The Time Tunnel: Season 1, Episode 12

The Death Trap (2 Dec. 1966)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Sci-Fi
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Doug and Tony are transported to February 1861 to a barn where a group of conspirators leaded by Jeremiah plots a plan to kill Abraham Lincoln, but they are surprised by a raid of ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Robert Colbert ...
Jeremiah Gebhardt
Matthew Gebhardt
Ford Rainey ...
Christopher Harris ...
David Gebhardt
John Zaremba ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Graeff Jr. ...
Conspirator #2
Pat Murphy ...
Conspirator #3
Mark Russell ...
Third Pinkerton Agent
Gene Silvani ...
Conspirator #1


Doug and Tony are transported to February 1861 to a barn where a group of conspirators leaded by Jeremiah plots a plan to kill Abraham Lincoln, but they are surprised by a raid of governmental agents. Tony flees with Jeremiah and his brother Matthew while Doug is arrested by Pinkerton's men. The fanatic Jeremiah has prepared a time-bomb to blow up Lincoln's train but Tony knows that the plan is doomed to fail since history tells that Lincoln will die only four years later. When Jeremiah discovers that Lincoln is at the depot with Doug, he decides to blow up the spot; Tony tries to save his partner by is tied up to a chair in the brother's house. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Plot Keywords:

lost in time | See All (1) »


Action | Sci-Fi





Release Date:

2 December 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in Baltimore, Maryland on February 21, 1861. See more »


Most of John Brown's men had been killed or captured before 1861. The few who remained at large would have been too weakened and demoralized to take part in a high-profile act of terrorism that could easily have led to their capture, especially when war was already almost inevitable. See more »

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User Reviews

Right city, wrong conspirators
15 March 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Yes, there was a plot to assassinate President-Elect Abraham Lincoln as he travelled through Baltimore on his way to Washington, D.C. and his inauguration. And yes, Allan Pinkerton and his operatives foiled the plot, a bit of detection that helped reinforce Pinkerton's reputation as a detective. But nearly all John Brown's disciples had been killed in the raid on Harpers Ferry some 15 months earlier, or tried and executed. By Feb. 1861, the five who escaped or others who'd not been at Harpers Ferry would hardly have risked capture in Baltimore, a hotbed of Southern sympathizers, for an assassination attempt which could as easily have backfired. The Nov. 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln had already been received by the slave-holding states as tantamount to a declaration of war; who knows what the reaction to Lincoln's death prior to the actual start of hostilities would have been by wither side -- regardless of who pulled the trigger or set off the bomb.

I found the responses of Doug and Tony to Abraham Lincoln surprisingly muted; sure they were concerned about proving their innocence, but I expected a bit more awe that they were in his presence. Ditto for the crew back at the Time Tunnel. Are the general and the scientists getting jaded about seeing the giants of history in front of their eyes? Also the show should have provided a better explanation for the Tunnel's momentary jump to the actual Lincoln assassination in 1865. As the episode played out that foreshadowing seemed unnecessary, especially as it was presented inaccurately -- Maj. Henry Rathbone and his fiancée Clara Harris were in the box along with the Lincolns and the shooting took place while the theater was darkened for the play onstage. We can read Thomas Mallon's novel, Henry and Clara, for a highly readable and detailed account in a work of fiction; but the 1966 writers also had access to numerous works about Lincoln's assassination (one of the most written-about subjects in U.S. history).

The guest cast was uniformly good and the script was closely focused on the situation in Baltimore. General Kirk and the scientists seemed to have much less screen time than in the other episodes I've seen. Their one extended scene (with the boy who was transferred along with the ticking bomb) seemed concocted mostly to give the actors something to do. The choice of R.G. Armstrong to play Allan Pinkerton was inspired -- Armstrong closely resembles photographs of Pinkerton taken in the early 1860's except that the actor is much taller than the detective was. In an 1861 photo held by the Library of Congress, Lincoln towers over Pinkerton and General McClellan who stand on either side of the President. Since McClellan's nicknames included "Little Mac" and "Young Napoleon" the famous detective must have been on the short side, too.

Amazingly, after 11 episodes in which Ann wears what appears to be the same drab tweed dress under a white lab coat, she finally gets a new outfit -- a blouse with a ruffled collar and a skirt (both in a vivid shade of green) -- underneath the lab coat.

Still, attempting to present real historical figures - Pinkerton and, particularly, Abraham Lincoln - was a risky move. It's one thing if Michael Rennie doesn't match the Titanic's actual Captain Smith but another to tamper with the Lincoln image and persona. So the show's producers, writers and director deserve credit for making the attempt even if they changed the sympathies and motives of the would-be assassins.

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