Thursday, 12 June 2014

Time Express (1979) | A look back at the US mini-series that was Fantasy Island on wheels!

Time Express (1979)

The 1979 CBS four-part mini-series, Time Express, was broadcast from 26 April to 17 May in the US, from 27 November to 18 December in the UK, and between July and August of 1980 in Australia (the same time that Vincent Price toured the country with his one-man show, Diversions & Delights).

The Time Express was like a modern ghost train, filled with 100 dead souls reincarnated to operate the service after their own train, The New Guinea Flyer, crashed into a river in 1886. Like eccentric millionaire John Beresford Tipton on The Millionaire (CBS, 1955-1960), who chose people at random to receive a million tax-free dollars, there was also a mysterious benefactor on board the Time Express. This unseen Head of the Line would choose people who have the greatest need to relive a particular moment from their past. The passengers, once back in the past, see that people will change, as well as themselves, making them all better people. Based at the Los Angeles Union Station, the Time Express departed from Gate Y Track 13. On board, host and hostess Jason and Margaret Winters supervised each passenger's trip as they moved through the misty corridors of time.

Time Express (1979)  

THE CAST Vincent Price as Jason Winters; Coral Browne as Margaret Winters; James Reynold as the Conductor, Robert Jefferson Walker; William Edward Phipps as the Engineer, Patrick Callahan; Woodrow Parfey as the Ticket Clerk 

Executive Producers: Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts, 
Producer: Leonard Kaufman
Created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts
Written by Steven Cander, Richard Boell, Pat Fielder
Director: Michael Caffey
Music: Richard Hazard
Casting: Tom Stockingfish
Make-Up: Fred Williams
Set Director: Ed Bauer 

REVIEW This train runs in reverse. Like a blend of Fantasy Island and Supertrain is Time Express. Passengers on the Time Express get the chance to go back and change one incident in their past. The wish becomes reality for the lucky few that receive ticket invitations to ride the Time Express as it travels through another dimension. From the moment they arrive at the station, an otherworldly crew puts passengers at their ease. A droll crew reassures the skeptics, while the debonair champagne-sipping host and hostess answer questions and lend their moral support. As the train moves backwards into their past, the travellers have the opportunity to learn more, try harder and make up for past errors. (Peter Fuller, The West Australian, 1980)

Telecast: 26 April 1979 (US)
James McArthur as Dr Mark Tolen
Jerry Stiller as Edward Chernoff
Pamela Toll as Olivia Tolen
John de Lancie as John Clayton
Anne Meare as Gloria
Writer: Gerald Sanford
Director: Arnold Laven

A man (Jerry Stiller) goes back to 1969 Cleveland to return $2 million he found; and a physician (James MacArthur) hopes to find his wife's brother who is needed for a life-saving transplant.

Telecast: 3 May 1979 (US)/Screened last in Australia
Richard Masur as Sam Loring
Lyle Waggoner as David Blaine
Lee Meriwether as Vanessa
Francois-Marie Bernard as Paul Venard
Terri Nunn as Jill Martin
Morgan Fairchild as Michelle Bradford Fleming
Writer: Stephen Kandel, Richard Bluebell, Pat Fielder
Director: Michael Caffey

A copywriter (Richard Masur) and a figure skater (Terri Nunn) get second chances at romances that failed because of broken rendezvous (in Paris, 1978 and on St Valentine's Day in Montreal, 1977).

Telecast: 10 May 1979 (US)
John Beck as Roy Culper
Marcia Strassman as Sara Mason
Robert Hooks as John Slocum
Vic Tayback as Charlie Enright
Anne-Marie Martin
Writer: A Hayes
Director: Alan J Levy

A rodeo rider in Montana returns to the fateful day in May 1977 when he was thrown from a horse; and an LA cop goes back to June 1973 to the scene where he was shot by a suspect.

Telecast: 17 May 1979 (US)/Screened first in Australia
Steve Kanaly as Michael Bennett
Paul Sylvan as Tony Marcello
Jaime Lyn Bauer as Elizabeth Stone
Linda Scruggs Bogart as Lisa Marcello
Writer: Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts
Director: Alan J Levy

A man (Steve Kanaly) returns to July 1976 when his girlfriend was killed in a plane crash; and a boxer (Paul Sylvan) revisits the championship fight that he threw in New York in May 1969.

And so, the Time Express swishes off into TV heaven…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome. I have been looking for these for a while now.