THE TIME TUNNEL (ABC 1966-67) is certainly one of the late Irwin Allen’s better SF tv series produced in the 1960s and this long anticipated two volume DVD collection promises to be something truly outstanding for the show’s devout fan following.
It has been promised (by informed insiders) that the source elements utilized for these disc pressings will be taken from the original 35mm print masters newly restored and digitally remastered in high definition with each episode presented in its entirety along with the original cliffhanger endings complete and intact. Probably in anticipation of ultimately issuing this valuable tv property (once again) in HD somewhere later down the line.
The volume one 4-disc box set (due out on January 24th, 2006) will consist of the first 15 episodes presented in their original ABC Television Network primetime broadcast order along with the 55 minute production pilot of “Rendezvous with Yesterday” (09/09/1966).
Many of the show’s best efforts can be found here including “Rendezvous with Yesterday” (in two versions), “One Way to the Moon” (16/09/1966), “End of the World” (23/09/1966), “The Day the Sky Fell In” (30/09/1966), “The Last Patrol” (07/10/1966), “Revenge of the Gods” (21/10/1966) and “Massacre” (28/10/1966).
THE TIME TUNNEL is one SF tv series that certainly got off to a very strong start indeed!
The series’ single season is marked by the early tv appearances of such distinguished performers as Carroll O’Connor, Ellen Burstyn, Tom Skerritt, Susan Hampshire, Jim Davis, Susan Flannery and even Robert Duvall many of whom would shortly achieve greater celebrity becoming Hollywood legends in the ensuing years to follow.
The list of actors and actresses who made guest appearances on the show reads like a virtual Who’s Who of Hollywood including such notables as Michael Rennie, Gary Merrill, Warren Stevens, James T. Callahan, Paul Fix, Gregory Morton, Paul Carr, James Westerfield, Linden Chiles, Michael Pate, Torin Thatcher, Vic Lundin, John Doucette, Dee Hartford, Joseph Ruskin, Abraham Sofaer, Nehemiah Persoff, Michael Ansara, Kevin Hagen, Michael Pate, Joe Maross, Christopher Dark, Lawrence Montaigne, Marcel Hillaire, Oscar Beregi, Theodore Marcuse, David Opatoshu, R.G. Armstrong, Scott Marlowe, Rhodes Reason, John Lupton, Malachi Throne, Lyle Bettger, Michael St. Clair, John Wengraf, Donald Harron, John Crawford, Mako, Phillip Ahn, Jan Merlin, Frederick Beir, Byron Foulger, Ross Elliott, Edwardo Cianelli, Richard Jaeckel, John Hoyt, Myrna Fahey, Arnold Moss, Anthony Caruso, Rudolpho Hoyos, Peter Brocco, Robert Walker, Jr., Victor Jory, Regis Toomey, Lew Gallo, Vitina Marcus, Arthur Batanides, Paul Mantee, Christopher Gary, Vincent Beck, Mabel Albertson and John Saxon.
The first fifteen episodes contained in the volume one 4-disc box set will be comprised of the following 15 segments:
01) “Rendezvous with Yesterday” (09/09/1966)
02) “One Way to Moon” (16/09/1966)
03) “End of the World” (23/09/1966)
04) “The Day the Sky Fell In” (30/09/1966)
05) “The Last Patrol” (07/10/1966)
06) “The Crack of Doom” (14/10/1966)
07) “Revenge of the Gods” (10/21/1966)
08) “Massacre” (28/10/1966)
09) “Devil’s Island” (11/11/1966)
10) “Reign of Terror” (18/11/1966)
11) “Secret Weapon” (25/11/1966)
12) “The Death Trap” (02/12/1966)
13) “The Alamo” (09/12/1966)
14) “Night of the Long Knives” (16/12/1966)
15) “Invasion” (30/12/1966)
All to be presented in spectacular colour taken from pristine, vault stored 35mm negatives for optimum visual and audio quality insuring maximum entertainment value.
This should prove to be one of the major DVD releases of 2006! Coming out in January it’s certainly a marvellous way to begin the New Year for serious collectors of classic tv series from the Golden Age when television and imagination were not strangers to each other.
Jeff T. (http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/timetunnelfanforum/)
Was this review helpful to you?
I remember when the series premiered on September 9th, 1966. The day before, Star Trek premiered on NBC with The Man Trap. For a 10 year old kid in Pittsburgh, that was interesting, but the Time Tunnel premiere was more impressive. I remember reading in the Post Gazette that the original pilot cost over 1.7 million (remember, that was in 1966 dollars). My grandparents arrived from California just before the broadcast began right after the Green Hornet.
We had just gotten an RCA color TV the Wednesday before, and Star Trek sure made watching color TV fun, but the Time Tunnel pilot was totally impressive. The matte shots in the early part of the pilot, “Rendevous With Yesterday” were AWFULLY impressive on a 25 inch RCA color TV screen. The idea and concept of the pilot were just awesome. I still remember Grandpa and Grandma talking about the Titanic as if it was yesterday. (I regret not having a tape recorder to capture everything they said). After the third episode, End of the World, Grandpa talked at legnth about what went on in 1910, the ACTUAL hysteria whipped up by newspapers because Earth orbit actually crossed over Halley’s arc. Millions of people bought “comet pills” or potions, which were supposed to protect them from the effects of cyanide gas generated from the comet. Grandma swore that one of those tonics at that time eventually was relabeled GERITOL.
Years later, in 1985, I remember coming home and seeing Halley’s. You could barely make it out. Grandma remembered in 1910, it covered a quarter of the sky then. I got grandma to run out and see it. She turned her head and said “Such a dissapointment, That TV Show was more fun”. a bittersweet memory triggered by the inventive mind of Irwin Allen which brought happy memories to a 10 year old kid in Pittsburgh.
I was dissapointed with Fox’s release of Lost in Space to DVD, and I was hoping they would take more care with Time Tunnel. Fox DID take more care. There are generally four episodes per disc, this time there are two on each side, Time Tunnel never looked or sounded better. Also, FOX did an excellent captioning. of the 12 episodes I’ve checked, I see no dropped or misspelled words (which was a MAJOR irritation with the LIS release).
An added treat are the bonus materials. “Irwin’s Home Movies” are quite interesting, You also get James Darren’s audio bumpers which we always heard at the end of the Green Hornet, and the preview trailers which went with the first three episodes. The only things missing are the network bumpers at the start and end.
Two reason I give the set 4 instead of 5 stars 1) is that I wished Fox would have let Jim Darren, Bob Colbert and Lee Meriweather do a commentary track even on just one episode, It would have been a special treat to hear them talk about what went on during the filming of an episode and 2) The unaired pilot was originally 90 minutes and had a lot of scenes featuring Dennis Hopper as Althea’s boyfriend. These were almost all cut out of the revised unaired pilot. UCLA supposedly has a working print of the 90 minute pilot, it would have been very interesting to see it.
After all these years, I’ve got the first 15 episodes of Time Tunnel, I’m waiting anxiously for the last 15. But I can combine them with The Avengers and return with very happy memories that a 10 year old kid had of watching ABC on Friday nights in 1966. Now, when do we get The Green Hornet on DVD, Fox?
For a kid in 1966 TV was a treasure trove of fun. “Star Trek”, “Rat Patrol” and “The Time Tunnel” all debuted during the same year. Although “Star Trek” had the respectable pedigree with involvement from science fiction writers, “The Time Tunnel” had the feature film expertise of Irwin Allen (“Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, “The Towering Inferno”, “The Poseidon Adventure”, The Swiss Family Robinson”, “The Towering Inferno”) and the might of 20th Century Fox behind it. While some of the episodes could be quite corny the initial batch of episodes for the series had a fun and adventurous quality. More of a fantasy series than a science fiction show, the premise was fairly simple. The U.S. government has secreting been investing in the next great step in science after the creation of the atomic bomb; sending a man back in time to observe what occurred in the past and preventing our enemies from altering the time line similar. It was a race so to speak for time-control of our past. When a senator (Gary Merril) threatens to cut the funding for the defense department project Project Tic Tock, Dr. Tony Newman (James Darren) uses the device to prove that it works. Newman ends up on the Titanic and must try and convince the captain to prevent the sinking of the ship so that Dr. Doug Phillips (Robert Colbert) Dr. Raymond Swain (John Zaremba) and Dr. Ann MacGregor (Lee Meriwether) can bring him back. Newman also has the chance to avert one of the worst disasters in sea faring history. Philips goes after Newman in hopes of bringing him back and both become unstuck in time (to borrow from Kurt Vonnegut) randomly drifting through the past and the future. A show that later inspired “Quantum Leap”, “The Time Tunnel” surprisingly only ran one season on ABC and was one of Allen’s four science fiction shows of the 60′s (the others were “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” which debuted in 1964 and was based on Allen’s film, “Lost in Space” which aced out “Star Trek” at CBS-the show eventually ended up at NBC-and “Land of the Giants” all imaginative if not scientifically accurate or even well written). What Newman and Phillips discover is that you can’t change the outcome of episodes in the past (although they do seem to have an impact on the future).
Fox has gone produced a beautiful transfer for the show. The images are crisp with a large amount of detail (and look superior to the second and third seasons of “Lost in Space”). The color is rich and bold with nice flesh tones and there’s little in the way of compression issues and edge enhancement to mar the images. The mono sound comes across with remarkable clarity and little distortion. A very sharp nice looking and sounding transfer from Fox. The only complaint I have is that the 30 episodes are spread out over a two volume set. While I’m not a fan of dual sided discs these sets look and sound extremely good.
First up we get the original unaired pilot which had an alternate ending and additional scenes cut before the pilot aired. The pilot had for its time some spectacular visual effects. We also get over an hour of 8 millimeter footage shot on the set. While it doesn’t have sound (and this is where surviving cast members Meriwether, Darren and Colbert could have provided narration much like the “Hogan’s Heroes” set did) it’s a fascinating glimpse behind-the-scenes on the shooting of the pilot episode and series that’s rare in TV shows released to DVD. I have to give Fox kudos for not just dumping this on the market much as Universal has done with their TV shows on DVD (and Sony at times as well). We also get promotional spots for both radio and TV as well as trailers. We also get some odd visual effects camera tests that survives from the show as well as a production still gallery, merchandise still gallery, comic book still gallery, and concept art gallery. Sadly There are no commentary tracks.
“The Time Tunnel” is still a terrific series despite the fact that the visual effects and some of the storytelling elements haven’t aged very well. Fox has done a great job of raiding their archives for vintage footage of the shooting of the show and other goodies. I hope that the second set will include a commentary or two and the pilot for the 2002 revival that wasn’t picked up by any of the networks. Otherwise, the show looks and sounds terrific and will be worthwhile for fans of the show and Allen’s TV output.