THE TIME TUNNEL
RAIDERS FROM OUTER SPACE
Writer-Wanda and Bob Duncan
Dir-J. Juran (Nathan Juran?)
There is no narration as the tunnel staff watch Tony and Doug fly through time and we hear the familiar theme of the vortex music playing. The pair land near rocky cliffs and outcroppings. Doug points as Arabs battle British. Spears are thrown, guns are shot. It is the usual sound of battle for Tony and Doug as British rush past them, chased by Arabs on horseback. Tony and Doug fly through time and are watched on the screen by the tunnel staff. The boys have landed in a desert near some rocks and try to figure out where they are. Doug points for Tony, telling him to look over at men fighting. Arabs and British fight and kill each other by the hundreds it seems. Two horsemen attack them, throwing spears at them, then fighting, getting jumped off horses, then drawing their swords on Tony and Doug. Tony uses the spear he caught to defend himself and almost kills an Arab. Doug jumps onto the one facing him. British soldiers come running from the other side, chased by Arabs on horseback. After a fairly exciting fight, the two run past huge rocks to behind one outcropping. The battle rages on, stock footage to be sure. Doug figures by their uniforms it is either late 19th century or early 20th. Tony wonders also but figures it is desert and they'll need to help themselves to water and weapons. The fight goes on, ignoring them. As they move out to find water and weapons, more Arabs on horseback come chasing British men who are firing pistols back at the Arabs. Doug comments there is too much traffic here so he and Tony run around some more large rocks and almost run into something that is coming out from cover of the rocks itself. A strange being, another behind him. It looks like some kind of fish creature with fins and a large head, leveling a strange ray rifle at the pair, and only answers their questions with, "Who we are isn't important. We are hear to destroy you."
The cliffhanger ended here but the teaser goes on as Ann watches, "They're going to kill them!" Kirk wonders about a retrieval. Ray tells him if they try it could mean they'll bring all four into the tunnel. Kirk tells him to do it. As the aliens are about to push Tony and Doug off the cliff at rifle ray gun point, a voice calls to them for the aliens to bring Tony and Doug to him; Kirk orders Ray to wait (why? Get all four!). Suddenly, the two men are far enough away from the strange aliens that a retrieve looks more likely. A blast occurs in the tunnel and on the image screen is the alien leader--who has the head and ear fins of the aliens but a more human face, despite his alien coloring. He knows what they are trying to do and warns them not to move their men or interfere with what he is doing for the next 2 hours---if they do, he warns, "...you shall be destroyed."
Act One opens as Kirk asks the leader where he is from. He vanishes from the screen telling them, coldly, to obey his demands. When his face is gone, so is the power to the tunnel complex. The staff figure it is latitude 16 degrees south, longitude 32--30 East in Sudan, Central North Africa on November 2, 1883. Ray comments that those creatures didn't exist then but Kirk says, "Try telling that to Tony and Doug." He adds to forget the threat the alien made. It is now we see the titles over Tony and Doug being prodded along by the two aliens. Behind them is an impressive and vast desert set, looking more expensive than most movies of the time..and many TV series of 1997. They are taken to a rock wall face set against a mountain. They hope they will be in shade. Doug moves closer but the alien warns him not to and shows him why: he tosses a rock into a forcefield and the blast throws Doug back into Tony. Suddenly visible are two very large round mirror like ray guns devices manned by aliens in human shape in white with white, non descript cyborg like faces of clay like material. The field is shut off and they take the boys inside. Tony still has the water bag he stole during the former battle. We hear music from RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY and from the movie GARDEN OF EVIL. Also there is science fiction like music from what may have been taken from the movie CREATION OF THE HUMANOIDS. The alien taking Tony and Doug tells them their leader drew this time and place in a lot (?). They go through a sliding metallic door. Tony and Doug punch one alien but slave guards with the white faces come running in and hold them. They are brought into the alien complex built into the cave rock walls. The alien leader, seemingly more human than the others is even more arrogant and obnoxious to them, looking down on Earth people, calling their tongue ridiculous. He is from a planet called Aristus or Teristus--it sounds like either one. He is to conquer this time--1883, Khartoum. He is condescending and shows them missiles that will fire in two hours on London, the capital of their world. In 24 hours, the world will surrender. Why do aliens or most any villains tell all their secret plans to the heroes in almost every genre except mystery? I guess they are too arrogant and self conscious to think anyone can stop them.
This task is the first in his conquest of the galaxy, a task set for him to be prince of Aristus. Earth and its people and any other beings in the galaxy will serve him...if they survive. Emptying Tony's water bag, he orders the first alien to take Tony out and shoot him with a dehydration gun--which will make it look like he died of not having any water. He orders Doug put against a metal wall that has a shape of a man carved into it--what he calls an extractor, which uses a magnetic force to hold Doug to it. He questions Doug about their time tunnel---"it operates on a different principal than ours," and he wants the information, taking it from Doug's mind will kill him. Ray orders connections made to the main emergency generators. Kirk tells him, "Ray, I don't have to tell you to hurry." Arabs will destroy Khartoum's British forts. Tunnel people get Tony and the alien in the desert on their image projector. There is no fix on Doug yet. Quadrants of Tony and the alien overlap so the tunnel people may have to get the alien back with Tony! As the alien goes up higher than Tony, standing on a rock to shoot the dehydration gun at him, he turns to see two British soldiers firing at him and Tony. The men ride up on horses and are fairly close. The alien vanishes (and I am not clear as to why?--was it that the tunnel picked him up or moved him--none of this was clear) possibly transported by his own people back to their base.
Tony tries to reason with the British Capt. Henderson (the always engaging John Crawford putting on a fake British accent and doing a fairly good job at times). The Capt. orders his older looking sergeant with him (and it is a little bizarre that this man doesn't utter one word in the entire show), to shoot Tony if he makes a move. Arabs wiped out his entire detachment and the captain believes Tony to be an Arab spy, not fooling him in that "ridiculous outfit" Tony has on. When Tony finally gets a word in (continually being told to shut up) he explains about the aliens. The Capt. can only say, "Aliens indeed!" He then finds the water bag--obviously of Arab design. Tony tries to tell him the army will be wiped out on the 2nd and about the base of the aliens, "Look, I know it's hard to believe," he says, using a para phrase of what is said at least once during a time tunnel adventure. Henderson will take Tony to Khartoum and the two men mount their horses, making Tony walk, moving him along on foot! The desert outdoor scenes are very nice in this entire episode. They come across a higher ground seeing into a lower area of desert and see what looks like thousands of Arabs---how could anyone miss them? More stock footage comes into play as Arabs attack British battalion. Some of this footage looks as if it is in wide screen format and it is distorted as such but is adequate. We hear THE LAST WAGON music again (the one with the boy almost drowning and a few minutes later a fight between two older teens). British are surrounded and wiped out. Henderson points a gun at Tony, "Talk or I'll blow your head off." Tony tells him he will take him to the people that are playing this game. Henderson tells him one false move and Tony finishes the statement by adding, "I know, I know--my life won't be worth one plug nickel."
Ann is running tapes on the area the aliens are in. The leader knows Tony eluded him but he says to Doug nothing has been lost, "...except your life." He activates the machine to begin to transcribe Doug's mind. The tunnel picks Doug up and Kirk comments, "It looks like some kind of futuristic torture."
Act Two opens with tunnel at half power, Kirk wondering what that might mean if they try to move Doug. They lock in their signals. Alien increases the intensity but Doug teleports. Tony shows the British the rock face, "these are where your real enemies are planning to destroy the world." We hear a blast sound and Doug appears. Tony runs to him. Doug figures the time tunnel transferred him out (what about the forcefield--can the tunnel transfer someone out of a forcefield?). Doug uses a rock to show the two British men the forcefield but Henderson isn't fooled by his "party tricks." But as the man turns he says, "Hello," seeing the mirror ray gun platforms (now, why? Isn't the forcefield on and weren't these invisible before?). Tony stops him from shooting at the slave workers. The alien with the fish face (and beard!) comes out and the Sergeant fires at him. The others get down, the ray is aimed at the Sergeant who is out in the open and walking toward the base, despite Tony's warnings not to. The blast kills the Sergeant, knocking him down and blowing him backward. Henderson now believes Tony and Doug (well, I hope so). The tunnel lose their tracking of the image. The leader's face appears and tells them they are annoying humans and in spite of his warning they interfered. Kirk presses a danger alert button. Power is cut off again. Kirk asks the alien to send their men back to 1968. The alien tells him the control area has been sealed off and no one can communicate with anyone else on Earth. Kirk sends Ray to his private line to call security but a blast occurs. After it, a tubular device blows into existence, smoking. The tunnel people have 60 seconds to meet with his demands. Kirk orders all personnel to the level just below the surface. The leader tells him if they comply---all the others will be released. Ray asks a scientist--an older one (?) with glasses (who also may have been one of the lab coated scientists in CHASE THROUGH TIME) to check it for radiation using a small device. He gets the device too close to the alien weapon and is blown up into atoms. Kirk calls for Jiggs (who we never see) and asks why the red alert direct line to the Pentagon isn't open. Ray figures that an inverse laser burst killed the scientist--it is there to keep it from being tampered with or deactivated. He thinks counteracting polarity screens can stop the laser effect. There are two female technicians or scientists in the background, one of them may have been African or African American. Tony and Doug will reach Khartoum in one hour, they are near the fort of Shendi. They figure they don't have that long to stop the missiles of the monster aliens. Henderson has taken that into consideration--he points to troops moving into an advance position. He will divert them to the alien base. Arabs appear on both sides of a ridge in an ambush on the troops. They fire cannons, attacking with guns and tossing spears off the ridge. They are killing off the troops. Tony, Doug, and Henderson watch, then move toward the area, trying to help. Three Arabs jump off a ridge overhead and attack them!
Act three opens up with Tony, Henderson, and Doug fighting the Arabs. The Capt. shoots one, Tony fights a swordman and wins, more arrive. Another rides by on a horse. Doug has a knife pointed at his throat as he fell and an Arab is on top of him. Tony helps him and together they punch this Arab in the face. Doug gets a fallen gun. The three men continue to try to get to the fight but Tony feels it is too late. Random spears come flying. The trio must fall back to Shendi's fort.
A young tech has on a face mask and uses a blowtorch to neutralize the alien laser effect beam. Ray tries an idea--use a reverse energy burst from the tunnel to attack the alien HeadQuarters. After the reverse they can try for an image--hey, wait--how'd they get more power back?!? Tunnel hum is heard, sounding like the Jupiter Two and the Spindrift and the Flying Sub and...oh heck. The reverse blast returns their image and knocks the leader down as well as some slave aliens but Ray sees that most of it was taken in by their energy screens. Well, if that were so (and I believe Ray) than why can't these screens later stop the bombs Doug and Henderson toss at the base--or why couldn't the screens stop the tunnel from moving Doug--perhaps the tunnel switch of Doug is internal? These and other answers were not forthcoming--unlike the BATMAN show where...I'm off track again. A bit like the tunnel itself!
The leader stands up, "Your ingenuity amazes me." He now will use a complete retaliation on them all. When the Andronic device blows up...all life will cease. He wants to use their time tunnel for conquest of other times and places---wait, didn't he say he had one of his own? Was that a lie or a bluff? If so, why now claim he wants the tunnel for his own use? Can't he...this is where the episodes falls down. It seems what has gone before in the previous acts is ignored while explanations are not given or worse, countermanded when given! Pieces of the episode seem to be missing--possibly cut? Anyhow, it falls apart slowly in act three and by act four it is really degenerate. RAIDERS, on hindsight, isn't as bad as I recalled...it just is not very good in the last act and most of the alien sequences in act three. The historical sections here are better and of course, Hagen (as the ludicrously made up and looking alien leader) and Crawford make this episode better than its story or script. The leader tells Kirk if they had cooperated he would have spared all the lives in the time tunnel complex. Kirk angrily tells Ann and Ray to cut him off. Kirk then goes to sit down. Ann follows him, looking at Ray, "General, you're not going to give up, are you? Just let the aliens walk in and take over?" Kirk answers, "Unless we come up with a miracle in a half hour, we're all going to die."
At Shendi's fort, Henderson thinks Arabs will attack on the Nile side. Cannons are set up. He wants the heavy pieces set up to use against the bridge. There are Arab allies helping the British. Cannons are fired; Tony and Doug help move gun powder to a safer area. We hear PRINCE VALIANT music. Arabs--some are dark enough to be black--fire cannons at the fort, blowing parts of it away. An Arab leader wearing a hat orders his line of men to fire. Stock footage reigns now as the fort is more heavily attacked and British and Arab allies run into the fort to safety and the gates are closed. Ladders are put up and Arabs climb them to get into the fort. Tony asks, "Is there anything more we can do?" Henderson mentions to make a run for it by a back entrance if they have to. For once, we see how truly helpless Tony and Doug are in the middle of all these events. Henderson gives orders to a Sergeant Major. The stock footage gets a bit confusing at times since there are so many different uniforms and so many different types of soldiers and apparently more than one nation involved. We get very little of the background to the event--the battle of Khartoum---but the action is first and foremost and this time, the action is quite good--unlike later in this episode's forth act and in TOWN OF TERROR. Doug tells Henderson he and Tony will take their chances here in the fort. Henderson says, "Good boys." We hear more LAST WAGON music and the fort is invaded--walls are broken in and the gate is opened. Tony and Doug fire rifles. There are fights all over the fort which seems filled to every space with hand to hand fighting, men shooting men, sword and knife fights, and blasts from cannons, grenades, and guns. Tony, Doug, Henderson, the Sergeant Major, and others are behind sand bags, trying to defend the fort. All of them are jumped by Arabs. The set here is very good. Tony is knocked over a small ramp and is left unconscious it would seem. Another Arab lights a home made grenade and tosses it over and over, finally letting it go. It lands near the gunpowder, its fuse burning. It is also very near to Tony, who is lying face down!
Act Four opens with Doug fighting an Arab, seeing the fuse to the bomb. He gets the Arab away from him, and throws the bomb away from the gun powder and Tony. Doug moves Tony to Henderson who asks, "You all right?" Doug tells him the fort is lost---a few seconds ago in the new footage, it appeared the Arabs were all losing in the hand to hand fights with the British men. The stock footage shows the Arabs winning. What happened to all the men that were Tony, Doug, and Henderson--dead I guess? Henderson will leave, he gets the horses. Doug gets grenades and one keg of gunpowder, throwing it up to Henderson who is on top the ramp, moving to the interior of the building which will lead to the back exit. They get away and ride back out into the desert--again, the effect is good--the set or outdoor filming is impressive.
They return to the alien base area. Using grenades, Tony draws the attention away from Doug and Henderson. Aliens grab him and a bomb falls nearby--it goes off but they pulled him away. Doug and Henderson see Tony captured and brought into the cave as they move forward. They should get to the mirrors--as they are called--solar mirrors? I can't understand why the forcefield wasn't on or the invisibility? Tony is put on the extractor by slave aliens (who look like the killer in THE TOWN THAT DREADED SUNDOWN movie) and the leader. We hear brief sound effects from FANTASTIC VOYAGE and some LOST IN SPACE music. Doug throws a grenade and hits aliens, knocking them down. They also blow up one of the ray gun mirrors and the slaves manning it. A fish faced alien comes out and commands them, "You will discard your weapons and come on out!" Henderson asks sarcastically as he holds a grenade fuse out for Doug to light up, "Shall we discard more of our weapons?" Doug then throws it and it blows up the next ray weapon and the slaves. The alien fish man also goes down. Doug and the Capt go into the cave and Doug pours gunpowder from the sliding door to the entrance, putting the barrel against the door. They light it and the door blows out. A slave falls and Doug gets his gun. They rush into the main room where the leader has his finger over a button that if pushed will make Tony cease to exist. In 3 minutes the missiles and the tunnel will be destroyed (again with that word!). Tony tells Doug, who calls for Kirk. Kirk answers to them that it is true. He is on the mike using voice contact when transmission breaks. Ray says, "We've run out of time." Then Ray's talking gives Kirk an idea--to send the weapon back to them. Kirk says, "We've built weapons that can destroy only our own kind." They put the weapon into the tunnel. Kirk yells for the men who did, "Out! Everybody out!" The men race out as the countdown for it to be sent reaches the end of 15 seconds. Doug and Tony's signals are on standby and they'll be retrieved when the power is rebuilt. The alien device appears in the cave control room, angering the leader--who, for some reason, doesn't press the button to make Tony cease to exist! Three slaves fight Doug and Henderson. Doug gets Tony off the extractor, pulls plugs off two activated missiles. Doug and the other two men after a crazed fight (with mixtures of music including the fight theme from THE DEATH TRAP), get out, shooting as they go. The mountain top blows up.
Doug stares, "It all seems like a horrible dream." And how!
Henderson thanks them and will go south with Gordon's army. Doug says he and Tony will go with him but when he returns from getting the horses, they have vanished.
CLIFFHANGER: Tunnel staff view Tony and Doug flying through the time vortex crystals. They see them flip over and over and land. Ann sharpens the focus but they can't probe just yet. Kirk doesn't like the looks of the place they've come into. Tony and Doug see sophisticated machinery and instruments in a basement. A man is hiding watching them, then attacks them with a wrench. We hear some brief FANTASTIC VOYAGE sound effects (sounds like the giant Robot's beating heart in LOST IN SPACE-TRIP THROUGH THE ROBOT). Tony falls forward but Doug struggles with the man, falling. The man drives the wrench at him but Doug moves. Doug punches the man and the man hits a computer banked wall. He falls and when Tony checks him, he finds the man is dead. Doug figures that impact couldn't have done that to him. Tony and Doug go up steps to a wooden door to find someone. Behind them they hear a moan--the man! He rises up. Doug figures the man wasn't as dead as Tony thought but Tony is insistent, "I tell you he was. Look at him--he's a walking dead man." The man goes to a control desk and puts his hands behind his body, leaning against the control board with his back to it. There is a severe explosion and he is gone. End of cliffhanger.
HISTORY LESSON: The garrison town of Khartoum in the Sudan was surrounded in mid 1884 by a strong force of Sudanese rebels led by Muhammad Ahmed who claimed to be the Mahdi, a divine leader in the Muslim faith. Defended by a small force of Egyptians under British colonial administrator Charles Gordon, the garrison held out for months while the British government refused to send troops to Khartoum. When a small force was sent, it was too late. The rebels had taken Khartoum on January 26th, 1885 and executed Gordon--his head impaled on a spear as s trophy for the victors. Forces led by Herbert Kitchener (later lord) reconquered the Sudan. Oddly enough, the Mahdi passed away mysteriously on June 21, 1885. Khartoum was retaken by the British in 1898 (500 British dead; 20,000 killed or wounded). Gordon was buried in the Sudan, a land he felt was worth dying for.
The background to all of this begins in November 4th, 1883. General Hicks Pasha and his ten thousand man force was annihilated by the Mahdists on November 4th, 1883. Gordon was sent to the Sudan to rescue and evacuate the European and Egyptian population. Gordon was approved and given executive powers by Egypt's Khedive Mohammed Tewfil. The Mahdi--which means Guided One--claimed a divine mission to lead a holy war against the infidels, and he vowed not to let the Egyptians leave Khartoum. Close to three thousand women, children and wounded men were evacuated by Gordon for nine months as he fought. Eyewitness accounts of some of these battles are quite disgusting.