It's About Time (TV series)
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|It's About Time|
|Created by||Sherwood Schwartz|
Joe E. Ross
|Theme music composer||Gerald Fried
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes per episode|
|Production company(s)||Redwood Productions, Inc.
Gladasya Productions, Inc.
United Artists Television
|Distributor||United Artists Television|
|Original release||September 11, 1966 – April 2, 1967|
It's About Time is an American fantasy/science-fiction comedy TV series that aired on CBS for one season of 26 episodes in 1966–1967. The series was created by Sherwood Schwartz, and used sets, props and incidental music from Schwartz's other television series in production at the time, Gilligan's Island.
The show currently airs on Antenna TV.
Two astronauts, Mac McKenzie (Frank Aletter) and Hector Canfield (Jack Mullaney), travel faster than the speed of light, resulting in being sent back in time to prehistoric days. There, they have to adjust to living with a cave family led by Shad (Imogene Coca) and Gronk (Joe E. Ross). (Coca's character's name was originally pronounced "Shag" in the first episode, after which her character's name was pronounced "Shad" (evidenced in the rerun episodes on Antenna TV), though in the opening titles, her billing still read "IMOGENE COCA as SHAG"; this changed in the episode "20th Century Here We Come" when new opening titles were created for the series' retooling and her billing was changed to read "IMOGENE COCA as SHAD". Their children were 18-year-old Mlor (Mary Grace, credited in the retooled closing titles as Mary Graham Grace) and 14-year-old Breer (Pat Cardi). The chief of the tribe, Boss (Cliff Norton) and his right-hand man Clon (Mike Mazurki) were always suspicious of the astronauts.
Ratings were impressive for the first few weeks on the air, but they soon plunged. Show creator Schwartz came to the conclusion that three factors were the cause of the decline in audience interest:
- Repetition of the astronauts being in danger from dinosaurs, clubs, spears, volcanoes, and cavemen
- An unattractive look to the show (e.g., caves, dirt streets, etc.)
- The cave dwellers speaking a primitive form of English that was difficult to listen to
For these reasons, after 18 broadcast episodes set in prehistoric times, the series was retooled beginning with the January 22, 1967 episode. (A 19th "prehistoric" episode had been completed, but it was not broadcast until after the end of the series' original run; this could possibly have been due to its originally scheduled broadcast being preempted for special programming, which happened occasionally to many TV shows, throwing their original broadcast order out of sync when the networks would broadcast the episode at the end of the season's first-run episodes rather than postponing the broadcast until the following week.)[original research?] Essentially reversing the premise which had been followed the first half of the season, on the January 22 episode, the astronauts repair their space capsule and return to 1967, with Shad, Gronk, and their children in tow. Boss and Clon make their final appearances in this episode, which also introduces two new supporting characters who would stay with the show going forward: Alan DeWitt as Mr. Tyler, manager of the apartment building where Mac and Hector live, and Frank Wilcox as General Morley, their commanding officer.
In the retooled version of the show (which had an updated theme song, explaining the new premise), the prehistoric family must begin adjusting to life in the 1960s, reacting to the unfamiliar surroundings, and setting up home in 20th-century Los Angeles. For example, one episode had Gronk and Shad learning to write their names and signing them for many salesmen who brought "presents", which had to be paid for later. Mac and Hector also had to convince their disbelieving superior that they really did travel in time, and are not playing some sort of elaborate practical joke. Seven episodes were produced with this new premise before the series was cancelled at the end of the season.
It's About Time is a 1960s typical "silly" comedy of the times (in the style of Gilligan's Island, also created by Sherwood Schwartz) about two astronauts who accidentally break the speed of light with their spacecraft and travel back in time to prehistoric Earth, replete with cavemen (and cavewomen) and, anachronistically, dinosaurs. Unable to return to the future, they make friends with the "natives", usually through humorous interactions, misunderstandings, and dilemmas. Eventually, they do return to "modern day" Earth, taking some of the cavepeople back with them, who must then adjust to living in 1960s Los Angeles.
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"And Then I Wrote 'Happy Birthday to You'"||September 11, 1966|
|Mac and Hector introduce present day birthday customs to the cave people.|
|2||"The Copper Caper"||September 18, 1966|
|Astronauts need copper, but the local supply is limited to a necklace worn by the unfriendly chief.|
|3||"The Initiation"||September 25, 1966|
|Astronauts try to obtain a dinosaur tooth.|
|4||"Tailor Made Hero"||October 2, 1966|
|Gronk tries to prove he is as heroic as the astronauts.|
|5||"The Rainmakers"||October 9, 1966|
|Hector and Mac must end a drought or they will be sacrificed to the water spirit.|
|6||"Me Caveman—You Woman"||October 16, 1966|
|The astronauts are troubled that cavemen drag their women around by the hair as their form of courtship, so they do their best to institute modern, civilized courting techniques.|
|7||"The Champ"||October 23, 1966|
|The cave people learn how to use a slingshot.|
|8||"Mark Your Ballots"||October 30, 1966|
|Mac and Hector try to persuade the cave people to elect a new leader.|
|9||"Have I Got A Girl for You"||November 6, 1966|
|Shad tries to find perfect mates for Mac and Hector.|
|10||"Cave Movies"||November 13, 1966|
|Hector and Mac try to document their prehistoric predicament by filming daily activities.|
|11||"Androcles and Clon"||November 20, 1966|
|Boss (Cliff Norton) wants to execute the astronauts because they have made an evil device.|
|12||"Love Me, Love My Gnook"||November 27, 1966|
|A puppy has the astronauts facing death sentences - the cave dwellers believe dogs are bad luck.|
|13||"The Broken Idol"||December 4, 1966|
|Hector and Mac try to keep the lid on a bubbling volcano.|
|14||"The Sacrifice"||December 11, 1966|
|Mlor (Mary Grace) is about to be sacrificed in a cave ritual.|
|15||"King Hec"||December 18, 1966|
|Hector steals Boss' thunder by making weather forecasts.|
|16||"The Mother-in-law"||December 25, 1966|
|Gronk (Joe E. Ross) moves in with the astronauts.|
|17||"Which Doctor's Witch?"||January 1, 1967|
|Mac and Hector search frantically for Boss, who has disappeared.|
|18||"To Catch a Thief"||January 8, 1967|
|Someone is robbing the cave people.|
|19||"20th Century Here We Come"||January 22, 1967|
|Mac and Hector orbit back to the 20th century, accompanied by the Stone Age family.|
|20||"Shad Rack and Other Tortures"||January 29, 1967|
|The astronauts try to convince a general that their primitive pals are in Los Angeles.|
|21||"The Cave Family Swingers"||February 5, 1967|
|The cave dwellers form a rock-and-roll band.|
|22||"To Sign or Not to Sign"||February 19, 1967|
|Mac teaches Gronk and Shad to write their names. With this new talent, they sign up for things.|
|23||"School Days, School Days"||February 26, 1967|
|Breer goes to school in the modern day world.|
|24||"Our Brothers' Keepers"||March 5, 1967|
|Hector and Mac bring the cave family to the airbase to meet General Morley as proof they traveled back in time to the Stone Age.|
|25||"The Stone Age Diplomats"||March 12, 1967|
|Mac and Hector's landlord wants to kick out Gronk and family from their apartment, but the boys set up a ruse that they are diplomats from a foreign country who simply dress differently.|
|26||"The Stowaway"||April 2, 1967|
|Hector tries to save Mlor from marriage to Boss' son.|
- "The Stowaway" was originally scheduled to air January 15, 1967, but was pre-empted by an episode of Lassie after CBS revamped its prime time line up following the first-ever Super Bowl which aired earlier that evening. This episode was set in prehistoric times, and clearly predates the previous seven episodes. However, it did not air until April 2, 1967. In the show's current syndication reruns on certain networks – such as Antenna TV – this episode airs in its intended order, immediately preceding "20th Century Here We Come...".
In popular culture
- The punk rock band X incorporated some of the lyrics of the show's theme song into their song "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts" for the album More Fun in the New World, as a commentary on the direction of 1980s music: "Glitter-disco-synthesizer night school/All this noble savage drum, drum, drum/Astronauts going back in time to hang out with the cave people/It's about time/It's about space/It's about some people in the strangest place."
- Electronic musician Venetian Snares samples the show's theme song extensively in his song Einstein-Rosen Bridge.
- Trog, a 1970 film about the discovery of a caveman in England
- Iceman, a 1984 film about an unfrozen caveman
- Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, recurring character on Saturday Night Live from 1991 through 1996
- Encino Man, a 1992 film about an unfrozen caveman
- Cavemen, a 2007 sitcom that aired on ABC
- Thomas, Bob. "It's About Time Undergoing Changes" Ocala Star-Banner (December 28, 1966)
- It's About Time - Date, Details, Extras for 'The Complete Series' Starring Imogene Coca. 4-DVD set is coming from ClassicFlix in just over a month!
- It's About Time - A First-Ever Release of 'The Complete Series,' Starring Imogene Coca! DVD Plans for this title, coming later in 2017 from ClassicFlix
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