The Time Tunnel was a 7.5 Billion dollar project located beneath the Arizona desert in the year 1968 which at the time was two years into the future of the television audience. When a Congressman attempts to cut federal funding to the organization a young physicist Dr. Tony Newman, played by James Darrin makes an attempt to ride the currents of time backwards to prove Time travel does exist. In doing so Newman by unknown chance finds himself in the year 1912 aboard the ill fated ship the “Titanic” on its maiden voyage from London to New York. Newman angers the ships captain with persistent talk of the eminent sinking of the vessel and is immediately placed under arrest. Members of the Time Tunnel personnel who can see the events unfolding before their eyes decide to send a representative of the future and lead Time Tunnel lead scientist Dr. Doug Phillips, played by Robert Colbert back in time to rescue Newman. Phillips carries a newspaper dated the next morning to help establish his and Newman’s incredible claims. Despite the time travelers best efforts the Titanic strikes an iceberg and history is written. In a desperate attempt to move Newman and Phillips to a safer location General Kirk, (Whit Bissell), and Dr. Ann MacGregor (Lee Meriwether) and Dr. Ray Swain (John Zaremba) active the controls of the Tunnel. This creates an action sweeping up our heroes, Doug and Tony saving them from certain death but sending them further into the depths of time and the unknown.
Each week our two time travelers visit a new adventure including a trip to the moon, Custer’s Last Stand, Halley’s Comet, the destruction of Jerico and the battle of Troy to name a few.
The show begins with our intrepid hero’s twirling and spinning within the tunnel as these words are narrated:
“Two American scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages during the first experiments of Americas greatest and most secret project – The Time Tunnel. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly towards a new and fantastic adventure somewhere along the infinite corridors of time.”
The Time Tunnel made its debut Friday night September 9, 1966 on ABC and lasted thirty episodes.
Here’s excerpts from the first show: