Saturday, October 20, 2018

Episode 21: Valley of the Shadow - 9/26/67

Two doctors are driving along the coast, as the bride-to-be cautions her fiancé, Sam, that they won't have much of a honeymoon with the early morning calls they're getting. He offers to pour her a tranquilizer when they get back, and pulls her closer to snuggle as he drives. It's easy to sense the impending doom.

An erratic driver approaches them rapidly from behind, swerving to pass around them, as the car continues to weave across both lanes of the road until it hits the hillside and rolls over. The doctors pull over, and Sam tells Maria to call the highway patrol on their handy CB unit, while he grabs his kit and heads over to the scene of the accident.

The driver is squirming in his seat, and Sam cautions him not to move, explaining that he's a doctor. The man says he's okay and explains that he was driving so poorly because his brakes went out. Maria arrives with her stethoscope at the ready, and the man becomes combative when he sees it.

He forces his way out of the car and grapples with Sam, while Maria grabs him from behind, trying to pull him off.

He throws her off and picks up a rock and bashes Sam's skull in with it. Sam is unconscious on the hood of the car, and Maria is left facing the attacker.

He goes after her, but the highway patrol officers arrive just in time and arrest him. She goes to Sam, crying and calling his name, while she hugs his lifeless body.

Starring Roy Thinnes as Architect David Vincent

Guest Stars:
 Nan Martin as Dr. Maria McKinley

Harry Townes as Will Hale

Ron Hayes as Sheriff Gordon Clements

Joe Maross as Alien Captain Taft

Teleplay by:

Story by:

Directed by:

Act I

Carterville, Wyoming. Once a processing center for local copper mines, now a relic. Population: Twelve hundred sixteen. Principal features: the Laramie Mountains on the south, the North Platte River on the north. Principal industry: contemplation of the past. In its 71 years, Carterville has had only four murder cases. The latest, committed by a member of an alien race, will never be recorded in the history books.
A police car makes its way through a busy community where many people are out strolling, and stops in front of the local sheriff's office. Journalist, Will Hale is hounding the sheriff about seeing the man who murdered Sam, as David Vincent steps up. Another officer introduces him, explaining that he's been waiting a half an hour to see Manners. The sheriff asks if he's his lawyer and Vincent says he's not, but is there to share the reason he killed the doctor, and asks to see him first, to make sure he's the man he claims once tried to kill him. The sheriff asks for his ID, and he hands it over. David notes that he's in no hurry, and the sheriff replies that Manners isn't going anywhere. David says he's going up in smoke in a few days and he'd like someone to see it when he does. The sheriff is reluctant, but after frisking him, decides to let him see the prisoner.

He leads him to a cell and asks if he's the one who tried to kill him, and David affirms that he is, saying that he killed the doctor because he didn't want to be examined, which would show that he has no pulse and no heartbeat. He tells the sheriff to check it out, but the sheriff thinks he's trying to run a scam. Will asks why he doesn't have a pulse or heartbeat, and David explains that he wasn't born on Earth. The sheriff mocks him, and David reasserts that he has no pulse or heartbeat and will go up in flames in two to three days. He asks to use the phone to call Captain Taft at the air base, and Will offers to let him use his phone.

Manners tells the sheriff he wants to call his lawyer. The sheriff handcuffs him and lets him out of the cell to use the phone, where he reaches an alien standing by at a call center. He tells him that he's got to get out of there immediately as an Air Force captain is on the way. The alien asks which base the captain is from.

Will Hale leads David Vincent into the newspaper office, asking what planet the perp is from and what he's doing in Wyoming. David says he doesn't know, and asks to use the phone. He reaches Captain Taft and reminds him that he said he should call if he ever caught one, and cites regulation 33-6 from the UFO manual that says he is required to check it out. The captain says he'll be there and complains about regulations to the corporal standing by.

Will tells David he's going to help him by arranging to have the dead man's fiancé, Dr. Maria McKinley, examine him. He asks if David is worried about that and he says he's not.

Captain Taft is on his way to Carterville, and his driver asks what he knows about Vincent. He replies that he's never met him and only knows that he'll do anything to get his name in the papers. The car approaches a police car blocking the road and is stopped by the alien Manners called earlier, disguised in police uniform.

Will Hale arrives at Dr. McKinley's office and tells Maria that there's a man in town that says Sam was killed by a space man with no heartbeat or pulse. She asks what he wants her to do, and he says that she can stop the crazy story by examining Manners to prove the man is lying. She grabs her bag and follows him out.

The sheriff greets the alien, now posing as Capt. Taft, as David Vincent enters the station, saying he's glad they're finally getting to meet. He asks for them to get a doctor, and the sheriff explains it's a two doctor town and one was just murdered while the other was his fiancé, who he won't ask since she witnessed the murder. Dr. McKinley arrives and says she thinks David is Manners' friend and has come to help him, but David tells her that he only wants him examined. She finally agrees to it and they all walk back to the cell, with the exception of Will, who the sheriff excludes.

Alien Taft gives a slight nod to Manners, who backs away as they enter the cell. As they approach him, he breaks through them and escapes. Despite the crowded city streets, the sheriff uses his exceptional marksmanship to shoot out the tires on the car he attempts to steal. He tries to escape on foot, but the sheriff shoots him several times. He falls to the ground, glows in pulsing red flashes longer than any other dying alien we've seen before, and finally disappears, as the crowd looks on and Will Hale takes numerous photos. David exchanges a triumphant look with the sheriff, and then the displeased alien Captain.

Here's the moment we've been waiting for! The alien secret is out, and David Vincent's honor is finally redeemed! In your face, naysayers who ridiculed and mocked him! Will the news spread, resulting in all out war against the alien invasion, or will Alien Captain Taft find a way to contain the revelation before it can get out? I think we know what to expect, but it's still satisfying to see a whole community become aware of the existence of Invaders, and the possibilities remain exciting! 

Incidentally, it's apropos to have Joe Maross, who appeared in one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, "Third from the Sun," play an alien, since he was escaping a dying planet in that episode. I had always assumed that Edward Andrews didn't make it off the planet, but I realize now that he must have found a way to get to Earth to appear in Episode 3.

Act II

A crowd is gathered outside the police station while Alien Capt. Taft is inside telling the sheriff that knowledge of what just happened must remain in town, and that he's declaring marshal law. The sheriff reluctantly agrees, and has the switchboard closed to all out of town calls. Alien Capt. Taft asks to call the airbase, when he's really calling up Ted Knight, who looks awesome in a standard issue alien green jumpsuit. He tells him it's a "red call" and the "Vincent report was a flashing red," and Alien Ted says he'll handle it from there. Taft tells him he's enacting protocols to keep the news from spreading and stresses that he considers it an emergency situation. Alien Ted responds by flipping some levers on a nearby control panel that causes lights to blink.

Will Hale is arguing with Alien Capt. Taft about the importance of getting the news out on the wires. He thinks it will be good for the town, but Taft accuses him of doing what's good for him. He tells him to be nice or he'll tell the sheriff he's breaking the law, and Hale storms out, while David Vincent appears pensive, and then also exits.

Two men from the crowd on police steps follow him on his way out, bombarding him with questions about the aliens. He responds by saying that everything will be alright now that the Air Force has taken over.

He arrives at Dr. McKinley's office and tries to console her by saying her fiancé's death was important in exposing the alien threat, but she interrupts him, saying his joke was in poor taste and that Manners will eventually be caught and executed. She invites him to Sam's funeral so he can see how important he really was, and then hopes he'll end his hoax.

Two worker aliens park their panel van off the road to Carterville and begin setting up flashy electrical equipment in the back of the van.

The electricity goes out in Carterville, and all cars roll to a stop, causing their owners to get out and simultaneously check under their hoods.

David enters the church for Sam's funeral where Maria sits alone bemoaning the fact that no one came. David explains that they're afraid because they've seen something that she refuses to see. The minister enters, saying he expected to speak to a full congregation about Sam, and asks Maria if everyone knew about the funeral. He asks for mercy and begins to recite Psalm 23: The Lord is my Shepherd so we'll better understand the title of this episode. When he gets to fearing no evil, the building begins to shake violently as statues of saints topple, hanging lights sway, and dust falls from the ceiling. The minister continues the prayer, but David hightails it out of the building.

Outside, a water mains has burst and there are cracks in the road which is littered with debris. A man runs up to Will Hale in the midst of a gathering crowd, shouting that there's a crack in the dam and water is beginning to spill through it. They walk en masse toward the sheriff and his deputy making their way through the bricks on the steps of the station. Will asks if he heard about the dam and wants to know what he's going to do about it, along with the non functioning electricity and cars. The sheriff tells the crowd that they were told to stay home and he expects them to follow those orders.

Back inside the station, he attempts to make a call but is unable, so he directs Deputy Jimmy, to get out of town in whatever way possible and contact the army, state police, or anybody he can. Jimmy grabs a rifle and he tells him not to let him down.

David Vincent observes Alien Capt. Taft going into the police station and decides to follow. He catches up to him and asks why he didn't come two days ago when he called. Taft says he was busy and David asks what he's done to Capt. Taft. He asserts that he is Capt. Taft, and David admits he never called two days ago. Psych! He figures since he was the only new face in town besides his own that he must be responsible for the recent calamities. He asks what he's doing and Taft admits he's doing what he has to do about them knowing the truth. David asks if he's going to murder the whole town and Taft nods.

Talk about terrifying! Not only can the Invaders cause power to fail and cars to cease functioning, but they can also cause earthquakes. With that kind of power, it's a wonder they haven't taken over Earth by now. All in good time, I suppose. Deputy Jimmy's chances of making it out alive seem slim.


Deputy Jimmy and his bro approach the panel van with rifles at the ready, clearly seeing the worker bee Invaders in their green jumpsuits with their red, glowing equipment inside. They see the men approach and draw their weapons.

Jimmy's bro warns him that they have guns, but Jimmy thinks they have pistols that won't be able to hit them at that range, and decides to approach on his own. He asks who they are, and they incinerate the rock he's standing next to, causing both he and his brother to turn tail and run away, uninhibited by the aliens.

David tries to get Taft to think of another way to contain the truth, arguing that he can't kill a whole town because it will draw too much attention. Taft says they're not looking forward to it, which surely made David's head spin, as he grasps a banister. He tries to make David feel better by saying he'll pay for screwing up and letting Manners escape. David asks how they'll kill over a thousand people, and Taft says a flood will strike the town. He appeals to him to try and convince the townspeople that it was a hoax and Taft gives him 2 hours to do it, saying his people are on the way.

Alien Ted is riding in an Air Force convoy, with containers marked "Decontaminants" in the back.

David is walking with the sheriff, explaining what will happen to the town if he can't convince them that he broke Manners out of jail. He suggests they get Dr. Maria to help convince the town that he lied.

The sheriff walks into her office with his gun pointed at David, and asks him to tell her that the whole thing was a hoax. David makes up a story and the sheriff asks if she can get the word out to calm the town. She offers to help Will print out some bulletins using an one of his old hand presses.

The alien convoy continues to make its way toward the town.

The sheriff escorts David through a throng gathered on the street. When Will Hale says they need to get out of there, the sheriff says there's no reason because it was a hoax. He draws Hale aside and explains that Maria thought he could print up a bulletin, enticing him by saying that his paper can help bring order back to the town. He agrees to do it.

Sheriff walks David into the station where Taft waits, and tells him it's all his now. He leaves, and David asks him to give it a chance to work when Taft expresses doubt.

Maria is telling a group of men in the newspaper office that she's a scientist and that she knows it's easy to be fooled by natural phenomena. Will says he has photographic evidence, and she tells him it's possible it was an optical illusion. They remain unconvinced by her lame explanations for the earthquake or why the power is out and their batteries and cars have stopped working. The minister asks if it's possible she could be wrong.

At that moment, Deputy Jim arrives and explains to the sheriff that they're all around them and have knocked out the bridge, they're flooding the valley and using a machine to suck up the electricity. The minister asks Maria why she lied to them. She says she didn't mean to, but that she just didn't think it was possible.

The townspeople are suddenly excited to see soldiers marching up the street toward them, and go out to meet them. Alien Ted is leading the regiment, posing as Major McEvoy, and asks the people what's going on, as their trucks just lost power outside of town. Each of the soldiers is carrying one of the decontaminant containers.

It would seem that the alien pretending to be Captain Taft is a friendly, caring creature who would just feel so terribly awful about having to kill everyone in town before his superiors disintegrate him for not preventing the situation that necessitated it. He must be one of the mutated aliens with feelings. David seems to be talking like it's only the townspeople they'll wipe out. I wonder if he realizes that this is their best opportunity to finally get rid of him once and for all. By the way, what could be more fun than seeing Ted Knight act out bad acting?

Act IV

David guesses that Major McEvoy is Taft's superior, which he acknowledges, saying he had his chance, and it would be better for everyone to keep people calm until it's over. He says he'll let him live if he cooperates, though David seems unconvinced. McEvoy strides in and says there's too much to explain. David asks why he can't make them forget it happened, and McEvoy says it's not possible, and that he's ordered the preparations.

David leaves and McEvoy tells Taft there's ten more minutes, and says he'll have a lot of questions to answer when it's over.

Maria approaches David on the street and asks how much time they have. He tells her it's probably a few more minutes, and she apologizes to him for what she said before. She looks up at the stopped town clock saying that time stopped for everyone at 1 o'clock, but it stopped for her the day before when Sam was killed. She says that today never happened and tells him goodbye.

He hurries back to the police station and tells McEvoy that he said turning the clock back using hypnosis would fail because events would repeat themselves, but that he could go back to Monday, and prevent the repetition by changing one element to ensure a different outcome, and that he would be the element to change. McEvoy hands him a gas mask.

The alien workers are on the street releasing an Invaders fuschia colored gas from the decontaminant canisters, that causes all humans out on the street to freeze.

David wears a gas mask and watches from a window with Taft and McEvoy. The soldiers bring a large spheroid speaker on a pedestal and place it on the ground.

McEvoy's voice emanates from it, telling the townspeople:
Carterville, and all the human souls within it, hear this voice, obey this voice, this voice communicates to and commands you for as long as you hear it. To the town square you will bring every last item you have acquired since 9 o'clock this morning. Every item. Every paper, every letter, every memory, every thought, every artifact. Everything since 9 o'clock this morning. People will come and ask you about a radio silence which lasted for a day. You will tell of an unusual magnetic disturbance which will be spoken of for years. Certain things will have changed. The road bridge collapsed in an earthquake. You will remember the sound of it. Tomorrow at 9 in the morning, you will awaken. You will have lost one whole day, but you will not realize it. Everything will be as I have said. Go now to where you were at 9 o'clock this morning, for that is where you will begin tomorrow.

As he is talking, people are beginning to unfreeze and pack up their papers, thoughts and memories and place them around the speaker.

The opening scene from Act I is replayed with Will Hale pestering Sheriff Clements about seeing Manners and Deputy Jimmy interrupting to introduce David, saying he's been waiting half and hour to see Manners. This time, when the sheriff leads David back to the cell to see Manners, he says it's not the man and he's never seen him before in his life. He leaves the sheriff's office.

What. What! What? The aliens are all set to go ahead with their plan to flood the town, but within a manner of minutes, David not only convinces them to change the plan with some unintelligible mumbo-jumbo about using hypnosis to make the people believe the day never happened, but they've got the equipment ready to make it happen. If these creatures are going to allow their best opportunity to rid themselves of David Vincent slip by, they don't deserve to conquer Earth or any other planet! I wish I could be hypnotized to believe that Act IV never happened. At least we got to see the origin of Ted Knight's interest in broadcasting.


The minister is reciting Psalm 23 to a full congregation at Sam's funeral. Maria sits behind a curtain, and David is sitting at a pew with Hale in front. The people exit the church while Maria goes back in where Hale and Sheriff Clements stand with the minister near the coffin, and they offer condolences. He says he thought they had the man, but she acknowledges that it wasn't, and that he had to let him go.

He leaves and David approaches her, explaining that came to pay his respects. She asks if he was a friend of Sam's and he says he wasn't, but that he'd heard about him. She asks if he's sure they've never met before and he says he's sure. He walks out of the church during closing narration.

Carterville, Wyoming. Principal industry: contemplation of the past. Population: 1216 people, all unaware that they have been given back their future.

Mark Roberts as Doctor Larousse
Robert Sorrells as Deputy
Ted Knight as Major
Hank Brandt as Joe Manners

Don Eitner
Jon Lormer
James Sikking
Wayne Heffley
Claudia Bryar
Phil Chambers
Jimmy Hayes
Richard Gardner

Director of Photography:
 Andrew J. McIntyre

Music by:

Invaders theme by:
Dominic Frontiere

Are we to assume that the aliens don't want to kill off the humans when they take over Earth? Looking back, the only humans they have killed have been ones that knew of their existence, with David Vincent being the exception, along with the few who've helped him and have been content to go about their daily lives ignoring the fact that they're aware of the existence of an alien invasion.  

Perhaps the reason they brought in Maross was to inspire us to consider that not all alien creatures may have diabolical plans against the inhabitants of Earth, as in the aforementioned Twilight Zone episode. I like that we finally got to see the Invaders exposed to a large group of people, and it was truly terrifying to see that they were willing to kill off the town's populace, but then the writing got sloppy in trying to find a good explanation for having David Vincent help avert genocide.

Don't miss Barbara Barrie, Richard Anderson and Paul Mantee in next week's episode!


  1. Great site. Can't wait to check it out.

    I think the actual reason it was called 'Valley of the Shadow' is because the plot is somewhat of a ripoff of a Twilight Zone episode with the exact same title. A man has his mind wiped in a small town--

    As for this one, considering the public distrust of the Air Force's handling of UFOs at the time, there is ZERO chance ANYONE would have listened to 'Taft.' That news would've hit the Associated Press and United Press International wire faster than you could say 'architect David Vincent,' which pretty much ruins the entire premise for me.

    Again, it's pretty much what Hollywood thinks of 'flyover country,' then and now.

    Can't wait to explore the site!