THE TIME TUNNEL
ONE WAY TO THE MOON
Music-Lyn Murray-the score to this one was used in many later alien episodes
We hear the narration for the first time, "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."
As the narration is heard we hear the familiar flying theme heard in RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY. This theme would have many variations but later episodes used the same theme--overall, it sounds the same each time with slight differences in tone or speed. The cliffhanger music would also have variations and later on it would always be the same--for now, in these first handful of episodes, it was usually always different. The landing of Tony and Doug on their backs after coming out of the time swirls is quite impressive. They are on a solid floor. Doug wonders if the spacecraft they are in is one of the early Cape Canaveral jobs--if so they could be blown up right there on the pad. Tony tries a door. Doug tells him to get down as a countdown voice (the robot voice from LOST IN SPACE--Dick Tufeld) hits zero. The rocket blasts off; four men above Tony and Doug in the control area; G forces hitting Tony and Doug, contorting their faces. The rocket shoots upward. Soon, Tony and Doug float off their backs, coasting a zero gravity, then they fall back down, once again at zero Gs. The capsule, Doug says, is spinning to create its own gravity. They find out the name--Mars Excursion Module. Doug says, "We're on an expedition to Mars." Above, the four men talk. The doctor--Harlow (the competent Warren Stevens who always raises the notch of class in whatever he is in) tells them they are off course due to 335 pounds of excess weight in the service module. Also aboard is Beard and engineer Nazarro. Leader Colonel Kane (who they call the Skipper sometimes) wants to blow off the service module since they are off course. Nazarro reports to mission control and Tony and Doug overhear it on the intercom. They will fire retros and attempt re-entry. Tony and Doug attach or bring down a thin ladder and Tony climbs it to bang on the ceiling and hatch, not to disconnect the service module. Doug helps, "Let us out! Don't cut us loose!"
After the very long teaser, we see Ray checking instruments near a female technician or scientist on a white lab coat. Kirk told Washington and Vice Admiral Killian is coming to observe. Ann struggles to keep the image of the four men in the upper room. There is a rare tunnel shot from the side which is hardly used again, if at all. It seems to be the other side of the shot used in the pilot--probably just a reversed matte shot. As they countdown to detach the service module, Beard hits a switch purposefully but claims it was an accident (couldn't we have been lead to believe it was an accident and think maybe Beard wasn't so bad?). Boosters shake the rocket and escape velocity is reached--out of orbit. Twenty percent of the fuel expenditure is exhausted--they cannot reach Mars now and still be able to lift off again for home. Beard has a backup plan: land on the moon. Nazarro cannot get mission control. On the moon, they will refuel from the lunar stockpile. They reduce voltage to recharge the power cells (is the ship run on solar or fuel? Both?) and the lights go out on Tony and Doug. The men open the hatch and see the two hapless men. They climb up to the four. Doug says, "We're from the time tunnel. You must have heard of us. It was a secret ten years ago but surely by now..."
Tony says, "Time tunnel is a government project and we're a part of it. We're actually traveling in time. Our future, your present...only we're a part of is now."
Despite the skepticism, they do learn from the Colonel it is 1978 (and he adds, "Of course."). When all but Doc admit they don't believe them, Doug says, "Of all people, you'd think they'd understand."
Doc seems the most reasonable man. He relates a tale that a friend of his went to Med School with him once took a trip a few years ago. He wasn't sure and didn't say positively but Doc thinks it was to Arizona to some hush hush project. From the odd remarks the friend told Doc, he feels as wild as Doug and Tony's story is, it just might be true. Kane won't buy it. Beard tells them there is a greatest race in history going on...a race to put the first man on another planet in the solar system and that other governments would try to sabotage the ship and the project--and Tony and Doug might be spies and saboteurs (shades of LOST IN SPACE--which, while begun and produced at least a year before, takes place in the future of 1978---the Jupiter II lift off being in 1997--possibly the same universe--more on that later!). Doug tells them they have no ID. Kane wants them locked up, "Every answer I've come up with is impossible." The Doc defends Tony and Doug, "Is their story any more fantastic than ours." The security at the launch pad couldn't let the pair get on there. Beard argues for not landing on the moon--with 300 pounds of extra weight a soft landing might not be possible--if they are to survive it. He suggests they throw the two off the ship--set them adrift. Kirk brings in three men, one man in a suit--Dr. Brandon; the other two in military uniforms. They pass the large, scope decal of the time piece on the floor of the complex. Kirk introduces Admiral Killian and then Dr. Brandon to Dr.s MacGregor and Swain. Killian then presents his ensign...Ensign Beard!
The Doctor argues with Beard not to let the two be tossed over. Beard argues it is immediate and painless. They will die in seconds. Kane might agree. Doc says ever since they began the project they put a premium on human life...nothing is more important. Mission Control, he argues would veto the plan. The tunnel staff watch as Beard on the ship subtlety and secretly convinces Kane. Ann looks suspiciously at Beard--who looks as if he is in disbelief that he is saying those things. Kirk tells him, "That's you...ten years from now." He cannot believe it.
Ray acknowledges this, "You just can't tell about the future." Kirk coughs for Ray to man the controls better. Ann says, "There they are," and it sounds dubbed in as we don't see her but we see the image as we hear her say this.
She wants to switch them but Ray vetoes her idea and prevents her from moving her hand controls--they are not sure of the fix yet--to move them could kill them. Ann says, "Ray, he's planning to jettison them!" Brandon argues for Beard, "To save the mission."
Ray needs help from Killian and Brandon (who are both from the Space Dept.) to use the computer to get information about a possible landing on the Moon with the added weight. Ann pulls Ray back, "Ray, Ray, I don't care what data you process...we can't let Doug and Tony be killed." Ray calmly tells her they will risk a shift if they can't process the data. Beard in 1978 on the rocket, figures the same data. Nazarro finds slow working acid in the radio--sabotage. He and Kane guess it is Tony and Doug. Kane orders the man to take a gun and get Tony and Doug. Tony is in an alcove, Doug uses a pillow. An alarm goes off; a small meteor hits (we only hear it) and shakes the rocket. There is a hole in the lower deck. Doug uses a pillow to block the rush out of air (?!). Nazarro gives the two spacesuits to get on. The other three move to open the door but another alarm goes off and they realize they can't--there is no more air below! Doc spouts, "They never had a chance." Suddenly they hear Doug's voice over the intercom. He tells them they will make repairs, "We're both trained physicists. We can follow directions." Too bad, Tony didn't think of this before he tossed himself into time! They need sealant from the locker in the forward end, near the hatch ladder. Kane directs them--the ship has a double hull and they must repair both sides. Trained or not--Tony, Doug, and Nazarro must go out. It is weightless and there is no up or down but they won't fall. They are moving at the same velocity as the rocket. Is this good physics? They go out and are upsidedown to the viewer. Destination: Moon's stock footage is shown a great deal but it is put to good use and makes ONE WAY TO THE MOON a great deal better than DESTINATION: MOON, a rather slow moving movie nowadays, very dated. They walk around to the top of the rocket and look down at the planet Earth--and for once it appears to have a cloud cover. Doc continues to argue for Tony and Doug's lives--he's a likeable character...too bad...more later. They discuss what to do...forget the soft landing, orbit the moon, and turn back...they have enough fuel to do this. The backup team can be ready to go in two weeks. The race they are in with other governments is not a race for glory...it doesn't have to be their team to accomplish this. Nazarro moves to rig up the aft antenna to restore the radio.
A computer gives Ray and a female scientist a readout. Ray tells the others--they can't try to land--they will crash. Beard is worried--about himself?--, "Can't you do something?" Ann tells them there is no response. The rocket is seen again...the effects are brilliant, even by today's standards. Of course this is due to the stock footage. Tunnel watches the rocket window, out of which they see the moon drawing closer to their field of vision as the rocket moves closer to it. Soon craters can be seen. The rocket cannot veer off. If any part of the hull cracks, only spacesuits will keep them alive on impact...but not Tony and Doug...there are only four spacesuits down in the lower deck!
Tunnel watches window of ship as the moon veers up on it. More craters are seen; the ship goes down; the ridges on the Moon are seen, crack like objects in the surface...almost like the valleys once thought to be on Mars. They crash and Tony and Doug fall from their wall perches. Kane doesn't know how but they are air tight and have full hull integrity. They will make repairs and go to Mars. Kane says, "Our main problem is time. We must do this in 22 minutes." Beard will go for the fuel with the Doc, Nazarro will do repairs on the aft burners and the hull (hey, I thought the hull was okay). Tony and Doug ask if they can help. Kane tells them to stay here, a prelude to what will happen next and a not so subtle clue to Doc's death at the hands of the evil Beard. They came down in the Marineck Tarus one half mile west is the fuel dump. Doc and Beard's trip to the underground (?) warehouse (?) gives the production team an excuse to add more stock footage from DESTINATION: MOON. It is really very nice. There is a ladder to get from the ship to the moon surface, which has lots of tiny fissures. There is a ladder to get from the moon surface to the warehouse fuel dump. The tunnel people watch Doc and Beard go--why aren't they on Doug and Tony? Brandon, as they watch, puts a small rectangular object with a gummy stick on it, to the console. Couldn't they hold this as a surprise for later? Why not have Beard do this, reveal Brandon as a creep spy later on. They get a clear fix on Tony and Doug now. Ray tells Ann and alerts the other techs to switch them. Ann goes but her console blows smoke, sparks and a blast from the other side. The two men finally arrive at the Fuel Depot marked number one. They need four canisters which will weigh 100 pounds on the Earth but on the Moon they must divide by six (is this right?). Beard reveals his true colors, "This is the end of the MEM." He grabs the air pipe hose off of Doc's suit and kills him. Doc yells and this gets through to the rocket, Tony hearing it.
Tony and Doug figure Beard is hired to make sure the US loses the race to Mars. Kane is pigheaded and won't leave and won't them go. He thinks they're the agents. Tony gets his gun with Doug's help. Doug orders Kane out of his spacesuit. Ray and Kirk whisper in 1968 about the "accident" which Ray isn't sure is an accident. Doug in a spacesuit in 1978 climbs down a hole to the warehouse. He has a gun and it looks very ludicrous to see someone with a gun on the moon---but one must remember this episode was made before the moon landing. Beard is arming an explosive and has his own gun. He sees Doug who comes in and finds the dead Doc. Beard pulls the gun on Doug. He explains himself (all villains do this instead of killing the main hero immediately)---he has provisions for six months so he'll wait for "his" own Mars flight to pick him up. Doug tells him they won't--he is now expendable to those who hired him to do this sabotage.
Sergeant Jiggs comes from their Security Center and has told Kirk at 14 hundred hours Central Intelligence called--one of the three men in the tunnel complex now may be an enemy agent. They are to be taken for enemy agents. Now since Beard is on the rocket, they should assume he is not the agent--shouldn't they? Or should they? One can never tell with time travel and time messes...or THE TIME TUNNEL. Brandon pushes Beard into Jiggs and gets Jigg's machine gun. Kirk puts his hand protectively on Ann. Brandon says, "Don't be naive, General, I can't let you live now!" He is about to shoot when three or four guards rush in and he shoots them all down. Kirk orders Ray to take Ann out; Jiggs orders a full security alert. Brandon runs...with the machine gun? Why not shoot them now? In the original script or synopsis, Brandon ordered everyone into the tunnel to kill them there but this was apparently dropped.
We see the atomic furnace, the men running on bridges over it or another, the bubble lights above, and many of areas behind and around the tunnel and even under it. Brandon hides among the tunnel rings--which all have spaces between them. We also see that walkway plank across it--the one that lights up in later episodes. Guards pass. Brandon goes under the walkway and the rings, hiding between them. In 1978, Tony tells Kane to freeze and not make any sudden moves. The wheel hatch used in many VOYAGE doors turns and Kane tells Tony he doesn't know who it is...it could be Doug or one of his men. They should have heard from Doug. The hatch opens and the darkness hides who it is. It is Major Nazarro who, at Kane's orders, shouts a warning over his intercom. Tony puts the gun in his face...a kind of funny short sequence...Nazarro is a good character and I am glad he doesn't die. The Colonel Kane on the other hand...what a jerk. Hearing the Major, Beard tells Doug he now doesn't need to know where the missing man is...Nazarro. Doug moves the gun up, turning it over his head. He and Beard have a big fight which is a bit too fast paced for such low gravity on the moon. Beard tries to pull Doug's air hose. Doug wins and knocks him down. Tony goes down the hatch to find Doug, now wearing a spacesuit. The other two close the upper hatch. Doug tells Kane over the radio--Doc is dead, killed by Beard who was going to try to blow up the ship. Doug brings the fuel back to the rocket, the other two let him in.
Doug pops his head up the hatch and says this of Beard: "I don't know whether he's alive or dead and frankly, right now I don't care." This shows Doug as less altruistic than other heroes and adds a dimension not present in most later segments. He is human and has had enough. How did he miss Tony? I guess on the moon it would be easy but they should have seen each other. Tony goes across the moon surface. Doug can't reach him on the radio--why not? He will go for Tony. Kane tells him they only have a few minutes before they must lift off. Doug tells them to takeoff without him and Tony if they have to, "Understand?"
Kane smiles, "I think I do--finally." What a jerk! And later, he doesn't wait for Doug and Tony! Too bad he didn't die instead of Doc!
Tony goes down the hole. In 1968, Kirk tells everyone Brandon cannot leave this level he is on. Killian tells him, "He's one of our best men." Kirk says, "They often are."
Tony goes into the warehouse where Beard is up and around. The spy knocks a storage cabinet over on Tony. They fight and the explosive falls. Doug arrives and helps, hitting Beard down again. Beard pulls Tony's air hose but Doug puts it back in. The two time travelers climb back up to the moon surface. Behind them, the hole blasts up and a huge explosion hits, knocking them forward. The explosive went off, apparently killing Beard.
Beard in the tunnel in 1968 is off looking for Brandon. Why did Kirk and Jiggs (the dufus) leave him alone to hunt for Brandon...and why didn't Beard have a gun already? Further, why would Beard be allowed to run around after Brandon after his behavior on the rocket that the tunnel staff had already seen? He's a real creep. Beard roams the tunnel rings alone--why? Brandon hides but Beard follows and finds him after they play cat and mouse among one of the towers...which we get several good views and looks at...some very close up...for the first and last time (we see one a bit in MERLIN THE MAGICIAN but not as good as in this episode). Beard whispers for Brandon to come out. Brandon will use Beard to get him out--it is his job to protect Brandon, Brandon says, "...because I'm more important to the organization." Brandon, the fool, gives Beard a gun, even though he is still holding the machine gun and walks away. As he walks off, Beard shoots him in the back, cold bloodedly. Kirk and Jiggs finally arrive with the guards. Didn't anyone notice Beard now had a gun...a gun that Brandon had. Of course, Beard had to get away with this so that in 1978 he could be on that rocket.
Doug calls Kane but the rocket blasts off, leaving them stranded. Tony looks up at it, "We're stranded!" The only have air for a few hours. Doug says, "After that...how do we survive?" Tony says, "Maybe we don't."
In what is an unusual tag for THE TIME TUNNEL, the action picks up still on the moon and in the main adventure of ONE WAY TO THE MOON. Kirk snaps an order about a timelock. Jerry alerts all units. Tony and Doug stand there, their spacesuits vanish, we see them on the moon in their normal 1968 street clothes! They then vanish and fly through the time vortex. Doug lands, tumbling onto a dirt area and at night. This landing is mysterious and eerie. There is dust and some crash sounds. Tony rolls out of the time vortex and lands onto rocks and in some kind of cave mine. Explosions rock a mine. A whistle blows and men run from the mine. An older man asks about the crew of 200 men in the mine. He asks a man who escaped. The man tells him the others-all 200 are trapped. The man runs to the very nice (stock?) set of a building with a sign on it that says Emperor Mine. Miners run out of a cave. A young miner deeper in, snaps orders to other miners to divert them toward a safer way out. He says one way is blocked and they should go another way, then he spots Tony, "Hey you get outta here!" Dirt falls on them, "Hold on!" Tony asks what's happened; men are trapped in a mine. Tony wants to help but the young miner yells at him to get out and punches him back (a bit extreme if you ask me and if you are trying to save his life). Tony falls on his back as the cave entrance seems to fill up with dirt.
NEXT WEEK SEE THIS FANTASTIC ADVENTURE IN THE TIME TUNNEL.
NOTE: Different cliffhanger music. Also--cliffhangers sometimes were edited with different music from the week before (THE LAST PATROL is one case in point) and sometimes were edited differently in slight ways. Later episodes such as VISITORS FROM BEYOND THE STARS and REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD would have very different sequences of events. GHOST OF NERO would end its cliffhanger after the next week's teaser to GHOST OF NERO would end its teaser--thus, having the cliffhanger sequences in Act One. This also happened in VISITORS and ROBIN HOOD. In ROBIN HOOD, there is a short scene between Doug, Robin, and the King before they are put into the dungeon that is in Act One to ROBIN HOOD but was not in the cliffhanger the week before--and both the teaser and the cliffhanger ended in the dungeon! Here many of the scenes that were in the cliffhanger were in the teaser but then the cliffhanger intruded upon Act One's dungeon sequence but left out Act One's short scene with King John, Robin, and Doug! The teaser ended where Robin and Doug are captured by the men after the fight. The cliffhanger the week before ended long after this with the iron being poked toward Doug (in Act One of next week!?!). Clearly there was some playing around with the cliffhangers in these episodes. Usually the teaser would completely include all the events in the last week's cliffhanger and usually in the same order and usually with the same music. Some exceptions are noted above. Other exceptions are noted in the other reviews. The teaser would usually go on past where the cliffhanger ended to then include new scenes and lead into the main theme song of the show. Scientists now think landing on Mars is likely in some very near future time--but probably not in the 1990s and definitely not in 1978.
The opening narration was dropped in the following episodes: RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY (obviously since it was first), CHASE THROUGH TIME, THE DEATH MERCHANT, ATTACK OF THE BARBARIANS, MERLIN THE MAGICIAN, THE KIDNAPPERS, RAIDERS FROM OUTER SPACE, and TOWN OF TERROR. The opening narration began in ONE WAY TO THE MOON, the second episode and ran all the way up to PIRATES OF DEADMAN'S ISLAND. CHASE THROUGH TIME through TOWN OF TERROR does not have the narration.
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