The Time Tunnel (TV Series 1966–1967) Poster

(1966–1967)

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It's only a 1960's TV show... but I love it!
Janet_Harrison9 February 2003
Whenever the nit-pickers and cynics get started on THE TIME TUNNEL, you can bet your life that the same things will come up....

The first thing is usually to point out how smelly Doug and Tony must be because they never change their clothes. This will usually be followed by a comment about the length of their hair and fingernails. Anyone who has actually watched the show will be able to give the answer that the two travellers are returned to the condition they were in when they were extracted from the RMS Titanic at the conclusion of their first adventure "Rendezvous With Yesterday" - it's a part of the transference process. Likewise any injuries that they may have suffered (such as Tony's damaged ankle in "Kill Two by Two") are undone. OK, I'm not denying that the real reason for this is so that they could use the same stock footage of Doug and Tony in the vortex week after week... but it is addressed.

Point two on the nit-picker's agenda is usually: "why do Doug and Tony always materialise in one of history's hotspots rather than someone's backyard or a field on an historically insignificant day?" The quick answer to which is that it would be pretty boring watching Doug and Tony sitting in a field scratching themselves for a whole hour - well I'd find it boring at any rate.

Point three is invariably: "How come every historical figure they meet - no matter where and when they hail from - speaks perfect English?" Likewise, this can easily be dismissed by pointing out that watching Doug, Tony and Historical Figure of The Week making hand signals and drawing pictures in the sand for an hour just to say "Hi", might make for pretty dull viewing. Anyway, surely it is conceivable that one or more of those many computer banks we see at Project: Tic-Toc might be doing the translating for Doug and Tony (a bit like the Universal Translator in the original Star Trek).

The thing that the nit-pickers always seem to forget is that THE TIME TUNNEL was a weekly television show meant to entertain the masses for 50-odd minutes a week. It was made in 1966 and so, yes, it has dated and doesn't look as sophisticated as the SF shows of today - but don't forget that those modern shows are building on what came before. Thirty-odd years on I can promise you that Babylon 5, Farscape and whatever Star Trek show is currently airing, will look just as dated and unsophisticated.
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Nifty '60s FX, Clichéd Plots; Great Escapism for Kids!
Ben Burgraff (cariart)28 September 2005
Believe it or not, both "The Time Tunnel" and "Star Trek" debuted in the same week, back in 1966...and for a 13-year old comic-book loving SF fan, the TT premiere, placing our heroes on the doomed Titanic, beat Trek's 'salt-sucking-monster-disguised-as-a-wife" first episode, hands down! Irwin Allen obviously thought he had a winner with the time-traveling concept. Leads Robert Colbert and James Darren were very familiar faces to TV audiences, with Darren still idolized by a legion of fans from his "Gidget" movies (He told me, several years later, that he hoped the series would finally establish him as an 'adult', capable of the same range he'd displayed in "The Guns of Navarone"). Gary Merrill and Michael Rennie as the first guest stars certainly added luster to the Titanic episode, as did a wonderfully intricate main set (with the famous Op Art time portal), a supporting cast including pre-Catwoman Lee Meriwether and veteran character actor Whit Bissell, and, best of all, the extensive 20th Century Fox film archive to 'lift' stock footage from (giving the show a MUCH more expensive look than the series' tiny budget could have supported).

Unfortunately, while "Star Trek" improved in subsequent episodes, the opposite was true for TT. The series faced the fundamental incongruity of time travel as a film or TV subject; EVERYBODY from the past, by necessity, had to speak understandable English! Seeing Greeks and Trojans, bedecked in ancient armor, conversing in 20th Century American English, was pretty jarring! Even worse, the plots soon became painfully predictable. Our heroes, try as they might, could NOT change history, so you knew, each week, that they would either have to allow a tragedy to happen (like Pearl Harbor, in one of the series' best episodes), or that their actions would serve to keep an event aligned the way we currently remember it. When you add a minuscule 'per-episode' budget, insanely short shooting schedules, and the overworked Allen often unavailable to supervise the series or to 'stand up' to ABC and demand improvements, TT never really had a chance.

Still, you had to respect Irwin Allen for attempting to make something more profound than "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (which had deteriorated into campy 'rubber-masked monster of the week' hokum), and "Land of the Giants" (which quickly wore out it's novelty value). While TT failed, many 'baby boomers' still remember it fondly...and that isn't a bad legacy for a one-season show!
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9/10
Better than you think
P_Cornelius2 March 2005
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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Fantastic Show!
mill3ww19 December 2003
I was 9 years old when "Time Tunnel" came on the air, and to an impressionable kid, this series was not so much a stretch as it would be when you're older. I used to love Friday nites on ABC, IIRC the lineup was Green Hornet, Rango (w/Tim Conway), Time Tunnel, Pruitts of Southampton (w/Phillis Diller). Memory is a little weak on the exact order, but I think that's close.

From the moment I saw the slide they put on just before the show began that said "The Time Tunnel, IN COLOR!" I was jealous of everyone that had a color TV (we had an old 21" B&W Olympic brand TV from the 50's). It wouldn't be until years later that I could see it in color. I was never that crazy about "Land of the Giants" or "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", but I never missed "Lost in Space". I never understood as a kid why TT was cancelled (What do kids know? I was just upset my favorite show wasn't on anymore!)

Over the years I would see it pop up once in a great while on some UHF station where I lived in Florida (WTOG-44 in St.Pete in the early 70's). I didn't see it again for years until it reappeared on SciFi. I taped almost all the shows but missed a few. Now I keep hoping for them to come out on DVD as I keep reading, but they still haven't appeared.

I always especially loved the theme music at the beginning of the show, and used my cassette recorder in the 70's to get the theme music so I could hear it when I wanted (no vcr's then!). Sure the show inspired disbelief, but it's pure escapism. Even as a kid, I wondered out loud why they always landed where trouble was about to begin. It didn't matter though, it became my favorite show of all time and still is. I watched it on it's premiere night in 1966 and when I see "Rendevous with yesterday" it takes me back like a Time Tunnel to 1966 and laying on the floor in front of that old TV and being mesmerized by the effects and story...it's like listening to an old song and remembering the time and place where you heard it the first time.

I think it will always be a classic, even if it got (unjustly) cancelled after it's first season. Obviously, I'm not alone, with all the websites devoted to it and all the comments in forums, it will live on for a long time to come. I hope the DVD's come soon.
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8/10
Is it Good or is it Nostalgia
Ephraim Gadsby28 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Many comments on Irwin Allen's "The Time Tunnel" begin with the commentator revealing how old he/she was when this show aired, which suggests love for it may hinge on nostalgia for the show rather than on its quality. We loved the show when we were kids and have a fond affection for it that may amount to more than the show is worth.

The show is about two physicists, Doug and Tony, who get trapped in an experimental Time Tunnel, a secret government project that has wasted mega taxpayer dollars (for 1966), with nothing to show for it but a defective Time Tunnel. In the first episode, a government bean-counter wants to cut the taxpayer's losses and shut it down. Tony, a young punk physicist (who looks barely old enough to have a degree, much less have been on the project seven years) rather stupidly goes in at night and makes himself a human guinea pig for the Tunnel. When he winds up on the "Titanic" (which the scientists running the Tunnel can see as if someone is out at sea with a camera recording the sinking), an older physicist, Doug, goes to "rescue" him. And the Tunnel scientists are unable to bring them back but continually drop them into precarious historical situations (the eruption of Krakatoa, for instance).

I was five/six and my brother was three years older when "The Time Tunnel" first aired. I liked Tony and he liked Doug, so when we played "Time Tunnel" out in the yard there was never a fight over who would be whom (we were also, considering our ages, about the same *relative* heights of the actors playing Doug and Tony). However, since our historical knowledge at that age was slim-to-none, I doubt our imitative adventures had much depth to them. All I remember is our waving our arms about, playing like we were going through time via the show's beautiful kaleidoscopic effects.

When I watched "The Time Tunnel" on DVD in 2009, I hadn't seen the show in more than 40 years. In the meantime, friends who had also been fans when they were under the age of ten told me they caught the show on cable and it wasn't as good as they remembered. They frankly warned me off it.

The special effects of "The Time Tunnel" are state-of-the-art (for 1966 television). It had that "let's not worry about the logic too much – let's just do it!" attitude, and with that the ongoing notion that viewers could overlook lapses in logic if only the show made enough noise. And occasionally one just has to close one's eyes (as when guest star Carroll O'Connor, with a flimsy English accent, gets caught up in the time-travel special effects and looks shamefully ludicrous).

Well, forty years on, I can see through the paper-thin effects. And my historical knowledge is greatly improved (I did two years of graduate work in history). I'm puzzled that these physicists seem to know an awful lot about history. Perhaps education was better when they were in school, but I've met few scientists who know more than (usually inaccurate) common knowledge about historical events. (Doug and Tony seem to know so much history off the cuff, I was gratified in one episode to learn they didn't know anything specifically about British regimental history from the War of 1812. These physicists are also expert with their fists, and often duke it out successfully against formidable opponents).

Doug and Tony lead strange lives. They never seem to eat much -- and they don't get much sleep (unless they go into a kind of hibernation when time-traveling). And the Time Tunnel itself is a bizarre device. Why bother to travel in time if you can see historical events unfolding in real time as if on a screen in "tunnel-vision"? (There is a serious issue with privacy, too, if the Time Tunnel can see anything happening at any time – as if someone had a camera at the Alamo.) One also worries about the Time Tunnel complex. Built as an underground facility in the western American desert, it goes down in the ground forever and looks a lot like the Death Star (this is actually a good effect). Security seems tight, but there's an awful lot of gun-play in the facility. And the hyper-excited scientists running the thing always seem to be and near the breaking point (obviously overworking and perhaps too much coffee).

Despite all this, speaking just for myself, I still enjoy the show. Those who grew up in the age of CGI might very well be disappointed in the effects. Nevertheless, I think it is a show that should be watched because it does present history – a subject I adore but which others inexplicably shy away from - as the great adventure it is. History is not a dry list of names and dates. As Doug and Tony prove in every episode, history is an ongoing story that deserves revisiting for sheer fun.

"The Time Tunnel" still makes me want run out in the yard and wave my arms about as I travel to some great historical event, with my improved historical knowledge.
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Kind of fun, but...
joseph t23 March 2001
We had to watch "Time Tunnel" every Friday evening back in the heyday of 1960s-style TV sci-fi. And this show fit right in. A nice blend of storytelling, fantasy, and early techno-gadgetry.

Much of the appeal of time travel stories relates to, surprisingly, familiarity. We've learned (or at least used to learn) in school about the Trojan War, the French Revolution, the Titanic, Billy the Kid, etc. This show re-lived those tales with a modern-day twist. What would two modern-era men do in these historical events? Would they, could they, effect changes? Should they? The shows depicting historical events were best. When it tried some standard-fare sci-fi things, like trips into the future or outer space, the stories kind of plodded along and floundered.

But...some suspension of disbelief is a must if you watch this show. First, why did the time travellers have to end up in every episode in the middle of some dangerous, terrifying, world-shaking event? Why did they never appear in my quiet backyard back in the 1950s in suburban New Jersey, or out on a farm in Kokomo, Indiana? They would have saved themselves a lot of wear and tear. Oh, but, then we wouldn't have much of a show, right? Ah. Somehow, the stars always managed to get cleaned up and a set of fresh clothes just in time to make their next time leap, no matter how badly tattered and torn they were from their current misadventure. Pretty neat, that. I wish I had one of those when I wake up at 6 a.m. But, hey, if you can make a time machine, its probably no big deal to throw in an instant clothes changer and time traveller touch-up device. Lets not be square, play along with the gag and we'll enjoy the show more.

You'll recognize many of the cast. James Darren of course was the teenage heartthrob of the early '60s as Gidget's boyfriend. Sci-fi stalwarts Whit Bissel and John Zaremba reprise familiar characters. And Lee Meriwether adds some nice eye candy as the comely and brainy project scientist.

For its time, the Tunnel featured some nifty gadgets, although some of them were borrowed for/from and used in contemporary shows like Batman and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Those ancient mainframe-style computer banks look awfully familiar from different shows. But, hey, this was the '60s, and those were pretty modern back then. The Tunnel itself was quite striking, appearing to fade off into infinity when activated thanks to the magic of matte art and decent camera work. I've heard that the show's producers originally tried for a "time vortex" effect, showing clips of stock film footage from different eras speeding by the viewer as the time travelers made another leap in time. But when they tried it the effect looked more like a blurry version of brown pea soup. So they opted for the pop-art Tunnel, with very nice results.

Overall, a good sci fi effort from the mid '60s, for those who remember such a time fondly.
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As fun as I remembered it
lbliss3148 May 2005
Ya gotta love Irwin Allen. His shows will never make the critics' list, but for sheer fun, they can't be beat. Last night I watched the pilot episode and the one where the guys go to the moon. To quote, MST3K, boy those time travelers sure can fight:) Things I also love, in random order: opening credits, with those mod graphics. The dog-trotting security guards, whose leader really should hit the gym more often. The fact that the tunnel cannot be damaged by those same guards firing machine guns. The tunnel itself, which proves that time travel is accomplished by lots of explosions. Also, the knowledge that when are visiting the past, our clothes never get dirty and our hair is always perfectly coiffed. The way the tunnel sends Doug and Tony to the perfect historical moment, every time... even when the scientists can't figure it out. The bank of mainframe computers, which really should have gotten a SAG card, they were in some many shows. Discovering that time travelers are either ruggedly handsome or resemble young rock stars. The security alarms, which include fire sirens AND an air-raid klaxon. The yellow hourglass logo. The humor of naming the biggest project since the Manhattan Project Tic Toc. And of course... Whit Bissell. It just ain't science fiction without Whit Bissell. And who knew that history looked so much like the Fox film library? I hear there's a new series coming on Sci-Fi. I'm sure it will have smarter stories and better special effects, but the original will always hold a place in my heart. Best seven billion the government ever spent... after all, how do we really know this all didn't happen--Arizona is just a hop, skip, and jump from Area 51. :)

All kidding aside, the kaleidoscopic time-travel patterns that the guys go through are still wonderful--mysterious, yet familiar. I've seen a lot of time-travel special effects, but this is still the best. And the set designers and matte painters for the Tic Toc complex should have won Emmys. Great casting of Micheal Rennie and the lovely Susan Hampshire, too.
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A show way ahead of its time
Shapster117 December 2004
Saw the show this morning on the Encore network. I remember being 14 when it came out and loved it then. Today was the first episode (Titanic) and I enjoyed it all over again. Yes, much has changed in technology as far as broadcasting is concerned but the mystery and intrigue of time travel will always be there. The concept of the big time tunnel whereby Doug and Tony are visible on a large screen probably was a forerunner to big screen TV's of today. What I really found intriguing is that when the show was produced in 1968 the budget for the fictional project was $7 billion. What an enormous amount then and yet today that amount for a budgeted gov't project is still huge.

Some of the episodes, as I remember, get a little corny (especially when they travel to the future) but shows where they try to effect great events in history are integral to our desire that if we could change history we would seek to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg, persuade Lincoln not to go to Ford's Theatre, and re-route JFK in the motorcade...
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Another Irwin Allen gem from the 60's
Joe Cuneo21 December 1999
Having grown up in the 60's, I have fond memories of those Irwin Allen adventure series; Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants, and of course The Time Tunnel. Here we have Tony and Doug, trapped in endless time travel, as they tumble week to week to a new adventure, which always happened to be a key moment in history. Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, the Titanic, Jericho, you name it. Meanwhile, the hapless scientists back at the base are constantly turning dials to bring them home, saying, "I'm trying to get a fix on them..." I always liked the vivid theme music, and of course you could see that those blinking computer props were recycled from the aforementioned series.
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7/10
Better than I thought it would be or remembered
boinnng16 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I had seen a "Time Tunnel" episode here or there growing up in the '70s but never thought much about them. Recently, I found myself with some gift cards for Best Buy and found both sets of the series (how rude that they broke up a one-season series into two separate DVD sets). Normally, I would have passed them by (having not been too impressed as a youngster), but there was an amazing sale on them. I could buy BOTH sets on sale for LESS than the regular price of ONE of the sets. Cool! Popping in the series, again, I was not expecting much. That first episode with the Titanic I found kind of dull and plodding...even though I can see why the writers went with the Titanic as the first episode. But the tragedy, shock and horror of the disaster were never successfully woven into the story.

I almost decided to pass on the rest of the series and sell the two sets on eBay or something, but I continued to watch the show. It really has grown on me. Sure, the story lines are a bit predictable and the minuscule budget is glaringly obvious (only 6 prisoners on Devil's Island? Ha!) and the incongruity of everyone (in ancient Greece, France, etc.) speaking 20th century English (albeit with a foreign accent) just screams out HOKEY (and let's NOT even go into how they could constantly bring people and objects back from the past to the Time Tunnel lab and then send them back again--but they could NEVER bring back Tony or Doug)...but there's just something fascinating about the show and what they TRIED to do with it. For example, Tony goes back and meets his father OR Tony ends up at the base 10 years before the setting of the show and Doug doesn't know him OR when Tony does make it back to the lab but at an accelerated time than everyone else (everyone seems "frozen"--but Tony is just in a warp and has to return where he came from) were really interesting and novel attempts to break up the show's routine shuffle. I also enjoyed when the show moved off into the "future". At least they were TRYING to be creative.

It may not have been the best thing ever produced for television, but it was far from the worst. Too bad it only had one season. Given time (and a bigger budget), it MIGHT have evolved into a really fantastic series that is far more revered and remembered than it is today.
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10/10
The Time Tunnel
laurmartin5 June 2008
It gets a ten because James Darren is one of my all time favorites. I will admit that my favorite episodes happened in the first part of the series. Rendezvous with Yesterday has to rank as one of the ten best pilot episodes better. It would be followed up with the series' best episode, The Day the Sky Fell In. James Darren had the right amount of innocence to play Tony Newman, the younger, impulsive, scientist. Robert Colbert was good as his older mentor. (I'll admit in 1966, I didn't appreciate Robert Colbert. I thought he was bland. In retrospect, he's considerably better than I remembered. I do have to admit that the main attraction for me is still James Darren). I liked that there were people back home (Lee Merriwether, Whit Bissel, John Zaremba and for a time Sam Groom) who were trying to get them back. You could identify with the people back home who were trying to get them back. Yes, there were a few too many alien episodes, and a few too many times when they retrieved someone from the past by accident but all and all it was a good effort that should have lasted longer in my humble opinion. Irwin Allen, despite his critics, certainly knew how to entertain. Today's producers could take a page from his book.
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Are Those Guys Still Floating Around In That Time Vortex?
possumopossum15 April 2007
This was one of television's last great shows as far as I'm concerned. I learned a lot of history by watching this show. It even got me a little interested in it. My mother even got me a green turtleneck sweater like Tony's the first (and only, come to think of it) Christmas it was on the air.

I learned about many historical events, the sinking of the Titanic, Pearl Harbor, et al. The Pearl Haror episode titled "The Day the Sky Fell In" was a very emotional episode because Tony's father was among the missing the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. It was really sad to see him standing over his dying father following the attack.

I believe this was one of the first series ever to have these sucky cliff-hanger endings. For all we know, Tony and Doug are still out there floating around in that time vortex. It's like GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. I can't help wondering if those damn fools are still on that island.

It would have been nice to see Tony and Doug make it back home, but that never happened. They just disappeared and then the end credits (with the theme written by a young man named Johnny Williams, for all you music buffs out there.) Hope we some day get to see what happened to them after that last episode.
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7/10
The show deserved a second season
Reginald D. Garrard17 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Creator Irwin Allen always considered this his best television series, even though it had the shortest run of only a single season. The premise of two knowledgeable scientist, well-played by James Darren and Robert Cobert, being flung to actual and fanciful historical events was innovative and daring, even with Allen's bountiful use of stock footage from Tewntieth Century Fox productions. The show had a theatrical feel about it because of its incorporation of the footage and the occasional use of music composed by Bernard Herrmann from the films "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "Garden of Evil," and "Beyond the 12-Mile Reef," among others.

Another musical plus was the effective theme song, composed by a young John Williams, and its accompanying graphics. This was one of television's best opening sequences.

As far as the stories are concerned, the best installments involved Tony and Doug's appearances in American history. Two episodes, set during World War II ("Two by Two" with a bravura performance by Mako and "The Day the Sky Fell In," wherein Tony (Darren) comes face to face with his father who will die during the bombing of Pearl Harbor) were quite impressive. "End of the World," set during 1910, has an intriguing look at paranoia and also features great acting from veteran Paul Fix and James Westerfield. Robert Walker does a fine job as "Billy the Kid", which has interesting banter between the outlaw and Doug.

The time travelers did have some good treks in other corners and times of the world, too. "The Walls of Jericho" safely tackles the Biblical story and offers fine work from guests Myrna Fahey, Arnold Moss, and Lisa Gaye. Victor Jory steals the show as a Barbary Coast pirate that is accidentally transported to the Time Tunnel in "Pirates of Deadman's Island." And the pilot episode "Rendezvous with Yesterday" has the boys on the doomed Titanic in 1912.

The show did offer glimpses of future acting legends: Carroll O'Conner, who would later find fame and fortune as Archie Bunker on "All in the Family" does two parts in "The Last Patrol", and Oscar winner Robert Duvall appears in "Chase Through Time." Allen had his company of actors that would appear in each of his productions. However, because "The Time Tunnel" was more like an anthology, with each episode taking place in a different time and place, he could utilize actors in several episodes: John Crawford (4), Malachi Throne (2), John Hoyt (2), ABraham Sofaer (2), just to cite a few.

The worst episodes were actually the ones that owed more to "Lost in Space" than anything else. "Visitors from Beyond the Grave," "Raiders From Outer Space," "The Kidnappers," and the last episode, "Town of Terror", features aliens in that God-awful silver makeup or grotesque costumes and campy dialog and story lines. But, thankfully, those shows were few and far between.

Though not one of the better installments, "Reign of Terror" allows co-star Whit Bissell a chance to assay two roles, his regular one as General Kirk, as well as the general's French ancestor. And the aforementioned "The Kidnappers" hints that there is a romantic relationship between Colbert's "Doug" and Lee Meriwether's "Ann McGregor".

If Allen's other sci-fi show "Land of the Giants" lasted two seasons, the much-better "Time Tunnel" was entitled to season number two.
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Time Travel Is Exhausting
cutterccbaxter25 July 2006
Doug and Tony are a couple of scientists who hop from one crisis in time to another. I'm not even sure when they get a chance to eat or sleep. They do seem to find themselves tied up or incarcerated a lot, so I guess it is during these times that they get a little shut eye. Doug and Tony pretty much land in any given time and within five minutes are engaged in fisticuffs. They throw some mean punches for a couple of scientists and also seem to be quite knowledgeable about world history. Whit Bissell, John Zaremba, and Lee Meriwether typically act very grim, and Meriwether does it, for the most part, sitting down. Jerry is my favorite character because he strikes me as the weakest link in project tic toc. He always seems a bit on edge and could crack up mentally under the strain of trying to get Doug and Tony back to the present time. The theme music by John(ny) Williams, is great, as are the animated graphic images of the hourglass and helpless figure. The series as a whole pretty much sticks to a comic book level of drama and action without much contemplation on time travel themes. Perhaps had the series lasted longer it may have explored some challenging possibilities related to Doug and Tony's bumping about through time, but that seems doubtful since Irwin Allen was at the helm.
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Good show. I remember watching it on the Sci-Fi Channel
bcolquho25 February 2005
I vaguely remember this show. Good show. I remember watching it on the Sci-Fi Channel. Quantum Leap it ain't, but hey, you can't have a good time travel series like this without making it good. The premise is similar to Quantum Leap. Dr. Tony Newman and Dr. Doug Philipps work for a top secret government project. What is it? Time travel. In the first episode, which is set on the Titanic, Doug goes back in time and Tony's sent to rescue him before the Titanic sinks. There's an episode about Joshua which is good but my favorite is the one set on December 7, 1941, the "date which will live in infamy." I might have watched it when it was first on. I don't know. The last episode, Visitors from Beyond the Stars, took place in a coastal town in Maine. Doug and Tony were close to home by then. Did they make it home? We don't know. The ended before we could find out. Visitors From Beyond the Stars took advantage of the UFO phenomenon which was rampant in the '60s.
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7/10
Imagination Short Lived But Fruitful
DKosty12315 September 2007
It is ironic that years later a Senator threatening to cut off funds for a time travel project started Quantum Leap when the original Senator was here, all in the Arizona Desert doing the same thing. Makes you really wonder if our people in politics now are just as hung up on their powers? This show had an imaginative premise but little budget to work with. Irwin Allen did premiere a great idea with this concept.

They economized by recycling some plots with twists from other shows of the period. The Night of The Long Knives borrowed a bit from The Wild Wild West series for example.

The pilot to this series got a lot of attention. It is one of the earlier times that the baby boom generation got exposed to the Titanic. I was fascinated by that as well as the series premise of getting to meet a lot of historic figures alive. In a way, this series brought some history to life for me.

History had to be revised, but this show fit an image of an all powerful centralized government which could spend any amount of money to do anything. That is exactly what 1960's government was in the U.S. It ruled the media then to the point that all news & entertainment was censored by the government. At the time, this show provided the perfect escapism from that oppressive government.

James Darren provided the teenage girls with a hear throb. Lee Merriweather provided teen age boys with eye candy. Sadly, this show got beaten in the ratings because marketers back then we blissfully unaware of when they were reaching their target audience. Unlike Star Trek, this show did not get long enough to develop a cult following.

This is Irwin Allen's most imaginative work. Sometimes the plots on this were more complex than you could imagine. This show is actually the model used to create Quantum Leap years later. It is now running Thursday evenings on Sci-Fi night on the American Network along with Lost In Space & Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea. If you have this channel & are into Irwin Allen, it makes an interesting triple.
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10/10
More Television Magic From Irwin Allen!
ShadeGrenade19 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
'Project Tic Tok' is a secret underground base where scientists have developed time travel. Head of the project is Dr.Tony Newman. Terrified of losing Government funding, Newman decides to test the device, known as 'the time tunnel', using himself as guinea pig. He finds himself on the deck of the Titanic, hours before its destruction. Dr.Doug Phillips follows him into the past, but can the course of history be changed?

I can remember being stunned by the opening episode of 'The Time Tunnel' back in the '60's. Even in black and white, the set looked incredible, a two-tone vortex stretching to infinity. Irwin Allen spared no expense here. As a cost-cutting measure, however, he was forced to plunder old historical movies to provide the settings, but it didn't harm the show as much as it could have. Like his other series such as 'Lost In Space', 'Time' emphasised action at the expense of plot and characterisation. James Darren and Robert Colbert made an exceptionally likable pair of time-travellers, while Lee Meriwether looked glamorous even in a lab coat. Each week, Tony and Doug would arrive at the scene of a famous historical event or disaster, such as Krakatoa or Little Big Horn, and try to survive without changing history.

Perhaps the best episode was 'The Day The Sky Fell In' in which Doug and Tony materialise at Pearl Harbour hours before the Japanese attack. Tony meets himself as a boy, and his father whom he knows will die soon. The ending is deeply moving.

Towards the end of the run, several 'alien invasion' stories appeared, but this didn't help ratings. 'Time' suffered the misfortune of being scheduled against 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.', then at the height of its popularity. Despite having the shortest shelf-life of any Allen show, 'Time' is amongst his best, and was his personal favourite.
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Rationalizing The Time Tunnel
Observer-220 January 2003
Yes, it's hokey, yes, it could have used character development, yes, it was a product of its time. But the show was also fun. As far as Doug and Tony mostly landing in historically significant episodes, I've always held the rationalization that since these events had a greater impact for the future, like stronger "magnets," they'd be more "attractive" to time travelers rather than merely day-to-day existences of the majority of people. Of course you have to know what those events will be in advance, and have plenty of stock footage available to make the stories work, but all-in-all it makes for an enjoyable show. One thing to note is whenever anyone wants to sabotage the tunnel, or whenever they've got to get inside the machines, they always use the same panel from the "mainframes" on the side of the control consoles. I didn't realize that week-to-week, but seeing it more regularly brought that to my attention.

A movie and/or new series might be either very well done - or could fail miserably. As Lee Meriwether is the last of the primary Project Tic-Toc support team characters alive, perhaps a show could start from a premise of government agents visiting her in the present to get information about the original Tic-Toc, with maybe some flashbacks from the original series as she tells them about it, then moving into a new show or situation from there. I'd like to see at least one of the original cast members be given a role in a sequel like this. As the series ended in a very open-ended fashion, it would be interesting to return to a long-mothballed Tic-Toc project, have them update the components, then begin the stories anew. Gee, should I start writing fan fiction or what?

Until my thoughts above manifest, when you get the chance, watch the original. It is an enjoyable, nostalgic, blast from the past!
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A wholesome and informative entertainment
cso53 February 2000
I remember watching this movie when I was eleven years old. I found it to be immensely entertaining. The science fiction aside, the important events in the history of the world was portrayed in an exhilarating manner. Events such as the signing of the Magna Carta, Napoleonic wars, etc, gave me insights to the fascinating topic. The actors were great as well. I wouldn't mind watching it all over again, given a re-run on mainstream TV.
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So bad, it's great!
mnolte5 June 2004
If you want to see some quality TV about time travel, check out "Quantum Leap" or "Seven Days". If you just want an hour of running, jumping and explosions and don't care if the plot makes any sense, then "The Time Tunnel" is the show to see. This 1966 Irwin Allen series was badly conceived, executed and acted, but it sure looked cool and it was fun! I've always loved the look of the Time Tunnel set, and the psychedelic time vortex was really something. When I was a kid, I used to act out the same slow-motion tumble that Tony and Doug did when landing in a new time plane--and the location was always either a spaceship, jungle or beach. Turn off your logic and enjoy an hour of 60s camp.

For those of you who question the believability of the show--i.e., when do Tony and Doug use the bathroom, and how come they always return to the same clothes every week, how about this: Imagine building a top-secret 800-story complex a mile under the Arizona desert, staffed by 60,000 historians, security personnel and scientists (who are apparently not missed by anyone), where the command center is guarded by one elderly security officer during off-hours, and the whole ting has been in operation for ten years at a total cost of only $7.5 billion! Now that is unbelievable!
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10/10
Time to revive this classic
polarpal9923 May 2006
What a shame this fun series only lasted a single season (over money).

This series had one of the coolest time machines to ever hit the screen (with only the DeLorean time machine from the "Back to the Future" rating higher among my personal favorites), a veteran cast and dared to do special effects at the cutting edge (for its time, if you'll pardon my choice of words).

The freedom to pick any time and location let the writers use reckless abandon when they prepared plot lines (which admittedly were corny and predictable, especially for historic events where we knew the expected outcome).

If they could make a movie out of the MUCH cheesier (but still lovable) "Lost in Space", why not revive this as a movie or a series? The effects available today (and trend toward realism) would make this a natural!
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One of the better tries
rdaffron15 December 2004
This was one of IA's better tries at the TV Series format. Other than the first year of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (which is unarguably the best) and the very few non-monster shows of Voyage, TT had rare depth and more character development than IA ever allowed in his other shows. Yes, it's a shame it never caught on because it was good. It showed you didn't need the stupid monsters and aliens to be good. In one way, I'm glad he didn't have the change to degrade it with them in the way he degraded Voyage. IA, unfortunately, didn't allow his series to explore the characters. He wasn't interested in it. And that shows in the degradation of the shows.
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The new Time Machine
Thomas Rucki2 June 1999
Go back through time, with American scientists Tony Newman and Doug Phillips, and where adventure and action has a meaning. This show is unique and the whole look is fantastic. The psychedelic kaleidoscope-like vortex is magnificent. The fairy-like sound effects are just nice. The slow motion effect when the two heroes come out of the time limbo is magic. The time tunnel is impressive and the sumptuous "Forbidden planet"-like living complexes of the Tic-Toc installation too. The music composed by John Williams is still brilliant and was supervised by Lionel Newman. Whit Bissell remains forever General Kirk in my memory. And the charming Lee Meriwether is as gracious as a fairy. A pure delight in full color with famous guest stars like Robert Duvall in "Chase through time". There is a tense Cold War flavor on the show that I really enjoy. What I like the most is before our heroes leave a time, they get back their original clothes clean. That's pure fantasy and true escapism. Don't miss the pilot episode : "Rendez-vous with yesterday", with Gary Merrill and post-"The day the Earth stood still" Michael Rennie and : 1."One way to the moon" for the "Destination moon" props and wardrobe. 2."The day the sky fell down" for young Tony Newman. Perhaps, the best series produced by "Voyage to the bottom of the sea" Irwin Allen. I hope they will release the series on video very soon.
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Oh, The Magic Of TV
Big Movie Fan26 October 2002
Oh, isn't TV sci-fi just magic? Why? I'll get to that in a minute. Firstly, this show starred James Darren and Robert Colbert as two scientists sent through time and encountering all manner of adventures throughout. The series was like every other 60's series-entertaining, unrealistic and humurous.

The show did make me laugh though. The two scientists must have smelt really bad considering they did not change their clothes or have a shower throughout. Their hair stayed the same length; they never ever grew a moustache and beard. It was funny.

The two guys always landed smack bang in the middle of a war or battle. They never seemed to land in the safety of a prehistoric cave or Egyptian desert. It was always in the middle of a battle where they soon clashed with one of history's tyrants.

As one user pointed out, throughout the series, everyone spoke English no matter what era or region they were from. No-one spoke Arabic or one of the thousand of other languages there have ever been-it was always English.

But, that's the magic of TV. Just sit back, enjoy and don't question a thing if you watch this show. And don't expect it to be historically accurate.

What a pity it only ran for about 30 episodes though.
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