The Invisible Man (1958 TV series)

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For the 1975 series starring David McCallum, see The Invisible Man (1975 TV series).
For the 2000 series starring Vincent Ventresca, see The Invisible Man (2000 TV series).
Invisible Man
Alt=The series titles superimposed over a picture of the bandaged head of the invisible man
Genre Science fiction/Adventure/Espionage
Created by Ralph Smart
Developed by Larry White
Starring Lisa Daniely
Deborah Watling
Voices of Robert Beatty (pilot episode)
Tim Turner (series)
Opening theme Sydney John Kay
Composer(s)

Sydney John Kay

Edwin Astley[1]
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 26, plus unaired pilot (List of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Ralph Smart for
ITC
Cinematography Wolfgang Suschitzky
Arthur Graham
Bert Mason
Brendan J. Stafford
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 25 mins.
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run 14 September 1958 (1958-09-14) – 5 July 1959 (1959-07-05)

The Invisible Man (later known as H.G. Wells' Invisible Man) is a British science fiction/adventure/espionage television series that aired on ITV from September 1958 to July 1959. The series was networked on CBS in the United States. It ran for 26 half-hour black-and-white episodes for two series and was nominally based on the novel by H. G. Wells, one of four such television series. The deviation from the novel went as far as changing the main character's name from Dr. Griffin to Dr. Peter Brady who, in this version, remained a sane man, not a power-hungry lunatic as in the book or the 1933 film adaptation. None of the other characters from the novel appeared on the series.

The series follows the adventures of Dr. Peter Brady, a scientist who is attempting to achieve invisibility with light refraction — a completely different technique than the protagonist of the novel utilized. However, the experiment goes wrong and turns him permanently invisible. He is initially declared a state secret and locked up, but eventually convinces the UK government, represented by Sir Charles Anderson, to allow him to return to his laboratory and search for an antidote ("Secret Experiment"). Almost immediately, British Intelligence recruits him for an assignment ("Crisis in the Desert"), but soon security is breached ("Behind the Mask") and he becomes a celebrity ("Picnic with Death"), consequently also using his invisibility to help people in trouble, as well as solve crimes and defeat spies for his country.

Cast and characters[edit]

  • The Invisible Man as Himself (voice: Robert Beatty (pilot episode), uncredited; Tim Turner (series), uncredited)*
  • Lisa Daniely as Jane Brady Wilson (pilot episode) / Diane Brady Wilson (series) (Brady's widowed sister)**
  • Deborah Watling as Sally Wilson (Diane's daughter)
  • Ernest Clark as Sir Charles Anderson (series 1 only) / Colonel Ward (series 2 only)

* This is how the character is credited on the rear sleeve of the Network DVD release. Billed in on-screen closing credits as simply The Invisible Man, with no actor's name listed.
** In the unaired pilot episode The Invisible Man, the character's first name was Jane, but this was changed to Diane — or "Dee", as Brady himself usually refers to her — for the series.

Production notes[edit]

In the unaired pilot, which bears the on-screen episode title "The Invisible Man" (but is often wrongly referred to as "Secret Experiment"), Canadian actor Robert Beatty provided the voice of Peter Brady. After Ralph Smart, the creator, saw the pilot, he realised that he could not use it. The bandaged hero could be seen bumping into doors and scenery, the strings which animated moving objects could be seen in a number of scenes. Although this Invisible Man was never transmitted, plot elements and footage from it were reused in the episodes "Secret Experiment", "Picnic with Death" and "Bank Raid". The Invisible Man pilot is included in its entirety on the Network DVD release of the series.

A second pilot episode titled "Secret Experiment" was made, and was used as the opening instalment of the series. This featured Dr. Peter Brady (who is only ever seen obliquely), who is unwittingly subjected to radiation and turns invisible. While Brady searches for a cure to restore himself to normal, he also acts as an agent for the British Intelligence services. The original ITC press book states that "Secret Experiment", the second episode "The Locked Room", the fourth episode "Crisis in the Desert" and the fifth episode "Picnic with Death" should be shown first by any TV company; however, this directive was ignored by UK and US broadcasters leading to episodes in which Brady's invisibility is known about by the public, such as "Behind the Mask", being screened before its reveal in the episode "Picnic with Death". In these earlier episodes, the public does not know that Brady is invisible, and he wears bandages and sunglasses (as well as gloves) when he appears in public, but the episode "Behind the Mask" has a foreign industrialist with influence who tricks Brady into making him invisible too in an attempt to assassinate his country's new ruler. Subsequently, in "Picnic with Death", a motoring accident fully exposes Brady's invisibility, to the point that he is besieged by the Press. The same bandages Brady uses when out in public help fugitive convict Joe Green (played by Dermot Walsh) in the episode "Jailbreak" to escape the police when they thought he was Brady.

As a publicity gimmick, the actor playing the Invisible Man himself was never credited, either on-screen or in TVTimes, but Johnny Scripps played Brady without the bandages, i.e. apparently headless but otherwise dressed. Being a little person, he was able to see through the buttonholes in Brady's coat. Tim Turner provided Brady's voice, also without on-screen credit, using a transatlantic accent in order to help ITC sell the series to the United States.

The various 'actors' playing Brady's body remain unknown to this day, apart from Tim Turner whose identity was revealed in 1965 (the series was still being repeated regularly up until 1966). In later episodes, Tim Turner both played and voiced Brady — as press cast list handouts from 1959 clearly show.[2] A number of different 'actors' portrayed Brady throughout the earlier episodes, particularly noticeable in the episode "Play to Kill" where a slim Brady changes into a stocky version in exterior scenes. Although according to Lisa Daniely: "I can't remember his name, and he wasn't really a very good actor. And they used somebody else's voice; that was the final insult — poor man. He was quite a nice looking bloke, but not a very dynamic personality."[3]

Tim Turner himself appeared visibly in the "Man in Disguise" episode, though on this occasion he played Nick, a foreign-accented villain who impersonates Brady. Among the writers recruited for the show were Ian Stuart Black, Michael Pertwee and Brian Clemens under the pseudonym Tony O'Grady. Puppeteer Jack Whitehead, who had earlier worked on Muffin the Mule, was called in to provide the brilliant special effects of the show – such as cigarettes smoking while hanging in the air and wine being drunk by an invisible drinker (The pilot episode credits "Trick Photography" by Victor Margutti).

Stuntmen risked their lives hiding in the bottom of cars, driving the vehicle while looking from a slightly open door, or in the steering of a motorbike from a sidecar, which caused members of the public to try and stop what they thought was a runaway vehicle; they didn't realise there was actually a stuntman concealed in the sidecar, steering the motorbike with duplicate controls.

On another occasion, a motorist was surprised to see a car without a driver pull up at traffic lights alongside him. A man then rushed across to the apparently empty car, pulled open the door, and then recoiled from an invisible blow. The motorist didn't know that there was a film unit present, and the man thrown back from the driverless car was actually an actor. Fortunately, the motorist was felt not to have spoilt the take, but rather had helped it — his look of astonishment at what he had witnessed was so well displayed that he was kept in the finished scene.[4]

In the second series, the camera often took on Brady's point of view, i.e. showing whoever and/or whatever the character himself was seeing at the time, which meant that the need for special effects could be cut down.

It has since come to light that two other actors played the voice of Peter Brady after Robert Beatty and before Tim Turner. Because Beatty's Canadian accent in The Invisible Man pilot was considered too harsh, "Secret Experiment" featured the softer American tones of Lee Patterson. Unfortunately, when the series was commissioned and went into production, Patterson was found to be committed workwise and so his place was taken by Paul Carpenter, a former band singer and B-feature leading man. However, Carpenter appeared to have a reputation for being unreliable as, from "Picnic with Death" onwards, Brady was voiced by Tim Turner.[5]

The first series was script edited by Victor Wolfson, for the second series Ian Stuart Black took over, having written scripts for the first series. The music for the pilot was composed by Sydney John Kay, and he is credited as the musical director for series one. Assistant directors on series one were Jack Drury (2 episodes), Peter Crowhurst (2 episodes) and David Tomblin, who also worked on all series two episodes and the pilot. Casting director Harry Fine and sound supervisor Fred Turtle also worked on both series

Guest stars included Peter Sallis, Leslie Phillips, Irene Handl, Honor Blackman, Patrick Troughton, Dennis Price, Dermot Walsh, Willoughby Goddard and Ian Hendry.

Episode list[edit]

Airdates given here are for ATV London.[6] Other ITV regions varied airdates and transmission order.

Note: The actors who provided the Voice of Peter Brady are listed only once until they change.

Pilot Episode[edit]

Episode # Title Directed by Written by Original airdate
00 "The Invisible Man" Ralph Smart Doreen Montgomery and Ralph Smart not transmitted

Experimenting on making guinea pigs invisible by lowering their refractive index to that of air, Dr. Peter Brady becomes invisible himself after a radioactive leak. Brady becomes front page news and a target for a ruthless criminal gang who kidnap Sally, forcing Brady to use his invisibility to steal £50,000 from a bank in order to pay the ransom for her safe return. Stars Willoughby Goddard, Brian Rawlinson
(Voice of Peter Brady: Robert Beatty)

(Plot elements and footage from this episode were later reused in Secret Experiment, Picnic with Death and Bank Raid. The episode also includes footage from the 1956 film Quatermass 2.)

Series One[edit]

Episode # Title Directed by Written by Original airdate
1 "Secret Experiment" Pennington Richards Michael Connor and Michael Cramoy 14 September 1958

Experimenting on making guinea pigs invisible by lowering their refractive index to that of air, Dr. Peter Brady becomes invisible himself after a radioactive leak. Brady becomes an official secret and seeks help from fellow scientist, Crompton, to make him visible again. But Crompton sees the advantages of invisibility and steals Brady's notes. Stars Michael Goodliffe, Bruce Seton
(Voice of Peter Brady: Lee Patterson)

(This episode includes footage from the 1956 film Quatermass 2.)
2 "Crisis in the Desert" Pennington Richards Ralph Smart 21 September 1958

A British agent is held in a Middle East hospital by the secret police and Brady is asked to get him out. Stars Douglas Wilmer, Eric Pohlmann, Martin Benson, Peter Sallis, Adrienne Corri, Derren Nesbitt, Derek Sydney

(Voice of Peter Brady: Paul Carpenter)
3 "Behind the Mask" Pennington Richards Stanley Mann and Leslie Arliss, story by Stanley Mann 28 September 1958
Tricked into visiting the hideously disfigured Raphael Constantine who wants to become invisible, Brady is asked to recover a secret document which incriminates Constantine in a crime he claims he did not commit. Stars Dennis Price, Edwin Richfield, Barbara Chilcot
4 "The Locked Room" Pennington Richards Lindsay Galloway, story by Ralph Smart 5 October 1958
Tania, a Russian scientist working in London, criticises her government and is abducted. Brady comes to her aid, believing she can help him to become visible again. Stars Zena Marshall, Rupert Davies, Noel Coleman
5 "Picnic with Death" Pennington Richards Leonard Fincham and Leslie Arliss, story by Leonard Fincham 12 October 1958

One of Sally's friends is afraid her mother is going to be murdered by her stepfather and his sister, and Sally asks her Uncle Peter to use his invisibility to save her. Stars Derek Bond, Faith Brook, Margaret McCourt, Michael Ripper.

(Voice of Peter Brady: Tim Turner)
6 "Play to Kill" Peter Maxwell Leslie Arliss, story by Robert Westerby 19 October 1958
Brady tries to prove actress Barbara Crane did not accidentally run down and kill a tramp – for which she is being blackmailed – when even she believes she did. Stars Helen Cherry, Colin Gordon, Hugh Latimer
7 "Shadow on the Screen" Pennington Richards Ian Stuart Black, story by Ralph Smart and Philip Levene 26 October 1958
Brady goes aboard an Iron Curtain ship in the London docks to rescue a prisoner, but discovers it is a trap using a form of radar to catch him and his secret of invisibility. Stars Edward Judd, Greta Gynt, Irene Handl.
8 "The Mink Coat" Pennington Richards Ian Stuart Black, story by Leonore Coffee 2 November 1958
Unknown to puppeteer Penny Page, the mink coat she is wearing on a plane to Paris contains smuggled microfilm of atomic research papers. Fellow passenger Peter Brady becomes involved in the intrigue. Stars Hazel Court, Derek Godfrey, Harold Behrens, Joan Hickson, Oliver Reed.(uncredited)
9 "Blind Justice" Pennington Richards Ralph Smart 9 November 1958
When Brady's friend is accused of drug smuggling and is nearly killed by the gang responsible in front of his blind wife, he becomes the woman's eyes to break the smuggling ring. Stars Honor Blackman, Jack Watling, Philip Friend, Leslie Phillips, Desmond Llewelyn
10 "Jailbreak" Pennington Richards Ian Stuart Black 16 November 1958
Convinced Joe Green, who has been convicted of armed robbery, is innocent, Brady searches for a girl who can provide an alibi. Stars Dermot Walsh, Maurice Kaufmann, Ronald Fraser and Ralph Michael.
11 "Bank Raid" Ralph Smart Doreen Montgomery and Ralph Smart 23 November 1958
When Sally is taken from school by a gang of ruthless criminals, Brady is forced to rob a bank to pay a £50,000 ransom for her safe return. Stars Willoughby Goddard, Brian Rawlinson, Patricia Marmont
12 "Odds Against Death" Pennington Richards Ian Stuart Black, from a story idea by Stanley Mann 30 November 1958
To save the daughter of Professor Owens, a brilliant scientist, from danger, Brady uses his invisibility to manipulate the casino tables in Italy in Owens's favour. But little does Owens know that he is gambling his daughter's life away. Stars Walter Fitzgerald, Colette Wild, Julia Lockwood, Alan Tilvern, Olaf Pooley, Oliver Reed.(uncredited)
13 "Strange Partners" Pennington Richards Michael Cramoy 7 December 1958
After his bag of scientific documents is stolen, Brady is held prisoner by the man responsible, who wants him to commit a murder. The Invisible Man discovers that although his invisibility is a defence against detection from humans, it is no protection against a vicious guard dog trained to hunt him down if he attempts to escape. Stars Victor Platt, Jack Melford, Patrick Troughton, Robert Cawdron

Series Two[edit]

Episode # Title Directed by Written by Original airdate
1 "Point of Destruction" Quentin Lawrence Ian Stuart Black 12 April 1959
When three test pilots die and a fourth is injured while testing a top secret fuel diffuser, Brady investigates as to whether it is sabotage. Stars Duncan Lamont, Patricia Jessel, Derren Nesbitt, Barry Letts
2 "Death Cell" Peter Maxwell Michael Connor 19 April 1959
Ellen Summers escapes from a mental institution and pleads with Brady to save her fiancée who is awaiting execution in a cell for killing a policeman. Stars Lana Morris, William Lucas, and Ian Wallace.
3 "The Vanishing Evidence" Peter Maxwell Ian Stuart Black 26 April 1959
When international spy Peter Thal murders Professor Harper and steals vital secrets on which he had been working, Brady is called in by Colonel Ward for help in following Thal to Holland. Stars James Raglan, Charles Gray, Ernest Clark, Michael Ripper.
4 "The Prize" Quentin Lawrence Ian Stuart Black 3 May 1959
Brady arrives in Scandinavia to collect a prize for his contribution to science. However, he ends up becoming involved in the strange affair of brilliant Soviet writer Tania Roskoff, who has been arrested while crossing the border. Stars Mai Zetterling, Anton Diffring, Tony Church
5 "Flight into Darkness" Peter Maxwell Ian Stuart Black, story by William H. Altman 10 May 1959
Dr. Stephens believes that his discovery in the field of anti-gravity will endanger mankind, and so destroys all his papers and disappears. Brady is asked by Stephens' daughter to track him down. Stars Geoffrey Keen, John Harvey, Colin Douglas, Michael Shepley, Joanna Dunham, Esmond Knight.
6 "The Decoy" Quentin Lawrence Brenda Blackmore 17 May 1959
Identical twins Toni and Terry Trent are a popular musical act, performing for the troops on a USO tour of Britain. Brady volunteers to help Toni when Terry disappears at a Soho hotel where she had earlier witnessed a murder. Stars Betta St. John as Toni Trent/Terry Trent, Robert Gallico, Philip Leaver, Wolfe Morris
7 "The Gun Runners" Peter Maxwell Ian Stuart Black 24 May 1959
The British Government asks Brady to help rid the pocket-sized Mediterranean state of Bay Akim – which looks like becoming a trouble spot and a haven for gun-runners – of its ruthless dictator, Sardi. Stars Louise Albritton, Bruce Seton, Paul Stassino
8 "The White Rabbit" Quentin Lawrence Ian Stuart Black 31 May 1959
Brady travels to France when a young doctor, Suzanne Dumasse, sees a white rabbit materialise out of thin air, and her evidence points to a Fascist plot to use the discovery of invisibility to launch a revolt. Stars Marla Landi, Austin Trevor, Paul Daneman, Arnold Diamond, Keith Pyott, Reed De Rouen
9 "Man in Disguise" Quentin Lawrence and Peter Maxwell Brenda Blackmore, story by Leslie Arliss 7 June 1959
Brady finds himself involved in an international drugs racket when a beautiful girl called Madeleine steals his passport in Paris, enabling her accomplice Nick to impersonate Brady and smuggle dope into England. Stars Tim Turner as Voice of Peter Brady/Nick, Leigh Madison, Lee Montague, Robert Raglan, Robert Rietti
10 "Man in Power" Peter Maxwell Ian Stuart Black 14 June 1959
Brady helps the brother and sister of a Middle East king – who has been murdered by his power-crazy army chief – to regain their father's throne. Stars Vivian Matalon, Nadia Regin, Gary Raymond, André Morell, Andrew Keir, Derek Sydney
11 "The Rocket" Quentin Lawrence Michael Pertwee 21 June 1959
One of Brady's ex-colleagues sells off documents containing secret information to a foreign power because of gambling losses, which Brady must retrieve. Stars Glyn Owen, Russell Waters, Robert Brown
12 "Shadow Bomb" Peter Maxwell Tony O'Grady and Ian Stuart Black, story by Tony O'Grady 28 June 1959
Captain Finch is trapped in a pit with an experimental bomb detonator – invented by Brady – that has been designed to explode a bomb instantly if a shadow falls across the device. Only Brady can enter the pit to deactivate the detonator before the sun casts a shadow. Stars Conrad Phillips, Jennifer Jayne, Anthony Bushell, Walter Gotell, Ian Hendry
13 "The Big Plot" Peter Maxwell Ian Stuart Black, story by Tony O'Grady and Robert Smart 5 July 1959
When a plane crash with no survivors reveals that someone aboard was smuggling into England a canister of Uranium 235, used in the manufacture of atomic weapons, Brady uncovers a plot to start a Third World War. Stars William Squire, Barbara Shelley, John Arnatt, Edward Hardwicke, Richard Warner, Derrick Sherwin

First series episodes are copyright Incorporated Television Programme Co. Ltd, second series episodes are copyright Official Films Inc.

Apart from ATV London, other UK Networks – such as ABC Weekend Television – screened the series as one 26-episode run between 13 June 1959 and 19 December 1959, Tyne-Tees Television screened the series from its opening night on 15 January 1959.

DVD releases[edit]

MPI Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in North America. The discs are in NTSC format and carry no region encoding. They are available in two double-disc sets, or as a complete, four-disc set.

DVD Name Ep# Release Date
Season One 13 28 March 2006[7]
Season Two 13 25 July 2006[8]
The Complete Series 26 26 February 2008[9]

Network DVD has released the entire series in the UK as a four-disc set using new prints made from the original negatives. The discs are in PAL format and are encoded for Region 2.

Label: Network
Release Date: 2008
Catalogue N°: 7952963
Availability: Out now

Special Features[edit]

  • Brand new commentaries available on Secret Experiment, Picnic With Death featuring Lisa Daniely, Deborah Watling, and Shadow Bomb featuring Brian Clemens and Ray Austin
  • The unscreened and abandoned pilot version
  • Mute Italian Opening/closing titles
  • Image Gallery
  • ATV Star Book PDFs (DVD-Rom only. PC/Mac)

Sources[edit]

  • Andrew Pixley, Timescreen magazine number 13/Spring 1989, pages 15 – 23.

Other media[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ danger-man.co.uk
  2. ^ Press handout reproduction
  3. ^ Cult TV: The Golden Age of ITC by Robert Sellers, published by Plexus Publishing Ltd. in 2006. ISBN 0-85965-388-9
  4. ^ ATV Star Book PDFs, included as part of the Special Features on the Network DVD release H.G. Wells' Invisible Man.
  5. ^ "Invisible — to a man", featured in Charles Legge's Answers to Correspondents column in the Daily Mail, Friday, 28 January 2011.
  6. ^ Before 1968 ATV transmitted weekdays in the Midlands and weekends in London. See History of ITV
  7. ^ "Invisible Man: Season 1". DVDEmpire.com. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  8. ^ "Invisible Man: Season 2". DVDEmpire.com. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  9. ^ "H.G. Wells' Invisible Man Collection". DVDEmpire.com. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 

External links[edit]