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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Quantum Leap is one of my wife’s shows. We watched the first two or three seasons together (first time for me) until I couldn’t stand it anymore, then we skipped ahead to the last episode, so I do know how the series ends.
Random Thoughts on The Time Tunnel After Re-watching a Dozen Episodes:


■ For all of the warping of history and scattered inaccuracies committed by the writers (and it will get worse as the series progresses), there are some surprising instances of attention to detail which crop up.

In the episode "Massacre", Lieutenant Colonel Custer's younger brother, Tom (who also died at the Little Big Horn) is depicted wearing two Medals of Honor. It's a casual thing; no attention is brought to it in the teleplay. Tom Custer is simply shown wearing the medals---and it's accurate. Thomas Custer was one of those rare individuals to have won the award twice, both time for actions in the Civil War.

In "Reign of Terror", Phillips and Newman agree to attempt to spirit Marie Antoinette's son, the Dauphin, out of Paris. The first scene with the boy shows him being "safeguarded" by a loutish brute named Simon. In fact, in real life, the daily custody of the Dauphin had been handed over to a knuckle-dragging blacksmith named Antoine Simon, who regularly beat the boy, just as the fictional Dauphin said in the show.

It's all the more interesting that these small, accurate details were added, since they had no impact or attention in the plots of the episodes. If Tom Custer's medals had been omitted, or if the Dauphin's overseer had had a different name, it wouldn't have changed anything and most of the viewers wouldn't have even noticed.

It's a curious thing that a show that should display marked inattention to larger elements of history should ensure such inconsequential details were accurate.


■ You would think that, with all of the people plucked out of their own eras and brought to the project by the time tunnel, they would at least have guards posted just to the sides of the entrance to the tunnel. The hapless folks are disoriented, frightened, and usually hostile in the first place, yet the guards are always stationed on the other side of the room. When Yellow Elk, after being brought to 1968 in "Massacre", attacked immediately upon exiting the tunnel, there was every likelihood that Swain, Ann, and General Kirk would have been killed before Master Sergeant Jiggs and his MP's could get across the room. And as we will see in "Pirates of Deadman's Island", the malevolent Captain Beal very nearly tosses Ann over the railing and 800 storeys down and Kirk just misses getting run through by Beal's cutlass.

It seems like whenever there's trouble in the complex, Jiggs and his boys are always a day late and a dollar short.


■ Man, the Project Tic Toc antiquities museum is really starting to shape up. They've already got a Greek broadsword from 1184 B.C. ("Revenge of the Gods"), a French flintlock pistol from 1793 ("Reign of Terror"), and a Sioux tomahawk from 1876 ("Massacre")


■ Doug Phillips has already emerged as the show's authority figure. As the Baron pointed out, Irwin Allen took great effort in selecting the right actor to play the "authority figure" in each of his shows. For my money, Robert Colbert was the best of the lot. Guy Williams, as "Professor John Robinson" in Lost in Space came close. He was more paternal than Doctor Phillips, except on the rare occasions when he had to get edgy. Then he was right up there with good old Doug. Richard Basehart's "Admiral Nelson" was certainly brainy and experienced enough to be Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea's authority figure, but you'd never take him for a man of action. And over at Land of the Giants, Gary Conway's "Captain Steve Burton" served in the part, but somehow lacked the gravitas of either Nelson, Robinson, or Phillips.

(Also interesting to note, even if it is just coïncidence or the natural result of the genre, that each show's authority figure had an impressive title: Admiral Nelson, Professor Robinson, Captain Burton, Doctor Phillips. As if being just plain old Mister Schmidlapp somehow lacked the grandeur inherent to being the key figure.)

James Darren was first billed and, ostensively, the star of The Time Tunnel, and no doubt his youth was met to "connect" with the younger viewers. But even as a teen, I much more identified, or at least aspired to identify, with Doug Phillips. He was still young enough to indulge in the derring-do required, but was the natural leader of the two time-travellers. Newman had the passion, usually revealed in his impetuousness, but almost always it was Doug whose experience and knowledge carried the situation. It was even subconsciously reflected in their usual attire. Doug wore the suit and tie of an adult, while Tony was dressed like a youngster, in a turtleneck and slacks.

Even in the first episode, Phillips emerged as the leader. General Kirk often rode roughshod on Ray Swain and Ann McGregor, getting testy when they didn't give him answers fast enough or plain enough. But even Kirk didn't have the starch to overrule Doug when he decided to go into the tunnel himself, to rescue Tony from the Titanic. Kirk argued and protested, but Doug was going and that was that.

If, somehow, they had all ended up in the same room, I get the feeling that even Nelson, Robinson, and Burton would have ended up taking orders from Doug Phillips.


■ Jerry was the closest The Time Tunnel came to having a "Dr. Smith" or "Alexander Fitzhugh". Jerry wasn't duplicitous or even venal. But the way Sam Groom portrayed him, Jerry was a wienie. Even when he had a good idea or did something right, he got no respect. I suspect he was intended to be the "eager young assistant", but he came across as panicky and nervous, probably wishing he had stayed at his last job, working the fry machine at MacDonald's. Ann tolerated Jerry; Swain barely could stand him; and Kirk seemed ready to assign him to radioactive-waste disposal just for speaking to him. I have to admit, with a man exhibiting the personality of Jerry, my reaction would be sort of the same, too.

But, setting that aside, Jerry's presence does bring to mind one aspect of the show that never got any play, as far as I can remember. Sure, Doug and Tony could keep going on and on and on, like Energizer Bunnies---they got rejuvinated every time they got shifted in time. But what about Kirk and Swain and Ann? They had to eat, sleep, shower, and go to the bathroom sometime. There had to be a second shift of scientists to monitor things in the complex, and Kirk had to have had a chief of staff or an executive officer. If you had added those characters to the cast, it would have increased the dynamic of the show. Perhaps another female scientist, less competent than Ann, but more conniving and ambitious, with her eye on Ray Swain's job---or even Phillips', if Doug should "happen" to get lost forever in time or die on one of his "fantastic adventures". Or perhaps Kirk's second-in-command, a more by-the-book sort, less willing to bend the rules of time-travel or the directives of the project just to help Doug and Tony. ("I know we need an expert in Egyptian hierglyphics to send Phillips and Newman the information they need to escape the pharoah's tomb, but the only one we can find doesn't pass the background check to get clearance to enter the Project.")

Of course, such things would detour from the "fighting and running" action that Irwin Allen stressed in his programmes. Instead, we got aliens.
You know, as much as I may poke fun at this show, I am really enjoying it. I can't help but wonder what The Time Tunnel as produced by, say, Joss Whedon would be like if made today. Consequently, I'm very eager to see that recent pilot from the second DVD set. I very much see Doug Phillips and TonyNewman as a reflection of John Robinson and Major West. James Darren reminds me a little too much of Bill Bixby.

Regarding Mister Schmidlapp, I don't necessarily think it's his title that's lacking grandeur. President Schmidlapp? King Schmidlapp the First? Emporer Schmidlapp? Nah... ;)

I think your analysis of Jerry is spot-on.
Reign of Terror:

Sill ignoring the language issue - I guess we can assume that Doug and Tony both speak French, too.

"1793".

I agree that Doug is the natural leader here, but Tony here is much more the "We must do something" guy.

"It doesn't matter which one of us wears, as long as we don't get separated." Don't say things like that!

It's funny seeing Whit play against himself - he does it quite well.

I like the interaction between Kirk, Ray and Ann, you get a strong sense of a group that like each other and work well together.

Doug threw a barrel at a guard - Douggie Kong!

I like the way they bs'd Bonaparte.

Hey, their clothes didn't disappear until after they'd vanished! And the ring disappeared, too.

Uh-oh! Russkies!

Team Time Tunnel is sending them explosive bricks?

Heh-heh - the closing credits spell it "Bonapart"...

Another good episode - I must say, the "Dark Side" of Irwin Allen is holding off longer than I thought it would.
Secret Weapon:

"1956".

"The F-5 Probe"?

Nehemiah Persoff and Michael Ansara? Woo-hoo!

"A13"?

"What do you suppose happened to Smith and Williams?"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now, back to the epsiode:

Oh, no, the Russkies have infiltrated the "time tunnel" set!

Fun's over, there's Jerry again. What do you bet that Jerry's the one member of Team Time Tunnel who's encouraged to take all of his available vacation time?

One thing I like is how, although Doug and Tony are our heroes and are good and tough, they don't win all of the fights they get in. It's more realistic, that way.

I don't think they ever actually say that it's Russia.

And Jerry gets yelled at again.

Time limbo?

"This place is bugged." Shouldn't you have expected that?

Ah, present-day Biraki is lying.

And now they're in 1861...

Another good one - I miss these old "Cold War" dramas - I want to see Doug and Tony land smack in the middle of one of the IM Force's missions!
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. Either that or the entire series takes place in one 30 hour span of time!

Revenge of the Gods

Regarding the languange issue, I just imagine that the Time Tunnel translates languages as the TARDIS does. This show just screams fopr a crossover with Doctor Who, and I think Doug and Tony would have made great companions! I see this episode in thematic counter-point to the Star Trek episode "Who Mourns for Adonis?" but this series reminds me of a lot of 60s TV, not just in terms of look and feel and tone, but I recognize a lot of the actors from other period shows (Star Trek, Bonanza, etc.), even if I don't necessarily know their names. Case in point...

Massacre

Tha actor who played the part of Captain Benteen also payed Lieutenant Stiles in Star Trek's "Balance of Terror" episode, and that character had an ancestor who fought the Romulans 100 years earlie. It's fun (though admittedly ultimately pointless) to imagine a family history of service strecthing back centuries!

Tracy has some Cherokee blood in her and is proud of her Indian heritage.When Dr. Whitebird arrived at Project: Tic Toc and the general said, "I'm sorry, I was expecting someone from the Office of Indian Affairs," Tracy shouted, "What, did you expect him to be wearing a headdress!?" She is also an accomplished rider and couldn't disagree more with your assessment of Doug's riding abilities. The first thing she noticed is that the horses they stole from the Indians were wearing saddles under their blankets. Sure enough, the riders' feet are plainly shown to be in stirrups hanging down from the edges of the blankets. They were also clearly holding on to saddle horns; either that or they were just really glad to see their horses!

She spent the entire episode screaming instructions to Doug about how he was mishandling his horse. She was, however, more impressed with Tony's horsemanship (and Tony rode bareback, BTW). I just asked her for quote regarding Doug's horsemanship and she replied (shouted, actually), "Doug rides a horse like crap! Just because he can stay upright on a saddle and not fall on his @$$ doesn't mean he can ride a horse well!"

Okay, I'm still three episodes behind!
Well, bear in mind that I know absolutely nothing about horse-riding. The fact that someone can ride a horse without falling off impresses me.
The Death Trap:

"1861"

Tom Skerritt?

A time bomb?

Rabbit season! Fire!

"Perhaps you've heard I'm a patient man...It's a myth!"

And Team Time Tunnel brings the kid into the future...

Pinkerton doesn't hear these guys yelling at each other?

Wait, shouldn't the screwdrivwer have disappeared, too?

And...the Alamo?

Another OK episode...makes me wonder - was there an earlier attempt to assassinate Lincoln?
The Alamo:

"I have a powerful headache, Tony - did my head hit a rock?"

"1836"

"We're in the Alamo." D'Oh!

There's a scene of them eating - Hey, if they eat 1836 food, will it disappear from their stomachs when they time-shift?

And Team Time tunnel brings the wrong guy forward again...

Good one, Kirk, show the guy his own death!

Hey, Doug shot a Mexican! Sure hope that guy didn't have any important descendants!

Yeah, their clothes were filthy, but once they're back in the timestream, they're clean again.

And now what, Afghans?

Another fun episode - I'm impressed, so far there hasn;t been one episode that I would say was really bad.

Oh, and Doug sure recovered from his hit on the head real fast.
Night of the Long Knives:

Hey, it's the guy from the Hills Brothers can!

Malachi Throne! Woo-hoo!

"1886"

Kipling? OK...

Ah, Swain, you're a "Ray" of sunshine!

Throne plays villains well.

It must be the Scot in me, I can listen to bagpipes forever.

Jerry seem particularly non-wienie-ish here.

Tony recovered from his head wound real fast.

Poor Jerry - if it'd been Ray's or Ann's idea, they would've done it.

And Jerry does it anyway - and it works! But he gets no acknowledgement!

Hey, wait a minute, their clothes didn't disappear before they did!

And...Nazi-occupied Europe!

I liked this one, too - good to see Commodore Mendez/False-Face again, and nice to see Jerry showibng some competence and initiative...
Invasion:

Hey, the Germans speak German! Oh, wait, now they don't...

"June 4, 1944"

Kirk's been in Cherbourg...he's of an age that he might've been there during the war.

Wow, Kleineman's got bad teeth.

Tony knew he was being trailed.

Oh, no, it's Nazi Doug!

Tony shot Doug!

And then...the Magna Carta?

An OK episode...the "instant brainwashing technique" set the needle on the Goofy Meter stirring a little, but not unbearably so...
I like the idea that all this takes place in one really long day for Team Time Tunnel...the problem arises when you factor in how long it would've taken them to fly in guys like General Southall and the guy from the Indian Bureau.

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.

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.

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