I've always been fascinated by time. Especially time travel. Most notably during my commutes to and from work. But I sorta digress.
There was a series on TV in 1966-67, called The Time Tunnel.
It was Irwin Allen at his imaginative best, although some of the script writing and details were a bit hokey.
Though, not so much to a 9-10 year old at the time.
The show only had about 30 or so episodes made before it was discontinued (you can see those episodes via Hulu, online). Some of which were rather painful to watch, even then. Like a couple involving the mid 60s idea of space aliens.
Lost In Space
and Star Trek
did not have a corner on the market for really hokey space aliens. Especially the former series.
Some of the more glaring script gaffes -- when seen again, almost 50 years later -- were pretty bad, even for then-Hollywood. For example: in Episode 1, Dr. Tony Newman (James Darren) tells Capt. Smith of the RMS Titanic
that he was born in 1938.
Which went over with the Captain like a fart in a divers' suit, until the Captain could have used one while the Titanic
But just three episodes later, Drs. Newman and Phillips (Robert Colbert) wind up in Pearl Harbor on December 6, 1941, where Dr. Newman had been a kid at the time of the Japanese attack, losing his Navy father under mysterious circumstances. So Dr. Newman winds up meeting both his father AND himself on December 6, 1941.
Except that young Tony Newman in 1941, is about 6 or 7. Which doesn't work, if he was born in 1938.
Eh...details. Hollyweird falls short early and often there.
Still...the show was imaginative and entertaining in 1966-67. And it even brought up rather interesting possibilities -- and moral dilemmas -- for time travel.
For example: how does one change history, when no one from the time believes a story being told them by a stranger claiming to be from the future? That's kinda like being told by a Nigerian about a large inheritance and his need for your help to get it.
Aside from that, there's the very complex question about whether a time traveller would be wise TO change history? Let's say Drs Newman and Phillips had convinced Captain Smith to steer a more southerly course -- as they tried -- avoiding the iceberg collision. How might history have turned out, without the loss of the Titanic
and over 1,500 souls?
Could the saving of just one person of consequence on that ship, had a positive OR negative affect on the future?
In a both funny and poignant Star Trek
episode -- City on the Edge of Forever
-- Dr. McCoy went back in time, and wiped out the present for Captain Kirk and the landing party that had followed the doctor down to a planet, after he was accidentally injected with a stimulant that sent him off into hyper-whacked Joe Bidumb-land. Kirk and Spock had to follow McCoy into a time device on the planet, and try to right what he had done.
In so doing, Kirk met and fell in love with a 1930s woman, who turned out to be the focal point in history that McCoy had changed: McCoy had saved her from dying in an accident. And in so doing, had changed events in upcoming history that led to Nazi Germany winning the Second World War, and wiping out the future that had included Star Fleet, the USS Enterprise
, et al. Spock and Kirk discovered that for history to be put back in order, the woman had to die. And Kirk had fallen for her.
In the end she died in the street accident she was supposed to, and Kirk swore for just about the only time on the Star Trek
At the same time, The Time Tunnel
was struggling with trying to get Drs Newman and Phillips back to the Time Tunnel complex, deep under the Nevada desert. All the while, watching them time leap from one episode to another, spanning centuries of human history, and frequently becoming very much involved with the times and events they'd wound up in.
It was interesting (and not very convincing) that the Time Tunnel
team couldn't get Newman and Phillips back; yet they could pick up and send back William Barret Travis from the Alamo, on the eve of the March 6, 1836 attack; and a Souix warrior, who was convinced not to harm Drs Newman and Phillips even as Custer was being wiped out at the Little Big Horn; and they could send guns and ammo -- and their chief of security, Sgt. Jiggs -- to Odysseus during the Trojan War.
But they couldn't get Newman and Phillips back. The sacrifices science has to make to have a TV series, I guess.
Anyway...what with advances in 'special effects' today vs 1966-67, another try at The Time Tunnel
might just be worth a shot. With a little better eye to details in history and historical events, perhaps the premise could manage better than 30 episodes. And with a little more attention to the scientific, moral and ethical considerations of time travel, it might prove as appealing and thought-provoking as the original Outer Limits
episodes did in 1965.
Perhaps Hollyweird could quit trying to politically correctify everything as they're wont to nowadays, and take a shot at resurrecting something from the 60s that might have some entertaining, thought-provoking legs.
Or perhaps, The Time Tunnel
idea is as dead as a can of corned beef. After all, Hollyweird's pop culture hero might tell them -- if they could successfully recreate the show and some of the very real issues that time travel would pose -- "you didn't build that".
I dunno. If I were a script writer -- and I ain't, trust me on that -- I'd be curious to see what the possibilities are. Besides...I might risk time travel, just to meet Lee Meriwether in 1966-67. Rrrrowr.
At any rate...what say you TV watchers out there, about the idea? An updated Time Tunnel,
or another 'reality' show about the Kardashians?
Labels: recreating the series, the moral and ethical pros and cons of time travel, The Time Tunnel