Premiere episodes can certainly make or break a TV series. I’ll use these posts to let you know some of the premieres (new and old) that I loved and kept me watching a certain TV show through all the seasons.
“The Invaders” premiered on ABC on January 10, 1967, at 8:30 pm. This series was a Quinn Martin production that ran 43 episodes. The first episode was called “Beachhead”. Driving home late one night from a business trip, an exhausted David Vincent takes a nap at a deserted country spot and is awakened by a landing spacecraft. Nobody believes him, not his business partner Alan Landers nor Police Lieutenant Ben Holman, especially when two aliens disguised as honeymooners claim they were there all night and saw nothing.
Vincent notices, however, that the groom’s small finger is extended. When Vincent returns the next day to question them further, the groom mentions to the bride that he is almost out of time. A fight breaks out between the groom and Vincent as Vincent insists on seeing the man’s hands. During the fight, the man starts to glow. Vincent is knocked out and awakens in a hospital.
Later, when he is resting at home, someone starts a fire in his apartment from which he barely escapes. He travels to the ostensible couple’s isolated, dying hometown and discovers a secret alien base there. Unfortunately, he suspects local Sheriff Lou Carver of being an alien instead of Kathy Adams. She is actually an imposter who falsely claims to be one of the town’s few remaining residents. When Vincent realizes she is an alien, he looks at her hand and she says, “not all of us are like that.”
Vincent goes to look for Landers, whom he has convinced to come to see what he has found. Instead, his friend is lured into a fatal ambush by innocent-looking “Aunt Sara”. This episode was written by Anthony Wilson (Have Gun – Will Travel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Addams Family, Bewitched, Combat!, Land of the Giants,
Cade’s County, Banacek, Planet of the Apes) and directed by Joseph Sargent (Lassie, Mr. Novak, Gunsmoke, Star Trek, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Magical World of Disney, Space, Streets of Laredo). The show was created by Larry Cohen (writer for The Defenders, Branded, Blue Light, Custer, Coronet Blue, Cool Million, Columbo).
Premiere Episode Cast
- Thinnes, Roy as David Vincent – (Born April 6, 1938) Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, Airport 1975, The Hindenburg, A Beautiful Mind, TV episodes of The Untouchables, Death Valley Days, Gunsmoke, General Hospital, The Long, Hot Summer, 12 O’Clock High, The Invaders, The Psychiatrist, Battlestar Galactica, From Here to Eternity, Falcon Crest, 1st & Ten, Murder, She Wrote, Dark Shadows 1991 (Rev. Trask), One Life to Live, The Invaders 1995, Law & Order, The X-Files
- Baker, Diane as Kathy Adams – (Born February 25, 1938) The Diary of Anne Frank, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Marnie, The Silence of the Lambs, The Joy Luck Club, The Net, The Cable Guy, TV episodes of The Jim Backus Show, Adventures in Paradise, Route 66, Dr. Kildare, The Invaders, The Fugitive, The F.B.I., Mission: Impossible, The Virginian, Bonanza, Here We Go Again, Medical Center, Marcus Welby, M.D., Columbo, Police Story, Kojak, The Blue and the Gray, Fantasy Island, A Woman of Substance, Murder, She Wrote, Unscripted, Lie to Me, House
- Cannon, J.D. as Police Lt. Ben Holman – (April 24, 1922 – May 20, 2005) Cool Hand Luke, Scorpio, Raise the Titanic, Death Wish II, TV episodes of The Phil Silvers Show, Wagon Train, The Untouchables, Combat!, Rawhide, The Doctors and the Nurses, The Defenders, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Mission: Impossible, The Fugitive, The Invaders, Mod Squad, Gunsmoke, The F.B.I., Alias Smith and Jones, McCloud, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, B.J. and the Bear, The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo, The Magical World of Disney, The Fall Guy, Remington Steele, Call to Glory, Murder, She Wrote, Law & Order
- Daly, James as Alan Landers – (October 23, 1918 – July 3, 1978) Planet of the Apes, TV episodes of The Philco Television Playhouse, The Web, Foreign Intrigue, Climax!, Front Row Center, Kraft Theatre, Omnibus, Studio One, The Loretta Young Show, The Twilight Zone, The United States Steel Hour, Armstrong Circle Theatre, The DuPont Show of the Week, Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive, The Felony Squad, Combat!, Gunsmoke, Mission: Impossible, The Invaders, The Virginian, Star Trek, The F.B.I., Medical Center (171 ep.)
- Milford, John as Sheriff Lou Carver – (September 7, 1927 – August 14, 2000) The Ten Commandments, TV episodes of Mackenzie’s Raiders, The Restless Gun, Wagon Train, The Texan, Men Into Space, Law of the Plainsman, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The Detectives, Tales of Wells Fargo, Have Gun – Will Travel, Death Valley Days, Death Valley Days, Zane Grey Theatre, The Rifleman, The Untouchables, The Lieutenant, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Combat!, Get Smart, The Fugitive, I Dream of Jeannie, The Invaders, The Big Valley, Bonanza, The Virginian, Daniel Boone, The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, The F.B.I., Columbo, Gunsmoke, Mannix, Cannon, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Enos, Highway to Heaven, General Hospital, Picket Fences, The X-Files
- Corby, Ellen as Aunt Sara – (June 3, 1911 – April 14, 1999) It’s a Wonderful Life, Mighty Joe Young, Sabrina, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, Angel in My Pocket, TV episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Revlon Mirror Theater, Dragnet, The Millionaire, Lux Video Theatre, The People’s Choice, Trackdown, The Restless Gun, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wagon Train, Laramie, General Electric Theater, Saints and Sinners, Bonanza, The Andy Griffith Show, The Lucy Show, The Addams Family, Hazel, Get Smart, The Fugitive, The Invaders, The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., Batman, Lassie, Gomer Pyle: USMC, The F.B.I., Adam-12, Love, American Style, The Waltons (Esther)
- Ward, Skip as Man / John Brandon (as James Ward) – (September 12, 1932 – June 27, 2003) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Nutty Professor, Myra Breckinridge, TV episodes of General Electric Theater, The Lineup, Men Into Space, The Gertrude Berg Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Invaders, Batman, The F.B.I., Mod Squad, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Father Dowling Mysteries
- Beecher, Bonnie as Woman / Mrs. Brandon – (Born April 25, 1941) TV episodes of The Twilight Zone, Mr. Novak, Burke’s Law, Peyton Place, The Fugitive, The Invaders, Gunsmoke, Star Trek
- Taylor, Vaughn as Kemper – (February 22, 1911 – April 26, 1983) Jailhouse Rock, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Psycho, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Dark Intruder, In Cold Blood, The Shakiest Gun in the West, TV episodes of The Clock, The Philco Television Playhouse, Johnny Jupiter, Robert Montgomery Presents, The Way of the World, Omnibus, The United States Steel Hour, Studio One, Armstrong Circle Theatre, Kraft Theatre, Colt .45, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Loretta Young Show, The Untouchables, Bronco, Dennis the Menace, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Perry Mason, My Three Sons, My Favorite Martian, Rawhide, Hazel, The Andy Griffith Show, Get Smart, The Fugitive, Petticoat Junction, Gomer Pyle: USMC, Bewitched, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Daniel Boone, Bonanza, Mannix, Maude
- Jackson, Mary as Nurse – (November 22, 1910 – December 10, 2005) Airport, Big Top Pee-wee, The Exorcist III, TV episodes of Hazel, My Three Sons, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Fugitive, The Andy Griffith Show, The Invaders, Room 222, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The F.B.I., The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, The Bionic Woman, The Waltons, Family Ties, Hardcastle and McCormick, Space, The Jeffersons, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Parenthood
Of the 43 episodes, David Thinnes was the only one to be in everyone. Kent Smith (March 19, 1907 – April 23, 1985), who would play Edgar Scoville, was in 13 episodes. Kent was in movies like Cat People, The Curse of the Cat People, The Spiral Staircase, The Trouble with Angels,
and many TV episodes of Armstrong Circle Theatre, Wagon Train, Have Gun – Will Travel, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Outer Limits, Rawhide, The Great Adventure, The Beverly Hillbillies, Peyton Place, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, Wonder Woman.
Some Notable Guest Stars on the Invaders (1 to 3 episodes)
- Gene Hackman – The French Connection, Young Frankenstein, Superman (Lex)
- Roddy McDowall – Planet of the Apes movies
- Peter Graves – Mission: Impossible, Airplane!, Fury
- Jack Warden – From Here to Eternity, Run Silent Run Deep, Brian’s Song
- James Whitmore – Them!, Oklahoma!, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Give ’em Hell, Harry!
- Jack Lord – Hawaii 5-0
- Robert Walker Jr. – Easy Rider, The War Wagon, Beware! The Blob
- Ralph Bellamy – Wolf Man, The Ghost of Frankenstein
- Carol Lynley – The Poseidon Adventure, The Stripper, The Maltese Bippy
- Pat Hingle – Hang ’em High, The Gauntlet, Sudden Impact, Batman
- Joseph Campanella – Mannix, The Guiding Light
- Suzanne Pleshette – The Birds, The Bob Newhart Show
- Edward Asner – Mary Tyler Moore Show, Elf, Lou Grant
- Ed Begley – 12 Angry Men, The Unsinkable Molly Brown
- Dabney Coleman – 9 to 5, On Golden Pond, Tootsie, Wargames, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
- Ted Knight – The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, Too Close for Comfort
- Karen Black – Easy Rider, The Great Gatsby, Invaders from Mars
- Dawn Wells – Gilligan’s Island
- Diana Muldaur – L.A. Law
- Will Geer – The Waltons
- Burgess Meredith – Batman, Rocky, Clash of the Titans
- Lynda Day George – Mission: Impossible
- Susan Strasberg – The Diary of Anne Frank, Rollercoaster
- Russell Johnson – It Came from Outer Space, Gilligan’s Island
Series creator Larry Cohen said that his inspiration for this series was Invaders from Mars (1953) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), his two favorite films when he was a kid.
Narrator: The Invaders: alien beings from a dying planet. Their destination: the Earth. Their purpose: to make it *their* world. David Vincent has seen them. For him, it began one lost night on a lonely country road, looking for a shortcut that he never found. It began with a closed deserted diner, and a man too long without sleep to continue his journey. It began with the landing of a craft from another galaxy. Now, David Vincent knows that the Invaders are here, that they have taken human form. Somehow, he must convince a disbelieving world, that the nightmare has already begun...