Earlier this year, after a collection of Gold Key’s short-lived (two issue) comic book series based on Irwin’s Allen’s TV show The Time Tunnel was solicited, I asked about the show itself with an eye toward maybe watching it on DVD in conjunction with reading the comic book. Commander Benson was able to answer all my questions about the show and I decided to wait to read the comics first, then to decide whether or not to buy the first of two DVD sets collecting the one-season show in its entirety. I read the collection just last night and now I want to watch the TV show more than ever, not because of the comics themselves, necessarily, but because of the introduction written by Alan J. Porter. It’s not that I think The Time Tunnel is great science fiction or anything like that, but it sounds like a (pretty cheesy) show I’d really enjoy. Refreshingly, these time travelers do try to change history, willy-nilly, with no thought as to how history might be affected!

The Gold Key comic book stories are centered around: the assassination of President Lincoln; the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii; the first space flight to Mars in 1980; the rise of the Fourth Reich in 2068; and Custer’s Last Stand.

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"the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii"

There's a fanfic waiting to be written by a better man than me - the Time Tunnelers running into the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble...
I know a couple of the shows have already done this one, but the ultimate television time-travel epic would have to be Doug Phillips and Tony Newman (The Time Tunnel), the Doctor and his sidekick (Doctor Who), Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones (Voyagers!), and Sam Beckett (Quantum Leap) all landing on the deck of the Titanic.

"Captain Smith, sir?"

"Yes, what is it, now?"

"I'm afraid it's two more people who insist that the ship will sink to-night, sir."

"Ye gods, man! That makes it, what, six?"

"I believe, seven, sir."

"Must be the full moon. Tell me these two, at least, aren't as preposterous as that fellow who called himself a doctor and that bitchy woman."

"Well, sir, this time, the big one is dressed like a pirate, and he's got a kid with him."

"Bloody hell."
Commander Benson said:
I know a couple of the shows have already done this one, but the ultimate television time-travel epic would have to be Doug Phillips and Tony Newman (The Time Tunnel), the Doctor and his sidekick (Doctor Who), Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones (Voyagers!), and Sam Beckett (Quantum Leap) all landing on the deck of the Titanic.

"Captain Smith, sir?"

"Yes, what is it, now?"

"I'm afraid it's two more people who insist that the ship will sink to-night, sir."

"Ye gods, man! That makes it, what, six?"

"I believe, seven, sir."

"Must be the full moon. Tell me these two, at least, aren't as preposterous as that fellow who called himself a doctor and that bitchy woman."

"Well, sir, this time, the big one is dressed like a pirate, and he's got a kid with him."

"Bloody hell."


Awesome.
I'm tempted to take another look at Time Tunnel, myself. I remember watching it when I was really little, but have no memory of any individual episodes.
I remember the show's Helen of Troy having a very 1960s hair style.
I think this is the paragraph of Alan Porter’s introduction that convinced me to try the show: “The two protagonists, Drs. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips, thought nothing of trying to alter history, even if they ultimately failed, such as trying to stop the sinking of the Titanic, or halting the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They were also pretty free about telling anyone who would listen about what would happen in the future, something that became a fundamental breach of time travel etiquette in future shows and movies. In the aforementioned Pearl Harbor episode they tried to convince the Japanese attaché on Hawaii to call off the attack by giving him a rundown of all the events of World War 2, including D-Day landings and the atomic bombs, in order to convince him that the Japanese would lose anyway. This same episode broke yet another basic tenet of time travel, that the traveler should never interact with his younger self. Yet, despite all these flaws this particular episode is one of the most fondly remembered amongst the series fans. The idea of a temporal anachronism was also apparently lost on the show’s writers as the Tunnel HQ staff often sent present day objects back into the past to help the stranded travelers; the one that sticks in my mind is them sending hand genades and a sub-machine gun to the battle of Troy!”

I don’t know, but that sounds like my kind of show! :P

And speaking of crossovers… I can easily see the Time Lords of Gallifrey sending the Doctor on a mission to shut these bozos down! Maybe that’s the untold story of why The Time Tunnel lasted only one season!
Commander Benson said:
I know a couple of the shows have already done this one, but the ultimate television time-travel epic would have to be Doug Phillips and Tony Newman (The Time Tunnel), the Doctor and his sidekick (Doctor Who), Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones (Voyagers!), and Sam Beckett (Quantum Leap) all landing on the deck of the Titanic.
"Captain Smith, sir?" "Yes, what is it, now?"

"I'm afraid it's two more people who insist that the ship will sink to-night, sir."

"Ye gods, man! That makes it, what, six?"

"I believe, seven, sir."

"Must be the full moon. Tell me these two, at least, aren't as preposterous as that fellow who called himself a doctor and that bitchy woman."

"Well, sir, this time, the big one is dressed like a pirate, and he's got a kid with him."

"Bloody hell."

I once read a science-fiction short story along that line ... a time-traveler goes to Elizabethan England to meet his idol, William Shakespeare, offering a gift of a handsomely leather-bound volume of his works ...

and when he gets there, finds that Shakespeare gets visits from time travelers about every 10 minutes, and he's got more swag than he knows what to do with ...
Hulu currently has all 30 episodes available for viewing by anyone interested in sampling the series.
Commander Benson said:
I know a couple of the shows have already done this one, but the ultimate television time-travel epic would have to be Doug Phillips and Tony Newman (The Time Tunnel), the Doctor and his sidekick (Doctor Who), Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones (Voyagers!), and Sam Beckett (Quantum Leap) all landing on the deck of the Titanic.

"Captain Smith, sir?"...

If he'd just listened to the kid and the dog in the bow tie he could've lived to a ripe old age.
Luke Blanchard said:
Commander Benson said:
I know a couple of the shows have already done this one, but the ultimate television time-travel epic would have to be Doug Phillips and Tony Newman (The Time Tunnel), the Doctor and his sidekick (Doctor Who), Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones (Voyagers!), and Sam Beckett (Quantum Leap) all landing on the deck of the Titanic.

"Captain Smith, sir?"...


If he'd just listened to the kid and the dog in the bow tie he could've lived to a ripe old age.

YES!
I remember loving Time Tunnel as a boy, but one day it was abruptly gone with no warning (commonplace in those pre-Internet days), and I forgot all about it. I ordered the Gold Key collection on Amazon, not knowing it was a measly two issues (Really? Nuts!). I'm looking forward to it, just to see who the artist was. (Sometimes a familiar name like Don Heck or Mike Sekowsky will show up at Gold Key, but if it's a name I don't know I'm even more excited, because I learn something.)

But what got me to posting is this discussion, which got me to thinking about "time travel etiquette." It's amazing how familiar we are -- no, how trained we are -- in specific laws of a science that doesn't even exist! Sure, these "rules" have emerged after hundreds of time-travel stories have come to a consensus about what works and what doesn't, and that's a good thing, I guess. On the other hand, it does bleed out any spontaneity from the storytelling, and isn't the fun of a time-travel story wondering what would happen if we saved Lincoln or didn't get shot down by that chick we had a crush on in high school? (You can keep trying until you get it right! See: Groundhog Day.)

And yet, we -- editors, writers and readers -- have voluntarily adopted a straitjacket on time-travel stories where we are simply observers. That, we can get out of a history book. What have we done to ourselves?

And now here's Time Tunnel, a reminder of a time when we didn't take our entertainment so seriously!
When it comes to time-travel stories, Cap, I really have to stretch my suspension of disbelief, because, even theoretically, I do not believe time is a medium. The idea that time is a medium through which a man could travel presupposes the concept that everything that takes place, every countless motion, action, and event, still exists somewhere.

I can't buy that; I won't buy that. When an event occurs---whether it's an assassination or I drop my pencil---that moment is over, done with, gone. You see, time is not a natural medium; it's an artificially contrived system of measurement. We have come up with seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so forth as a way to pinpoint things and events in relation to ourselves, the same way we use inches, feet, yards, and miles to pinpoint things and events in relation to ourselves.

Where are the keys I dropped? Over there, three feet from the wall, about six inches in front of the hassock. I won't find them anyplace else.

When did I drop my keys. An hour ago. They wouldn't be there before that point in time.

At sea, we fix the position of a seabourne object by obtaining two lines of bearings from it. This is analogous to obtaining its position along two planes, an X and a Y coördinate. If it's an aircraft, we also require a third plane to determine its position---its altitude. That would be the Z coördinate. (Theoretically, all objects have a Z coördinate; but since most things are on the surface, that value is 0 and unnecessary for computing position.)

But there is one more datum required to fix that position---when? This object at a specific X/Y/Z coördinate: when was it there? Now? Five minutes ago? An hour ago? That it is why time is referred to as "the fourth dimension".

For fixed stationary objects, the value of the time coördinate is almost always going to be 0. Barring some disaster of staggering proportion, the Rock of Gilbraltar is always going to be right where it is, now. But for moving objects, time is always the final coördinate required for determining where it is---even though most often, "now" is the time we are most interested in knowing the other three coördinates.

The time coördinate becomes more important in determining the position of events relative to us. Past events, both public and personal, have meaning to us, have influence on us. For some, future events have importance (harvest time, planting season). Even in things like how often to take a dosage of medicine---for example, one's insulin shot---the time coördinate is an important value. And since man needed a way to measure the passing and approach of these events, he came up with increments of measurement for time. Just like he came up with increments of measurement for distance.

Imagine for a moment how life would work if there were no way of expressing distance or height in increments. How far away is the next town? If you're a pilot, how high is that mountain coming up? Certainly, for short, eyesight distances, one could use relative markers. Your keys are on the kitchen counter, next to the toaster. The Smith home is the house by the river next to the three birch trees in a row.

Let me put it this way: imagine how you would describe for me how to get to your house without having any increments of measurement. Extremely difficult.

Now, suppose we had no increments of time, either. Not only could you not convey to me the distance to your house, or to any significant junctures for turns, you could not even express it in terms of how long it would take for me to get there.

Time, as we talk of it with regards to time-travel, is not a natural condition. It's an artificial scale man has imposed on events in order to, in essence, keep things straight.

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