Saturday, February 01, 2014

Geek TV: The Invisible Man (1975)

Concept: As with the 1957 series, a scientist invents a process for turning objects invisible, tries it on himself, becomes permanently invisible, and then becomes a secret agent.

Total Episodes: 13

Original Air Dates: September 8, 1975-January 26, 1976

Original Network: NBC


Dr. Daniel Westin (David McCallum): The star of the series, he was working for a company called the Klae Corporation, and was attempting to achieve molecular disintegration, accidentally coming upon the invisibility process. At first, the process is only temporary, but when he tries it on himself a second time, he becomes permanently invisible. Fortunately, Dr. Nick Maggio, a plastic surgeon, is a friend of his, and creates a face mask and gloves with a material called Dermaplex that simulates human skin so he can appear in public. Unfortunately, the mask itches!

Kate Westin (Melinda O. Fee): Dr. Westin's wife. When Daniel becomes a secret agent, his wife does, too.

Walter Carlson (Jackie Cooper in the pilot, Craig Stevens in the series): Dr. Westin's boss at the Klae Corporation. Think of him as the show's counterpart to Oscar Goldman.

Geek Guest-Stars:

William Prince played Dr. Kenneth Maynard in two episodes, he'd played parts in five episodes of Suspense, an episode of Tales of Tomorrow, and later guest-starred on an episode of The Greatest American Hero.

Paul Kent had two appearances on the show, and has appeared in episodes of The Outer Limits, Mission: Impossible, The Man From UNCLE, The Six Million Dollar Man, was Beach in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, appeared in six episodes of T.J. Hooker, and played Dr. Carver in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Due to incomplete credits for this series on the Internet Movie Database, I don't know of any other geek guest stars.

Geek Pedigree:

Harve Benett was the executive producer, co-writer, and co-creator of the show. Previously, he'd developed The Mod Squad, and while he didn't have any geek credits before this, how could I not mention that he went on to co-create Gemini Man, provided stories for The Bionic Woman, as well as the stories for Star Trek II-V, including writing the third one, creating Time Trax and writing episodes of that, too... executive produced the forementioned Gemni Man and Bionic Woman (well, 37 episodes of that show), as well as The Six Million Dollar Man, Salvage One, The Powers of Matthew Star, Star Trek II and III, produced Star Trek IV and V as well as Time Trax, and even appeared briefly in Star Trek III (well, he was the voice of the flight recorder), Star Trek V (as the Starfleet Chief of Staff), and as President McCallister on Invasion America.

Speaking of co-creators, the other one was Steven Bochco, and he produced one episode of the show, as well as executive producing the tv movie Vampire, but his earliest geek credit was writing Silent Running in 1972. He was also the co-creator of Gemini Man, and wrote an episode of the 1986 Twilight Zone.

David McCallum may be forever enshrined in the hearts of genre fans for his role as Illya Kuryakin in the Man From UNCLE, but he also appeared in an episode of Night Gallery, played Alexi Kaslov in The Six Million Dollar Man: Wine, Women and War, Dr. Henri Clerval in Frankenstein: The True Story, Luke in The Screaming Skull, was Steel in Sapphire and Steel, appeared in an episode of SeaQuest 2032, Babylon 5, and was Dr. Joseph Bloom in VR.5. Oh, and how can I forget that he was in two episodes of the original Outer Limits, including the classic episode “The Sixth Finger”? He also appeared in an episode of the 1997 incarnation of that show. In the short-lived Team Knight Rider, he was Mobius, and voiced Merlin in the “Day of the Dark Knight” episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, as well as voicing Paradox in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, but these days, he's best known for playing Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS.

Melinda O. Fee guest-starred on an episode of My Favorite Martian, as well as single episodes of I Dream of Jeannie, Lost in Space, and Blondie, and went on to play Tami Cross in two episodes of The Bionic Woman, Gwendolyn O'Brien in The Aliens are Coming, a guest appearance on Knight Rider, and Mrs. Webber in A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge.

Craig Stevens guested in a 1950 episode of The Lone Ranger, played Bruce Adams in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, guested on a Science Fiction Theatre, played Col. Joe Parkman in The Deadly Mantis, guested on an episode of Alias Smith & Jones, played Rudolf van Bohlen in the TV movie Killer Bees, and later appeared in episodes of Project UFO, and The Incredible Hulk.

While Alan J. Levi didn't direct any geek-related shows before doing his six episodes of The Invisible Man, he did go on to direct episodes of Gemini Man, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Battlestar Galactica, The Incredible Hulk, Voyagers!, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Misfits of Science, Airwolf, Quantum Leap, RoboCop, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and directed the TV movies Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman and Knight Rider 2000.

Just prior to writing four episodes of this show, James D. Parriott write an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. He would go on to direct episodes of The Incredible Hulk, Misfits of Science and Voyagers!, write episodes of Gemini Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Bionic Woman, Voyagers!, Misfits of Science, Forever Knight, and Covert Affairs. He produced, supervisor produced, or executive produced episodes of The Bionic Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Voyagers!, Misfits of Science, Forever Knight, Dark Skies, and Covert Affairs.

Leslie Stevens wrote three episodes of the show, and he came in with more geek cred than anyone! With Joseph Stefano, he co-created The Outer Limits, writing four episodes and executive producing 49. His other writing credits include four episodes of It Takes a Thief, the TV movie The Aquarians, six episodes of Gemini Man, 25 episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as well as the story for the 1984 Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. He also produced seven episodes of The Invisible Man, was the supervising producer on the TV movies for Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as well as an episode each of those shows. He was the consulting producer on the 1995-1998 version of The Outer Limits.

Johnny Borgese, special effects man for the show, had previously done effects work on Journey to the Center of the Earth, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Batman, The Time Tunnel, Fantastic Voyage, Doctor Dolittle, Planet of the Apes, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Earthquake, The Towering Inferno, and The Six Million Dollar Man. He went on to do effects work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Bionic Woman, Jaws and Jaws 2, The incredible Hulk, The Munsters' Revenge, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Airwolf, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., and Sirens.

DVD Release: Full series.

Website: None that I could find.

Note: This was but one of the many geeky shows that started in the 1970s that my family and I watched devotedly that lasted but one season... and no doubt I'll be visiting many of the other shows in that group in later installments!

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