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October 26, 2001
The British television series, "H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man," may have been based on the character created by Wells but had very little to do with the novel or classic James Whale film from Universal, or even with any of its many sequels. In direct contradiction to the source material, the hero Dr. Peter Brady (whose identity was never revealed by Smart as a publicity gimmick; the actor was "voiced" by performer Tim Turner) was doing remarkably well as a workaholic scientist employed by the British government. In the series' "origin" episode Brady accidentally becomes invisible (fortunately for him, clothes and all) after a radiation leak interferes with his experiments on optical density and refraction. Naturally, the British authorities are suspicious of Brady, wondering what he'll do with his new-found "powers." They foolishly try to imprison him but Brady escapes and proves his value to the Crown by helping the law catch a rogue trying to steal his notes on invisibility. The authorities promptly grant Brady his freedom provided he use his invisibility to help protect British interest around the world. In other words, he becomes a one man Impossible Missions Force. In subsequent episodes, Brady is dispatched to one mythical Middle Eastern, Eastern European, or African country after another, to foil the forces of evil threatening the Empire. Brady (who apparently didn't get out much before he became invisible) lives with his sister, Diane Wilson (Lisa Daniely) and her daughter Sally (Deborah Watling). Despite supposedly being a secret agent, as the series progressed, Brady's invisibility became public knowledge leading to trouble in some episodes.The special effects were cheap and downright awful by today's standards. For the most part, the "invisibility" special effects are handled by wires holding various objects such as car keys, test tubes, guns and the like. Scenes were frequently shot from Brady's point-of-view to limit the use of special effects. Despite these shortcomings the series eventually attracted the interests of US television networks. H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man ran for 39 half hours on the CBS network from November 4, 1958 to September 22, 1960.