Sunday, February 22, 2009

All stars, all lamps, all sources of light

As previously mentioned, the original broadcast of Between Time and Timbuktu in March 1972 was a major formative event of my childhood. With a script by David O'Dell based on characters and ideas from novels and short stories by Kurt Vonnegut, I found it endlessly fascinating and deeply disturbing, with the sense it was introducing me to truths about the world I wasn't actually supposed to learn just yet.

Many years later I acquired the published version of the script, loaded with stills from the broadcast, and that did a lot to refresh my memories...but I was never able to view for a second time the actual program that had such an impact on me. Until now.

Thanks to a fellow by the name Randy Wilharm, Between Time and Timbuktu can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube starting here.

My first reaction after thirty-seven years? I'd remembered the show as being dark and dystopian; I'd forgotten how funny it was. I remembered how funny Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding were, but the rest of it has more humor and less savage social commentary than it seemed when I was little. But if you give it your time and attention, you might still see what unsettled a nine year old so much as to make me read all the Kurt Vonnegut books on my parents' shelves.

I'm indebted to Mr. Wilharm for making this available. Randy's blog Pre-70s Sci-fi Pictorial is full of stuff you will enjoy looking at, so go look at it.

"If all places in the universe are in the Aleph, then all stars, all lamps, all sources of light are in it, too." -- Jorge Luis Borges, The Aleph


  1. Great! I look forward to watching this.

    And you can always summon me up with that Borges line, it's like magic.

  2. Ha ha ha.

    Also: your brain will thank you profusely for watching it. It really is everything I remembered it being and more.

  3. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing this, Rab. Kurt Vonnegut was from my hometown -- it's always nice to be able to appreciate some of the lesser-known stuff he inspired. :-)

  4. There are some funny references to Indianapolis in the show; the lead character Stony Stevenson also comes from your town.

    At another time, Vonnegut also lived not too far from my old stomping grounds in Cape Cod, MA...and of course he lived in Manhattan for a long I understand feeling proprietary toward him. ;-)


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