THE TIME TUNNEL
THE DEATH MERCHANT
Writer-Wanda and Bob Duncan
Tony and Doug are on the screen, watched by Ann, Ray, Kirk and others in the complex. The boys are flying through the vortex and land near haystacks after and as the familiar (and welcome) time travel music from the pilot is played, a sort of variation as heard in almost every episode. They get up and things move quickly: they are on a battlefield. Hearing shots, they run for cover at an old fashioned uncovered wagon which was overturned. The tunnel sees them. Doug checks a young soldier in blue--he's dead and looks like a mere teenager. Blasts from cannons force Tony and Doug to run. In what looks like a blooper but which fits in perfectly in their mad dash--Doug's hand hits one of the wagon's frame poles and it falls right off, nearly hitting or hitting James Darren as he runs behind Cobert! The blasts follow them in a very exciting and fast paced sequence. The boys hide near a broken and torn wooden white fence where a disabled cannon is on one wheel. They watch in wonder as a man in a long cape, hood, and wearing boots and gloves leads a giant white and black spotted mastiff on a chain, uttering something to the animal in Italian! There is stock footage as Union men run by, some with rifles and pistols, some rolling along cannons on carts. There is a wide open field, fires, smoke, Union men shooting and killing Confederate men, bomb blasts hitting Confederate men. Three Union men come running, blazing their guns away at pursuers. The leader--a Major, correctly figures Tony and Doug should retreat with him and his men. Shellfire riddles the area. Confederates come over the fence as the group runs, the Major (the always welcome and wonderful John Crawford) shoots one but a shell burst hits close to Tony and a young soldier! Tony is thrown forward onto his face! The other soldier helps the one who fell up. Doug had run ahead to another overturned wagon (or the same one?) and only then realized what happened. He runs back and gets Tony over to the wagon as the Major shoots more Confederates. When the Major rejoins Doug, who is holding an unmoving Tony, Doug tells him, "We need a doctor!" The Major tells him, "He's beyond any hope this world can give him now--he's dead!" The tunnel staff watch. Ray finds there is no signal from Tony. Ann says, "No, I won't accept it." Kirk and Ray check out the equipment. Doug's signal is coming in clear. Doug and the Major are now at trees near a stream and tents. Doug tells him he will now go back for Tony, his friend. Bullets hit the tree. Doug tells the Major he is not soldier. Doug and the Major see a dead soldier who looks like he is not in uniform--as if his top coat is gone but then Doug realizes, thanks to some heavy talk from the Major that this "soldier" is just a boy, "You think they're soldiers by choice?" If you are on the battle field, you are a combatant. The Major tells Doug a man in black stole 150 pounds of gunpowder. The Major wants Doug's help in finding the gunpowder. Doug will change into a uniform but first, he stops and asks, "Major, what's the name of this place?"
The Major says, "Gettysburg."
There is no freeze frame as we see stock footage of Confederates chasing Union men. There are fires, explosions, and shots. The Confederate Corporal--a boy of 16--is at the overturned wagon, hiding. The tunnel watches. Kirk moves to Ann, "The odds were against the both of them surviving, we've known that for a long time." Kirk orders Ray to shut down Tony's channel and concentrate full power on Doug, perhaps they can still save him. Ann says, "No, I won't let you do it." She asks Kirk to try a power surge shock. The tunnel hums as Kirk allows her to but tells her they can't wait much longer. They send blasts. Suddenly, they get Tony's signal, too. He's alive. Confederate Sergeant Maddox orders the boy Corporal whom he tells Tony, "Should be hunting home hunting possum," to go get a messenger named Private Eck to get a message to Capt. Victors--they think Tony is the courier they were expecting. The boy is to tell Victors that the courier does not have the money on him. As the Sergeant gets a recovering Tony up, he warns the boy about Yankee snipers and calls him a kid. This Sergeant is Kevin Hagen at his best, ranging in emotions from anger to stunned acceptance to sympathetic tone. Maddox calls Tony Lt. Andrews but Tony recalls nothing but an explosion. He is told he was a part of Major Longstreet's Corp and that Maddox got a message to meet him here. Maddox gives Tony a uniform which will keep him from being shot as a spy. The Private (who seems to be a boy too) is shot in the head and killed near the young Corporal. The Corporal calls Maddox to the fence as they hear the dog of Micheals howling. The youth tells him the dog is howling for all the men that're gonna die here. The Sergeant yells at him that he has had enough of his superstitions. They will track the Yankee Major and Tony has now changed in the Confederate uniform. Doug and the Major go across the lake stream. The Major tells Doug the courier was killed and he had two thousand dollars to bargain with Micheals. After they came out of the water, the Major tells this to Doug as he is taking water out of his boots. At Tony's group, the Corporal asks Lt. Andrews if believes in omens since strange things are goin' on here. Normally the boy isn't so afraid in battles but he says this one is different--odd things are happening. He asks Tony if he remembers his battles. When Tony tells him he doesn't remember anything, the Corporal tells him it may be better not to remember some things. The boy asks the Sergeant to take the other side of the lake since he thinks the can spot the Major and Doug. The Sarg lets him, "Don't be no hero (double negative." Tony and the Sergeant go around the other way. The Corporal (Kevin O'Neal, Ryan O'Neal's brother) wades across the water and aims his rifle. The Major, behind a tree, sees this and shoots the boy. The boy, in a stunning an shocking scene, falls back into the water, dead. Night--Doug and the Major go to the cabin where a large dog, a mastiff, is chained. He only barks and growls a little but not setting up a racket as the Major says. Major wants to take Micheals alive. Doug covers him as he rushes in. Micheals is Italian and he goes to the door to calm the dog after the Major burst in. He asks Doug to come in gently and if they want wine. He says, "War is only interesting when the sides are evenly matched." He is writing a book called the Art of War relating that war is the conflict of one man against another. He knocks over the candelabra, evening his odds. The Major lites a match in the dark and Micheals stabs him with a rapier and knocks Doug's rifle down and points the rapier at Doug, "The Major has seen my point--perhaps you will, too."
Doug lights a candle. Micheals wants info. Doug asks him, "You bargain when a man is bleeding to death?" Micheals states he does but relents and lets Doug take the Major into the back store room where there is a cot to do what he can for him. Doug tries to stop the bleeding. The Major tells him, "He's a madman, you know that." Doug tells him the Union will survive and he tells about the final surrender and Appomattox. The Major dies. This episode is stunning in that it doesn't compromise on its portrayal of violence and the ramifications of it--someone dies in nearly every act and shows this Civil War to be a terrible thing, making THE TIME TUNNEL world a dangerous one but also showing what real suffering is about. Or at least as much as any 1960s series was allowed to. Doug sees a chest with the name Machiavelli on it (originally Doug found out this was Machiavelli by seeing the book the madman wrote or is writing). Doug gets a rapier out of the chest. He confronts Micheals--Machiavelli, who tells him he was from another time, another place. Doug states that Machiavelli four centuries ago in Florence, Italy. The man asks if history remembers him as a great writer and philosopher but Doug tells him as a hated killer. He and Doug sword fight. The villain says, "You call it carnage but I call it the highest achievement of man." He knocks Doug over a table and Doug falls. Doug recovers and is allowed to continue the fight. Doug swings and smashes the wine on the table. Machiavelli looks at the remainder in comical fashion, "You go too far, that was my last of wine." He puts the rapier at Doug, "Finito." Doug grabs the rapier after the madman stops the fight but Machiavelli gets a pistol to end it, not acquainted with their weapons but he learns quickly. He tells Doug he was returning from the camp of Prince Borgia to Florence when all his goods and he were seized through a maelstrom. Doug figures the time tunnel. Ray wonders, "How?" Ray gets a signal, a one in a million coincidence--Doug and Machiavelli's signals are identical. When Doug was switched in time on the frequency, Machiavelli was also. They want to sort out pictures of the cabin and the area. Ann wonders how long something like battle shock lasts--Kirk says some never recover, some do. Kirk tells them, "We sent Machiavelli there, it's our duty to send him back." He wants Ann to get the date the madman returned to Florence from Prince Borgia. Tony and the Sergeant hide at the cabin, the dog barks, and Machiavelli gives Doug a gun to use on those outside. Tony and Maddox fire at the window and run across the open field area to the front. Machiavelli warns Doug to cover the door but Tony and the Sergeant burst in. Tony covers Doug, who protests against Tony's thinking he himself is a Confederate and Doug a Union man. Tony tells him he killed his corporal. Machiavelli tells them, "The other one is dead, I'm afraid." 150 pounds of gunpowder is in a cave at the foot of Suspension Bridge near Wilson Creek. They no longer have the money but will take it anyway. Machiavelli no longer cares about the money--he claims to be a historian in search of knowledge as a mental exercise. Doug says, "Nothing would please him more than to increase the slaughter." He continues to try to explain and the Sergeant almost believes him. Doug says the courier was killed and the money was still on him. Doug tells him to remember the tunnel, General Kirk, Ann, and that he is not even from this time. Tony waves the pistol at his friend's face, "You are a member of the division that ambushed my troop and me, you took the two thousand dollars, you killed my corporal, and Mister, I'm gonna kill you!"
Machiavelli tries to block Tony from killing Doug by stepping in front of Doug, "Really there's no sport in killing an unarmed maaa.." Doug pushes him into Tony and hits the Sergeant and escapes out the door. Machiavelli runs out also and sets the mastiff after Doug. Ann gasps, "The mastiff will tear Doug apart!" They get a time retrieve fix and a date for when Machiavelli left the Prince and returned to Florence---Jan 3rd, 1519. This was the day the Italian, his dog, and his belongings were taken out. They try to get Doug but can't separate his signal from the dog as the dog jumps Doug and starts to bite him after Doug tripped over a log. Kirk orders them to transfer the dog. A blast and a popping sound and the dog is gone--sent back to 1519. It was locked in by the time tunnel and staff. Hum builds up but now the power is down. Tony hunts Doug. Doug jumps Tony and they fight briefly. Doug tries to explain and stops fighting, lets Tony go--he had him from behind in headlock. Tony seemed to calm down but then flips Doug and points the gun at him again. "That Corporal was only 16 years old." Doug tells him watching that boy die made him mad and Doug doesn't blame him. He tells Tony if Machiavelli carries out his plans this is going to be the bloodiest battleground in the Civil War.
Ray gets Generator Station repair to get the power up to peak but it will take 8 hours. Kirk finds the Suspension Bridge on the map and asks Ann to find the coordinates of the bridge and pre fix them. Ray says then they can retrieve Tony and Doug. Kirk says, "No, no, we won't." He wants to send Machiavelli back to his own time first--he's far too dangerous. Ray says he can't change what happened at Gettysburg. Kirk doesn't want to take that kind of chance, "It's our duty to send get him out of there." Ray explains using the dog--it would take three times that power to transfer a human being. Kirk yells they will use supplementary power. Ray continues to protest--an overload can do great damage. Kirk says, "Ray, I'm sorry, this is one time I'll have to overrule you." He then orders Ray to start on it and adds, "Please."
Ray says, "I'll make the changes but Heaven help Tony and Doug if you're wrong." Ann watches and listened.
When Ray walks off, Kirk moves over to her and asks her, "You think I'm wrong, too?"
Ann says, "I don't know."
Kirk goes on, "We have a responsibility here, not only to science but to humanity as well."
Tony, Doug, Machiavelli, and Maddox are at trees. They watch as the Union men come riding. Machiavelli calls them, "They ride like the horsemen of the apocalypse." He asks Maddox if the man ever has the feeling of excitement that comes from fascination of impending death and battle. Maddox says, "You sure do run off at the mouth, don't ya?" Machiavelli talks of Romans for the second time--if only they had the weapons and firearms of this time but he concedes that it reduces the chance of personal valor--not being forced to get close to an enemy to kill him. Tony worries only about getting two wagons to get the gun powder. Doug says, "Tony, don't go, you'll never make it." Tony tells Maddox to shoot Doug if he tries to escape. Confederates at cannons shoot. A man is shot in the head near the cannon. Men on horseback sword fight with each other. Some are Union, some Confederates. Smoke is burning. Trees in the stock footage match the trees as we see the four men. More Union men come and shoot the Confederates. Machiavelli laughs. Maddox wants him to move up to higher ground and Machiavelli looks downright sad--Malachi Throne giving the performance of a lifetime--looking upset he has to miss this carnage. As they move up, the Union cannon blast knocks the Sergeant into Doug and down. Doug checks him and runs. A blast nearly kills Tony where he has run to. Tony continues but now faces a Union soldier who has a bayonet. He kicks one down but another comes and the fight rifle to rifle, the weapons between them and above their heads.
Tony and the man fight, Tony trying to bayonet him but hitting the tree. The soldier hits him with the rifle (no ammo left?) and Tony falls. Doug runs and hits the soldier away from Tony as he tried to kill his amnesia racked friend. Tony punches the other soldier down and leans on the tree, tired. Doug's necktie is turned up and looks like it wasn't planned to be. Doug tells him, "We're gonna have to find a landmark and wait to be picked up. We've got to stop Machiavelli--Micheal's and we've got to destroy that gunpowder." He tells Tony about the time tunnel. Tony's arm is hurt but he pulls a gun on Doug with the other, "You almost had me there for a minute." Micheals-Machiavelli coldly watches as Maddox falls on and leans against the wheel of another wagon, "I would say you've just about outlived your usefulness." He knees the Sergeant down and for once in an Irwin Allen production we see a significant amount of blood on the Sergeant's hand and arm. He also tells Maddox a good campaign manager always destroys anything detrimental to his cause. Maddox says, "I'm a better man than you half dead." And we believe this statement since we've seen how ugly the villain can be--even if it is a terrific characterization. Then Maddox shoots Machiavelli several times from his sitting position but the man laughs. He admits to Maddox that Doug, his prisoner, nearly succeeded in telling him the truth, "You see, I am Machiavelli, a man in a time long past his own and therefore already dead." For some reason, he can't be shot and this kind of spoils the episode--although makes him an even more invincible enemy for Tony and Doug to overcome. However, others have been transported to times before and after their own...although none have died in a future time. Tony and Doug in CHASE THROUGH TIME and THE KIDNAPPERS were not invulnerable to ray guns and the like...but Tony and Doug hadn't died yet in their own time stream but if we can believe the data from the episode THE DEATH MERCHANT, Machiavelli was from a time where he was not killed yet. This makes the episode a bit less credible but no less interesting or fun. It was a gamble and it seemed to work. It is a good idea to have a villain out of his own time as well and even more of a gamble to use a villain who is from a farther time in the past than in the future---making this TIME TUNNEL unique all in its own. If TIME TUNNEL went on to a second season, I would have liked to see Throne back as Machiavelli again--he would have made a good sometimes-recurring villain regular!
He shoots the Sergeant and then non chalantly puts on his black gloves. Doug and Tony return two to three seconds later and must have been close enough to see him kill Maddox but didn't. Micheals is also a bit strange here--it shows how much of a hypocrite he is when earlier he says he doesn't want an advantage over an enemy, having balance is better--then he kills a man who can't kill him with a gun and who is wounded and down on the ground. Tony sees the Sergeant as Doug runs to him and checks him. Tony points the gun at Machiavelli, "I'm one tired man and I've got no time for whatever game you're playing." He makes him take him to the gunpowder. No questions about Maddox's death?
Men with cables are hooking up extra power from Hoover Dam to handle the reversal they'll need to send Machiavelli back to his own time. First, they have to separate Doug's signal from Machiavelli (past episodes such as the pilot told us Doug and Tony have signals that are superimposed or similar but no mention is made here of that). Ray tells Kirk, "I owe you an apology, Woody, let's just say it was the strain of the moment." Kirk asks him, "Then you think I'm right?" Ray answers, "No, but someone's got to make the decisions and I respect you for doing it." Kirk smiles, "Apology accepted." Ray says, "I wish us luck." Kirk looks at the new device...part of a power station as Ray walks off, "Amen to that."
Tony, Doug, and Machiavelli are at the cave. Tony starts to load the barrels of gunpowder into a wagon. Machiavelli tells him about Doug, "Beware, he will outwit you." He felt that both sides at Gettysburg must be equally armed for the fight to be fair. Doug seems to load the kegs also but drops some of the powder along the entire way to the wagon. Machiavelli also tries to turn Doug on Tony, "Now you have are faced with the decision to sacrifice your friend to destroy a larger evil." Doug uses a torch to confront Tony, "This has to be done." Tony pulls his gun but it is empty--he shot at Doug with no bullets in it. Tony jumps him instead and they fight. Tony kicks Doug down a hill. They fight out onto a bridge and although some of this fight on the bridge looks like stock footage, I don't believe it is. As Machiavelli enjoys all this and smiles, watching from good vantage points, Doug falls over the side and holds on as Tony continues to attack!
Tony hits Doug some more but Doug manages to get back up and fights Tony down. Tony wakes up, "What's happened?" Doug tells him, "He's trying to kill us." But that's not really true--he could have, several times, in fact, he even saved Doug from the gun of Tony earlier--he merely stirs the pot and kills only when he sees fit. Machiavelli tells him, "Kill your friend and you can destroy the powder." He adds, "I am Machiavelli and you can't kill me. Therefore, I am indestructible." Doug tells him that may be but there will be one of the bloodiest battles of all time ready to take place and "we're personally going to see to it that you miss it." Machiavelli gets the torch and lights the spilled powder, laughing as he runs, his cape flowing (making an odd scene). He vanishes in a spark and blast, popping back to his own time presumably--or to another time!?! The blasts of power knock everyone down in the time tunnel complex, ceiling plates fall. Kirk yells, "Stay at your posts!" Ann sees Tony and Doug are knocked out and in the path of the explosion---the path of the fire heading toward the gunpowder behind them. Although Ray calls it a miracle they are able to switch the boys. They vanish and the cave blows up. This ending is a bit strange. First--why did Tony and Doug suddenly become unconscious at the cave? Did Machiavelli's vanishing blast knock them down? It didn't really affect Doug that way when the dog vanished but that was less power.
CLIFFHANGER: Tony and Doug fly through the vortex as tunnel control watch. Ann tells Kirk she is doing the best she can to control them and keep a good image, "I'm doing the best I can, General." Ray mentions an interference impulse. Ann gets them both again and both tumble down onto a hill. They get up and see hundreds of men and horses fall off a cliff. They try to run another way since there is a cliff near them also. Tony finds a shield which he says is Oriental from Mongolian times possibly. Doug looks at one--it seems to be an emblem of one of the Great Khans. Tony suggests Genghis. A rider comes up to them and jumps Doug. Tony helps him but three more arrive; two fight with Doug with swords. Doug gets one of the fallen swords and fights, is knocked down, flips two men. He avoids their swords and knocks one sword away from another men. Eventually Doug's fallen and others grab him. Tony is knocked back and two grab him! End of cliffhanger.
NOTE: This episode was something new and untried. It was, in my opinion, a success. Too bad more like this couldn't have been tried. It certainly shines among the latter episodes.