Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Time Tunnel: An Irwin Allen Megadungeon of Unspeakable Horrors

The Time Tunnel was a 1964 TV Series produced by Irwin Allen.
Here's an excellent introduction:

The Internet Movie Database site provides a decent overview of each episode of The Time Tunnel. There's more detail in the episode guide made available at The Time Tunnel site, including details on the FIVE made for TV movies that recycled some of the episodes, and it gives you an idea of which episodes were recycled into which made-for-TV-movie out of the five that were made.
You can see more Time Tunnel images over at the Irwin Allen Vaults.
You can find a lot of Time Tunnel stuff over at the Irwin Allen News Network site which also features an animated tour of the Time Tunnel complex. You might want to play the Theme Music while you check out the tour. It helps.

You can find episodes of The Time Tunnel at Xfinity, or at TVdotCom, or you can watch a few episodes of The Time Tunnel at Hulu. Including the unaired original pilot episode: Rendezvous With Yesterday, which they allow folks to embed on their blogs, so here, grab some popcorn and watch it for free right here.

The Time Tunnel is probably one of Irwin Allen's best shows. It at least had a major impact, considering that it only ran for one season. 30 episodes. Five Made-For-TV-Movies were eventually edited and compiled from recycled sections of some of those episodes, but really all this show was able to put out was 30 episodes and an unaired pilot that you might have just watched above. And still it haunts people. Those of us who grew up in the Seventies got to watch re-runs of this show. It must have some weird mutagenic effect, because it affects a lot of people. It was dorky, corny, cheesy and all the usual stuff that goes along with Irwin Allen's stuff, but it remains fascinating nonetheless.

The Time Tunnel isn't just a honking big set of nested alloy rings that hums away with electrical power coursing through it--it's part of a massive U.S. Government ultra-secret underground complex -- a super-scientific Megadungeon that owes more than a little to the Krell complex on Altair 4. Perhaps there was a clandestine expedition to Altair 4 back in the Sixties? Could the U.S. Government have received the secrets of Time Travel from the Krell? Each of those buried towers have 800 floors and they hold 12,000 personnel per tower, and there's much more to see below. This is a big, big place. And it costs a lot of moolah to keep it going. But how do you keep a place that big, with that many people working in it any kind of a secret?

Mind Control. Brutal, efficient, and probably alien-derived or reverse-engineered from alien technology, possibly from that crash that never happened in Roswell? That'll let you control all those thousands of government employees and civilian contractors. Might keep them from forming unions or asking for pay-raises as well. Hmmm...what other types of projects are these people working on down there under the desert?

Maybe they just insert parasites into the workers to keep them in line. Like that'd be any less creepy.


...oh, wait a moment.

Yeah. This place, this massive buried complex with the Krellish blinky-lights and the Time Tunnel and all those government personnel are out in the middle of a desert.

A Desert out in the American Southwest.

Didn't August Derleth write about some sort of desert dwelling species, like in The Gable Window?


He did.

And he claimed H. P. Lovecraft co-authored the story.
“Then out of one of the caves came a Sand-Dweller, rough-skinned, large-eyed, large-eared, with a horrible, distorted resemblance to the koala bear facially, though his body had an appearance of emaciation. He shambled toward me, manifestly eager.”

The Gable Window, by H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth
What a goofy-sounding description. A Koala Bear face? Really?!?

That's about as scary as some of those creatures that have been featured through out all of Irwin Allen's TV shows, and especially the guys in silly silver hats, or silly silver face paint like in The Time Tunnel...

Could there be some sort of connection between the koala bear faced sand dwellers and Irwin Allen's production company? Was Irwin Allen secretly under the influence of ridiculous-looking Mythos entities who sought to use his TV series to desensitize humanity to their intrinsically silly appearances? Not all horror comes from revulsion or disgust. What if a nefarious bunch of evil aliens found themselves getting laughed at every time they tried to pick up a few lonely hitch-hikers for a little light vivisection?

They'd get royally steamed.

They would.

You know they would.

Perhaps even now these little gritty douchebags are sitting in their linoleum-lined cavern-offices, smoking imported cigars and planning out the next round of what programs will get greenlit for American TV.

They may not look like much, but these little bastards are scary...


  1. Who said they were out in a desert in the US? Could they be operating on an old Krell Planetoid someplace? It might just take that amount of power from the Krell to wrestle the time streams! Seriously don't you think that there might be another Human Space Empire game lurking in here? What would happen if the time stream snapped back like a rubber band? Say could a whole bunch of trade routes be disrupted & might an entire planet be swallowed up by a pocket dimension? In fact what if those aren't actually periods of time but alternative periods of time that those guys from the time tunnel were exploring but the out post planet sits over looking scores of pocket time streams?

  2. Probably best to work the Montauk Project in there somewhere too. It's got time travel and id monsters--so why not? ;)

  3. @Needles: Actually the jet out in the desert kind of made us go along with the American Southwest thing. It is implied, strongly. Your idea of it being a Krell complex out in space might work, but consider that the Krell were on Earth a long, long time ago--and they may well have left behind a complex like the one seen in The Time Tunnel. Your other ideas are rather intriguing, to say the least. It's as good a solution to the Pocket Universes and all that as anything else we've read, especially since there isn't anything 'canonical' in print currently to set the record straight.

    @Trey: Montauk is in the works, but it deserves its own post. Maybe two. A Lot of Weirdness going on there, according to one author. A guy who gets his math wrong, mixes dates and can't keep his story straight. But then, that just makes it all much more fun. It also opens the door to the Philadelphia Experiment that never happened...but probably ought to have happened.

  4. Not to be a jerk here but if we're going with the Krell/ Yithian connection then. There would a time tunnel in the Lost City of Pnakotus (also called the Library City, The Lost City of the Archives and Pnakotis) is located in Australia's Great Sandy Desert. The elevator look a bit oh,"transporterish" too me is all. There might be more then a few "Krell" outposts out there.

  5. @Needles: No jerkitude detected. The Krell/Yithian connection is just one more unfounded bit of conjecture and speculation amongst many such possible trails of probability and possibility.

    As to Pnakotus, there were other cities, other complexes mentioned in the text. The Yithians also might very well have had splinter-groups or competing sub-groups as their society fragmented under the assault of the Flying Polyps.

    The installation in the American SouthWest might be the remains of one of those other cities, or it could be a portion of Pnakotus separated from the main body due to some weird form of tectonic shift...of the Tic-Toc Group were actually operating in Australia and not the US. All possible. All have interesting implications. We're still digging, so we haven't fully endorsed one over the other as any form of hard and fast reality. We're more interested in opening doors and seeing where they lead.

    As for the elevator being a bit 'transportish,' maybe it is a form of matter transmission--instead of being just simply below the 800 floor complexes, the lab with the Time Tunnel might well also be displaced laterally and be actually in Australia, in the ruins of Pnakotus. That would help in the reconciling of K'n Yan and a few other bits of Mythos Lore...

    The script from Forbidden Planet makes it clear that the Krell visited a lot of other worlds, not just Earth, and they very likely left behind installations. Morbius was a untrustworthy source at best--he had every reason to conceal is translocation to another Krell base when he fried Altair 4. He very probably escaped to another complex and might have begun to both integrate himself into the works and possibly clone his own descendents as part of a long-term scheme either for reclaiming the glories of the Krell, or subjugating Humanspace...

    This stuff all spirals back around into something very sinister...


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