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Monday, July 30, 2012

From one 1970's H.G. Wells "adaptation" to another... in 1978, NBC aired a TV movie based on Wells' novel, The Time Machine. It was framed as a Classics Illustrated special for the whole family. It starred John Beck (Rollerball) as a mustachioed computer scientist in a leisure suit named Neil Perry, whose misadventures in time nearly get him burned at the stake (along with his clunky, "computerized" time machine) by Puritans and engaging in Old West gunfights, before finally putting his invention in gear and visiting the far future, where he inevitably finds the novels' Eloi and Morlocks. Add in an early vignette about a Soviet spy satellite crashing uncontrollably to Earth, and the suggestion that the TV movie deviates from Wells' novel is... a bit of an understatement.

Prsiscilla Barnes (of Three's Company) portrayed the Eloi maiden, Weena, and familiar character actor Whit Bissell, who had had a supporting role in the 1960 feature version, co-starred in the 1978 TV film.

I remember watching this movie when it aired in November of '78 (and that's when I clipped this ad out of TV Guide, too), but I don't remember much about it. In preparing this post, I discovered that the entire movie is on YouTube, but honestly, even I'm reluctant to revisit it...

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