A&C Meet the Invisible Man was the third film in their popular A&C Meet… series, which eventually came to seven such mashups. It was originally intended as a straight horror film in the Invisible Man series, but the huge success of A&C Meet Frankenstein (1948) convinced Universal to rewrite the script as a comedy-horror film.
It was filmed from 3 October–6 November 1950, and released 19 March 1951. The special effects were the work of Stanley Horsley (son of English film pioneer David Horsley), who also did the special effects for The Invisible Man Returns, The Invisible Woman, and Invisible Agent.
A&C actually first met the Invisible Man (voiced by Vincent Price) in the fun twist at the end of A&C Meet Frankenstein, but the one they meet and help in this film is entirely different.
Bud Alexander and Lou Francis are graduating from detective school, and very excited to start their new career. Soon after they go into business, a man (Arthur Franz) enters their detective agency, draws all the blinds, and asks if they’re interested in a case. Before he can give details, the radio reports an escaped murderer named Tommy Nelson, who exactly matches his description.
Lou is typically the first to realise their client is one and the same, while Bud takes a bit more convincing. However, as soon as Bud figures it out, he’s chomping at the bit to get the promised $5,000 reward.
Meanwhile, Tommy phones his fiancée Helen Gray (Nancy Guild) and arranges to visit her and her uncle, Dr. Philip Gray (Gavin Muir). Once he arrives in the lab, Tommy begs for the invisibility potion he’s working with. Dr. Gray steadfastly refuses, pointing out the long-known side effect of eventual madness. He tells Tommy about the sad case of the potion’s inventor, Jack Griffin, and points to his photo on the wall (Claude Rains, who played the original Invisible Man).
The cops pull up outside, and Dr. Gray and Helen stall them for time as Tommy hides. Against the dire warnings, Tommy injects himself.
Soon afterwards, Lou comes upon the scene, forced to be in a room alone with Tommy while Bud talks with the cops and demands the reward. Lou’s terror at being so close to a believed murderer increases when he shakes hands with Tommy and sees Tommy’s hand disappearing. Bit by bit, his entire body disappears, and all that’s left is a pile of clothes.
No one believes Lou’s story, and he’s sent to a shrink, Dr. James Turner (Paul Maxey). The therapy session fails miserably, as Lou instead hypnotizes not only Dr. Turner, but also several cops and anyone else who ventures into the room. Bud is outraged at Lou’s incompetence, particularly since it cost them a big reward.
Bud cheers up a bit when Helen comes to see them and begs them to prove Tommy’s innocence. She gives them $500 and a suitcase to deliver to Tommy in Riverside Park at night. Before she leaves, she asks them to tell Tommy her uncle’s working on the re-agent.
Of course, Lou is the one forced to go to the park alone at night while Bud waits by the car, dreaming of collecting the reward after all. Tommy emerges with his head wrapped in bandages, wearing the clothes from the suitcase. When the cops arrive, Tommy has once again disappeared.
Bud finally believes Lou’s story about invisibility when Tommy makes himself known and expresses outrage at Bud’s attempted double-crossing. While they’re driving away, Tommy explains what happened and why he’s innocent.
Their next stop is the gym, where Tommy elucidates a few more details. He then begins working a punching bag at incredible speed, making it look like Lou is doing it. The trainers are so impressed, they take Lou on as a boxer.
Many hilarious hijinks ensue, all while Tommy remains fixed on his goal—proving his innocence and getting revenge on the promoter who murdered his trainer. But the longer he’s invisible, the stronger the serum’s effects become, and the greater the chance of something going wrong during the big showdown in the ring.