Sunday, October 09, 2016

Nostalgia Theater: TV's The Invisible Man -- Now You See It, Now You Don't

The underlying concept from author H.G. Wells' classic novel The Invisible Man has proven a resilient one when it comes to multimedia adaptations, but other than the classic Universal film version from 1933 starring Claude Rains and directed by James Whale (which spawned a mini franchise for awhile there during the Universal Monsters era), it's difficult for me to think of any other version that's had staying power in the cultural consciousness. Case in point, the short-lived The Invisible Man TV show that aired on NBC for thirteen episodes beginning in fall of 1975. Here's the intro, with weirdly leisurely theme music:


So, the premise here is that David McCallum (late of '60s spy skein The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) plays scientific researcher Daniel Westin, who uncovers the ability to turn objects and animals temporarily invisible. When he learns that the company he's working for wants to use his discovery for military applications, he destroys his research before that can happen, turning himself invisible to aid in his escape. However, Westin soon finds that the process is irreversible on him, and so he utilizes specially made rubber masks in his likeness (so we can see McCallum) while using his abilities to defeater evildoers.

It was pretty standard-issue stuff for the '70s, with all the cheesy effects and terrible fashions that implies. Notable is that the show was developed by the late Harve Bennett, who would go on to produce the four Star Trek features made in the 1980s, and he would later create Time Trax in the early 1990s. Also, of note, the show was produced by Steven Bochco (NYPD Blue) and Leslie Stevens (created of The Outer Limits). But for whatever reason, the caliber of talent in front of and behind the camera wasn't enough to keep The Invisible Man visible. Of course, that would hardly be the last time the concept would end up on the small screen.

One Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Nowhere Man

Two Year Ago in Nostalgia Theater: ExoSquad -- Warfare, Bigotry, and Genocide on Weekday Mornings

Three Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: Beetlejuice -- The Ghost with the Most Gets (Re)-Animated
Four Years Ago in Nostalgia Theater: The (Brief) Return of Masters of the Universe

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