With the new year, may as well go with a time-themed post…
In 1966, the same year that “The Flintstones” was canceled, another show involving cavemen debuted. “It’s About Time,” created by Sherwood Schwartz (the creator of “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch”) didn’t strike gold with this one, which only lasted one season on CBS.
The sitcom was about a pair of astronauts who, on a space launch, find their Project Apollo-era space capsule somehow break the speed of light, which hurls them back in time one million years. Landing, they’re forced to survive in a Hollywood-style Stone Age (complete with dinosaurs), coexisting with a cave-family.
One of the cavemen was played by Joe E. Ross. Ross is familiar to old-time sitcom fans for his catchphrase “ooh, ooh!” He also starred on 60s sitcom “Car 54, Where Are You?” Hanna-Barbera fans will also recognize him as Botch from early 70s cartoon “Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch!”
The oddest thing (well, *one* of the oddest things) about this show is that despite only lasting one season, it completely changed formats halfway through its sole season. Apparently the prehistoric setting (which recycled props from “Gilligan’s Island”) wasn’t cutting it, so they revamped the show by taking the opposite premise. The astronauts found a way to fix their capsule and returned to the then-present, bringing the cave-family with them. The remainder of the show’s run focused on the cave-people adjusting to 20th century life. Despite the revamp and TV of the mid-60s’ penchant for campy sitcoms (“Bewitched,” “I Dream of Jeannie”, “Green Acres,” etc.), it still got the axe.
The only reason I’m writing about this (not being a fan of “Gilligan’s Island” or “The Brady Bunch,” or what I saw of “It’s About Time” on YouTube) is its theme song. The opening titles were animated, and explained the show’s premise with a catchy theme song. (Judging from the YouTube comments, the Baby Boomer-kid viewers of the mid-1960s apparently mocked the lyrics.)
They even revamped the opening with the show’s format-change mid-season. That makes me wonder how fast the animators must’ve worked to create the new animated footage it used. Animation from the first opening, however, was recycled for the second one. They also corrected the first opening’s inaccurate-describing lyric “past a Roman warrior” to “past a Roman senator.”
The first version of the opening:
The second, retooled opening: