Time Express - 1979 Sci-Fi Bomb
by Billy Ingram
Time Express was one part Supertrain, one part Fantasy Island and no part entertaining.
Running on NBC from February 7 to May 5, 1979, Supertrain was the biggest most expensive train wreck in TV history up to that point so its no surprise that a show about a train that takes people back in time to correct their biggest mistakes would tank as well. How could it not, there wasn't an original thought behind it.
The original title of Time Express was Time Train, I guess the network didn't want to be associated semantically with the above mentioned bomb.
Time Express is a ghost train populated by 100 dead souls from The New Guinea Flyer which crashed into a river in 1886. An unseen Head of the Line selects the individuals who will be transported back in time.
Like ABC's Fantasy Island, CBS's Time Express had a sophisticated big name movie star as the host, in this case Vincent Price. And ho-hum guest stars like Steve Kanaly (Dallas was just beginning to get popular), John Delancy (7 years before he became Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation), that level of stardom.
Plot of the third episode: A rodeo rider returns to 1977 when he was injured, creating an unstable living situation for his daughter. An L.A. detective returns to 1973 when he got shot in the arrest of a suspected diamond thief. But was the suspect really guilty?
A review from Peter Fuller of The West Australian put it this way: A droll crew reassures the skeptics, while the debonair champagne-sipping host and hostess answer questions and lend their moral support. As the train moves backwards into their past, the travellers have the opportunity to learn more, try harder and make up for past errors.
While Vincent Price had been seen on countless television shows, from sitcoms to dramas to variety show,s this was the first and last TV series where he was the star.
Time Express aired from April 26 before derailing on May 17, 1979 for a total of four episodes, each one focusing on two different plot lines.
Time Express Opening:
John Delancy in a scene from Time Express:
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