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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I have a sneaking suspicion that we're going to spend more time thinking about the writing of this show than the guys that wrote it did.
Thinnking of Doug Phillips and John Robinson, Allen certainly seemed to like to cast a certain type for his "authority figures".
”And what is with those disappearing space suits? (Tracy speculates nothing from the native time zone Doug and Tony are visiting can be taken into the Time Tunnel.)”


I can---and have, on the old board---waxed on the strengths and sins of The Time Tunnel. But I want to touch upon one aspect of the show here.

Many of those who comment on the show, on other sites, find the fact that Phillips and Newman’s clothing would suddenly transform as evidence of the silliness of the show. Yet, for me, both as a youngster watching it then and when I see the show now, that is one of my favourite moments.

The first time the viewer actually witnesses the transformation is, as Jeff intimated, in the second episode, “One Way to the Moon”. Near the conclusion, Doug and Tony watch the Mars-bound rocketship lift off from the moon, leaving them behind. We see them standing there in a low overhead shot. Suddenly, their spacesuits disappear, replaced by Doug’s Norfolk suit and tie and Tony’s green turtleneck. A second or two later, they vanish into the time stream.

This was one of the signature set-pieces of the series, and I always got a kick out of it. At least, Irwin Allen---who was never one to bog his premises down with details---tried to provide a reason for why the two time travelers always wore the same clothing. (As opposed to a show like Voyagers!, which tried to have it both ways. Sometimes Bogg and Jeffrey would arrive at their next destination in the clothing they were wearing last on their previous adventure. But just as often, they would be back in their usual attire.)

Nor was the clothing shift unnoticed by Our Heroes themselves. Granted, in “One Way to the Moon”, Doug and Tony seemed oblivious to the change, but by the time of the seventh episode, “Revenge of the Gods”, there was a nice touch. At the end, Phillips and Newman are both garbed in the armour of ancient warriors. Suddenly---and accompanied by that appear/disappear sound effect which is instantly recognizable as being from an Irwin Allen production---they are back in their original garments. This time there is a reaction: the two scientists look down at their sudden clothing transformation with brief amazement, then they look at each other and exchange a “we know what this means” expression just before they blink out.

Tracy speculated that the reason for this was that the time travelers could not take anything not native to their own time through the time tunnel. A possibility, but it does not address the fact that, on some occasions---such as in “Revenge of the Gods”---Doug and Tony could not be wearing their original duds under what they were wearing before they leapt back into the time stream. That would mean that Our Heroes would make their next landing wearing only their BVD’s.

I prefer the explanation---and it is certainly not exclusive to me; many others have opined the same thing---that one effect of the time tunnel is that, in those two seconds before Doug and Tiny are inevitably hurled back into the time stream, their bodies revert to what they were when they first entered the time tunnel in ’68.

This has merit for explaining other things besides why they were always back in their original duds. It explains such things as why Doug and Tony never seemed to be hungry or to need sleep, despite the fact that we rarely saw them eat and never saw them sleep (nor did the series of events in each episode provide any “down” time in which they could do either). It was why their hair never grew and why they never needed shaves whenever they landed in their next time era. It would also explain why their clothing was always in perfect condition, no matter what degree of wear and tear was inflicted on it during their last adventure. And why after so many hot and sweaty battles and so much time without baths, their personal scents didn’t drive away everyone with whom they came into contact.

If this theory holds, then if one of the scientists was injured when he was thrust back into the time stream, then his injuries would vanish. (I’m not sure, but it’s possible that was even shown; I can’t remember if Tony or Doug had any minor scrapes or abrasions on their faces just before they blinked out. But if so, they were certainly gone by the time they landed.)

I don’t hold that if one of them were killed, then going back into the time stream would resurrect him. Dead is dead. In fact, I would argue that, if Doug or Tony were dead, then the time tunnel would no longer be able to affect them.

While I am on the subject of Phillips and Newman’s clothing, there are two other things about their attire that always amused me.

First, I began to mark how soon after he landed at a new location it would take Doug to loosen the knot of his tie. After a while, it became the first thing he did after finding himself in a new era.

Second, it always amused me how, as soon as Tony and Doug were captured and brought to the head guy in charge, the boss’s remarks would always go something like this: “What strange clothing you wear! You must be spies!

Now, think about that for a moment. Phillips and Newman have just landed in Mongolia, c. A.D. 1287, and they are caught and brought before Batu Khan, chief of the Mongol hordes. “What strange clothing you wear!” says Batu. “You must be spies!” Now if Doug and Tony really were spies, instead of that natty suit and tie and snazzy turtleneck, neither of which would be even remotely seen for another six centuries, wouldn’t they be wearing, oh, something like what a Mongol warrior wears?

It’s sure as hell not going to be, “Hey, Doug, better close up your necktie. We don’t want those Chinese barbarians to notice us.”
Commander Benson said:
---and accompanied by that appear/disappear sound effect which is instantly recognizable as being from an Irwin Allen production---

I can hear that sound effect in my mind, already.
I like the “reversion theory” (or whatever you want to call it). My viewing schedule is a day ahead of Bob’s discussion schedule, so I’ve already seen “End of the World.” Tomorrow I was going to speculate that either Tracy’s theory is correct and even so small a thing as coal dust cannot be transported out of its own time, or the Time Tunnel also launders their clothes. (In a way, I guess, it does.) Unless their perspiration is of the era in which it was secreted, I would assume it’s 1968 sweat. They were pretty filthy after their time in the mine yet spic ‘n’ span after their next trip, so the revision theory must be correct.

I like that there trips occasionally take them into the future. I didn’t much like that in Quantum Leap Sam Beckett was supposed to be able to jump between points in his own life time, yet never (well, seldom) travelled to the future. (Actually, I think he did once later in the series.) Maybe he didn't live that long after he stopped leaping. Granted, the underlying premise was that some “force” was controlling the leaps and he needed the help and knowledge of the future in order to change the past, but just once I would have liked to have heard Al say, “Gee, Sam, I have no idea. You’re on your own!”
End of the World:

OK, they're back in 1910...I like the initial scene in themine "Gee, Tony let's argue elsewhere!"

Yup, the Commander's right - Doug's covered in coal dust, but he straightens his tie!

Did people really get this hysterical about Halley's Comet?

Ha-ha! They blew the radarscope up!

Maybe Jerry the prone-to-hysteria nut isn't the best guy to have working in the control room - although, to be fair, he does end up being right.

You know, they filmd that one shot of people in the complex responding to the emergency alert, and they're going to use it every episode they can!

Yup, the Time Tunnel cleaned them up - maybe this is the real practical upshot of Doug Phillips' experiments? "They're so widespread now, it's hard to remember that the Tic Toc Dry Cleaners chain has only been around since about 1970."

Speaking of recycling shots, the bit with Tony arriving in 1958 is re-used from the un-aired pilot.

And they end up in the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu on December 6th, 1941....

Another pretty good episode - they do seem to do alot of "ending up where they can do some good", don't they?
Did people really get this hysterical about Halley's Comet?

Well, stupid people probably did. I wondered the same thing. Halley's Comet would have been a known phenomenon in 1911. I often wonder, too, about how many people were really taken in by Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast in 1938. Was the panic that widespread, or did it just make good cover copy? Regarding the comet itself, Irwin Allen displays the same lack of understanding in The Time Tunnel of what a comet actually is (i.e., a huge ball of frozen water and gas rather than a huge ball of fire) that he did in Lost in Space. I was in college the last time the orbit of Halley's Comet ran parallel to the Earth's, and it didn't look anything like that!

The physical appearance of the comet notwithstanding, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my brain around the pseudo science used in this episode. Are we to believe that, if not for the effect of the Tic Toc project focusing the Time Tunnel on the comet in 1968 it would have crashed to Earth? Here's Tracy: "'Veer off'!? 'Veer off'!? A comet doesn't 'veer off'!"

You know, they filmd that one shot of people in the complex responding to the emergency alert, and they're going to use it every episode they can!

I'm confusing which episode was which, but in one episode everyone is running to their posts, and in another everyone is evacuating. Just before the personnel come into frame, Tracy said, "Oh, great. Now we get to see them run the other way." When the personnel appear running the same way as before, Tracy shouted, "Hey, wait! You're going the wrong way!"

Maybe Jerry the prone-to-hysteria nut isn't the best guy to have working in the control room.

We thought the same thing! Here's a spoiler: his behavior doesn't get any better next episode. Last night, BTW, I would have been perfectly content to skip a night watching so we could get synched up. Usually Tracy let's me pick what to watch, but last night she sat down and said, "Let's watch Time Tunnel!"

Speaking of recycling shots, the bit with Tony arriving in 1958 is re-used from the un-aired pilot.

Irwin Allen did that with the Lost in Space pilot, too. In it, the Robinson family skipped from danger to danger as if in a Saturday matinee movie serial. Each of those dangers (except the cave city) was soon fleshed out into a TV episode of its own. The bit with Tony arriving at the project in 1958 raises an interesting point. Shouldn't Doug have recognized him when he first started working there in 1961? Hell, maybe that's why Doug hired him in the first place! Tracy has a theory regarding such memories (and we'll see another example of this in the episode we discuss tomorrow).

She thinks 1968-Doug won't have the memory of interacting with Tony in 1958 until after 1968-Tony does it (relatively speaking). On the surface of it, that reasoning may not hold, but I've seen it before (in comic books) although Tracy came up with the idea independently. I'm thinking of Wonder Woman (1987 series) #130-133 by John Byrne. In it, the present-day Jay Garrick travels to the past and interracts with Diana's mother, a time traveller herself, who has travelled to WWII, jopined the JSA and retroactively became her daughter's predecessor. (So even though Diana was the "first" Wonder Woman, Hypollyta was Wonder Woman "earlier.") Anyway... when Hypollyta asks present-day Jay to recall what his WWII-era self did next, because their activities are changing the past (as Tony did in 1958) the timeline was in flux, and present-Jay didn't have any memory of what past-Jay did after he did it.

I'm not explaining myself very well, but my attention is split.
If I ever get a non-busy night this week, my intention is to watch more than one episode to get "caught up".
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Did people really get this hysterical about Halley's Comet?

Well, stupid people probably did.

Hey, now! I seem to recall Snoopy and Woodstock getting pretty worked up over Kohoutek, and I didn't hear anyone calling them stupid!
Doctor Hmmm? said:
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Did people really get this hysterical about Halley's Comet?

Well, stupid people probably did.

Hey, now! I seem to recall Snoopy and Woodstock getting pretty worked up over Kohoutek, and I didn't hear anyone calling them stupid!

Dude, you must not have been hangin' with Lucy Van Pelt during that period...
Doc Beechler said:
Doctor Hmmm? said:
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Did people really get this hysterical about Halley's Comet?

Well, stupid people probably did.

Hey, now! I seem to recall Snoopy and Woodstock getting pretty worked up over Kohoutek, and I didn't hear anyone calling them stupid!

Dude, you must not have been hangin' with Lucy Van Pelt during that period...

When you're right, you're right, Doc.
Few people today remember The Bright Green Turtle-Neck of Courage, written by Stephen Crane after his encounter with two mysterious strangers who claimed to be travelers in time...

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