Wincelberg, who had scripted the ‘Lost In Space’ pilot under the name
S. Barr David, was commissioned to write ‘The Time Tunnel’ pilot and
penned ‘The Man Who Killed Time’: Dr Peter Phillips acts as a guinea
pig, enters the Time Tunnel and finds himself on the Titanic.
that his father and grandmother are aboard, he sets out to save the
ship from disaster. Allen and 20th Century Fox approved the script,
but ABC rejected it and Harold Jack Bloom was brought in to make revisions.
The series concerned a scientific project Tic-Toc, based in a secret
location underneath the Nevada Desert, where billions of dollars have
been used in developing a device to travel in time.In 1967, because
of the vast sums of money spent, an American Senator, Leroy Clerk, arrives
for a demonstration.
Scientists Tony Newman and Doug Phillips have been working on the project for ten years and are close to a breakthrough. Clerk argues that the tunnel is simply an expensive toy and announces his intention to ask Congress to cancel the funding. Although the invention is untested, scientist Tony Newman enters the tunnel during the night and activates the controls – but an electrical fault results in him being marooned in time – on the deck of the Titanic – with the suggestion that they are caught in a time warp.
it was a 20th Century Fox production, the show utilised shots from Fox's
vast library of historical costume movies.
Among the places visited and the events witnessed by the two time travellers are: a coal mine in America in 1910; Pearl Harbour in 1942 where Tony meets his younger self and discovers the fate of his father; the explosion on Krakatoa in 1883; the siege of Troy; the Battle of the Little Big Horn; the French Revolution; the American Civil War; the Battle of the Alamo; World War Two and a spaceship bound for Mars in 1978.
They also meet a host of historical characters, including Robin Hood, Marco Polo, Kublai Khan, Merlin, Ulysses, Cortez, General Custer, Rudyard Kipling and Napoleon.
series featured James Darren as Dr. Tony Newman and Robert Colbert as
Dr. Doug Phillips. Other regulars were Whit Bissell at Lt. Gen. Heywood
Kirk, Lee Meriwether as Dr. Ann McGregor, John Zerma as Dr. Raymond
Swaid and Wesley Lau as Master Sgt. Jiggs. Guests in the series included
Michael Rennie, Carroll O’ Connor, Robert Dowell and John Saxon.
A second series had been planned, but was cancelled by ABC on the grounds that it was too expansive and couldn’t compete with the programmes on the rival channels at the same time: ‘Wild Wild West’ on CBS and ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ on NBC.
Despite the promising concept, Allen interfered with the scripts, cutting out some of the more interesting ideas and reducing the dialogue to basics.
Combined with the two-dimensional characters, the series was fated to end earlier than anticipated. Fox later edited the pilot and ten episodes into five television movies which were successfully syndicated in 1983.
Allen, born on 24th November 1905, was noted for his ‘disaster’ spectaculars
and TV sci-fi series. Allen first began writing in the Thirties when
he was editor of Key magazine. He began writing, directing and producing
radio shows the next year and in 1944 began a literary agency.
It was in 1951 that he produced a series of films, including ‘The Story Of Mankind’, ‘The Big Circus’, ‘The Lost World’, ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’ and ‘Five Weeks In A Balloon.’ From 1962 he became active in television when he produced a number of sci-fi series including ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’, ‘Lost In Space’, ‘The Time Tunnel’ and ‘Land Of The Giants.’ In the Seventies he became associated with blockbuster ‘disaster’ movies including ‘The Poseidon Adventure’, ‘Towering Inferno’, ‘The Swarm’, ‘Beyond The Poseidon Adventure’ and ‘The Day The World Ended.’
In 1978 he intended launching a new regular television series, similar to ‘Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea’, following his pilot mini-series ‘The Amazing Captain Nemo’, but the ratings didn’t impress the American networks. Allen died on 17th November 1987.