ORBzine - Time Tunnel (1966) TV Review

Time Tunnel
  • James Darren ( Star Trek: DS9 ) as Dr. Tony Newman
  • Robert Colbert ( Timescape (1991) ) as Dr. Doug Philips
  • Lee Meriwether as Dr. Ann MacGregor
  • Whit Bissel as General Heywood Kirk
  • John Zaremba as Dr. Raymond Swain
  • Wesley Lau as Sergeant Jiggs
  • Sam Groom as Jerry

    1st Season 1966

  • Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 1] Rendezvous with Yesterday
    Shown 9 Sep 66

    1968, and a US Government Politician visits a secret facility. It contains half a dozen underground buildings, each 800 storeys (eight thousand feet) deep and containing 12,000 men. The overall commander is a three-star General, so it is a lot larger than Stargate Command in Stargate SG-1 . Its purpose is ... time travel!

    The politician threatens to cut funding unless the project performs a test with a human subject. Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) goes back in time, and ends up on the Titanic - just like the Time Bandits (1981) did. Well, he does get to make friends with Susan Hampshire .

    The encounters aboard the ship amount to a slanderous attack on Captain Smith (Michael Rennie - The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) ). Doug, Tony's friend from 1968, goes back in time to help him - leaving them both trapped. Worse, they try to drastically alter history by attempting to save the ship from disaster.

    The show used C20th Fox's vast library of stock footage, so there is probably footage from A Night To Remember in this ep. The irony is that the brains behind this show, Irwin Allen, created The Poseidon Adventure - and with it, the 1970s Disaster Movie genre!

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 2] One Way to the Moon
    Shown 16 Sep 66

    Tony and Doug find themselves aboard a space rocket that is just about to lift off. It turns out that they are aboard a Mars expedition rocket in 1978. Although this episode was shot at the height of the space race, three years before the real-life moon landings, the production design is based on 1950s B-movies instead of real-life NASA photographs.

    The cold hard calculations indicate that the mission is now impossible. With over three hundred pounds of extra weight to carry, the rocket has burned up twenty percent more of its fuel than expected. Now it must replenish the fuel supply from the moonbase, but the extra weight makes a soft landing impossible. If the rocket's hull cracks, there are only enough space-suits for the existing crew. In other words, Tony and Doug will probably die anyway so there is no reason for the astronauts to hold off from killing them.

    The astronauts are paranoid about sabotage. Small wonder, when the space race is still at its height and there is an actual saboteur aboard. Presumably this is the reason they brought pistols along on the trip.

    Tony and Doug do a spacewalk and even walk on the moon. However, they do not show any signs of reduced gravity!

    Back at Time Tunnel HQ, three VIPs from the Space Agency are invited to visit. The boss is an Admiral, even though in real life NASA was a civilian agency and the astronauts themselves were chosen from the US Air Force. The military police, armed with WW2 grease guns, eventually determine that at least one of the VIPs is a traitor.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 3] End of the World
    Shown 23 Sep 66

    Doug and Tony end up in the year 1910. Some men have been trapped in a coal mine that collapsed. Unfortunately the local townsfolk are too busy praying to rescue the trapped men. Halley's Comet is about to pass by the Earth, and a local scientist has calculated that it will actually hit the planet.

    Tony helps the local scientist to invent the radio telescope. They need it to confirm the existence of a massive gravity source that will pull the comet off its course and prevent a collision with the Earth. Unfortunately that mysterious source turns out to the the Time Tunnel itself. With tens of thousands of staff inside the underground complex, the idea of an emergency evacuation is easier said than done.

    Afterwards, Tony gets taken back to the Arizona desert just above the secret base of the Time Tunnel project. Unfortunately it is the 1950s - a decade before the Time Tunnel became active. Doug is working there, but has not met Tony yet. Which begs the question - why did Doug and Jakes the Military Police officer not recognise Tony a few years later when he started working for the project? An even bigger question is ... if Tony had not entered the Time Tunnel in 1966, would Halley's Comet have destroyed the USA in 1910?

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 4] The Day the Sky Fell In
    Shown 30 Sep 66

    Tony and Doug end up in the Japanese consulate in Honolulu ... on the 6th of December, 1941. Since Tony's father was a US military officer who disappeared in the Pearl Harbour attack, this gives Tony a few hours to change history and save his father.

    Unfortunately the Japanese Intelligence service suspects that Tony and Doug are spies. A hit-man is sent to follow them and if necessary to silence them permanently. He abducts them for further interrogation. They cooperate fully, and tell the Japanese they are time travelers. Even when they repeat the story under truth serum, the Japanese commander refuses to believe them. This is unfortunate, because they inadvertently offer him everything they know about the course of the Pacific campaign in the Second World War - up to and including their knowledge about nuclear weapons.

    Tony has limited memory of the events of the attack on Pearl Harbour, as a result of the stress from the bombing. This is a damn inconvenience, because this is one of the few episodes in which a character's personal memory might be important.

    Back at Time Tunnel HQ in 1966, one of the professional scientists a young guy named Jerry ( ) - gets unprofessionally emotional and decides that changing history would be a good thing. Luckily the General is able to talk sense into him.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 5] The Last Patrol
    Shown 7 Oct 66

    Tony and Doug end up in 1815, during the siege of New Orleans in the War of 1812. They put on some clothes they find, so they can blend in with the local population. Before they can escape they get captured by the British Army's 7th Royal Regiment, commanded by Colonel Sutherland.

    Back in the year 1966, the boffins have a secret weapon. Sutherland's descendant (Carroll O'Connor - ), now a Brigadier-General in the British Army, is summoned to Time Tunnel HQ. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the War of 1812, and of the deeds of his ancestor.

    The Colonel holds Doug hostage, while Tony is forced to lead a British officer to spy on the American defences. This officer fails to see the blatantly obvious. Tony is clearly not working for the American side, so matter where his sympathies may lie.

    The General time-travels back, still clad in his 1966 uniform, to meet his ancestor. He seeks to answer a great mystery, the reason that the Colonel ordered his regiment to attack the wrong point in the American defences. What are the chances that the time travelers accidentally interfered?

    The stock footage of the battle scene shown in the climax features a Scots Highland regiment, complete with kilts and bag-pipers. This is at odds with the other redcoats in the earlier scenes, who were Englishmen wearing trousers.

    When Tony and Doug are about to enter the time tunnel again, their 1966 clothes magically appear on their bodies again. How very convenient!

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 6] Crack of Doom
    Shown 14 Oct 66

    Tony and Doug arrive on a tropical island, and encounter a group of superstitious natives (well, Chinese extras in what are probably meant to be Polynesian-style costumes) as they are about to make a human sacrifice to appease their volcano god. Luckily one of the natives, Karnuso (Vic Lundin - ), is bilingual in English. He works as the translator for a British scientific expedition encamped nearby. The year is 1883, and they are on the island of Krakatoa.

    Back in 1966, the scentists tell us that the Krakatoa blast is estimated at over twenty-five times the magnitude of the largest H-bomb test, and the blast wave will be heard a thousand miles away. If they do not rescue Tony and Doug ASAP, there is no way the time travelers can survive.

    The head scientist on Krakatoa, Doctor Holland (Torin Thatcher - ) thinks Tony and Doug are rivals. He specifically forbids the natives from sacrificing them to the volcano, but he also refuses to order his expedition to evacuate.

    HQ summons Tony back through the time tunnel. Due to interference from the volcano, he gets trapped in a split second of time. This is a cheesy trope that was used in a few 1960s time travel stories. The closest thing that has been used lately is in The Langoliers back in the late 1990s.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 7] Revenge of the Gods
    Shown 21 Oct 66

    Tony and Doug appear in the middle of some stock footage of a battle between the ancient Greeks and some other force - probably Persians from the look of them. Luckily the Greeks can speak English, and give our heroes some much-needed exposition. They are at the siege of troy in the year 1200 BCE. Somehow, Troy looked like a still photo of the modern-day ruins of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

    It turns out that the Greek forces are commanded by Ulysses. Yes, no sign of any Kings in this version. Ulysses believes Tony and Doug must be the Gods of Olympus, but his henchman Silas insists they be tested. Can Tony defeat an ancient Greek warrior in a swordfight?

    Silas defects to the Trojan side. Paris rules Troy now, instead of his father. No mention is made of his brother, or of Achilles. Yes, this version certainly pares the cast list to the bare minimum. Cassandra gets mentioned, but no screen time.

    Doug gets abducted by Silas and his new Trojan friends. This allows the heroes to see both sides of the conflict.

    Tony ends up stuck in the stock footage battle again, with the three hundred spartans facing the Persians. The General sends Jakes the Military Policeman into the time tunnel, armed with a submachinegun and a bag of grenades they had lying around. This just makes even more problems, because Jakes gets lost in time and then gets extremely aged.

    Paris assumes he won, so sentences Doug to death. Tony joins the soldiers inside the wooden horse, in the hope of rescuing his friend before it is too late.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 8] Massacre
    Shown 28 Oct 66

    Tony and Doug end up in the Wild West, where they get captured by Native Americans. Well, this was made in 1966 so they are called Indians, and played by actors who are suspiciously caucasian.

    Doug gets rescued by a cavalryman, who takes him to see Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Much like the British colonel in the war of 1812, Custer is destined to botch an attack and get hundreds of his own men killed. Just like in the 1812 episode, Doug tries and fails to talk the Colonel out of a pointless attack. And predictably, the Colonel has him arrested and threatened with execution.

    Tony is left with the Native Americans, and taken to their leader - Sitting Bull! As an initiation, Tony must defeat the native champion in single combat. Of course, he once defeated an Ancient Greek warrior in a sword-fight so we know he can handle himself in single combat. Luckily the natives seem a lot keener on peace than Custer does, and Tony manages to make them consider negotiations. Despite the supposed history of racism in Hollywood's depiction of Native Americans, this is one of many stories that depicts them in a more sympathetic light.

    Custer leads the Seventh Cavalry to rescue Tony from the Native Americans. For some reason the cavalry ride on a route that takes them through Monument Valley, Utah, even though the Native American camp is in the Little Bighorn Valley, Wyoming - a thousand miles away. Yes, this is yet another example of very poorly matched stock footage.

    Back at Time Tunnel HQ, the General requests an expert in Indian affairs. He gets a Native American, Dr Charles Whitebird (Perry Lopez - Taras Bulba (1962) ).

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 9] Devil's Island
    Shown 11 Nov 66

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug end up on a desert island. Unfortunately it is Devil's Island, the French penal colony off the coast of South America. When a couple of inmates escape, our heroes are rounded up in a case of mistaken identity.

    The Commandant does not care that they are clearly not French citizens. Well, somehow they can both speak French like natives - although to the audience, all the characters somehow speak English!

    The crew back at HQ have no idea what date the heroes are stuck at, and as such they cannot get a lock on them. Luckily Captain Dreyfus turns up, a famous victim of a miscarriage of justice, so a precise date can be established. Most of the other inmates are there for political crimes, although France actually had a democratic government in that era. This episode portrays a corrupt democracy as being a totalitarian state, which France almost certainly was not. If that had really been the case, J'Accuse would not have been a thing.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 10] Reign of Terror
    Shown 18 Nov 66

    Once again, Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug are stuck in a French-speaking country. This time it is Paris, France, during the Terror after the Revolution - almost exactly a century earlier than the previous episode. Once again, the French Government is responsible for oppressing its own citizens.

    Dr MacGregor ( Lee Meriwether ) suggests the team send something back to get a time-lock on Tony and Doug. General Kirk insists they use his ring, a family heirlomb from that era. Unfortunately that ring was once the property of Marie Antoinette herself, and the officer in charge of rounding up dissidents is an ancestor (and doppelganger) of Kirk himself.

    Kirk's ancestor gets taken back to 1968 by mistake. A similar thing happened to another character in the previous episode. Unfortunately Doug and Tony are the only ones who do not get grabbed. Perhaps the grabber only works on Frenchmen.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 11] Secret Weapon
    Shown 25 Nov 66

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug are sent a message by HQ. They are to go undercover in Russia, 1956, posing as defecting scientists to infiltrate a Russian science project. This show might end up becoming a generic 1960s spy thriller show like Danger Man , instead of a more creative and original show like The Prisoner . However, there is a twist. The science project that the Soviets were working on, ten years before the USA's Time Tunnel experiment, was a Russian version of the Time Tunnel!

    The Russian project is under the command of Colonel Hruda (Michael Ansara - Buck Rogers in the 25th Century ), a paranoid Soviet security officer. However, it turns out the real danger is the Professor running it. He does not care about politics, but is fanatical about scientific progress. He uses Bellaq's argument from Raiders of the Lost Ark - no true scientist would destroy a discovery that was key to their science.

    In the modern day (1968), the Russian scientist has defected to the USA. He seems to remember things differently than how we see them played out by Tony and Doug. If they have altered the timeline, have they changed the scientist too? And can data gathered from the Time Tunnel be used in a court of law?

    As an aside, the Russian guards carry German Schmeissers from World War Two. This show was made in an era when the design of the AK-47 was not widely known in the west, so this kind of realism can hardlty be expected.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 12] The Death Trap
    Shown 2 Dec 66

    Doug and Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) land in a barn, where a bunch of cowboys are plotting to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton's men, and advance party for Lincoln's security team, burst in and start shooting. Our heroes get split up - one a prisoner of the Pinkertons, the other in the hands of the conspirators.

    The irony is that the assassins are not John Wilkes Booth and the Surratt family of Virginia. Instead they are John Brown's abolitionists resident in Baltimore, Maryland. The ringleader is the eldest brother, Jeremiah. The middle brother, Matthew (Tom Skerritt - Alien (1979) ), goes along with his plan. The youngest brother, David, is eleven years old - the perfect age for a sacrificial lamb that can inadvertently be put in jeopardy by the storyline.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 13] The Alamo
    Shown 9 Dec 66

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug end up in the Alamo, on the day the Mexican army finally attacks. Colonel Travis and Colonel Bowie are in command, although Davy Crockett is nowhere to be seen.

    The good guys do not have any super-powers, and very few normal powers. As always, they tend to solve their problems by starting a fist-fight. And as always, none of their opponents just shoots them. However, this time the violence does have consequences. Doug is incapacitated for several hours, although he eventually recovers fully and without medical aid. Also, we discover why Jim Bowie really fell off the battlements.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 14] Night of the Long Knives
    Shown 16 Dec 66

    The duo end up in the Khyber Pass, the border between British India and Afghanistan, in the year 1886. The office in the year 1968 cannot locate them on the viewscreen, and instead gets London - thousands of miles away. Specifically they see Gladstone, the Liberal Party's Prime Minister, as he provides exposition. The duo are in an area about to be site of a violent insurrection, and only one undermanned fort's garrison is in position to prevent it.

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) is rescued by a wandering journalist named Rudyard Kipling, who takes him to safety in the local fort. They then set out to rescue Doug. The British Indian force includes Major Kabir (Perry Lopez - Taras Bulba (1962) ).

    Doug is captured by Hara Singh (Malachi Throne - Star Trek ), who - despite his Sikh name and turban - is the biggest Warlord in the foothills of Afghanistan. His loyal retainers carry Kukri fighting knives, better suited to the Ghurkas of Nepal. In a nice piece of monologuing, the villain explains that the Night of the Long Knives refers to a planned massacre of the British garrison which is the signal for the other tribes to invade India.

    Back in 1968, one of the junior scientists actually gets some lines of dialogue. He comes up with an idea of how to fix the scanner, but everyone else thinks it is too risky.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 15] Invasion
    Shown 23 Dec 66

    The explorers land on the Cherbourg peninsula near Normandy, in early June 1944. This leads on to a lot of 'Allo, 'Allo type stuff - the accents as much as the plot. That show was a parody of Secret Army - but this is serious stuff.

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) is allowed to escape from the Gestapo HQ, in the hope he will inadvertently lead the Germans to the Resistance HQ.

    Doug gets brainwashed by a Nazi scientist. Somehow, the Germans printed up a life-size cardboard standup of Tony so that it can be used for target practice. Yes, this Manchurian Candidate system will be considered successful when the victim murders his best friend.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 16] The Revenge of Robin Hood
    Shown 30 Dec 66

    The explorers end up in England in 1215, just when Earl Robert of Huntingdon (AKA Robin Hood) is forcing King John to sign the Magna Carta. Naturally King John refuses on principle to agree to any of the terms, even the relatively obscure one about the fish weirs, so the good guys must team up with the band of Merry Men.

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) solves his problems with straight-forward violence. Doug, on the other hand, actually uses his scientific knowledge. Some medical supplies could be used to create gunpowder, but instead he cooks up some poison gas.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 17] Kill Two by Two
    Shown 6 Jan 67

    Tony and Doug land on a Pacific island in 1945. It turns out that they are off the coast of Iwo Jima. A couple of Japanese soldiers are living there, and are about to ambush the US Marines who attack the main island. The Japanese officer (a young-looking Mako - Conan The Barbarian ) has emotional issues due to his time as Kendo champion of Stanford University, USA. He challenges the Yanks to The Most Dangerous Game . After all, he knows he cannot win so he would rather die with honour.

    Luckily, the Japs speak English - even when the Yanks are not around, so when Doug secretly listens to their conversation he can understand them. This raises questions about the French and Germans in the D-Day episode.

    General Kirk has the US Government locate a veteran of the Iwo Jima campaign. Instead of getting a US Marine, they fly in a Japanese retired officer. Even though he is not even an American citizen, they give him a briefing and tour of the Time Tunnel. Can we imagine them doing the same for a West German who served in the Normandy episode?

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 18] Visitors from Beyond the Stars
    Shown 13 Jan 67

    The two explorers land aboard a UFO, where the technology is three hundred years more advanced. The crew is a pair of Alien invaders (actors with silver skin-paint, straight out of Irwin Allen's other show Lost in Space ) from the planet Alpha One. For the first time the Yanks encounter a language they do not understand, but luckily the aliens use a Translation Circuit.

    The UFO lands in the Wild West - Arizona 1885. The aliens take over a ranch, hold Doug hostage, and he gets brainwashed (as in the Normandy episode). Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) is sent into town to demand all the supplies of food and livestock. Planet Alpha One has exhausted its supply of protein, so the aliens attack other worlds to strip them of protein. Basically they are like the space-locusts in Independence Day , and want to turn the human species into food like in V .

    Things get worse. The town is under siege by the Apaches, and the Sheriff thinks the time travellers are in league with the aliens! Meanwhile, the aliens' raiding fleet is eight hours away. Luckily the deputy is Sam Colt - but probably not THE Sam Colt. Anyway, the US Cavalry rides in (by means of stock footage) and gets wiped out. The bartender is a cowardly appeaser, who does not want to anger the natives and is willing to collaborate with the aliens. Yes, these two things are portrayed as being the same thing.

    The stock footage depicts the stereotypical image of Native Americans literally riding circles around encircled soldiers. This is a product of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show which had to depict the Little Big Horn battle inside an arena, and avoids giving a direct head-to-head engagement. It begs a question about the nature of Asymetric Warfare. If the mobile forces have strategic dominance, the beleagured infantry are still capable of engaging on a tactical level.

    Finally, it turns out that a hundred years later the aliens of Alpha Prime have solved their protein shortage. However, they still use Earth's solar system as a shortcut - and might destroy the planet out of spite.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 19] The Ghost of Nero
    Shown 20 Jan 67

    The time travellers land in the villa of Count Galba, on the border between Italy and Austria. The year is 1915, and the villa is captured by the German army (not Austrians, for some strange reason). Richard Jaekel (Dirty Dozen) plays one of the German soldiers. Unfortunately the Germans are from the Signal Corps, which means they will use the villa as a spotting post for their artillery. In other words, it will be a prime target for an Italian counter-attack.

    The German shelling has disturbed the tomb of the Roman Emperor Nero. One by one the characters are possessed by Nero's ghost, who swore revenge on the Roman General Galba and all his descendants.

    Time Tunnel HQ in 1968 cannot get a lock on Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug, because another life force is dominating the readings. Yes, their instruments can scientifically detect a ghost. They call in a specialist, Dr Steinholtz. Their plan is to suck the ghost through the time tunnel, and scare it with miniature flamethrowers until they can send it back to ancient Rome.

    What about a cameo by a historical figure? Well, Erwin Rommel commanded the successful German attack in 1917. However, this is two years early. Instead there is an Italian corporal named Benito Mussolini who became obsessed with returning Italy to its place as a fascist empire - as it was in the days of Emperor Nero himself. Could these facts be related?

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 20] The Walls of Jericho
    Shown 27 Jan 67

    The duo are recruited as spies by Joshua of the Bible. He and his ancient Israelites all speak perfect English, just like everyone else in this show (except for the Aliens from Planet Alpha One).

    The historical anachronisms are far too many to count. For example, the spies dress as Arabs - even though they should be in Canaanite garb instead. The real problem is the morality of it all. They want to stop the Jericho-ans from practising their religion - sacrificing a virgin. In contrast, Joshua wants to sacrifice everyone in the entire city!

    Hypocrisy abounds. Rahab is called a harlot, although in her defence she is safe from sacrifice. She wants Joshua to win, so all her neighbours and customers will be murdered or enslaved. While she is bitter against the economy she works in, she does not understand why her slave is unhappy about being enslaved.

    Back in 1968, General Kirk takes the Bible literally while Dr Macgregor ( Lee Meriwether ) wants to intervene and save Rahab. God, aka Deus ex Machina, intervenes.

    The end is in the 1500s, with Cortez. This is the start of one of the biggest bloodbaths in history.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 21] Idol of Death
    Shown 3 Feb 67
    Reviewed 31st May 2001 - Thursday

    The two Yanks watch some stock footage of Conquistadors invading Mexico. They they join forces with a couple of Native Americans to protect a golden mask from Cortez and the Conquistadors. As always, everyone speaks perfect English.

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug call the natives civilised, gleefully ignoring the fact that the Aztecs practised human sacrifice hundreds of times every day. Remember, the sin of the Jericho people in the previous episode was their religion, which involved virgin sacrifice. Worse, if the Yanks change history and prevent Cortez from winning, they will prevent the eventual colonisation of the western United States with the predictably detrimental effects on their own time-travel project!

    General Kirk calls in a Mexican advisor who knows the Vera Cruz area. Dr MacGregor ( Lee Meriwether ) checks up on the advisor, and discovers he is suspected of being a tomb robber. The advisor wants the golden mask for himself, and lacks the patience to wait and dig it up later. The project's security system is now shown to be weaker than ever.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 22] Billy the Kid
    Shown 10 Feb 67

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug land in Lincoln, New Mexico, in 1881. Yes, only four years and a few hundred miles from where they defeated the alien invasion of Arizona in 1885. They go into the Sheriff's office to ask for directions, just as some outlaws come in to jailbreak his prisoner ... William H Bonney, AKA Billy the Kid himself.

    Doug takes a shot at Billy, potentially changing the timeline. Then the explorers go on the run, and Billy goes after them. Dr MacGregor ( Lee Meriwether ) does some research, and discovers that Billy's last two victims were never formally identified. Yes, there is enough leeway to create potential suspense that the protagonists might be in actual jeopardy. Also, we discover than the Time Tunnel can allow General Kirk to send a voice message back to the explorers.

    Doug is the gunfighter, but Tony gets mistaken for Billy the Kid. He gets arrested, but when Pat Garrett tries to set him free the office is surrounded by an angry mob. The only solution is some stock footage of a cattle stampede.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 23] Pirates of Deadman's Island
    Shown 17 Feb 67

    Tony (James Darren - Star Trek: DS9 ) and Doug get captured by Pirates in the Carribean. One of the other hostages is the nephew of the King of Spain, and chooses to keep the explorers as his servants.

    It is the year 1805. These are not regular pirates - they are Barbary corsairs, who are meant to be Arab in real life but here are portrayed as stereotypical and anachronistic. The US Navy has sent a ship to hunt them down.

    Dr MacGregor ( Lee Meriwether ) arrives at work to find General Kirk has done an all-nighter. The unit's medical doctor has reached retirement age, so there is a bit of emotion and sentiment. Unfortunately the doctor was not introduced in previous episodes, so nothing really matters.

    General Kirk orders the scientists to time-grab the hostage. Unfortunately they accidentally get the villain instead - and this is not the first time this has happened. Luckily security has been upgraded - instead of a couple of Military Policemen with pistols there are now a dozen armed with M1 carbines. The problem is that the General cannot risk killing the pirate, so his own men are regarded as being expendable. Dr MacGregor is taken hostage, and becomes a damsel in distress. This is most distressing for the audience, who would prefer Meriwether to show off her Catwoman skills from Batman (1966) .

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 24] Chase Through Time
    Shown 24 Feb 67

    The scientist working on night shift in Time Tunnel HQ, 1968, is assassinated by a saboteur (Robert Duvall - Handmaid's Tale (1990) ) with a silenced revolver. The killer gets chased round in circles for a few minutes, then jumps into the time tunnel. Unfortunately he might have hidden a nuclear bomb somewhere in the base.

    General Kirk uses the voice broadcast system to update Tony and Doug. They have to find the saboteur, Raoul Nieman, and make him talk before the bomb explodes. As Nieman jumps through time, Dr MacGregor ( Lee Meriwether ) sends the boys after him.

    One jump sends them into a futuristic era filled with silver-skinned people. Have the aliens from Planet Alpha One conquered Earth? One introduces himself as Vokar, and states that it is the most glorious era of mankind. Yes, the human race has copied the Alphans. Workers have golden skin, soldiers have silver skin, and the masters have big Mekon-style heads and robes. Their society is based on a bee-hive.

    The explorers befriend a gold-skinned girl, who is played by Vitina Marcus . This actress has at least one other role in the show, as a different character.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 25] The Death Merchant
    Shown 3 Mar 67

    Tony and Doug land in the US Civil War, just before the battle of Gettysburg, and separated when they are caught in an explosion. Doug is taken by the Union side, who give him a uniform and treat him as one of their own. Tony gets temporary amnesia from his concussion, and believes himself to be a Confederate operative. Normally Doug is the one to be brainwashed, so it is nice to see things the other way around.

    Both sides are looking for a mysterious arms dealer named Michaels, who stole a cargo of gunpowder and is offering to sell it. It turns out that Michaels is none other than Machiavelli (Malachi Throne - Star Trek ), who arrived from Florence in the 1500s. By incredible coincidence, he got swept up into the Time Tunnel because his time signal is identical to Doug's. Now all he wants to do is stir up trouble and enjoy the war as if it were a spectator sport. Some men just want to watch the world burn ...

    The HQ staff plug the Time Tunnel into the Hoover Dam for extra power. Yes, their nuclear reactor is not enough to handle three signals at once. This is despite them handling FIVE signals in the previous episode.

    Machiavelli is one of the most interesting antagonists in this show, it is a pity that he was not used more. Strangely he appears to be invulnerable. This is something that Tony and Doug alluded to in another episode - that a person cannot get killed outside of their own time zone.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 26] Attack of the Barbarians
    Shown 10 Mar 67

    Tony and Doug land in time to see a cavalry battle. It looks like scenes taken from Taras Bulba , but apparently the winning side are Mongols instead of Cossacks.

    The explorers are captured and taken to Batu, grandson of Ghengis Khan. Luckily everyone speaks English. Unfortunately Tony is mistaken for Marco Polo (John Saxon - Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) ), and tortured for information. The Mongols have a rack, probably designed in China, which makes their torturer better-equipped than King John's in 1215.

    Tony gets nursed back to health by Surette ( Vitina Marcus ), who turns out to be Kubla Khan's daughter. Batu wants to marry her, and strengthen his own claim to inheritance of the Empire.

    General Kirk tries to send a trench mortar back, but the Time Tunnel will not let him. Luckily, Marco Polo has a cargo of fire-crackers that Doug can weaponise. Well, it was about time they invented gunpowder on this show.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 27] Merlin the Magician
    Shown 17 Mar 67

    Merlin the Magician appears inside Time Tunnel HQ in 1968. He freezes time, and then sends the explorers back to help him. This is really the moment the show jumps the shark - the writers have completely run out of ideas, and have resorted to magic.

    Tony and Doug get attacked by men in horned helmets. Yes, this terrible version of Vikings is limited to whatever stock footage they could get their hands on.

    It turns out that Arthur is a bit like Alfred the Great, defending Anglo-Saxon England from Viking settlers. He and Tony end up in the massive dungeon of the Viking stonghold, represented by an exterior shot of castle Eileen Doonan on the isle of Skye in Scotland - made famous as the MacLeod stronghold in Highlander (1986) . Perhaps it is Merlin's conditioning, but Tony now seems particularly ruthless with no compunction against killing or torturing anyone he meets.

    In the climax, Merlin's superpowers have been exhausted so the time travellers must use their 1960s scientific knowledge in order to save the day. This actually makes a certain degree of sense.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 28] The Kidnappers
    Shown 24 Mar 67

    Dr MacGregor ( Lee Meriwether ) is abducted by a metal man from the future. Luckily, the kidnapper dropped a computer . Well, this show was made in the era that computers had punch-card input and ticker-tape output. This gives General Kirk a set of coordinates, which he sends Tony and Doug to.

    The explorers end up in a futuristic place where famous abductees like Cicero and Erasmus have been stored. They are given instructions by the disembodied voice of Michael Ansara ( Buck Rogers in the 25th Century ), last seen as a Russian Colonel. Now he is a silver-skinned alien in the year 8433 CE, on the planet Canobis - 98 light years away from Earth.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 29] Raiders from Outer Space
    Shown 31 Mar 67

    Tony and Doug find themselves in a battle taken from a technicolour version of The Four Feathers. To go with the improved quality of stock footage, there is also some live-action location shooting and some aliens with decent prosthetic makeup. The aliens abduct Tony and Doug, then prevent HQ from beaming them out. Not by sabotage, as in the previous episode, but by a threat.

    Luckily, the alien leader monologues our heroes with exposition. They are from the Planet Eristus, and they plan to conquer Earth by firing missiles at London. The good news is that the British army is nearby, preparing for the Battle of Khartoum. It is the year 1883 CE, only two years before an entirely different alien species tries to conquer Arizona.

    The aliens try to torture our heroes to death, using slow and painful dehydration in case other Earthlings discover the bodies. Of course, the missile attack will be within a few hours so the aliens would be better off just shooting the prisoners. Naturally, Tony escapes and meets some British troops - then gets caught up in a stock footage battle or two.

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 30] Town of Terror
    Shown 7 Apr 67

    Tony and Doug end up in the year 1987. Some alien invaders have arrived, a century after the two previous races of alien invaders. This lot, the Andro warriors, can shapeshift and teleport ... and have tinfoil for faces. The evil plot this time is to siphon off all the oxygen in Earth's atnosphere. This is either to steal the oxygen for their own planet, or to un-terraform the Earth for their own species to colonise it.

    The explorers are in small town USA, where everyone except a couple of tweenagers has been paralysed. HQ in 1968 is unable to help, because one of the aliens uses the Time Tunnel to attack it.

    The final Leap takes the explorers back to the Titanic. This does not actually mean that they are stuck in an infinite loop, forever unable to return home - like Sam in Quantum Leap . Instead, it is a lead-in to the show's re-run during the summer hiatus.

    The show does not have a proper finale. Irwin Allen , the showrunner, planned for Tony and Doug to return home in Season Two. Unfortunately the second Season was cancelled because the budget was too expensive. If the show was better written, the budget could have been kept under control. For example, instead of establishing FOUR different alien species they had created a single race of alien antagonists, this would have meant they needed only one pre-production setup instead of four.

    compilation movies:

  • Aliens from Another Planet: #24 Chase Through Time & #18 Visitors from Beyond the Stars
  • Kill or Be Killed: #4 The Day the Sky Fell In & #17 Kill Two by Two
  • Old Legends Never Die: #27 Merlin the Magician & #16 The Revenge of Robin Hood
  • Raiders from Outer Space: #28 The Kidnappers & #2 One Way to the Moon
  • Revenge of the Gods: #7 Revenge of the Gods & #20 The Walls of Jericho
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    Time Tunnel

    Time Tunnel Time Tunnel [Season 1, Episode 1 ]
    Shown th October 1966

    This was reviewed in our special supplement

    Time Tunnel

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