Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Invisible Man

I've been watching Taking Pictures TV's showings of the fifties ITV Invisible Man series, where various uncredited actors wandered around in bandages as scientist Peter Brady, with the titular character's voice provided by Tim Turner, (usually), in full mid-Atlantic mode.  We're nearing the end of the run now and it increasingly resembles one of those action adventure series ITV produced right through until the seventies, with the hero alternating between foiling the schemes of crooks and spies at home and jetting off to some exotic location (all created on the back lot) in order to avert an international crisis.  Much in the same way that Roger Moore did as The Saint a few years later, except that he wasn't invisible.  The effects works is surprisingly good for a low budget TV show of then era, and there are some the producers are clearly especially proud of - such as a disembodied cigarette being smoked mid-air - as they repeat them in virtually every episode.  You have to feel for young Deborah Watling playing the Invisible Man's niece, as she spends virtually every one of her scenes talking to thin air.

The show has some interesting quirks: clearly nudity couldn't be tolerated on fifties TV, even if it wasn't visible.  Several times during the series it is emphasised that Brady is always fully clothed.  Apparently, because everything he was wearing when he was rendered invisible by an experimental accident was made from organic fabrics, it too turned invisible.  Which means that whenever we see him wandering around in visible clothes, with his head bandaged so that people can see him, Brady is in fact wearing two sets of clothing.  Also, if he only has the one set of invisible clothes, when does he have time to put them through the wash - and how does he find them again when he takes them off?  As with all tales of invisibility, one is inevitably left wondering what you'd do if you were invisible: would we all be as altruistic as Peter Bray and use our newly acquired power to fight crime and injustice?  Somehow, I doubt it.  Donald Trump would probably use the power to grope women.  Allegedly.  Personally, I've always thought that it would be good to use the power of invisibility to sneak into people's houses and fart, then watch to see who blamed who for it.  You could also take an invisible dump in the middle of their living room, then watch as they frantically searched for the source of the stench.  Even better would be if one of them slipped up on the invisible turd.  Which, of course, raises the question of whether a turd laid by an invisible person would still be invisible when it left their body?  They didn't cover that in the Invisible Man.

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