Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “aliens”

The Invaders–in color

I admit that I am a bona fide child of the sixties. This means in my formative years I was exposed to television shows ranging from amazing, and still fondly watched today, to forgettable and let’s not go there. And then there were some that fell somewhere in the middle, like The Invaders.

Creating a popular series was the bread and butter of the sixties television industry. Finding that hit that would drawn in and mesmerize millions seemed to be the primary focus of the major networks. Everyone had their favorites. This could cause some contentions in families, which explains why sometimes there was more than one television set in residence. Fortunately, our family agreed on most shows. Dad and I would watch The Wild, Wild West. My brother and I would eat our Swanson TV dinners while watching the original Star Trek.

While Star Trek and My Favorite Martian were okay by my parents, I could not even enter the room if The Outer Limits was on. This might explain why I missed out The Invaders. I am prone to nightmares. Scary movies are still a negatory for me. Yet, I will subject myself to possible nightmares for a really good sci-fi show, particularly a series like Dr. Who. Some of those shows I do have to fast forward. Those statue creatures…brrrr.

Our local library has an entire wall area dedicated to television series. Quite the bonus since our winters are so tedious and binging on shows is one way to combat cabin fever. Binging television shows is also great in summer when the thermometer tops up to 90 degrees. My max is 82 degrees. This is how I found The Invaders.

Image result for the invaders tv show

Roy Thinnes sounds the alarm: “The Invaders are coming, the Invaders are coming–wait, they’re already here!”

I can’t resist a fun (borderline cheesey) sci fi show. The Invaders has the ingredients of big time cheese, yet after a couple of episodes I began to respect it a bit more. The special effects (hey, it’s the sixties) weren’t too shabby and I began to look forward to when the aliens got zapped due to their glowing red and ashing out as shadows. David Vincent, the protagonist, is a handsome, serious, capable in all ways architect who single-handedly took out the task of warning the world of how aliens from another planet were infiltrating society. He never made it to Europe. Either a tight budget, or the invaders were more concerned with USA.

Another fascinating aspect of the show was the array of guest stars. These actors must have been on the verge of greatness or either had obligations to the studio. It was fun to prowl through the various episodes spotting Suzanne Pleshette (played an alien in two separate episodes), Peter Graves (lending his distinctive authoritative manner that became his signature on Mission Impossible); Strother Martin (weird and scruffy, as usual); Gene Hackman (tight-lipped and intimidating which led him to Bonnie and Clyde and an Oscar nomination); Ed Asner, Jack Lord, J.D. Cannon and others. Each episode had a unique approach, layering in a riveting addition to the overall plot, and providing plenty of action. While I held back from binging on the entire two year, 43 episodes, I did enjoy my jaunt into yet another sixties series. Quinn Martin, the producer of The Fugitive, created this show as well, and it contains much of the elements of The Fugitive, the Shane type on a constant search for justice.

Oh, at the beginning of each episode the announcer narrated an introduction, very Rod Serlingesque. The opening would be a colorful spotlight with the announcement of ” The Invaders–in color.” Surprisingly enough, some sixties television shows were not in color, and watching favorites in black and white wasn’t that unusual. Having a show in color justified that expensive purchase of the the television console.

66_1971 Zenith Color TV-16

Have you watched The Invaders?

Sully and Alien Parents

For those who appreciate writing contests you will want to scamper over to Mike Allegra’s site for his Sully Writing Award Competition. Lots of nice swag if you’re a winner. 

NOTE: this Sully is not to be confused with the heroic pilot from the recent Tom Hanks movie. This Sully is from a salamander. Yeah, I know. What was Mike thinking? I hope the hero Sully has a sense of humor. 

Part of the competition is to pingback Mike’s site. I think we’re supposed to post our entry here as well.  

So here is my entry, an excerpt of a work in progress:


There were aliens sitting at the breakfast table. I don’t know when it happened but aliens came and took up residence in my mom and dad’s bodies. Admittedly, they looked and acted quite a bit like my parents. They even got that one mole that sits on my dad’s neck just right. It’s raised and kind of hangs there, like a fleck of ear wax. They copied how mom’s left nostril is larger than her right one as well. All in all they are very good imitations. Not like the guy from Men in Black, whose skin didn’t fit right. No. These look, sound, and act like my parents. I still think they are aliens.


    The real question is why I didn’t notice earlier. Maybe there is some sort of cosmic ray they used to shoot my milk with so I didn’t notice. Now that I’m in junior high I don’t drink as much milk. It may do my body good, but it’s havoc on my intestines. Lactose intolerant. Bad gas is not cool in eighth grade. Sixth grade maybe. Not eighth grade. Okay, in the locker room. Not in science. Especially standing next to Heather Fortuna. I may not end up marrying her, or even like her by the time we get into ninth grade. All I know is drinking milk at lunch with my pizza slice has its consequences a half hour later. Which would be in science class.  

    Let’s get back to my alien parents.

    I think when I stopped drinking so much milk I caught on to the fact my parents had changed. They may be onto to me so I better stop staring at them and slip into my usual morning scowl of indifference.


This story idea is based on the fact that teens and parents are truly different species. I know this. Not because I’m an anthropologist, but because I’m a high school teacher and I work with both teens and their parents. After 20+ plus years of observation, I’d say they are truly from different planets since they do not understand each other, and certainly do not speak the  same language.

Will see if this is Sully worthy…

Battleship and Black and Blue Reviews

Sometimes after a long week of teaching direct objects, nuances of symbolism, and grading ceaseless stacks of papers I need to unwind.  Discovering chocolate is a downfall to dieting, and being a longtime teetotaler,  I have succumbed to the ACTION movie for unwinding on Friday night.  We have a local grocery store that offers new releases for only a buck on the weekends.  Who can resist?

I am prone to choosing action movies with disasters or aliens, and I can’t resist the Navy.  So it was natural I selected Battleship. Expecting major cheese for ninety minutes I found myself rooting and hooting for the entire movie.  Being a movie trivia addict, I Googled up IMDb.  Glancing through the reviews I couldn’t help but wince at the meanness of many of the comments.

This brings me to the subject of Black and Blue Reviews.

These are reviews that involve slicing and dicing of the given subject, be it a book, a movie, restaurant or product.  Having been a reviewer for various journals over the past twelve years I have developed a philosophy: it is much easier to depreciate than it is to create.  We all know how much easier it is to diss and dismiss than it is to praise and raise. And being a published writer I tend to stem the critical ink flow when it comes to someone else’s creative effort because I know the stings of criticism do sting. As Thumper once said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Or least compromise and try to say two things for every bad.

Back to Battleship. Of course it wasn’t going for Academy Award status; it’s intent is action and it delivered.  How could you not like a movie that:

  • features Liam Neeson as a Navy admiral?
  • is filmed in Hawaii?
  • has aliens who wear helmet sunglasses and sport wicked porcupine goatees?
  • debuts Rihanna as a  sailor who holds her own with the big boys?
  • stars Taylor Kitsch and Alexander Skarsgård?
  • also has Japanese legendary actor Tadanobu Asano?
  • laughs at itself with borrowed kitsch from Jurassic Park and Transformers?

Instead I found most reviews were negative.  Here’s some samplings:

Of course, in the old B-movie tradition, our response to the alien visit is immediately military. There’s not one word of discussion about the aliens possibly just making a social call. We invite them, they come and we open fire. This despite the fact that they’re remarkably humanoid; when we finally remove the helmet from one alien’s spacesuit, he turns out to look alarmingly like James CarvilleRoger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times

Alien invasion movies usually work based on three things: strong characters, cool aliens and a good idea. “Battleship” has boring characters, boring aliens and a couple of minor ideas stupid enough to elicit a temporary smile. Jeffrey Anderson, San Francisco Examiner

Those represent the pro-view.  Here are a couple of IMDb user review comments:

A simple way to describe Battleship, is that it’s basically a $200 million naval recruitment video that was made by a schizophrenic 8 year old who likes video games and things going Ka-Boom.

Turning a board game into a big-budget summer blockbuster was always going to be a stretch. But Hasbro the company behind the cinematic juggernaut Transformers series thought they had locked on to a winning formula for their adaptation of their best-selling board-game Battleship…namely ditch Michael Bay for the supremely talented Peter Berg, add aliens and throw shed-loads of money at the screen. And it almost works…

Ouch. What were this people expecting from a summer movie?  Hamlet on Mars? Sheesh…

These people totally missed how the film did something totally remarkable by:

  • having Japanese and American military forces  collaborate at Pearl Harbor, no less
  • featuring real life vets of the USS Missouri, some who had even served in WWII
  • showcasing real life active duty Army Colonel Gregory Gadson., who is the first bilateral amputee to serve as a Garrison Commander to any post in the United States Army. This man is a war hero.
  • honoring the military, particularly those from our past.

Sadly, I didn’t see anyone impressed with these positive attributes.  They were too busy complaining about how a movie could be made based off of a toy.  Oh yeah, it’s much better to make movies inspired off of a Disney ride.  Then it’ll be taken more seriously.

Don’t let the black and blue review sink your enjoyment of Battleship.  Besides, the chicken burrito scene is worth the watching all in itself.


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