Original Air Date: January 27, 1961
Writer: Richard Matheson
Director: Douglas Heyes
“This is one of the out-of-the-way places, the unvisited places, bleak, wasted, dying. This is a farmhouse, handmade, crude, a house without electricity or gas, a house untouched by progress. This is the woman who lives in the house, a woman who’s been alone for many years, a strong, simple woman whose only problem up until this moment has been that of acquiring enough food to eat, a woman about to face terror, which is even now coming at her from – the Twilight Zone.”
An old woman lives alone in a remote house, “…one of the out-of-the-way places. The unvisited places. Bleak. Wasted. Dying.” She hears a strange noise on her roof (she is played by Agnes Moorehead who played Orson Welles’s mother in Citizen Kane among other notable roles). As she climbs into her attic she discovers a tiny alien spacecraft populated with two miniature robotic figures. She is slowly terrorized by the two figures.
She battles them throughout her house until she chases one to the rooftop where he makes a transmission via his ship: “Gresham is dead,” the voice says. “Incredible race of giants here. No counter attack, too powerful! Stay away! Gresham and I are…finished.” The woman begins to smash the ship in a violent frenzy until she collapses in exhaustion. Afterwards, we see the only part of the ship. Printed in English in large block letters are the words: “U.S. Air Force: Space Probe No. 1.” The invaders were, in fact, humans. The episode turns the idea of alien invaders on its head.
“These are the invaders, the tiny beings from the tiny place called Earth, who would take the giant step across the sky to the question marks that sparkle and beckon from the vastness of the universe only to be imagined. The invaders…who found out that a one-way ticket to the stars beyond has the ultimate price tag…and we have just seen it entered in a ledger that covers all the transactions in the universe…a bill stamped “Paid in Full” and to be found unfiled in the Twilight Zone.”
As with all things in The Twilight Zone, perspective is key. Like Gulliver among the Lilliputians, human beings are not precluded from meeting giants out there in the distant reaches of space. “The Invaders” is an essential episode in the series, mainly for it surprising twist ending.
The Twilight Zone Trivia:
- Director Douglas Heyes plays the voice of the astronaut in this episode. His words at the end are the only moments of dialogue in the episode.
- The alien figures were created with foam rubber and painted gold. Staff could stick their hands in the back of them through a slit allowing them to control the figures. Director Douglas Heyes kept one of the figures n his coffee table at his home in Coldwater Canyon, Los Angeles. Sadly he threw it way after it rotted way due to the Los Angeles smog.
- This was the last of nine episodes directed by Douglas Heyes.
- Writer Richard Matheson never particularly liked this episode.