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Time Machines

The Time Tunnel - Fantastic time travel device featured on the science fiction adventure THE TIME TUNNEL/ABC/1966-67.


Located under the Arizona desert in a secret headquarters called Tic Toc Base, the Time Tunnel was designed to transport men or objects through time. The device was the ultimate invention and potentially the most dangerous weapon in the arsenal of the United States government.

 "Two American scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages during the first experiments on America's greatest and most secret project: THE TIME TUNNEL. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly toward a new, fantastic adventure somewhere along the infinite corridors of time" -- Opening Narration

Dr. Douglas "Doug" Phillips (Robert Colbert) and Dr. Anthony "Tony" Newman (James Darren) were the chief research scientists on the project.

In 1980, an efficiency-minded senator visited the site and threatened to shut down the money-gobbling program because it had shown little progress in obtaining its objective.

To save the project and prove The Time Tunnel worked, Tony Newman activated the device before it was fully tested and disappeared into time.

Discovering Tony gone, the Time Tunnel personnel frantically evaluated the situation and eventually located Tony aboard an ocean liner in the middle of Atlantic ocean, The ship turned out to be The Titanic.

Dressing in the garments of the time, Doug Phillips volunteered to enter the Time Tunnel, retrieve his friend and warn the Captain of the impending disaster.

Unfortunately, Doug and Tony's warning of an approaching iceberg fell upon deaf ears and the Time Tunnel project pulled Tony and Doug off The Titanic before it sank.

But the Time Tunnel's attempt at rescue didn't return the scientists to Tic Toc Base, but rather to another point in time.

Fortunately, for Doug and Tony, the Time Tunnel (although unsuccessful in returning them to their own time), did routinely monitor their location and remove them from most dangers just in the nick of time.

Doug and Tony Tumble Helplessly through the Infinite Corridors of Time - THE TIME TUNNEL
Doug and Tony Tumble Through Time

Throughout their travels, Doug and Tony have had the misfortune of materializing into such timescapes as:

  • the Island of Java just before it erupted
  • the siege of the Alamo mission by Mexican General Santana
  • Pearl Harbor hours before the Japanese attacked.

Tony and Doug adventures also included trips into the prehistory, to the Roman Empire, to Medieval Europe and into the future where aliens planned to overthrow the earth.

According to present intelligence reports, the Time Tunnel has yet to retrieve Doug and Tony. They are still tumbling helplessly somewhere along the infinite corridors of time.

The Time Tunnel project is a large conical shaped tunnel with alternating bands of black and white ringing its interior. Anyone entering the tunnel is bathed in a cloud of blue radioactive particles. These particles enabled the Time Tunnel computer to lock onto travelers and located them in time.

Once a traveler had been pinpointed in time, the front of the Time Tunnel acted as an oval view-screen into the past. This gave The Time Tunnel personnel the ability to record actual events in history and use them for further study.

When accurate historical or geographical information was required, the Time Tunnel quickly located experts to help identify needed landscapes or personalities as in the time they recruited the help of a American Indian historian when Doug and Tony landed on the Little Big Horn just before the Indians massacred Custer and his troops.

Other Time Tunnel personnel included:

  • Dr. Ann MacGregor (Lee Meriwether)
  • Dr. Raymond Swain (John Zaremba)
  • Technical Assistant, Jerry (Sam Groom)
  • Security officer, Sergeant Jiggs (Wesley Lau) 
  • General Heywood Kirk (Whit Bissel) who oversees the project

Heywood, Tony, Ann, Doug and Raymond

Earlier prototypes for the Time Tunnel included a glass-domed vehicle that turned out to be a death trap for its occupants.

TRIVIA NOTE: Much of the historical background footage used on the Irwin Allen produced series were edited from films found in the stock footage library at Twentieth Century Fox Studios. This helped cut costs and gave authenticity to the program. The Time Tunnel also shared many of their futuristic props (i.e. alien costumes, ray guns and other sic-fi gizmos) with other Allen-produced series like LAND OF THE GIANTS/ABC/1968-70 and LOST IN SPACE/CBS/1965-68.

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