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Scientists Tony Newman and Doug Phillips are the young heads of Project Tic-Toc, a multi-billion dollar government installation buried beneath the desert. They have invented a Time Tunnel, which will allow people to visit anywhere in time and space. While testing the tunnel for an impatient senator, Newman and Phillips became trapped in time, and each week coincidentally found themselves at the site of an important historical event, be it the Siege of Troy, the sinking of the Titanic or an assassination attempt on President Lincoln. Sometimes they traveled into the future, and battled alien invaders. Ann MacGregor, Gen. Kirk and Dr. Swain are the scientists trying to fix the malfunctioning Time Tunnel and bring Doug and Tony back to the present (1968). Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Many episodes made extensive use of stock footage from the 20th Century Fox film library, which allowed producer Irwin Allen to do shows against an "epic" backdrop that could not have been done on a television budget. See more »
[opening narration for most episodes]
Two American scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages, during the first experiments on America's greatest and most secret project, the Time Tunnel. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly toward a new fantastic adventure, somewhere along the infinite corridors of time.
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The Time Tunnel first appeared on TV when I was 11 years old, and it has been four decades since I have seen any of Tony's and Doug's adventures. Thanks to the Starz Action Channel, I've recently had the opportunity to view a few of the episodes once more. Yes, it's a little more goofy than I thought all those years ago, especially when story lines start to turn around the appearance of aliens. But the show is also much better than some of the younger critics seem to be saying.
How so? Well, think about the assumptions behind the Time Tunnel. The producers of this program ASSUMED its audience, back in 1966, had at least a passing familiarity not only with the history of the Titanic, the Alamo, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and Custer's Last Stand but also ASSUMED its audience was aware of the outlines of the story of the Trojan War, the War of 1812, the Siege of Khartoum, and the Dreyfuss Affair--and remember this was long BEFORE the making of PAPILLON. Imagine an hour long TV series today turning one of its plots around the Dreyfuss Affair! It couldn't happen. Today's audiences haven't heard of Dreyfuss and can't even tell you what CENTURIES Pearl Harbor or the American Civil War took place in.
As strange as it may sound to the ears of the contemporary TV viewer, the truth is the Time Tunnel was geared towards a much more sophisticated audience than today's viewers, who are illiterate in their own culture and history. Could a TV series today do a story about the attempt to assassinate Abraham Lincoln--in 1861! The ability of the producers to take this all but forgotten historical incident and turn it into a hour long story could only have worked had the 1966 TV audience been well founded not only in the history of the American Civil War but in Lincoln's assassination in 1865.
The fact is the Time Tunnel could not work for today's dumbed down TV viewers. You can't assume they know what they had for lunch yesterday, much less the history of their own nation or Western Civlization. It's so much easier--and necessary--to develop films and TV shows around cartoon heroes with no baggage and no grounding in all that nasty history.
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