.

The plot is foiled because the alien impersonator did not know that Ramsey and Simms had no family, which allowed David Vincent to get the jump on them. It sounds like Cookie crumbled under alien pressure, though we'll have to get confirmation in the Epilog.


One of the generals asks Maggie if she's heard from her uncle and she says she presumes he's dead. He says an investigation will be made on how the whole staff could disappear, though he suggests she shouldn't expect much since she couldn't confirm David's account that two dead bodies burned up, and her uncle has a history of erratic behavior.

David says he wishes he could help her get settled somewhere and she declines. She tells him if he passes hotels he might try checking the lobby for her, and she gives him a peck on the cheek. They exchange farewells and she rides off.

David Vincent will seek out the Invader again, facing a world that cannot believe him, not quite so alone now. For he has found another who does believe: a girl of courage and spirit; a girl of vision.

Leonard Stone as Ramsey
Robert Yuro as Simms
Walter Brooke as Danvers

Harry Hickox...Bowman
John Zaremba...General
James Seay...Grayson
Paul Sorenson...Alien #1
Marlowe Jensen...Alien #2

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:
Sidney Cutner

Invaders theme by:
Dominic Frontiere

I like that we don't know if Paul Cook is really dead, leaving us to wonder if the aliens will use him to advance their plot for world domination, and if he might turn up in another episode someday. It was odd that Maggie was so nonchalant about his presumed demise, though since she had already been making plans about what she'd do after he died, I guess we might expect her to not be too broken up over losing the uncle who was responsible for her blindness, and who kept her isolated. 

I feel like I should have enjoyed this episode more than I did. It has all the things I love about The Invaders: lots of crooked pinky fingers, crystal coercion, aliens impersonating humans, and glowing alien deaths. Perhaps the problem was that there wasn't enough novelty in the Invaders' mission to make it more interesting. If it weren't for Kevin McCarthy in a dual role, and a horrible suicide by plane to speak for it, I would have rated it 2½ pinkies.

 Looking forward to seeing Harry Townes and Ted Knight appear next week.


  1. I'm watching these again on MeTV. Its really great seeing the Invaders. 50 years ago I used to watch them in real time. I remember thinking how cool and novel the show was. It still holds up. I didn't remember David Vincent being so much like Captain Kirk. He has his fight moves doesn't he? The spaceship is very good. Ray guns, bodies incinerating. Good stuff. Roy Thinnes is still alive I've read and living in Chicago. I'd love to have a beer with him and drink it with my pinky out. Rock on Invaders! Bill in St. Louis