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THE TIME TUNNEL-The 5 TV Movies, the second season?


Chase - Posted on 23 August 2009

THE FIVE TV MOVIES:

 

RAIDERS FROM OUTER SPACE---THE KIDNAPPERS and ONE WAY TO THE MOON

 

ALIENS FROM ANOTHER PLANET--CHASE THROUGH TIME and VISITORS FROM                           BEYOND THE STARS

 

OLD LEGENDS NEVER DIE-MERLIN THE MAGICIAN and REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD

 

REVENGE OF THE GODS-REVENGE OF THE GODS and THE WALLS OF JERICHO

 

KILL OR BE KILLED-THE DAY THE SKY FELL IN and KILL TWO BY TWO (not sure of the order here but I think SKY FELL IN was first).

 

PLEASE NOTE: All the movies contain edited version of the pilot RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY which also contains a very brief section from THE KIDNAPPERS. The movies were to have 90 minute versions and 120 minute versions (and each 90 minute version may have had a different intro edit--of RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY--from the 120 minute versions). The copies of ALIENS FROM ANOTHER PLANET, OLD LEGENDS NEVER DIE, REVENGE OF THE GODS, and KILL OR BE KILLED, I have seen, have the following narration and opening:

 

NARRATOR: The place somewhere in the American desert (a car is taken down into the door in the desert floor). In a complex 800 stories beneath the desert floor the United States government has been spending billions of dollars on a top secret project involving more than 12,000 specialized personnel living in their own self contained city. The mission: as scientific director of the complex Doug Phillips heads a team trying to be the first to send a man into time and return him without harm. (Doug says time as an objective will turn out to be the most valuable to man). The problem: the team has yet to accomplish its objective and the government is threatening to cut off any further funds thus jeopardizing the hopes and dreams of the dedicated thousands who work here. The solution: assistant director, brash, young Doctor Tony Newman proposes a radical acceleration of the program to force the issue and extend the government's commitment. (Kirk says, "You mean today?"). His ideas rejected by his peers, Tony decides to take matters into his own hands and send himself into...the time tunnel. (Doug says "red alert,"  over and over as we see the men run on bridges over bridges and one bridge over the atomic furnace in an edit of the few times he said it in RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY. George starts his countdown at 14, not 16 in this edit. Doug snaps orders as Tony is interjected with his voice and the clips of people working in the tunnel complex to track him.) In the hope of saving his friend's life, Doug joins in the greatest adventure in the history of man. (Doug walks into the tunnel and soon he flies in the time vortex--we hear the continuous LOST IN SPACE radiation belt sound which is used as the tunnel image projection scanners in the actual series; soon Doug, minus his cap is flying in time crystals with his friend Tony). But as he joins his friend, something goes wrong. (Ann says something about establishing limits; Kirk says, "Hurry, they're dying!"  Why?). Two men tumbling helplessly through time--their lives at the mercy of the events of yesterday and tomorrow. (Ann says, "Wherever he and Doug are---at least they're together). (Next scene is Ray from THE KIDNAPPERS saying, "You realize if we do this we may never regain contact with any of them again."; Kirk orders him to switch them and we hear the time tunnel theme song). Now Doug and Tony must rely on their colleagues and friends to find them and bring them home. (End THE TIME TUNNEL theme song).                  

 

Any references to Senator Clark are taken out and he is only seen very briefly in the bridge sequence where he re-meets Woody. He and all Titanic references are taken out, making this opening a bit shaky. In one version of RAIDERS FROM OUTER SPACE-THE TV MOVIE, there is an intro that contains extensive footage of Senator Clark's visit but no Titanic references. All five movies and the two intro versions I have seen use a brief snippet from THE KIDNAPPERS as Kirk and Ray switch the boys to Ann and they talk about never seeing any of them again. All five begin with the 20th Century Fox logo--talk about doing things backwards and all five start with the theme song with new credit titles in the TIME TUNNEL type lettering but the words THE TIME TUNNEL are never seen. We see credits for Darren, Cobert, and Irwin Allen and then the movie begins, similar to the unaired pilot (which also had a very different ending to the opening theme--one which melded right into the plane of Clark's flying). One of the best aspects of the movies is the end theme--it is an extended version of the theme song---with seamless edits and sounds very good. 

 

The other edits are usually seamless--for example in THE DAY THE SKY FELL IN Ann's comment, "...too late, too late,"  leads into a commercial break bit. In KILL OR BE KILLED, there is a perfect edit of that moving right into Tony and Doug looking at the clock in the warehouse where they are being held by the Japanese spies. While most edits are not jarring---a few are, mostly in the narrated opening. There is another opening used in RAIDERS and possibly in either the shorter or longer versions, not sure which.  

RAIDERS FROM OUTER SPACE-THE TV MOVIE copy I have seen has no narration and a much more convincing edit of RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY with Senator Clark material in it. A much better intro, also minus any Titanic references. It goes like this: no narration but the plane lands, Doug meets and takes Senator Clark in a car down to the installation, they ride on the elevator, go out to the bridge, meet Kirk and Tony and discuss the money and financing--all from the pilot. We see Tony go into the tunnel and fly through the time crystals kaleidoscope. Doug walks into the tunnel, flies in time with his cap on, and the two fly in time together, this time Doug has no cap. Ann gasps, "Doug! Tony!"   She also talks about establishing limits. Kirk snaps, "Hurry, they're dying!"   Senator Clark says, "The tunnel's gone blank."   Ann says, "Wherever he and Doug are at least they're together."  Clark asks, "Where?"  Ray answers and so on...until Clark leaves the complex with his suitcase. (No Titanic encounter is mentioned). We then move into whatever episode it being edited with Tony and Doug flying in time or as in the case of THE KIDNAPPERS and CHASE THROUGH TIME...we see the complex as they talk and watch Tony and Doug fly through time on the viewer screen.

 

A few more notes: in ALIENS FROM ANOTHER PLANET the time travellers are flying through time just as the narration ends, then in a seamless edit, we see Dr. Styles (CHASE THROUGH TIME part) watching them fly through time--it is quite wonderful to see such a movement of the frame in this way. The parts from VISITORS FROM BEYOND THE STARS include the entire sequence from the teaser and the first act, not the edited cliffhanger from the previous episode. In OLD LEGENDS NEVER DIE, a similar set up occurs...in the REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD section, they use the footage from the teaser and the first act rather than the edited version from the cliffhanger to REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD.  

 

END RESULT: In all THE TIME TUNNEL movies brought THE TIME TUNNEL back to people who hasn't seen the series when it was first on or hadn't seen the reruns in many years. In the mid to late 80s, this was a treat but the episodes could have included better installments. Some were fine: RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY perfectly set up the series elements, ONE WAY TO THE MOON was a tight suspenser, THE DAY THE SKY FELL IN can't be topped, CHASE THROUGH TIME is entertaining and spans three time zones, KILL TWO BY TWO is an acting tour de force for Mako, and Ann gets something to do in THE KIDNAPPERS. JERICHO, MERLIN, and REVENGE OF THE GODS are fair episodes, entertaining enough. But I guess I would have included MASSACRE, THE GHOST OF NERO, REIGN OF TERROR, IDOL OF DEATH, PIRATES OF DEADMAN'S ISLAND, DEVIL'S ISLAND, END OF THE WORLD, and THE DEATH MERCHANT. Possibly others. I do not think VISITORS FROM BEYOND THE STARS, REVENGE OF ROBIN HOOD, and the bad execution of THE KIDNAPPERS present the series in a good light. Things could have been worse, however. THE NIGHT STALKER also called KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER did not fare as well. Four episodes of the series (which followed two successful and original pilot TV movies) were intercut. Two episodes each made up the two new syndicated movies. The 2 hour CRACKLE OF DEATH was FIREFALL and THE ENERGY EATER. The 2 hour THE DEMON AND THE MUMMY was DEMON IN LACE and LEGACY OF TERROR. While Darren McGavin apparently did voice overs while someone's hand was shown writing down notes---new footage in the early to mid 80s---it was nice to have some new footage--these movies were terrible. The main reason was that these were two episodes weaved in and out of each other, intercut--act one of the first was interspersed with act one of the second and on and on it went until both episodes would finish out their respective movie. This is jarring and confusing--only a real fan of the show would know what was going on. It is also not a good representation of the series THE NIGHT STALKER--at least the TIME TUNNEL TV MOVIES were as each episode was pretty much left alone and not interspersed with new footage, voice overs, or any other episode (with the one exception being that brief bit between Ray and Kirk from THE KIDNAPPERS talking about never regaining contact with any of them again.)   

 

 STARLOG did an extensive interview session and articles on THE TIME TUNNEL, season two and what was planned. It sounded great and more history was involved.

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