Today marks the 50th anniversary of It’s About Time, a one season wonder with a memorable theme song. The sitcom premiered on CBS exactly 50 years ago today on Sunday, September 11th, 1966. A total of 26 episodes were broadcast over the course of the 1966-1967 season. My article about the series can be found here.
Initially, it featured a pair of astronauts (played by Frank Aletter and Jack Mullaney) stuck in a prehistoric world filled with primitive cave people and dinosaurs. Forget science, creator Sherwood Schwartz presumably told the network. Not only did would his series show cave people and dinosaurs coexisting but the cave people would speak broken English.
It’s About Time costarred Imogene Coca and Joe E. Ross as two of the cave people. Coca’s character was originally named Shag in the pilot episode but it quickly changed to Shad (sometimes spelled Shadd) for a reason that seems obvious to me but apparently escaped all involved in creating the show.
Rounding out the cast were Cliff Norton, Mike Mazurki, Pat Cardi, and Mary Grace. All four were technically recurring characters credited in the closing credits rather than the opening credits.
The first 19 episodes of It’s About Time followed the adventures of the poor astronauts as they struggled to repair their damage space capsule so they could return to the 20th Century. The two made many mistakes like trying to bring democracy and feminism to the cave people. They also often got themselves condemned to death for causing a drought or disturbing the volcano gods.
Low ratings convinced Schwartz that drastic changes. He decided to flip the premise and bring the cave people to the 20th Century. Hilarity ensued. They didn’t know what a television was or a vacuum cleaner or a car. A new recurring character–the manager of the apartment building where the astronauts lived–was added, played by Alan DeWitt. The new and improved It’s About Time lasted for just seven episodes before CBS pulled the plug.
It’s About Time Today
As far as I know, It’s About Time was never syndicated after its cancellation until last year when it began airing on Antenna TV. The diginet has cycled through all 26 episodes at least four times. I can’t imagine a lot of people are watching it but I enjoyed it. It was a chore at times to listen to the broken English spoken by all the cave people–it must have been torture for the actors and actresses.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of It’s About Time, I have a few questions for those of you who watched it back in the 1960s:
- First of all, I want to know how many younger viewers enjoyed making up their own version of the lyrics (“It’s about time to slap your face!”) either at home or at school?
- What was the reaction when the cave family traveled to the 20th Century? I’ll admit the episodes set in the Stone Age got somewhat repetitive but I still think they were more enjoyable than the episodes set in the 20th Century.
- Finally, has anyone read the Gold Key comic book based on the series and is it any good?
Hit the comments with your memories of It’s About Time.