THE TIME TUNNEL: A History of the Television Program

THE TIME TUNNEL: A History of the Television Program

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THIS WEEKEND ONLY, all books are signed by James Darren, Robert Colbert and the author.


Mark Twain invented the time travel story. Six years later H.G. Wells perfected it and revealed its paradoxes. Between them they left little for latecomers to do. Many have tried, successfully, thanks to the diverse theories and hypotheses of the consequences of time travel. Through a variation on a theme, every science fiction writer has attempted to preach his own theories. But regardless of how many novels, stories, comics, motion-pictures and television programs have been created, as author Robert S. Heinlein once wrote, “they are still fun to write.” Enter stage left… Irwin Allen who, through the love of science fiction, brought the concept of The Time Tunnel to life. Almost fifty years later, fans of the short-lived television program still discuss the show as if it was the greatest series ever created and telecast. They may be right.

In 1964, Irwin Allen created a 45-page synopsis of a program he titled “The Time Tunnel.” Seeking a new series to add to his already successful lineup of television programs which included Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost In Space, Allen called upon a talented list of writers, directors and actors to bring The Time Tunnel to life.

The Time Tunnel was by no means a superb product of Friday night entertainment. If the plot holes were not as large as the tunnel itself, viewers noticed the same props from Allen’s other television programs popping up on the show. Fan boys to this day still debate whether the futuristic episodes involving space aliens were better than the historic adventures, but few would deny that Lee Meriwether made a lab coat look sexy. Meriwether herself recalled how the cast received letters from school teachers who used The Time Tunnel to stimulate interest in history in the classroom. So why did a show so successful last a mere 30 episodes? That is one of the questions this book hopes to answer.

This tome was written for the purpose of documenting the entire history of The Time Tunnel, with detail level so comprehensive it is hoped to be considered the one book that all fans will find themselves consulting when they have any question about the series that needs answering. Dates of production, location shooting, production costs, differences between first and final draft of the scripts, memories from cast and crew, exclusive never-before-published behind-the-scenes photos, music cues, trivia, inside jokes and much more!


* Plot summaries for second season and first season proposals that were scripted but never filmed.
* Deleted scenes for many of the episodes.
* Storyboards for scenes that were never shot or ended up on the cutting room floor.
* Details about “The Ghost of Nero” (flashback scene and the ghost itself) which was produced and then scrapped after special effects were already paid for.
* Conception sketches of what the Time Tunnel could have looked like before construction began.
* Bloopers such as which episodes you can see the microphone on the screen!


* Many fans try to find historical inaccuracies with the complex situations. In the episode titled “The Last Patrol,” it is mentioned that the Battle of New Orleans began on January 7. It really began January 8. In the episode “Massacre,” it was mentioned that George Armstrong Custer reached brigadier status at the age of 21. Custer was made a brigadier, but at the age of 23. These kind of historical errors can be seen on the program quite often. Script writer Leonard Stadd, when he consulted Irwin Allen about a scene he felt should not be cut because it was important for the scenario, received the following reply from Allen: “Jesus! That’s just quibbling, Bill. This is a running-and-jumping show!”

* Doug and Tony actually made it back home, thanks to Dr. Ann MacGregor’s quick thinking. In the event the $500,000 television pilot never sold, the entire film was going to be released theatrically and the alternate ending would have been used. This book features a reprint of the script and photographs showing Doug and Tony’s triumphant return. The script and photographs of the filming are included in the book.

* Dennis Hopper played the role of Tabor in the pilot episode, on board the Titanic. Because his entire subplot was too lengthy for the 50 minutes required by the network, all of his scenes were deleted. (You can catch a glimpse of Hopper as Tabor in the background of one scene — all that remains of his scenes). Photos of Hopper in the role can be found in the book.

* Via means of a gimmick ad in TV Guide, ABC-TV promoted The Time Tunnel in September 1966 with celebrity praise. “I find it a great escape mechanism,” proclaimed Dr. Richard Kimble, the fictional man-on-the-run character from The Fugitive.

* There is a general myth circulating that claims Irwin Allen pulled stock footage from films solely in the 20th Century-Fox film library. This is not so. Allen had a binder at least three inches thick listing production companies and the movies that were available at Allen’s request. Each movie was featured with a list breaking down all of the footage available, the action on the scene and the length of time the footage ran. Films from MGM, Disney, Columbia and Republic were listed in the binder. One episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea featured stock footage from Columbia Pictures’ 1955 classic, It Came from Beneath the Sea.

* Observant fans of The Time Tunnel will notice repetition in Planet of the Apes (1968), a 20th Century-Fox theatrical release. As Taylor’s spaceship enters the planet’s atmosphere, before crash-landing in a lake, the sound of the engines are replicated using the same sound effect used to power up the Time Tunnel.


“… remarkably comprehensive…”  — Jeff Berkwits, The Sci Fi Channel Magazine


“Finally a fully comprehensive, exacting and exhaustively researched in-depth written study on the Irwin Allen produced 1960s SF TV series The Time Tunnel (ABC 1966-67) has been successfully realized making all (well-intended) previous efforts seem pathetically amateurish and superficially meager by critical comparison.”

— Jeff T., a die-hard Irwin Allen fan


“The book features many rare photos, new interviews, memos, production notes and more! Martin Grams went all out on this one, and it is sure please the legions of Irwin Allen / Time Tunnel fans everywhere.”

— Irwin Allen’s Flight 612


“Martin Grams has also prepared the ultimate treat for Time Tunnel fans in the book below, more than 500 pages of obsessive behind-the-scenes info on every single possible aspect of the series and the careers of all of its stars.”

— The Booksteve Channel

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