Attack of the Monster Reviews
Chase Through Time

May 30, 2004

Writer: Carey Wilber
Director: Sobey Martin
Production #: 9624
Airdate: 2/24/67

STORY SYNOPSIS:

A saboteur plants a bomb somewhere in the Time Tunnel complex and escapes through time to where Tony & Doug have landed. Moving ahead to one million A.D. the mad bomber aids the "Beehive Society" in building another time machine so it's up to the time travelers to save the day in the future-and in 1968.

This is the only episode with someone besides the three principal characters at the Time Tunnel controls, Dr. Alfred Styles. This is logical as the time travelers must be monitored twenty-four hours a day. Styles is murdered in the opening scenes by this week's villain, Robert Duvall as Raul Nimon and the Time Tunnel staff is there in seconds in full uniform (hey these people live in the Complex remember?). Nimon takes Ray hostage, releasing him only to flee into the Tunnel and escape in time.

After he vanishes Jiggs learns a bomb has been planted by the missing saboteur somewhere in the Complex-but where? Kirk calls the The Tunnel staff to order (not as many people as you'd think) and asks for volunteers to remain despite the danger. Dedicated folks that they are they all decide to stay and help.

This is also the only episode where Tony & Doug have not landed in a "hot spot" in time but rather in quiet Colorado in 1547. They're still in trouble, though-Dr Styles hit the wrong switch when shot dead, causing the Tunnel to go haywire and almost tearing the boys apart! "You're killing us!" shouts Tony but the resourceful staff of project Tic Toc resolves the problem quickly. The Colorado set used was the grotto area in the first season Lost in Space episode "My Friend Mr. Nobody" as well as many other Allen shows, this time with extra foliage added.

Occasionally the Time Tunnel script writers threw in a 'plot twist' like a time warp (in the next episode "The Death Merchant" it's used also). Although Tony Doug and Nimon are transported simultaneously after a scuffle to the year one million A.D. , the saboteur arrives ten years before the others and integrates himself into the "beehive society" of the future by the time our travelers arrive.

The world of one million A.D. looks pretty cheap thanks to the sets that were constructed. This late in the season one can assume Allen's budget was dwindling so he had to make do. In this time period, populated by silver-and gold-faced humans, animals have been extinct for over one hundred thousand years.

Doug and Tony escape from the prison where they're being held after their capture with the aid of Zee (Vitina Marcus) but are quickly recaptured by Vokar (Lew Gallo) who's wearing a recycled Lost in Space spacesuit and mandatory silver hat.

In an attempt to save the boys Ann tries a time-transfer but along comes another 'plot twist' that accidentally sends five people including Zee, Vokar and Nimon to one million B.C.where, according to writer Carey Wilber, dinosaurs still ruled the Earth (more on this later).

The first few scenes of Doug locating Tony in the jungle then being chased by a dinosaur are lifted from the unaired version of the pilot, deleted from broadcast in favor of the "One Way to the Moon" cliff-hanger. After that, stock footage from Allen's 1960 opus "The Lost World" is re-used as two dinosaurs battle to the death in a scene that must make animal rights activists cringe to this day-and rightfully so.

The five travellers fall through a hole after the required quicksand scene and into a giant beehive chamber (ironic isn't it?) where Nimon finally tells them where the bomb activator is hidden in the 1968 Complex, much to the relief of our heroes and the audience. No huge bees are ever seen (there's that budget again) only magnified buzzing noises. Tony and Doug are time-transferred, then Zee and Vokar (presumably to one million A.D. their home) but Nimon is trapped, screaming in terror as the unseen bees get closer and closer...a chilling ending.

This is a teriffic episode despite its meager flaws, much better than the other so-called "silver people" shows in this short-lived series. If more "future" episodes like this one were produced perhaps Time Tunnel would have survived to reach a second season-perhaps not.

Watching Duvall, whose early TV career included classic episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Outer Limits and The Wild Wild West, is a pleasure. Vitina Marcus, who also appeared twice in Allen's Lost in Space and Voyage series gives an excellent performance as well as does Lew Gallo, another Allen regular on Voyage and Space, making this one much more fun to watch than many of the often-boring "historical" shows.

What were the Writers Thinking? Dept:

Tony and Doug (and three others) are transported back to the year one million years B.C, where, supposedly, the hills are still alive with the sound of dinosaurs. Absolutely incorrect! Ask any child visiting the New York Museum of Natural History in 1966 or indeed even today and this myth would be quickly dispelled. This brings up an interesting point-according to the Time Tunnel press releases Irwin actually had a "time researcher" on his staff named Elizabeth Emmanuel whose job it was to see everything in the series remained historically accurate. Either Irwin's incredible shrinking budget neccesitated her firing or she quit in disgust by this time.

Script Changes:

Originally Zee was supposed to be killed during Nimon's first attempt to operate his time machine but Irwin Allen nixed the idea as being "too depressing" so her life was spared.

END


Nimon the mad bomber at work.


Our heroes are held captive by Vokar in the prehistoric beehive.


Tony & Doug writhe in agony as the Tunnel controls go haywire.


Making a fire to draw Nimon out.


Nimon (Robert Duvall) hunting the time travelers in 1547 Colorado.


Tony prepares to ambush the saboteur.


Duvall, Vitina Marcus and Lew Gallo behind the scenes.


James and Vitina share an embrace between takes.


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