Rendezvous With Yesterday:

I haven't seen these in about 40 years, so, effectively, I'm seeing them as for the first time.

Yeah, even if his name wasn't on it, you'd guess this was an Irwin Allen show about a minute into it.

This is such a 60's show. I miss shows like that.

Whit Bissell as the General. Always good to see our Whit.

Cripes, they've got Altair IV down there! And they're gonna shut this huge place down, just because one senator says so?

I'd forgotten that Tony went back alone first.

Fun facts: Anthony Newman was born in 1938, and is from the year 1968. so, the show was set two years in what was then the future.

Andrew was right - Newman immediately tries to change history. "We're Americans, by God! None of this 'worrying about damaging the web of time' for us!"

The great Michael Rennie as the Captain of the Titanic.

And, they end up on a rocket....

Music by "Johnny" Williams.

Well, the special effects are alot better than Doctor Who of the same time period, and they haven't aged too badly.

Interesting that out of all of human history, they land someplace historically significant on their first try.

All in all, I enjoyed this alot. The disk set has an unaired expanded version of the pilot, I shall take a look at that next, to see what they left out of the aired version. Doug and Tony seem like reasonably likable 60's Americans TV heroes so far.

One wonders what the plan was for using the time tunnel once it was perfected - historical and archaeological research, of course - and perhaps a little judicious nudging of world history into directions more favorable to the USA? Hmmm?

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The Baron said:
Luke Blanchard said:
You might find it worthwhile to compare the movies The Time Travellers and Journey to the Center of Time - they're both reviewed here.

Interesting - The Time Travellers is included with the second disk set, so I'll watch that eventually.

It turns out it's not the movie I thought it was, but an Irwin Allen TV movie.
Commander Benson said:
I realised I was 'way too optimistic in checking to see if the writers had bothered make Kirk's boss the real Army Chief of Staff at the time when I heard the modern-day Southall give his rank as "brigadier general". The writers didn't do their homework on British army ranks, either. The Royal Army does not have the rank of "brigadier general"; its equivalent one-star rank is called brigadier. The 1966 Southall should have been addressed as "Brigadier Southall" throughout.

Heh, all those years watching Doctor Who, I wondered about where the Brigadier fit in, rank-wise. When we first saw him in "The Web of Fear", he was a Colonel, but when we saw him again in "The Invasion", he'd been promoted to Brigadier. In a later story ("The Three Doctors", maybe?) someone called him "General", but he corrected them to "Brigadier"...
I'm not wild about the idea that the Time Tunnel is somehow a universal translator. I'm starting to think that there is some kind of an outside force at work here - one that would explain the language, clothes and "they keep arriving at historically significant times and places" issues.

Do you think that Barman with the moustache is at work here too?
"Ever since the Commander mentioned that Doug and Tony go from one adventure to another with no time to eat or sleep or shave, I'd tried to spot scenes in which time has been compressed (to fit into the 50 or so minutes plus commercials time frame of network television). I think there is a bit of that, but the same crew seems to be perpetually on duty back at the Time Tunnel, too. (I think the Commander touched on this point as well.) One possible explanation is that time passes differently inside the Tunnel than outside. What seems like minutes to Doug and Tony (and TV viewers) as they pass from adventure to adventure, may in fact be hours to Time Tunnel personnel."


I agree with the notion that the time Doug and Tony spend "in flux" is much longer, relative to elapsed time at Project Tic Toc, than just a minute or two. In fact, I recalled something that lends toward corroborating that idea and the notion of night shifts for the project staff that I mentioned earlier. The opening teaser sequence to the twenty-fourth episode, "Chase Through Time", begins in the central complex. The lab is deserted, except for one fellow in a lab coat, seated at Dr. Swain's usual station. In the time tunnel, we see Phillips and Newman tumbling through the time continuum. Then, they land in what we eventually learn to be Arizona, A.D. 1547, and we see the man at the controls jot down notations on a piece of paper.

I won't spoil it for anyone who's not seen that episode yet by describing the next events in detail, but from certain things about the teaser, one can make some extrapolations. From a routine security check, broadcast over the 1MC system, we learn that it is "ten-thirty". It's never stated if that is a.m. or p.m., but the general feel of quietude of the scene makes 10:30 p.m. plausible. There are no other staff present. And the man at the controls is not a mere technician; he is identified as "Doctor Albert Styles".

This suggests certain things to me:

The time that Tony and Doug spend floating in mid-shift probably varies and at times might take several hours---from the perspective of the project staff. So during these interims, the regular staffers and crew sleep, eat, relax, do paperwork, research, whatever. However, always on duty in the main complex is someone to monitor the tunnel, observe when the two scientists finally land someplace. It is the monitor's job to (1) determine as best he can when and where Doug and Tony have landed; and (2) to notify the Big Three---Kirk, Swain, and Ann---so they can return to the main complex and resume their usual jobs. Moreover, as suggested by "Doctor Albert Styles", the "night shift" monitor is more than just a techie, but someone nearly as qualified as Swain or Ann, to be able to act on his own in an emergency.

Most of the time, in most episodes, we the viewers just happen to join in right after Doug and Tony have landed and the main staff is back at their consoles. Either that, or the time that Phillips and Newman spend floating in the continuum has been brief---the main staff probably lingers for ten or fifteen minutes after Doug and Tony have begun their time-shift, just in case it's a short transfer---so Kirk, Swain, and Ann are still at their posts.


"Regarding the languange issue, I just imagine that the Time Tunnel translates languages as the TARDIS does."

Like the Baron, I'm not wild about the idea that the time tunnel provides universal translation. First, that seems a bit too advanced for the era, but more important, it's not upheld by the events in the series.

Certainly, there are several episodes where everyone speaks English, and Doug and Tony have no trouble understanding the natives of a given time, even though the natives should logically be speaking a foreign tongue. But at the same time, there are many instances when Our Heroes find themselves unable to speak the local language. In "Crack of Doom", Phillips doesn't understand Mayan. (Newman speaks it, though.) In "Kill Two by Two", neither of them speaks or understands Japanese.

Rather than look toward a technological explanation for how Doug and Tony understand everybody they meet, and then have to explain the times they don't, I prefer to look toward a natural reason. Whether as a military tool or as a research device, the time tunnel was intended to have two purposes: (1) to be able to view events of the past directly; and (2) ultimately, to be able to send a man back to the past directly.

Given these two goals and the inevitable understanding that history didn't just occur in English-speaking countries---in fact, a great deal took place in non-English speaking lands---those who launched the project realised that, for either observing the past or directly interacting in it (if they ever sent someone into time), it would be best if the key personnel were able to speak several languages fluently. That became a criterion for being hired on to work at Project Tic Toc.

That would mean that Doug, Tony, Kirk, Ray, and Ann are all polyglots, each facile in a number of languages. The times when Phillips or Newman don't understand the native speakers, they just happen to be speaking a language that neither Doug or Tony know. And the fact that most of the time we hear Romans, Greeks, Germans, Italians, Frenchmen, and so forth speaking English is just a convention for the viewer. We are supposed to assume that they, along with Doug and Tony, are speaking in their native language.


As to Doug Phillips' ability to ride a horse, naturally, I defer to Tracy's equestrienne knowledge, but I understand where the Baron was coming from. To me, too, anyone who "can stay upright on a saddle and not fall on his @$$ " is doing a pretty good job of riding a horse. Certainly better than I could, should I have found myself in such a situation. I have no idea of how to even steer or brake the blamed beast ("Whoa, hoss! Whoa, hoss! Come on, whoa!), so to me, Doug looked like he was doing O.K.
"The Baron's Theory: The year is 1956. 'Central Intelligence' becomes aware that a hostile government is working on a time travel project, Project A13. CI sends two agents 'Smith' and 'Williams' posing as defectors into Hostileland to contact their agent in Hostileland - 'Alexis' - and infiltrate A13. However, something happens to Smith and Williams, and they never make it to A13. (I'm guessing that, whatever happened, Smith and Williams made it back to report that they'd had to scrub the mission, which is how CI knows that the real Smith and Willaims never made it to A13.) Oddly, CI's other sources in Hostileland report that Smith and Williams - or someone calling themselves 'Smith' and 'Williams' showed up at A13 and made contact with Alexis, before subsequently disappearing. Afterwards, A13 never seems to bear any fruit for Hostileland. This remains a mystery for CI until 1968, when they receive word that Phillips and Newman have materialized in 1956 Hostileland, near A13. Someone at CI outs two and two together, theorizing that Newman and Phillips were the fake 'Smith and Williams', and therefore orders them sent to contact Alexis. OK, now shoot holes in that."


Works for me, Baron. Now let me close up one last niggling problem.

There would have to be a significant time lag between (1) Doug and Tony arriving in 1956 Hostileland; (2) the knowledge of that getting back to Central Intelligence (which would undoubtedly have a liaison assigned to Project Tic Toc); (3) some brain at CI realising that Our Heroes were the "replacement" Smith and Williams; and (4) getting the word back to General Kirk so he could send the message to Doug and Tony in the F-5 probe. Yet, the three probes arrived in 1956 Hostileland minutes after Phillips and Newman did; scarcely time for the info to process to CI and back to the project in 1968. So how did Tic Toc get the probes to Our Heroes so fast?

If one will recall, Swain or Ann was able to slide the tunnel connexion ahead or back from the actual moment that Doug and Tony occupied. For example, in the episode "The Alamo", after Colonel Travis is accidently brought to 1968, Kirk is able to show Travis the final Mexican siege of the Alamo by having Ann move the tunnel ahead several minutes from the moment that Travis was plucked out of the past.

I conject this: The Project staff witnesses Doug and Tony arrive in 1956 Hostileland. That particular leap probably triggered certain protocols---should Phillips and Newman arrive in certain places (read: Communist bloc nations) at certain times (read: probably any time from the 1930's on)---that require General Kirk to notify Central Intelligence. Say it takes CI a few hours to get this info, deduce that it dovetails with the operation that was in place back in 1956, and decide on a course of action. During these hours, back in 1956 Hostileland, Doug and Tony simply whiled away the time, staying out of sight, avoiding the local military police.

Once CI figures out that Phillips and Newman were the mysterious "replacement" Smith and Williams---or maybe it never does, but it realises that the scientists' arrival at that time provides a perfect opportunity to have them take the places of the original Smith and Williams who were unable to get there---they contact General Kirk, requesting that he get word to Our Heroes to take on the mission.

Timing is critical. The original Smith and Williams were supposed to meet Alexis at mid-night, 1956 Hostileland time, but from Doug and Tony's perspective, it is already past mid-night. So Kirk has Swain or Ann slide the tunnel to a couple of minutes before Doug and Tony arrived in 1956 Hostileland and they send the first couple of F-5's. In that way, the probes land in 1956 Hostileland within a minute or two of Our Heroes' arrival. Once Doug and Tony receive the third F-5, the one in which they can finally read Kirk's message, that in essence, changes the "original" timeline. Instead of spending the next few hours cooling their heels in 1956 Hostileland, as they did "originally", now Our Heroes keep the meeting with Alexis.

Another nice touch, one that is strictly fabrication since the episode itself suggested nothing one way or the other, would be for Mr. McDonnell---he was the agent in civvies (played by Kevin Hagen) with whom General Parker conferred in his office---to have been either the original Smith or Williams back in '56. (It was established in the episode that "Smith" and "Williams" were aliases.) That would tighten your theory, Baron, since it gives General Parker a closer tie to the original mission. McDonnell/"Smith" or "Williams" would have direct knowledge of the intent of the original mission. His knowledge would definitely help CI arrive at the deduction that Phillips and Newman were the "replacement" agents.

How does that work for you?
Sound good to me!
Devil’s Island : Did you notice how that “consecutive numbering stratagem” when nowhere? The teenager who had been there for three years and the old man who had been there forever both had higher numbered shirts than Doug and Tony. D’oh!

Reign of Terror: I have nothing to add. (I should take notes.)

Secret Weapon: This is my favorite episode so far. How forward-thinking (I thought) that 1960s TV writers wrote a (supposedly) Russian scientist who put science ahead of nationalism. I didn’t see his betrayal coming. I, too, wondered what happened to Smith and Williams. My theory is that they’re Time Travelers, too… the same scouts who lost their buckskins back in The Last Patrol. I think the writers were laying the groundwork for a second set of time-travelers whose presence wouldn’t have been revealed until the season four cliffhanger. :P

I really like Michael Ansara as the heavy, either here or as a Klingon on Star Trek or on Lost in Space or Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (the movie). I’m sure I’ve seen him play an American Indian, too.

I’m not wild about the idea that the Time Tunnel is somehow a universal translator.

Neither am I, upon reflection.

First, that seems a bit too advanced for the era…

As opposed to, say, time travel? :P

I can’t ride a horse myself, but she tells me Doug was sending mixed signals with his legs and reigns (spurring the horse forward while simultaneously pulling back on the reigns), which is why the horse’s head was moving so from side to side. My sister owns two horses, and the last time we visited, she and Tracy went riding while I stayed behind.

Another crossover I’d like to see: In the mid ‘90s, after the Time Tunnel is up and running reliably, Project: Tic Toc should send someone to rescue Virdon and Burke from The Planet of the Apes.
I can see it now, Smith and Williams catch up with Phillips and Newman - "Hey, you're the guys that stole our buckskins! Dammit, we were wandering around the swamp in our underwear for hours!"
"Reins."

AARRGHHH!
"I really like Michael Ansara as the heavy . . . . I’m sure I’ve seen him play an American Indian, too."

If you saw him play Cochise in the 1956 television series Broken Arrow, or Indian U.S. Marshal Sam Bucktoe, in the 1959 series Law of the Plainsman, you sure did.



"I’m not wild about the idea that the Time Tunnel is somehow a universal translator."

"Neither am I, upon reflection."

"First, that seems a bit too advanced for the era . . . ."

"As opposed to, say, time travel? :P"


For me, the universal translator falls under the heading of "the eleventh impossible thing I'm expected to believe before breakfast".
"I'm starting to think that there is some kind of an outside force at work here - one that would explain the language, clothes and 'they keep arriving at historically significant times and places' issues.

"That last is one that particularly interests me - realistically, if their drops were truly at random, most of them would be into the middle of the ocean."



Ah, but that's the thing, Baron---Phillips and Newman's shifts aren't totally at random. But the reason they aren't has nothing to do with "an outside force".

It has everything to do with "design function".

Think on this: you're one of the scientists developing Project Tic Toc in the mid-1950's.

Your goals: as I mentioned before, (1) to be able to observe the past; and (2) ultimately, to send a man through time.

With those goals in mind, there's some planning to do. First, you have the world's oceans and many, many barren places on land. First, there really isn't much knowledge to be gained from observing the middle of the Pacific Ocean or the heart of the Mojave Desert, no matter what time era. More important, you don't want to send a man to an inhabitable location, where death is certain or probable. So, the first thing you are going to do in designing your time machine is to instal safeguards into the spacial transporters, protocols which would prohibit the tunnel from fixing on those type of locations or, later, from sending a man there. (This would also explain why Doug and Tony never materialise, say, a thousand feet up in the air.) Of course, these protocols could be overriden manually, should there develop some need to observe or send a traveller to such a place. But the tunnel would be programmed not to automatically tune into such locales.

The space coördinates for those forbidden places would be programmed into Project Tic Toc's vast banks of computers. (Given the necessary size of computers at that time, they probably occupy many of the project's eight hundred levels.)

This is the first level of control that you would want to have over the time tunnel. The next level would be to control what era or snatch of time you would access. You don't want to just open a time portal willy-nilly and hope you get lucky with what you see. You would need some way to coördinate the time continuum with your equipment. That means programming the project computers with the vast, almost incaluculable details of known history. No doubt much of the ten-plus years of the project, between the mid-1950's and 1968 were spent with thousands of techies programming hundreds of thousands of researchable details about every era of history into the computers. Details obtained from every possible source: encyclopædiae, almanacs, diaries, letters, historical documents, film footage, radio broadcasts, and the like.

You're talking about millions of bits of information. And if you think about it, the more prominent a historical instance, the more existing information there is going to be about it. Consider it this way: if you were to Google "the nineteeth century", you would get more hits on the American Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the War of 1812, the Barbary Wars, the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, the battle of the Alamo, the assassination of Lincoln, the Jack the Ripper murders, the Boxer Rebellion, and other historically significant events than you would get hits on what ordinary life was like or on routine political, natural, and sociological developments.

In the case of Google, the information out is weighted; in the case of Project Tic Toc, the information in was weighted. All other things being equal, the Tic Toc computers were programmed with more information on the destruction of Pompeii than on the average Roman citizen's daily routine---because more had been documented on the destruction of Pompeii than on the average Roman's day.

What that means is, if you were to activate the Time Tunnel with no specific guidance (and that was developed later), the tunnel will "reach out" to history in a technically random fashion. But it's not truly random, because certain times and events are weighted more (i.e., have more bits of information) than others. It's like rolling a pair of dice. Yeah, on any given throw, you might hit any number from 2 through 12, but you are more likely to hit 7 or 8 or 6.

When Tony, and then Doug, went into the tunnel, the scientists had established little direct control. Consequently, they tend to shift without active direction. However, they do shift in accordance with the weight of information programmed into the project's computers. That's why the most often landed in the midst of a significant historical event---but not always. Sometimes, they landed on the fringe of a historical milestone and sometimes not near one at all ("Secret Weapon", "Kill Two by Two", the opening shift of "Chase Through TIme").

That's how it makes sense to me.
OK, that makes sense to me, too.

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