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TelevisionWeek Executive Editor Tom Gilbert joins our roster of bloggers with this forum all about classic television, where anything from "Leave It to Beaver" to "Malcolm in the Middle" is fair game for discussion. Reunion specials, DVD releases of classic shows, vintage commercials -- anything that's ever been telecast is the hot topic here.

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Timeless TV



A Far-Off ‘Time’

June 3, 2008 4:16 PM

Sherwood Schwartz will long be remembered for creating “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch,” but not so much for coming up with “It’s About Time.”

Just what is “It’s About Time,” you ask? Possibly the worst TV show of all time, is all.

The series was about two astronauts who, during a space mission, break the time barrier and wind up stranded in the prehistoric era, smack in the middle of a tribe of cavemen. Caveman no talk English good and sound much like Indian, source of much laughing. But topical wisecracks, endless fish-out-of-water jokes and an over-eager laugh track do not a funny sitcom make.

Midseason the writers flipped the story arc and brought the astronauts back to modern times, four of the cave folks in tow. But even more fish-out-of-water humor didn’t salvage the show.

“It’s About Time” ran only one season, 1966-67, Sunday evenings on CBS. While Schwartz’s island castaways and brood of Bradys had certain charms (however limited), these characters seemed hollow and many of the lines they spouted were just plain annoying. Have a sample (a big thanks to Neil):

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Comments (5)

Chopped Liver:

Was it that much worse than the rest of the mid-60's sitcoms? OK, there were stand-outs: Beverly Hillbillys, Green Acres, Andy Griffith. They were terrific. But do you think it was any more inane than Gilligan's Island? If you could get past the concept, it wasn't any more annoying than, say, F Troop. OK, that was pretty annoying. I think I just made your point. Never mind.

"It's About Time" was tough to take. You had to feel badly, though, for Jack Mullaney and Frank Aletter. CBS stuck these guys in every bad series the network could find in the '60s. At some point, they had to get together in another bad series.

But as for the worst of all time? Give me "The Pruitts of Southampton," "Run, Buddy, Run" and "You're in the Picture." Not even the kids would buy into any one of those.

Snooky Handsome:

YES, it's terrible, it's horrible, it's virtually worthless - but only virtually. First off, there's Imogene Coca in thecast. Second and more noticeable, after all these years, never having seen the show since its brief first run, I discovered upon hearing it again that I STILL REMEMBER THAT TITLE TUNE ("Its about time, its about space, its about doo-dee-doo dum-dum..." Sherwood Schwartz should put out an album of his series' insanely catchy title tunes, if there are enough to fill a CD. One song of course is a masterpiece: "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...." And Television History Was Made! Anyway thanks again Tom for stimulating that strange part of our brains where such things go to hide.....

MediaMan:

This is an odd posting--why in the world bring up "It's About Time" when there are so many other failed sitcoms? If you watch the series, it actually had some great overacting and old-fashioned over-the-top comedy. It certainly isn't the worst comedy of all time ("My Mother the Car" truly deserves that award, for the premise and terrible acting).

As for some of the other posters on this subject, it appears they haven't actually seen many of these shows that they condemn. Remember that "Beverly Hillbillies" and even "Hogan's Heroes" were nominated for Best Comedy Emmy awards!

I don't even know,fellow!) continued to write in the same vein, it is interesting people!

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