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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:18

Time Tunnel, The

Quantum Leap on a far bigger historical canvas ...


USA - 1966-67 - 30 episodes (60 minutes) - colour

Having created the adventures of the Robinson family, Lost in Space, the year before, for his next series producer Irwin Allen turned his attention from being lost "where" to lost "when".

Deep below the Arizona desert in a top-secret government facility, scientists have built a tunnel that will connect the past, present, and future. Forced to test the untried invention in an attempt to keep their Federal funding, Dr Tony Newman finds himself thrown back in time, appearing on the deck of the Titanic. When it becomes clear that his colleagues are unable to retrieve him from the past, Dr Doug Phillips goes after his comrade and becomes trapped too.

Knowing the outcome of the event they had appeared in but unable to change history, it is left to the scientists back in the laboratory, able to watch Phillips and Newman's progress on the monitors, to contrive a way to save them. Rather than successfully bringing them home, their endeavours send them tumbling into another time. From episode to episode, each attempt throws them out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Using major historical settings allowed 20th Century Fox Television to raid the film division's vaults and use hefty amounts of stock footage to keep costs down, so that Newman and Phillips could find themselves hurled from the Trojan War to the Battle of Little Big Horn, and on to the D-Day invasion of Normandy by way of the French Revolution without giving the show's budget a seizure. More miraculously, the two intrepid scientists managed to survive each adventure without ruffling their hair or dirtying their polo neck sweaters.

James Darren as Dr Tony Newman
Robert Colbert as Dr Doug Phillips
Lee Meriwether as Dr Ann MacGregor
John Zaremba as Dr Raymond Swain
Whit Bissell as Lt General Heywood Kirk


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