IT'S ABOUT TIME
Low budget TV sitcom by Sherwood Schwartz (creator of "Gilligan's Island" & "The Brady Bunch") starring Joe E. Ross & Imogene Coca as 'Gronk' & 'Shad', a couple from prehistoric times. Joe E. "Ooh! Ooh!" Ross as a caveman with a Beatle haircut is hilarious! In the first episode two astronauts, Capt. "Mac" Mackenzie (Frank Aletter) & Lt. Hector Canfield (Jack Mullaney) break the speed of light & somehow travel back in time to the prehistoric stone-age where they meet a tribe of cave-dwellers. Since they look & talk differently than the cave people, they question where they came from. The astronauts tell them they came from the 'other side of the hill'. Let the laughs begin. The tribal bully is Clon (Mike Mazurki) & the tribal chief is called Boss (Cliff Norton). Boss is suspicious of the new comers & regularly puts them in a cave guarded by Clon to await their execution. They always manage to escape, usually with the help of Gronk & Shad, and redeem themselves of whatever Boss has accused them of.
In the first couple of episodes, Imogene Coca's name was Shag, but when TV censors realized the term held another meaning in the youth culture, they changed her name to Shad in subsequent episodes. Prehistoric 'stock footage' was lifted from the movies "Dinosaurus!" & "Beast Of Hollow Mountain". Many of the sets, props & background special effects music were from "Gilligan's Island".
Approximately halfway through the one-season run, the show's lower-than expected ratings resulted in the producers suddenly retooling the series by having the astronauts repair their space capsule & return to 1967 with the stone-age cave family in tow. The astronauts bring Gronk, Shad & their two children, 18-year-old Mlor (Mary Grace) and 12-year-old Breer (Pat Cardi), back to modern times. Now the laughs really begin as watching the cave family trying to adjust to modern times is totally funny! Meanwhile, the astronauts try to convince their superiors at the Space Center that real cave-people are living with them.
The opening credits to It's About Time has an animation sequence that runs during the catchy theme song. The cartoon is made by Depatie-Freleng, who at that time were making The Pink Panther cartoons. The lyrics of the theme song explain the premise of the show, but in 1967 when the astronauts brought the cave family back to modern times, the lyrics were changed to reflect the new premise. Because It's About Time only ran for one season, there were not enough episodes to put in syndication, thereby making it very difficult to obtain copies of the episodes today. I hope you enjoy this rare find!
(1) And Then I Wrote Happy Birthday To You- In this pilot episode, Mac & Hector have their first day in the past, and the cavemen think they are evil spirits. They save the life of a teenage caveman, & become friends with his family. As a rite of passage into adulthood, it's customary to spend a night in the jungle alone. Hector, Mac & the cave family suggest to the tribal Cave Boss that instead of having this ritual, they throw Breer a birthday party instead. The tribesmen find the space capsule & rip it apart to give the pieces to Breer as a birthday present. Mac & Hector get the parts back & begin to reassemble the capsule. (9/11/1966)
(2) The Copper Caper- Mac & Hector need to find copper to repair the space ship. Unfortunately, the only copper they can find is around the Boss's neck, in his necklace. Directed by Jack Arnold. (9/18/1966)
(3) The Initiation- Mac & Hector decide to move into a cave, but they must become tribe members first by performing a few customary rituals. (9/25/1966)
(4) Tailor Made Hero- Mac & Hector are again heroes to Breer after they rescue him from a blocked cave. Mac & Hector try to think of ways to get Gronk to look like a hero to Breer. (10/2/1966)
(5) The Rainmakers- There is a drought in the village. Boss decides to offer Mac & Hector as a human sacrifice to the great Water Spirit. Mac & Hector try to make it rain before they're sacrificed. (10/9/1966)
(6) The Courtship Of Miles Gronk- a.k.a. "Me Caveman, You Woman" The village cave women want to be treated like the cave women on the 'other side of the hill'. This causes trouble for the men until Shad & Gronk have a wedding ceremony. w/ Kathleen Freeman as Mrs. Boss (10/16/1966)
(7) The Champ- War with tribal rivals 'The Painted Ones' is averted when it is suggested that the strongest member of each tribe battle each other. Gronk uses his 'sneaky punch' to emerge victorious. Guest stars are: Diana Frothingham as Gam, wife of the Painted Ones strongman, played by Eddie Little Sky. (10/23/1966)
(8) Mark Your Ballets- The Boss is always hassling Mac & Hector by locking them up & threatening to kill them. In order to increase their chances of survival, the astronauts try to get a new Cave Boss elected. (10/30/1966)
(9) Have I Got A Girl For You- Shad thinks the astronauts need wives, so she tries to get Hector to marry daughter Mlor. When Mac finds out that he has to either marry Boss' daughter or face death in a boiling pit, he plans to distract the tribe with laughing gas. w/ Mary Foran as Blob (11/6/1966)
(10) Cave Movies- On the verge of repairing their space capsule & returning to the 20th Century, the astronauts decide to film their visit so they'll have proof of their journey when they return home. (11/13/1966)
(11) Androcles & Clon- The astronauts make a model airplane that gets them in trouble with Boss, who orders Clon to find them & kill them. In his search, Clon gets a big thorn in his foot. The astronauts come & save Clon by removing it. Clon lets them go, but doesn't want Boss to find out. (11/20/1966)
(12) Love Me, Love My Gnook- The astronauts find a dog (gnook) which is bad luck for the village, until the dog helps Mac, Hector & Boss from quicksand. (11/27/1966)
(13) The Broken Idol- Boss thinks Mac & Hector made the fire god angry, causing the volcano to erupt. In order to save their lives from Boss & Clon, and save the village, Mac & Hector use nitroglycerin to neutralize the volcano. (12/4/1966)
(14) The Sacrifice- Boss wants to sacrifice Mlor to the dinosaurs in an annual custom to keep dinosaurs away from the village. (12/11/1966)
(15) King Hec- Hector's knowledge of plants & the weather lead the cave people to think he can tell the future. Boss becomes concerned when Hec's status in the village has grown too much. (12/18/1966)
(16) The Mother-In-Law- Shad's mother comes to visit. At first everything is fine, but after a while... lots of aggravation with everyone in the family. w/ Andy Albin as Lop, & David Thorpe as Zam (12/25/1966)
(17) Which Doctor's Witch?- When Gronk does not respond to the Witch-Doctor's spell, it is suspected that he is trying to get out of going on a dinosaur hunt. Meanwhile the villagers think that Shad has turned Boss into a monkey & make her use Witch-Doctor chants to turn him back into Boss. (1/1/1967)
(18) To Catch A Thief- The villagers think Mac & Hector are stealing things from their caves at night. Mac & Hector set a trap to catch the thief that is framing them. (1/8/1967)
(19) The Stowaway- Mac & Hector find the copper they need to repair their space capsule & begin preparations to leave. Boss's son Brack wants to marry Mlor, but she is not willing. Hector pretends he is engaged to Mlor. Brack challenges Hector to a fight & the winner will marry her. This episode was originally scheduled to air Jan 15, 1967 but was pre-empted. When the series was canceled, it was dug out & was the last one aired. (4/2/1967)
(20) 20th Century Here We Come- In order to save the series, the producers reverse the premise & have the astronauts repair the ship & take Gronk, Shad, Mlor & Breer back home with them. They leave the stone age & enter the 20th Century. Having to care for the cave family, Mac & Hector decide to conceal them in Mac's apartment. Mac & Hector try to convince NASA officials of their time travel & prehistoric friends. General Morley (Frank Wilcox) makes his first appearance in the series. Patrick Waltz; Jan Arvan; Kathryn Minner make guest appearances in this highly rated episode. Alan DeWitt plays Mr. Tyler, Mac's Landlord. The theme song is reworded to fit the new premise. (1/22/1967)
(21) Our Brothers' Keepers- Mac & Hector want to bring the General to the apartment to meet the cave family. When Tyler hears that, he wants to get the cave family a make-over. The girls get their hair done & everyone gets dressed in the latest mod fashions. The General is not convinced they are from pre-historic times. Joe Higgins appears as the Sergeant. (1/29/1967)
(22) The Cave Family Swingers- The cave people are often mistaken for coffee house beatniks! In this episode they become rock stars with their song "Dinosaur Stew" Ugh! Ugh! They sing & play on buckets, pots, pans & sink pipes. They're soon discovered & record their song at the Big Beat Record Studios. While recording for Big Beat Records, they meet a 'real' band, The Apes, that features a very young Karen Valentine. The Cave Family Swingers record hits #1 on the charts & the band appears on The Fred Gulliver Show (think Ed Sullivan). (2/5/1967)
(23) To Sign Or Not To Sign- The astronauts teach the cave people to write their names & they go on a spending spree all over town by charging & signing up for things. While Mac & Hector try to return all the 'gifts', Gronk unwittingly signs up to join the Army. Guests include Susan Brown, Nora Marlowe, & Richard Hoyt as a delivery man. (2/19/1967)
(24) School Days, School Days- Breer goes to school in the modern day world. When he tries to explain the experience to Gronk & Shad, it becomes apparent that they need to attend school as well. Guests are Alan Oppenheimer, Herb Vigran & the lovely Jackie Russell as Miss Fenway. (2/26/1967)
(25) Shad Rack & Other Tortures- The astronauts are still trying to convince the General that they broke the time barrier & have returned with the cave family. They bring Gronk & Shad to the General's office, and he orders a medical exam. When it become apparant that the cave people will be under constant medical examination, Mac & Hector lead the General to believe that they are actors pretending to be from pre-historic times. (3/5/1967)
(26) The Stone Age Diplomats- The cave people don't exactly 'fit in', and are always getting in trouble with the landlord. Mac & Hector explain that they are from Nordania, a country they made-up in order to convince their landlord that Nordanians are just different. To impress the landlord so the cave family can stay, Mac & Hector arrange to have the Ambassador Of Nordania visit the apartment. They get their actor friend Tony to come dressed in an animal skin, but the landlord soon discovers he is a fake. When the head of the studio where Tony works comes by looking for him, he discovers the cave family & wants to cast them in his next feature. w/ guests Leon Askin & Herb Edelman. (3/12/1967)
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