The Time Travelers (1964 film)

Infobox Film
name = The Time Travelers


caption =
director = Ib Melchior
producers = Bill Redlin (as William Redlin)
Samuel Z. Arkoff (uncredited)
writer = Ib Melchior (story and screenplay)
David L. Hewitt (story)
starring = Preston Foster
Merry Anders
cinematography =
editing =
distributor = American International Pictures
released = 29 October 1964
country = USA
runtime = 82 minutes
language = English
budget =
imdb_id = 0058659

"The Time Travelers" (1964) is a science fiction film directed by B-movie director Ib Melchior that inspired the 1966 TV series "The Time Tunnel" as well as the 1967 remake "Journey to the Center of Time". The plot involves a group of scientists who find their time-viewing screen allows them to travel "through" time.

It starred Preston Foster, Philip Carey, Merry Anders, Steve Franken and John Hoyt. The cast also includes superfan Forrest J. Ackerman in one of his many bit roles in science fiction films.

Plot Summary

Scientists Dr. Erik von Steiner (Preston Foster), Dr. Steve Connors (Philip Carey) and Carol White (Merry Anders) are testing their time viewing device, drawing enormous amounts of power. Danny McKee (Franken), a technician from the power plant, has been sent to tell them to shut down their experiment. During the test, odd shadows quickly cross the room before the screen shows a stark, barren landscape. Danny discovers the screen has become a portal and steps through.

As the setting is becoming unstable, the others enter the portal to retrieve him. Just as they return to the portal, an image of their lab in mid-air, it disappears, stranding them. Then they are pursued by hostile primitives, ending up in a cave. There they find an underground city of advanced peaceful people - all that is left of civilization in a future devastated by nuclear war.

The city residents, led by Dr. Varno (John Hoyt), are frantically working on a spacecraft that will take them to a planet orbiting a distant star. The four time travelers pitch in to help complete the spaceship, but before they can lift off, the degenerate mutant humans break in and destroy the ship.

The three scientists, with help from the power technician, work feverishly with the future technology to recreate their time portal. They, along with a few people from the future, escape through the portal back to the present just ahead of the mutants. One person throws an object through the gateway that damages the equipment on the other side and closes the portal.

The survivors return to the lab, where they make a horrible discovery. Through some error, time around them is barely moving - they are greatly accelerated. The screen shows blackness. One tries it out and beckons the others to follow, causing the shadows that their earlier counterparts witnessed in the beginning. The entire sequence of events is rapidly reshown, and then repeats in a faster and even more abridged manner, continuing faster and shorter until the movie abruptly ends without further explanation. Apparently the survivors are trapped in a time loop that will keep repeating endlessly, forever.

There are some attempts at humor throughout the film. After Danny flirts with a shapely young woman of the future, she hands him a box containing several rows of prosthetic eyeballs. Looking directly into the camera at the audience watching this movie, Danny remarks: "And I thought I was giving "her" the eye."

About midway through the movie, Forrest J Ackerman appears briefly in a scene depicting several technicians in the post-apocalyptic future. Ackerman's only line in the movie is "I'm keeping all my Spacemen happy", a line utterly irrelevant to the surrounding dialogue. In fact, at this time Ackerman was editing a science-fiction magazine titled "Spacemen"; the movie was heavily promoted in his magazine on the basis of Ackerman's cameo appearance in the movie.

Oskar Fischinger and the Lumigraph

In 1950, filmmaker Oskar Fischinger invented the "Lumigraph" (patented in 1955) which some have called a type of color organ. Like other inventors of color organs, Fischinger hoped to make the Lumigraph a commercial product, widely available for anyone, but this did not happen. The instrument produced imagery by pressing against a rubberized screen so it could protrude into a narrow beam of colored light. As a visual instrument, the size of its screen was limited by the reach of the performer. Two people were required to operate the Lumigraph -- one to manipulate the screen to create imagery, and a second to change the colors of the lights on cue.

The device itself was silent, but was performed accompanying various music. Fischinger did several performance in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco in the early 1950s, performing various classical music pieces, and many were impressed by the machine's spectacular images. The Lumigraph was used in "The Time Travelers" as a "love machine" -- which was not Fischinger's intent, but a decision of the film's producers.

ee also

*"The Time Tunnel"
*"Journey to the Center of Time"

External links

* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058659 "The Time Travelers" at IMDB]


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