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In 1976, there's an outbreak of a disease that no one has seen before. All what they know is that resembles a disease that existed at around 1871 in Chicago, and that a Dr. Henderson was able to save most of his patients but the Chicago Fire destroyed his records. Dr. Earnshaw the doctor looking for a cure was approached by a man, Jeffrey Adams, who believes that he could help him. It seems that a Dr. Amos Cummings has perfected the art of time travel, and the plan is for Earnshaw and Adams to go back to 1871 and learn how Henderson cured his patients. But a glitch in the machine's computers sends them the day before the fire not four days as intended. And when they meet Henderson, he says he doesn't know how his patients survive. So they go throw his papers and analyze what he uses to treat them to find out.Written by
Irwin Allen's "The Time Travelers" is a surprisingly good TV film. As previously mentioned in other reviews, Allen's record with sci-fi might lead the casual science fiction enthusiast to bypass this film. That, however, would be a mistake.
Without going into too many details, the film's slow moving story about present day doctors (in 1976) seeking a cure for a deadly flu virus outbreak just prior to the 1871 Great Chicago Fire (believe me, that is not an insult) builds methodically to its satisfying, if not a bit predictable, conclusion.
Based on a Rod Serling tale, this is the stuff of old style SF that is sorely missed in a lot of today's productions.
The cast is top-notch. The four lead actors, actors Sam Groom (an alum from Allen's "The Time Tunnel," Trish Stewart *, Tom Hallick and especially Richard Basehart provide a warm, thought provoking charm to this small scale but involving tale. One of the nice touches are the bit roles filled by relatively unknown, but experienced actors one might recognize from many of the TV/film productions of the 1970s.
*Stewart played Jane Henderson-- in another review here mistakenly identified Francine York filling that role.
This reviewer highly recommends this small, somewhat obscure film. Fortunately, it can be found on the boxed DVD set to Allen's "Time Tunnel." Incidentally, on that same DVD is the 2002 filmed pilot, an attempt to revive "The Time Tunnel." It too, is VERY satisfying. It is really too bad this production didn't make it as a new TV series.
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