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Updated: January 12, 2024

If you had your own Time Tunnel, would you use it to check out the Time Tunnel set? If so, you might just find yourself a little bit overwhelmed by the gadgetry in the laboratory. After you step through the smoke that surely billows out of a time machine, you'll be surrounded by computers, monitors, time-warp machines, and all matter of things that blink, buzz, and glow.

In 1966, ABC gave Oakland Tribune writer Bob MacKenzie a tour through the physical sets that were built to film The Time Tunnel. An unnamed publicity representative guided MacKenzie through the expensive practical effects that made up the laboratory.

Did you know?

Teen idol and Time Tunnel star James Darren took his name from a failed 1940s sports car "That's a hundred thousand dollars' worth of stuff there," the ABC rep told MacKenzie, pointing out all sorts of pseudoscientific, but believable-looking machines. The pair passed a giant computer tower, "designed like the huge telephone company circuits," ( or at least what those looked like in 1966 ). "They are real," said the guide, "Those circuits really work. We'd never be able to get fake machines to make those patterns of lights."

Irwin Allen, the producer of the series, spared no expense in creating a world that was as magnificent as it was convincing. He had the budget; Allen was the creator-producer of shows like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space. "Irwin Allen spent nearly a million dollars on the pilot alone," said the ABC representative. MacKenzie was also able to speak to Robert Colbert, who played The Time Tunnel's Dr. Douglas Phillips.

"It's to be a fantastic show," said Colbert. "It's science fiction, believable because the special effects are so beautifully done. You know, The Time Tunnel is supposed to be a top-secret government project, with a fantastic underground factory going down 100 stories into the heart. Through the genius of these special effects men, you'll be able to see down into this incredible underground city and see men and cars moving on different levels. It's amazing."

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