Senator Clark arrives to take stock of the top secret Project Tic-Toc, a staggeringly expensive, vast underground complex built around an experimental time travel device known simply as the Time Tunnel. The civilian manager of Project Tic-Toc, Doug Phillips, gives Senator Clark the guided tour, but Clark’s presence unnerves project scientst Dr. Tony Newman, who has poured his entire life into the project. Determined to prove that it does work, Newman appoints himself the first human time traveler and sends himself back into the past. Radiation imparted by the use of the Time Tunnel allows Project Tic-Toc technicians to track him back into the past, where they can see and hear that he has arrived on the ocean liner Titanic…mere hours before its destruction. Doug volunteers to travel back in time to help Tony escape, but the only way off the Titanic for the two men is a further trip via the Time Tunnel to a time and place they can’t predict.
Cast: James Darren (Tony Newman), Robert Colbert (Doug Phillips), Michael Rennie (Capt. Malcolm Smith), Susan Hampshire (Althea Hall), Gary Merrill (Senator Leroy Clark), Lee Meriwether (Dr. Ann McGregor), Wesley Lau (Master Sgt. Jiggs), John Zaremba (Dr. Raymond Swain), Whit Bissell (General Heywood Kirk), Don Knight (Grainger), Gerald Michenaud (Marcel), John Winston (The Guard), Brett Parker (Countdown Technician)
Notes: The latest of Irwin Allen’s 1960s science fiction series, The Time Tunnel premiered on ABC one day after the broadcast premiere of Star Trek on rival network NBC; it ran concurrently with the final seasons of Lost In Space and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. Though Allen’s big screen work is often synonymous with epic disaster scenarios, his treatment of the sinking of the Titanic is relatively tame, primarily for budgetary reasons; building the cavernous, $130,000 Time Tunnel set (or is it a giant prop?) consumed much of the pilot episode’s budget, forcing Allen to fall back on reusing footage from the 1939 film Titanic (which, handily enough, was also produced by 20th Century Fox). Ironically, co-star James Darren would, decades after his trips through the Time Tunnel ended, return to SF TV in another iteration of the Star Trek franchise, as holosuite Rat Pack crooner Vic Fontaine in the later seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Darren also co-starred with William Shatner in T.J. Hooker at a point in his career where his focus was switching from acting to directing.
LogBook entry by Earl Green