Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1978 "The Time Machine" TV remake

(Click to enlarge.)

Clipped from the November 4-10 1978 TV Guide. I was always a fan of George Pal's "The Time Machine," so it was with a skeptical eye that I watched this new made-for-tv version that Sunday. I even taped the audio, which I still have in a drawer somewhere with hundreds of old cassettes I can't bring myself to throw away. I shouldn't have bothered taping it, though, because it lived down to my low expectations and more.
These clippings still made it into my scrapbook, however, and they exist as proof that this telefilm did indeed exist. Did you ever see it, and if so, what memories do you have of it? My love for the Pal version probably colored my perception of this movie. For those that saw it when young, not influenced by the earlier film, it could have been something they really liked, I'm sure.

Wiki entry on the 1978 TV movie:
A low-quality TV version was made in 1978, with very unconvincing time-lapse images of building walls being de-constructed, and inexplicable geographic shifting from Los Angeles to Plymouth, Mass., and inland California. John Beck starred as Neil Perry, with Whit Bissell (from the original 1960 movie and also one of the stars of the 1966 television series The Time Tunnel) appearing as one of Perry's superiors. Though only going a few thousand years into the future, Perry finds the world of the Eloi and Morlocks, and learns the world he left will be destroyed by another of his own inventions. The character Weena was played by Priscilla Barnes of Three's Company fame.


  1. I also first saw it when it first aired except the TV guide said it was the Pal version. I was a fan of the Pal version for years and, in those days, there was no video so you only got to see it when it aired on TV or played at a repertory movie theatre. Boy, what a letdown that movie was - especially when I realized I wouldn't be seeing my beloved Pal version !!! It was so bad that I turned the TV off when those "morlocks" showed up wearing overalls and wielding "light sabres" !!!

  2. Thanks for sharing the memories! I wonder why even try a re-make like that when it's obviously not better (or even as good) than the original right from the start?

  3. I guess they didn't realize how bad their version would turn out until it was all done... And then it was too late !

    Same thing happened with the DreamWorks version. Both of these were attempts at remaking the 1960 movie (and failing) rather than drawing from the original Wells literary work of 1895 that has never been out of print for nearly 115 years !

  4. I had no idea that they remade this in the 70s. They did so again in either the 90s or 2000s. I watched it on cable. The original is better - kind of cheesy but good.

  5. I did like the updated triangular time-machine though; does anyone know what ever happened to the original full-sized and miniature movie props?

  6. The remake may have been cheesy but it gives us another nostalgic link to the disco era, like Buck Rogers, which was also bad but always makes me smile when I watch an old episode of it.

  7. The movie had a charm all it's own .... Sure its dated , but the machine was cool . It stayed uncannily faithful in basic design to the George pal version . It actually looked good.

  8. Great site this movie is on dvd at the sites below if anyone is interested



  9. Its cheaper here on dvd. Thanks