Project Tic-Toc: The Making Of The Time Tunnel by William E. Anchors Jr. (book review).

September 22, 2020 | By | Reply More

‘Project Tic-Toc: The Making Of The Time Tunnel’ the book was released in 2011 to celebrate ‘The Time Tunnel’s 45th anniversary. 9 years later and it now has a 54th anniversary, the reverse of the numbers, so I’m having my own celebration. Author William E. Anchors Jr. endeavours to explore the series in detail, pointing out its shortcomings as well as its popularity. It’s producer Irwin Allen wanted it all action, minimising character developments and using old 20th Century ‘historic’ films to off-set its expense. Oddly, compared to his other series that so easily lapsed into fantasy, much of ‘The Time Tunnel’ episodes revolved around historic events than travelling into the future. I saw a repeat of ‘Chase Through Time’ back in the early summer and even that one held up pretty well and their travels into the future aren’t always held in high regard.

Part of Anchors’ analysis looks at the merchandise, much of which was produced for the Argentina market surprisingly.

With the episode guide, the pilot episode written by Shimon Wincelberg was turned around quite drastically. Originally, Tony Newman was the senior scientist and Peter Phillips the younger who uses the time tunnel first. Even so, the re-write by Harold Jack Bloom was polished twice before being filmed for 1966 as what we finally see. In some respects, I think Anchors should have actually focused on what was different between the two final drafts rather than do complete synopsises for both and try to work out what was different. The notes for each episode indicate how many of the guest stars appeared in other Irwin Allen productions and which people from the past were brought to the present briefly. Oddly, in the opening of the book, gives a half line summary for each of the 30 episodes which is a bit of an overkill. I mean, it isn’t that you’re buying this book without at least having seen the series first, is it?

Oddly, considering the detail that Anchors goes into with the episode guide, there’s a couple odd scene omissions. Although it is referenced that an alien came to the complex without using the time tunnel in ‘Visitors From Beyond The Stars’, the scene for the reason is missing. I mean having McGregor setting the time tunnel scope to show the aliens had left the Earth and finding Philips and Newman after is a significant scene. Likewise with the final episode, ‘Town Of Terror’, where the time travellers find themselves back on the Titanic should have at least had a comment on or was that only in foreign editions of the episode. With ‘Chase Through Time’ where the entire complex had to be evacuated, one would have to wonder how nearly 12,000 people went and anyone outside wondering how so many people appeared out of the ground or all the transport suddenly appearing out of the desert. The absence of Jerry (actor Sam Groom) after ‘Night Of The Long Knives’ should have had more comment on. The fact that Groom never had a regular credit tends to suggest he was only a day player, which happens a lot to keep costs down and changing this status would likely have seem him cut. From a role part, Jerry probably had a mental breakdown considering all the extra work he was doing. Although Anchors does raise the odd comment, I do wish he had done more analysis of each episode’s good and bad points.

There are some things that aren’t explored, like Tony and Doug getting their original clothes back before being shifted in time, which I explored in my article on the subject a few years back.

Going through the life history of Irwin Allen, James Darrin and Robert Colbert and a little less depth on the other key actors. Two broader sections look at the crew and writers before the guest actors. With the latter, much of it is credits elsewhere and although Anchors doesn’t give his sources, there is some inconsistency in terms of highlighting roles most people might have seen like R.G. Armstrong in ‘Predator’. About the only key one I think he missed is Christopher Cary in ‘Garrison’s Gorillas’, although pointing out he appeared in ‘The Time Tunnel’ seems a bit non-secular.

Finally, there are interviews with Robert Colbert and Lee Meriwether and it’s a shame he couldn’t get one with James Darrin but that’s only a minor criticism and no doubt dependent on availability. Something that does come from the Colbert interview is he and Darren worked 5 out of the 6 day schedule with the Tunnel filming with the other cast done for one day.

The final photo-gallery ends with a colour section.

Despite my criticisms, it does show I’m paying attention as I read, this isn’t a bad book if you want to read up on the subject.

GF Willmetts

September 2020

(pub: Alpha Control Press, 2011. 212 page illustrated softcover. Price: $29.95 (US). ISBN: 978-188-041719-5)

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Category: Books, Scifi, TV

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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