The 1954 sci-fi classic 'Them!' is riddled with soon-to-be-famous TV stars… and giant ants

Where else can you see Daniel Boone, Marshal Matt Dillon and Mr. Spock face massive bugs?

Warner Bros. Pictures

Japan had Godzilla, we had giant ants. Them! stands as the ultimate American example of the "gigantic irradiated monster" films that drew teenagers to drive-ins and double features in the 1950s. The horror flick had a huge influence on popular culture. Van Morrison even named his British Invasion band Them after the movie. It is a pretty awesome title.

The (Oscar-nominated) creature effects kept audiences on the edge of their seat munching popcorn. But we're here to applaud the unheralded genius behind Them! — the casting director.

Released in 1954, Them! showcases a swarm of future television stars. And many of them were uncredited in tiny roles. You really have to keep your eyes peeled for them.

First, let's take a look at the obvious headliners. James Arness is the closest thing to an action hero in the story, a manly FBI agent named Robert Graham. That's him in the goggles in the upper left. One year later, he would kick off his two-decade run as Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke

Another frontier hero in an atypical role is Fess Parker, who turns up midway through the narrative as a pilot in a mental hospital. His character reported seeing the ants as a UFO and begs Arness to believe him. He wears a bathrobe and disheveled hair. It's a far cry from his rugged portrayals of American icons Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett.

Fess Parker in 'Them!'

All the aforementioned fellows are credited. It gets more interesting when you dig into the uncredited walk-on roles.

Take Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, who receives and reads a telegram as a soldier in the communications room. The Star Trek legend was just 23 at the time in one of his earliest screen roles.

Nimoy in 'Them!'

Quite early in the film, you might recognize an ambulance EMT as a quite familiar TV face. It is William Schallert, who had recurring roles as Mr. Leander Pomfritt on Dobie Gillis and father Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show. He also turned up on The Andy Griffith Show, The Waltons and dozens of other classics.

And now we get to perhaps the most interesting uncredited role. Maybe.

You see, Dick York, a.k.a. Darrin Stephens of Bewitched, is said to have an uncredited role as "Teenager in Police Station." You can find references to this all over the internet, included on IMDb. But here's the thing. When you watch the scene — and it is a flash — the young man doesn't look exactly like York. See for yourself:

Does the dude in the middle look like York? For comparison, here is what he looked like in an educational film seven years earlier, in 1947:

Does anyone know for certain if this is York? Tell us in the comments!

And look for all of these stars when Svengoolie presents… Them!

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Mac2Nite 41 months ago
One of my all time favorite 50's sci fi movies! That and The Day The Earth Stood Still are my go-to movies when I need a fix from my childhood! BTW: That's NOT Dick York. The ears are different, as well as the eyebrows. Definitely NOT him. I sketch portraits, so I'm acutely aware of facial structure and alignment, and though their faces are similar, they are not the same person. IMHO 😏
Mob39 42 months ago
Love this movie. Always watch it when it’s on. It’s a favorite!
cubacat 42 months ago
I think I saw a brief glimpse of the Fugitive too in the movie " Them "
BeachHunter 43 months ago
Metv Boston preemted the first hour of the movie with the first half of a college football game. Didn't get to see the first hour of the movie or the last half of the game! What clown is running this channel?
Wiseguy BeachHunter 42 months ago
On Saturday, while NBC was broadcasting the Notre Dame football game, Joe Biden was scheduled to make his speech. So NBC broadcast the speech while the game was sent over to the USA Network, interrupting whatever they were showing. When the speech was over, the game went back to NBC. Whenever our local NBC affiliate feels they "must" show two different things, one of them usually goes to MeTV preempting their programming. For example, during constant hurricane coverage recently, when it was time for NBC Nightly News, instead of interrupting the hurricane forecasting, the news went to MeTV. During a previous hurricane, the Today Show moved over to MeTV for two hours.
It's not MeTV that pre-empts MeTV programming. It's the parent station.
Mac2Nite Wiseguy 41 months ago
Exactly. We only get the second half of Star Trek on Saturday nights because the local affiliate has a 30 minute news show from 10-10:30P. They'd be better off not showing it at all, IMHO.
janet0312 43 months ago
It was preempted by football in my area. One of my favorite flicks too.
OldSchoolRules 43 months ago
My mother, who turned 90 in May, went to Galileo High School in San Francisco with Joan Weldon. When she went into show biz she changed her name from Welton to Weldon.
LittleMissNoName 43 months ago
After watching it again last night, you can see how it influence the movie Aliens and maybe even Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers.
colleenhenry66 43 months ago
In my country of Jamaica, we used kerosene oil and threw on the ants whenever we used to see them crawling around the house, they had an "acidy" smell!
F5Twitster 43 months ago
There's a general resemblance, but the hairlines and ear-shapes of York and the young man in the police station scene are different, so, no, York didn't appear in the film.
texasluva F5Twitster 43 months ago
He is on the cast list IMDb. Also Google the photos.
Mac2Nite F5Twitster 41 months ago
Exactly what I said. They are similar in appearance, but the ears are a dead giveaway. They are NOT the same person.
Mac2Nite texasluva 41 months ago
IMDb is not always correct. With Dick York, and else everyone involved in the movie gone now, there's no way to be absolutely certain, but based on the ears being different, I believe they are two different people.
texasluva Mac2Nite 41 months ago
True IMDb is sometimes wrong. I have found others from their Fan club or Wikipedia. This is also stating he was teen in police station in Them!.
In the Filmography section 1954 Them! Though it is possible for others to be wrong also.
asrealascanbe 43 months ago
This is my kind of web site, interesting TV/Movie trivia/facts, I really enjoy this show!
Keep `em coming!
PaulMaxTakeo 43 months ago
I don't plan to watch it cause this movie will be butchered in the editing room. I've noticed
that any movie with a running time of more than 90 minutes will have parts of it cut out to make time for our host Svengoolie to do his thing.
Paul, I agree with you to a point. If you have never seen a great classic film before, you do
not want to watch it for the 1st time on Svengoolie, the tension/flow/story will be
disrupted. On the other hand, if you have already seen the original Dracula, by all means
watch it on Svengoolie and enjoy the humor.
trogg888 43 months ago
james arness was also the monster in the thing from another world in 1951,also a great scifi movie from that era
trogg888 43 months ago
thats a bad photo of york but for someone whos seen bewitched episodes umpteen times,thats him
Hogansucks1 trogg888 43 months ago
Great hair 😎
trogg888 43 months ago
i cant believe you didnt mention edmond gwynn who played the scientist and won an academy award and the golden globe for miracle on 34 street as kris kringle. anyway great movie and ill be watching again sat on your channel
Barry22 43 months ago
Them! is a great 1950's Sci-fi film.
Rromerolacy Barry22 43 months ago
I missed it! Will it be coming on again any time!!?
HopeDuchaine 43 months ago
I love the movie!! I have a dvd of the original movie. It is a real keeper!!🎉🎉
NVDan 43 months ago
Here's another bit of trivia. When Walt Disney had decided to make Davey Crockett for his TV show James Arness was suggested for the title role. He went to see "Them!" to see if Arness was a good fit. As soon as he saw Fess Parker he knew he had found his Davy Crockett.
Barry22 NVDan 43 months ago
You're right, but you left out one item. Arness was offered the part of Crockett, but turned it down because he was also offered at the same time the role in Gunsmoke (which for the record was a much better offer). Disney remembered Parker in his role and the rest is history.
LittleMissNoName NVDan 43 months ago
I love discovering new tv trivia like this. 👍
F5Twitster NVDan 43 months ago
Disney didn't "go" to see the movie like normal people did and do, he had his staff request a print of the film from Warner Bros., who then sent it over to Disney's studio where he watched it in the privacy of his own screening room.
MarthaWashington 43 months ago
I love these old sci fi's....same kind of cast...lead usually young single handsome sheriff or scientist, followed by young pretty reporter or scientist, which leads to a romantic scenerio, and then a young child, doesn't follow cautions and usually gets into trouble with the insect, space or sea creature and at the end all are seen hugging among the chaos.
StrayCat 43 months ago
In my opinion, "Them" is a movie that literally begs for a remake. With contemporary CGI the ants would be truly frightening with their ability to bite people in half and eat them in grisly fashion. Also they can throw in a bit of salaciousness. A nice R rated movie.
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Hogansucks1 StrayCat 43 months ago
Also, 1974 wouldn’t be earlier than 1954. 😂. ‘Just saying’. 🧐
BustaNutter1 trogg888 43 months ago
Like they did with the Lost In Space movie.
Wiseguy Hogansucks1 42 months ago
He was saying a 1974 movie is an older movie than a current movie. He wasn't comparing a 1974 movie with a 1954 movie.
Mac2Nite StrayCat 41 months ago
No... just no.
tjritter79 43 months ago
OK, a BIT(pun) of trivia about "Them!" and a bit of controversy.
I remember seeing the original feature in the theater. When the title appears on screen, as was the rest of the movie it was in black and white. However, watch the DVD and blu-ray versions, the title is in vivid COLOR (red).
Was this "added" to physical/digital versions after the films original release or perhaps did I see a b&w only print of the film. Victim of the "Mandela effect"?
HopeDuchaine tjritter79 43 months ago
I have the original in DVD and it is totally B&W.
RustleCrow tjritter79 43 months ago
it was my understanding the film was originally planned as a color 3-d film, but that was canceled because of costs. however, the title had been colored, and was released in some theaters that way. later home video versions switched to black and white, but more recent ones have been in the original color. wikipedia has some info on it:
"Although Warner Bros. was dissatisfied with the color results, the film's titles were printed in a vivid red-and-blue against a black-and-white background in order to give the film's opening a dramatic "punch". This effect was achieved by an Eastman Color section spliced into each release print.[4] The 1985 VHS tape release, the subsequent LaserDisc and later DVD release have retained this black-and-white-with-two-color title effect."
F5Twitster tjritter79 43 months ago
No, that part of the film's main title was filmed and printed in what was then known as WarnerColor, which was spliced onto the black and white rest of the film.
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