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"Stand By For Mars!"

Science Fiction in The Saint
The British series The Saint made its debut in 1962 and ceased production after 6 seasons: 71 b&w and 47 color episodes. Roger Moore starred as the debonair adventurer, and practically every episode guest-starred one or more of the beautiful British actresses of the day.

All 118 episodes deal with crimes of some sort - from tracking down stolen paintings and jewelry to assisting the British intelligence services to rescue hijacked airplanes or scientists.

Below lies Spoilers

But of those 118, only three dealt with fantasy or science fiction themes along with the crime. (I'm not counting those in which the missing/defecting scientist was working on something "science fictional," such as "Island of Chance" in which a scientist is developing a serum that will end all illness - but to that end is allowing gold smuggling on the island - and it is the gold smuggling that is the plot-driver of the episode.

The Convenient Monster - November 4, 1966

Most of the b&w episodes of The Saint were based on novels or short stories written by Leslie Charteris, most of the color episodes were not. However, "The Convenient Monster" was based on such a story.

Simon journeys to Loch Ness in Scotland just in time to be on the scene when sheep and a dog are being killed...presumably by the Monster. He stays at the home of Noel Bastien, who is writing a biography of the Duke of Wellington. His wife, Eleanor, a rather unpleasant woman, is a naturalist intent on proving the existence of the Loch Newss Monster.

Circumstances become more urgent when human beings start to die.

Caroline Blakiston dealing with fog and bubbles

In the end, it turns out that Eleanor had been responsible for the deaths, as she'd intended to blame the Monster for the murder of her husband. Simon foils her plan, and she flees in a rowboat out into the middle of the Loch, just as the fog comes up.

Suddenly, the water around the boat begins to bubble...and then Eleanor starts to scream...

Personally, I preferred the short story written by Charteris. In that, Eleanor has removed the shells from her husband's shot gun. Then, after it is revealed that she is the criminal and flees, she is attacked by the monster on dry land. Her husband fires into the monster point blank, but with no effect. A classic example of the "biter bit."

Presumably, the episode's budget did not extend to creating a realistic-looking Loch Ness Monster, which is why they had to settle for bubbles in water, obscured by fog.

The House on Dragon's Rock - November 24, 1968

Also based on a story written by Leslie Charteris, this story is set in Wales. Simon journeys to a small village called Llanfairtraws Sychnant, just in time to help the natives search for a lost shepherd. When they find him he is white and shaking and speechless with fear.

Simon has been sent for by the village doctor, Davis, who is a friend of his. The doctor tells Simon that unusual things have been happening over the last six weeks - trees uprooted, a heavy lorry turned over, and so on.

Simon fires at a Giant Ant. (The bright orange streak is from a fire)
All the problems seem to stem from the Western Research Laboratories, who have taken over a house in the village. The villagers in teh pub talk of werewolves or vampires, or aliens from outer space, but they all think it has something to do with the scientists at the Big House.

Simon drives up to the fence-enclosed house to visit Dr. Charles Sardon, his assistant Dr. Armstrong, and Sardon's niece and secretary, Mary. According to Mary, her uncle works with enzymes, endocrynology and hormones.

Dr. Sardon, when challenged by the nervous Armstrong about the events happening in the village, reveals himself to be the typical amoral scientist: "To enlarge the boundaries of science, it's sometimes necessary to sacrifice a few lives."

So dedicated is Dr. Sardon to this end that he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his assistant, his niece, as well as the villagers, in order to ensure that his creation - a giant ant queen who has laid eggs which - will survive. But Simon is able to kill the ant with a rifle, and burn the eggs.

Unlike "The Convenient Monster," the monster in this episode, the giant ant, is seen. Twice. Each time the same shot is used. There are two shots of a giant ant seen face on, and then there are two shots of the ant from the rear, as someone fires a rifle at it from the front.

The Man Who Gambled With Life - January 26, 1969

Simon has driven out to the country to have a picnic in blissful solitude, when he is approached by a group of men in funereal garb, and a beautiful blonde who is dressed in a shirt that matches his. She presents him with a white mouse called Mimi.

When Simon returns to his flat, he finds a coffin within. Lifting up the lid, he sees a life-size wax model of himself within. And then another beautiful blonde, also dressed in a shirt matching his, but with a gun, enters the room. She fires at him several times, but the bullets are blanks.

She tells Simon that she could have killed him if she wanted, but her father doesn't want that. Her father wants him alive.

Millionaire Keith Longman has run out of time

Vanessa and Stella are the daughters of millionaire Keith Longman, both working with a group of men called "the blue team," to follow his orders. It unfolds that Longman has a bad heart and could die within a day or a month. In order to prolong his life, he intends to freeze himself until such time as medical science can come up with a cure for his heart illness.

Simon is approached to freeze himself first, for only 24 hours, but refuses, so Longman intends to force the issue. However he has a heart attack and decides there is no more time. By the time Simon and the second daughter - who has fallen in love with him - return to the house. Longman is in suspended animation.

This is a rather poor episode, as there's no real reason for Simon to be involved, (or for the initial mystery to be fostered, for that matter). Longman is a man in his fifties, with a bad heart. In order to ensure that the freezing process would work - surely he should be going after a man with similar health problems - not a superbly healthy man such as Templar - to freeze and then re-animate to ensure that the process works.

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