Production: USA, 1966.
Cast: James Darren, Robert Colbert, Whit Bissel, John Zaremba, Lee Meriweather, Wesley Lau.
The story was not particularly original: two scientists travelling in time by means of a time machine. But the serie had its appeal, despite very light scripts (well action-packed anyway).
The title’s “Time Tunnel” is an american government’s project, and makes possible not only the time-travelling, but also the monitoring of the people who have entered it and where they are, in the past or the future.
Its designers, Dr. Tony Newman (James Darren) and Dr. Doug Philips (Robert
Colbert) become trapped in it, so that they live several adventures in
several ages, watched by their worried colleagues in 20th century, Dr. Ann
Gregor (Lee Meriweather, best known for her role as Catwoman in the
contemporary show “Batman”) by first, and Dr. Raymond Swain (John Zaremba).
The other main characters are, obviously, the military supervisors, General Heywood Kirk (Whit Bissel) and security officer Jiggs (Wesley Lau).
In the first episode Newman and Philips find themselves aboard the Titanic, some hours before it sinked, and try, without success, to persuade its captain to be careful, but then, while the ship is sinking, they are transported on a space capsule, in another time: all episodes ended with a cliffhanger, so that watchers were
interested to watch also the next episode.
In the following episodes the two scientists will see the American Civil War, the two World Wars, king Louis the 16th and king Arthur, and several alien invasions.
We have also bizarre explanations of historical events: we discover that Mussolini was haunted by Nero’s ghost, and that king John was forced to sign the Magna Charta by... Robin Hood.
In some episodes Dr. Ann is kidnapped by the time’s villain, forcing Tony and Doug to rescue her.
Dialogues were not very deep or interesting: the most used phrases by the two time-travellers were “let’s go!” or “we must get out of here!”, and their colleagues
in 20th century could say “Tony!” or
“Doug!”, or “careful!” while pushing the complicate machine’s buttons (and
the machine often blowed in sparks).
The serie was created by american producer Irwin Allen, who was in a certain way comparable with british producer Gerry Anderson: Allen produced and directed several science-fiction and catastrophic movies like “The Lost World”, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, “Five Weeks in a Balloon”, "The Poseidon Adventure" and “The Towering Inferno”.
In the sixties he also created some television shows like “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” (taken from the big screen movie), “Lost in Space” and “Land of Giants”.
When ABC network was producing “Time Tunnel”, it was also broadcasting “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” (together with the famous “Batman”), while
Space” was on CBS, so that during season 1966-67 three Allen’s productions
were broadcasted simultaneously!
30 episodes, colore, 50’
1) Rendezvous with Yesterday
2) One Way to the Moon
3) End of the World
4) The Day the Sky Fell In
5) The Last Patrol
6) Crack of Doom
7) Revenge of the Gods
9) Devil's Island
10) Reign of Terror
11) Secret Weapon
12) The Death Trap
13) The Alamo
14) Night of the Long Knives
16) The Revenge of Robin Hood
17) Kill Two by Two
18) Visitors from Beyond the Stars
19) The Ghost of Nero
20) The Walls of Jericho
21) Idol of Death
22) Billy the Kid
23) Pirates of Deadman's Island
24) Chase Through Time
25) The Death Merchant
26) Attack of the Barbarians
27) Merlin the Magician
28) The Kidnappers
29) Raiders from Outer Space
30) Town of Terror