The Time Tunnel is a 1966–1967 U.S. color science fiction TV series, written around a theme of time travel adventure. The show was creator-producer Irwin Allen's third science fictiontelevision series, released by 20th Century Fox and broadcast on ABC. The show ran for one season of 30 episodes. Reruns are viewable on cable and by internet streaming. A pilot for a new series was produced in 2002, although it was not picked up.
Project Tic-Toc is a top secret U.S. government effort to build an experimental time machine known as "The Time Tunnel". The base for Project Tic-Toc was huge and located underground in Arizona, with no visible entry. The only way in was a large secret panel in the desert floor; when it opened, a car could descend into the complex. Once the panel closed, only the desert was visible. Tic-Toc base was a futuristic series of complexes 800 floors deep and employing over 36,000 people ("12 thousand people in each of those complexes"). It was under the command of Lt. General Heywood Kirk (Whit Bissell). The center of the base was The Time Tunnel control room where the Tunnel was located. In charge of operating the Tunnel were Dr. Ann McGregor (Lee Meriwether) and Dr. Raymond Swain (John Zaremba). The date at which it was operating was stated as 1968, which was two years into the future for the initial TV audience.
Trivia & DVD Release:
The Time Tunnel is a precursor to the Back to the Future series, and later TV series such as Voyagers!, Sliders, and Quantum Leap in which most episodes feature the cast traveling to a unique place and/or time. The look of the time portal was also copied for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 in 2006 in two volumes. Volume Two includes the unaired 2002 pilot and the made-for-TV film The Time Travelers as special features. In Region 2, Revelation Films has released the entire series on DVD in the UK in one complete series box set.
After The Original Run:
In 1982, five feature length TV movies were put together from 10 complete episodes with portions of the first episode as introductory material. Aliens From Another Planet, was produced using episodes 24 ("Chase Through Time") and 18 ("Visitors From Beyond The Stars"). Revenge Of The Gods was a compilation of episodes 7 ("Revenge of the Gods") and 20 ("The Walls Of Jericho). Old Legends Never Die edited together episodes 27 ("Merlin The Magician") and 16 ("The Revenge Of Robin Hood"). Kill Or Be Killed comprised episodes 4 ("The Day The Sky Fell In") and 17 ("Kill Two By Two"). Raiders From The Moon was compiled from episodes 28 ("The Kidnappers") and 2 ("One Way To The Moon"). In the U.S., they can now be seen on the Encore Action cable network at various times.
In 2002, Fox showed interest in remaking this series. A pilot was produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television, Fox Television Studios and Regency Television in association with Irwin Allen Properties. Executive Producers were Kevin Burns and Jon Jashni. Sheila Allen was credited as one of the producers. It was not picked by Fox, in order to make room in its schedule for Joss Whedon's Firefly.
The new series had a much much darker, serious tone. Doug Phillips (David Conrad) is the main character, and Tony Newman is now Toni Newman, a female minor character. The unaired pilot episode is available on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment on The Time Tunnel: Volume Two, Disc Four.
In this remake, the (21st century) Time Tunnel is a Department of Energy research project into "hot fusion", which produces nearly limitless energy. When they initiated the reactor (an event not shown in the episode), it caused an unintended "time storm". For four hours—240 minutes—the time storm was uncontrollably whipping around in the past and changing history. The DOE was able to anchor one end of the storm by using the Tunnel like a lightning rod.
On their way into the tunnel complex, Flynn tells Doug Phillips, a former friend, that Phillips has been recruited because he has a detailed knowledge of the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. The head of the Time Tunnel likens their team to FEMA, in that they don't send a team back for a rain storm but they do for hurricanes. However, they can only go through time to where the other end of the storm is at the current moment, so they have a limited amount of time in which to fix what is wrong and to be retrieved by the Time Tunnel.
The team (Doug, Toni, Flynn, J.D. and Wix) must go back to WWII in 1944, to the Battle of Hürtgen Forest in Germany. They are to retrieve a person who was moved there by the time storm from 1546. During the mission, Doug Phillips meets his grandfather, a soldier who will be killed in this battle. Doug knows this, but cannot tell him and save his life because it would change history. Toni Newman tells him that she used to have three brothers and two sisters before the time storm accident, but is now an only child. They find out that the displaced person is a (very confused) medieval monk who is carrying bubonic plague.
When the team is almost captured, two of them have switched to German uniforms and pretend to be Colonel Klink and (Sergeant) Schultz, complete with fake documents. Everyone who came in contact with the monk is given an antibiotic injection and the time ripples stop. But Flynn has been fatally stabbed, so he reveals that Phillips was a bitter man before the "240", but he now has a family. Flynn told Phillips this information to give him incentive to keep the timeline the way that it is.
The SciFi Channel announced in 2005 that it was going to create a new pilot for its 2006/07 season. Allen's wife, Sheila, and two producers of the 2002 FOX remake (Kevin Burns and Jon Jashni) began work on the new pilot. John Turman (Hulk) wrote the script.The series never materialized.