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Name that 70s sci-fi/western TV show

Old 12-01-06, 10:48 PM
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Name that 70s sci-fi/western TV show (+Time Tunnel reminiscing)

I'm trying to track down a show for a friend; hopefully it's out on DVD. However, because of his swiss cheese memory, I know almost nothing about it. Here's all I have, and nothing is completely certain:

It aired during the 70s.
It was a hybrid sci-fi / western ; there were... maybe.. portals that the characters would use to travel between the future and the wild west (that can't be right, can it?)
The last episode was preempted, possibly due to a funeral of a congressman or senator. My friend thinks it's never been aired.

Last edited by eldad9; 12-03-06 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 12-01-06, 10:58 PM
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Sounds like The Wild Wild West, but that was a 60s show.
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Old 12-02-06, 01:08 PM
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Well, there was an 80's show called "Outlaws" which had cowboys travelling from the past to the present to fight crime.

There was a 70's series called "Cliffhangers" which alternated 3 stories in the hour running time. One of the stories was called "The Secret Empire" and was about cowboys battling this advanced underground civilization. The show only ran 12 episodes and got cancelled before the story was progressed much.
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Old 12-02-06, 02:51 PM
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No, it wasn't that.
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Old 12-02-06, 03:01 PM
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No clue, but if you liked that show, check out "Firefly" !
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Old 12-02-06, 03:04 PM
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... wait, "Voyagers!" ? although not really cowboys...
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Old 12-02-06, 03:59 PM
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Maybe "Time Express". An anthology show headed by Vincent Price. Kind of like "Fantasy Island", but instead of an island Price had this train that could take people back in time. Only had a handful of episodes, but one of them featured a cowboy (not going back to the Old West, though ... rather to a rodeo in his own past).

Also there's "Time Tunnel". It aired in the 60's, but had reruns going in the 70's, so maybe that's what your friends remembers. Some of the episodes had the crew going back to the Old West. The series ended very abruptly -- after the 1st part of a two-part cliffhanger (with the cast stuck on the Titanic just before the iceberg hits).
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Old 12-03-06, 02:01 AM
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Could it be "Beyond Westworld" which was a 1980 spinoff of the 1973 Movie?
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Old 12-03-06, 10:07 AM
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Not voyagers or time tunnel; although I remember both of these shows, and in fact have time tunnel on DVD (it was a favorite when I was growing up - it aired on all the channels, back when that meant a single channel - and did so seemingly endlessly, since the channel paid for unlimited airings and got its money's worth). It wasn't a good show, but it was all we had.

The end of the last episode wasn't really a cliffhanger - instead of showing a few minutes from next week's episode, which obviously wasn't possible, they just repeated scenes from the first episode, implying our time travelers were doomed to relive the 30 episodes forever.

DDD happens to have a sale on that show - get both parts of the only season for $30 (which works out to be $1 per episode). The sets include the unaired remake pilot from 2002, and, I think, the movie that "inspired" the show.

I talked to my friend again, and he mentioned something very curious: the show seemed to have shared its timeslot with two others, so tuning in on a certain week you never knew if it would be on or how long that week's episode would be. Does that make any sense whatsoever?
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Old 12-03-06, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by eldad9
I talked to my friend again, and he mentioned something very curious: the show seemed to have shared its timeslot with two others, so tuning in on a certain week you never knew if it would be on or how long that week's episode would be. Does that make any sense whatsoever?
That sounds a lot like the one Brainee mentioned above:

Originally Posted by brainee
There was a 70's series called "Cliffhangers" which alternated 3 stories in the hour running time. One of the stories was called "The Secret Empire" and was about cowboys battling this advanced underground civilization. The show only ran 12 episodes and got cancelled before the story was progressed much.
Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078684/
They would show differing-length segments of each show in a somewhat random order. Sort of like Dateline or 20/20 does with their segments. It was an hour-long show, and you might get 10 minutes of their "Curse of Dracula" series (the only storyline I liked) and 30 minutes of "The Secret Empire" and 20 minutes of "Stop Susan Williams".
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Old 12-03-06, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by eldad9
I talked to my friend again, and he mentioned something very curious: the show seemed to have shared its timeslot with two others, so tuning in on a certain week you never knew if it would be on or how long that week's episode would be. Does that make any sense whatsoever?
Well, it's gotta be "Cliffhangers: The Secret Empire" now, doesn't it?
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Old 12-03-06, 01:41 PM
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Your description "the show seemed to have shared its timeslot with two others" makes it sound more like "Cliffhanger!". I don't think "The Secret Empire" involved time travel, however, and the show lasted only 10 or so episodes.

Might have to do some checking on TV.com or Wikipedia.
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Old 12-03-06, 04:20 PM
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Thank you, brainee and Mattrk! We have a winner!

The show was indeed Cliffhangers! According to the wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliffhangers_(TV_series) ):

The series was cancelled after only 10 episodes were aired, by which point only "The Curse Of Dracula" had reached its conclusion. However, one unaired episode (which did air overseas) featured the two concluding chapters of "The Secret Empire" as well as the final part of "Stop Susan Williams." American viewers later got a chance to see the concluding part of "Stop Susan Williams" in the TV-movie "The Girl Who Saved The World" which re-edited the eleven installments into a single two hour movie ("Curse Of Dracula" was also re-edited as two TV-movies for later airing).

"The Secret Empire" was a pastiche of the Gene Autry movie serial The Phantom Empire. Scenes in the underground city were in color, but scenes on the surface were "in glorious black and white".

"The Phantom Empire" is available from DDD, with two more 12-episode serials, for $14.83, in the eerily double-appropriately named "SCIENCE FICTION CLIFFHANGER COLLEC":
http://www.deepdiscountdvd.com/dvd.cfm?itemID=PAS005790

The question of how to acquire the full "The Secret Empire", however, is still open. I couldn't find a DVD release.

P.S. See how easy it is, Mike? You just gotta know where to ask. Now join the forum so you can post a thank-you directly.
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