The WABAC Machine (pronounced, and often synonymous with, Way-back) refers to a fictional machine from the cartoon segment Peabody's Improbable History, an ongoing feature of the 1960s cartoon series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The WABAC Machine is a plot device used to transport the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman back in time. The meaning of the acronym is unknown, but mid-century, high-technology names often ended in "AC" (generally for "Automatic Computer" or similar), such as ENIAC, UNIVAC, EDVAC, MANIAC, and JOHNNIAC.
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show 
Within the Peabody's Improbable History cartoon segment, the machine was constructed by Mr. Peabody, a professorial, bow tie-wearing dog, as a birthday gift for Sherman, Mr. Peabody's pet boy, to be able to visit famous historical events. At the request of Mr. Peabody ("Sherman, set the WABAC machine to ..."), Sherman would set the WABAC controls to a time and place of historical importance, and by walking through a door in the WABAC machine, the two would be instantly transported there. The machine apparently later returned Mr. Peabody and Sherman to the present, although the return trip was never shown.
Popular culture 
The concept or term "WABAC Machine," more often employed as "Wayback Machine," has been extensively adopted in popular culture as a convenient way to introduce issues or events of the past, often employing the original line "Sherman, set the WABAC machine to ...". This introduction was used by the character Kevin Flynn in the film Tron, for example. As in the original cartoon, the Wayback Machine is often invoked to suggest the audience follow the narrator back to the past. Frequently such visits to the past are trips of nostalgia, remembering times, places, or things of the not-so-distant past.
One example of popular usage occurred in "Goofy Ball", a 1995 episode of the TV show NewsRadio, when station owner Jimmy James (Stephen Root) says: "Dave, don't mess with a man with a Wayback Machine. I can make it so you were never born."
See also 
- Memory hole
- Time travel
- List of television series that include time travel
- Back to the Future (film)
- Toonopedia entry on Peabody's Improbable History
- Andy's Anachronisms: Time Travel Television Reviews: Peabody's Improbable History
- The Wayback Machine at archive.org
- Scott, Keith (2001). The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, a Flying Squirrel, and a Talking Moose. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-28383-0.
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- Kahle, Brewster (April 24, 2009). "Wayback Machine comes to life in new home". Retrieved 2009-08-23. "On another note, we got a nice letter from the last living director of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Gerard Baldwin, because he read about the "fantastic project". Our Wayback Machine is a tribute to their more cleverly named "WABAC Machine" which in turn was a reference to the Univac. Sherman and Peabody live on."
- Steven Lisberger, Tron, screenplay, 1982: "FLYNN (CONT.) (sighs): 'Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for… oh, 1973.'"
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- Britt, Robert Roy (July 25, 2005). "The Wayback Machine? Nearby Solar System Looks Like Home". Space.com. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
- Mallozzi, Vincent M. (April 6, 2007). "A Jukebox Is a Way-Back Machine With Black Vinyl Wings". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
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- Clark, Mike (April 12, 2004). "Wayback machine puts out plenty of time-travel movies". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
- Kurtz, Scott (May 11, 2005). "PvP – Player vs Player – Set the WABAC machine to Pac-Man". pvponline.com. Retrieved 2005-05-11.
- Memorable quotes for NewsRadio: Goofy Ball (1995) from the Internet Movie Database
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