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"To find out more, take a voyage down to your public library. It's all in books!"
April 4, 2012 9:51 PM   Subscribe

Before Quantum Leap, there was a another scifi tv show where two time traveling Voyagers tried to put right what once went wrong…..

30 years ago, Voyagers! ran on NBC during the 1982-1983 season. Running in a time slot against 60 Minutes, it managed a respectable 17 share in the Neilsen ratings, but was cancelled after just 20 episodes had been produced.

The show's two main characters were Phineas Bogg -- history-correcting time traveler who had lost his guidebook -- played by Jon-Erik Hexum (in his very first role,) and Jeffrey Jones (Meeno Peluce -- veteran child actor and half-brother of Soleil Moon "Punky Brewster" Frye,) a history-loving orphan along for the ride. They traveled through time by use of a hand-held device called an Omni.
...the awesome pocket-watch sized Omni [w]as one of the coolest time travel devices ever. It had a miniature scale model of the earth inside, and red and green lights that would tell you if time was "flowing normally" or if it had been disturbed. You would spin the dials and set it (and forget it) and travel back to any time you wanted, which usually just happened to involve temporal anomalies involving famous people.
Wikipedia: Voyager! Episode Guide. All 20 are on YouTube:

1) Voyagers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
2) Created Equal: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
3) Bully and Billy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
4) Agents of Satan: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
5) Worlds Apart: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
6) Cleo and the Babe: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
7) The Day the Rebs Took Lincoln: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
8) Old Hickory and the Pirate: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
9) The Travels of Marco Polo... and Friends: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
10) An Arrow Pointing East: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
11) Merry Christmas, Bogg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
12) Buffalo Bill & Annie Play the Palace: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
13) The Trial of Phineas Bogg: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
14) Sneak Attack: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
15) Voyagers of the Titanic: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
16) Pursuit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
17) Destiny's Choice: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
18) All Fall Down: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
19) Barriers of Sound: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
20) Jack's Back: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Voyager's Guidebook is a wonderfully comprehensive fan site dedicated to the show. Check out the page on The Omni.

An extensive interview with Meeno Peluce about his time on the show has been posted by author Jeff Pearlman.

Sadly, Jon-Erik Hexum passed away in 1984. During a delay in filming on his new show Cover Up, Hexum was playing around with a handgun loaded with blanks that he had been using during filming. As a joke, he removed all but one of the blanks in his gun, spun the cylinder, and fired it at his own head -- imitating a game of Russian Roulette. The paper wadding in the blank shot out of the gun at tremendous speed, fracturing his skull and forcing fragments of bone into his brain, causing massive hemorrhaging. He died within days of the accident. Wikipedia notes that his heart, kidneys, skin and corneas were donated and given to patients in need.

At the end of the episode of Cover Up where they announce that his character has been killed in action, a memoriam written by Glen Larson appeared onscreen:

"They say when a star dies, its light continues to shine

across the universe for milleniums.

Jon-Erik Hexum died in October of this year, but his light will continue to

brighten our lives forever...and ever."


E! devoted a show to Hexum's career and death in 1998. Mysteries and Scandals: The Death Of Jon-Erik Hexum includes interview footage with a grown-up Peluce.

Voyager from the Unknown was a Voyagers! movie that ran on NBC after Hexum's death. A mashup of the pilot and several other episodes, it can be seen in its entirety here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

So whatever happened to little Meeno Peluce? He ended his career in front of the camera in 2001 and now works behind one as a professional photographer. But in the late 90's, the little boy who played a history expert on Voyagers! taught history at Hollywood High School.
posted by zarq (37 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
I used to love this show; thanks for the post!
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:54 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Used to love watching this show. And hey, I taught high school American history for two years so there you go.
posted by bardic at 9:56 PM on April 4, 2012


In one of the episodes, the kid ends up in the cockpit of a 747 whose pilots are both dead. He's gotta get the plane down. And he calls the tower, and I was expecting one of those tense scenes where someone who doesn't know what he's doing gets talked through the process.

Nope. The tower said, "See that switch there? flip it. Then sit back and enjoy the ride. Your jet can land itself at our airport."

I knew the Shuttle could do that, but I didn't know then that civilian airliners had been equipped with such systems. So I learned something from that episode.

Hexum not only came across as handsome and buff, but also as a really nice guy. I think that he would have had a long and successful career, were it not for the accident.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:13 PM on April 4, 2012


I had heard about an actor accidentally killing himself with a blank, but I never knew that it was Phineas Bogg. That clip of the opening credits really took me back. Voyagers was one of those shows that I could never remember the name of years later, but Google hadn't been invented yet. Great post.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:18 PM on April 4, 2012


Wow.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:19 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks, zarq. My little brother and I both loved this show. I vaguely remember making an Omni out of household detritus with him. We thought that Phineas Bogg was just the coolest.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:19 PM on April 4, 2012


I had wanted to make an askme to find out the name of this show. Now I don't have to.
posted by BurnChao at 11:38 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love this. Can't wait til I'm back in proper broadband so I can watch every single link.
posted by piearray at 12:38 AM on April 5, 2012


Nope. The tower said, "See that switch there? flip it. Then sit back and enjoy the ride. Your jet can land itself at our airport."

Nope.

http://www.salon.com/2007/12/21/askthepilot258/
http://www.salon.com/2007/08/24/askthepilot242/
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:37 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even trained (non-jet) pilots would have trouble.

http://www.jimforeman.com/Stories/thedayiflew.htm
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:45 AM on April 5, 2012


Man I LOVED this show when it was on. Was deeply disappointed when it got cancelled.
posted by zardoz at 1:49 AM on April 5, 2012


Oops... I guessed Time Tunnel.
posted by fairmettle at 3:03 AM on April 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Put me down as another lover of the show. My fondest memory is when Phineas and the kid get separated, and the kid ends up at Thomas Edison's workshop. At one point, the kid comes into Edison's office, and finds the time-pocketwatch-thing completely disassembled and spread out across Edison's desk. Edison warns the kid: "don't touch it -- I won't be able to put it back together if anything is moved", and Edison recognizes that there are two tiny lightbulbs inside, just like what he was working on. That struck me as a subtle way of showing just how technologically smart Edison was, without having people standing around going, "Edison is so smart! Look what Edison does, it's amazing!"
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:01 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Weird. I totally remember the story about "the good looking up-and-coming actor who accidentally killed himself with a blank round" but didn't associate it with this show. I knew it was one of those guys with three names (Jan-Michael Vincent, etc.) but couldn't remember it exactly.

Also, I seem to totally remember that gizmo with the red and green lights. And I totally remember that kid, though likely it was from something else, like Amityville Horror or Best of the West or the Bad News Bears series.

But I'll be damned if I can remember much about "Voyagers," the show, at all. On the other hand, I remember a pretty fair amount about "Tales of the Gold Monkey," which had a nearly identical trajectory as "Voyagers."
posted by ShutterBun at 4:01 AM on April 5, 2012


Has anyone written Phineas Bogg/Briscoe County Jr. fan fiction yet?* The mind boggles at how awesome their adventures would be.


*no, not slash. Seriously, no. Not even a little.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:03 AM on April 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. Just came across this in Hexum's Wikipedia entry

" On October 18, six days after the accident, Hexum was declared brain dead. With his mother's permission, his body was flown to San Francisco on life support, where his heart was transplanted into the body of a dying 36-year-old Las Vegas man at Pacific Medical Center.[8] Hexum's kidneys and corneas were also donated: One cornea went to a 66-year-old man with cataracts, the other to a young girl. One of the kidney recipients was a critically ill five-year-old boy, and the other was a 43-year-old grandmother of three who had waited eight years for a kidney. Skin that was donated was used to treat a 3½-year-old boy with third degree burns."

A tragic event, to be sure, but that is a hell of a silver lining, by way of organ/tissue donation.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:05 AM on April 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is the one show that I always describe to my friends and no one remembers but me. Thanks for bringing it back for me!
Now I just have to remember that kid's show with the puppets at the hotel with exploding lemons.
posted by charred husk at 5:37 AM on April 5, 2012


Yeah, well before that was Time tunnel - so cool and so 60's.<a
posted by BlueScreen at 6:36 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, I loved this show as a kid. Thanks so much!
posted by Shepherd at 6:38 AM on April 5, 2012


Sadly, there was a great big moralistic stink at the time about the recipient of Hexum's heart, who was (a) black and (b) owner of an escort service and therefore worthy of tut-tutting and talking head caterwauling in the horrible rotten core of the Reagan years.
posted by sonascope at 6:48 AM on April 5, 2012


Wonderful post, thank you! I was just thinking about this show the other day, wondering if it would make it to Netflix, and if my kid would enjoy them. She likes time travel stories, and we talk about the various ways it is handled a lot.
posted by mikepop at 6:48 AM on April 5, 2012


Count me as another who came in here expecting some "Time Tunnel" linkage.

And Chocolate Pickle, WTF? You "learned" something because you saw it on TV? And you believed it?

posted by Rash at 7:59 AM on April 5, 2012


If you want to learn more about Voyagers, take a voyage down to your favorite video archive site. It's all on youtube!
posted by amarynth at 8:02 AM on April 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wish some adventurous soul would download these, edit them into their full episodes, and then torrent the hell out of them.
posted by jcterminal at 8:11 AM on April 5, 2012


For an American remake of Doctor Who, it wasn't too bad.

I wish some adventurous soul would download these, edit them into their full episodes, and then torrent the hell out of them.

Or buy them, it was released on DVD. It's like a buck an episode. (Isn't that cheaper than iTunes?)
posted by CarlRossi at 8:23 AM on April 5, 2012


CarlRossi: " it was released on DVD"

On Amazon.
posted by zarq at 8:36 AM on April 5, 2012


Ok, this is probably the place to ask this...

I remember there was another 80s show like Voyagers and Quantum Leap (not Time Tunnel) where the wise-cracking, advice-giving hologram wasn't Dean Stockwell but a sort of prim but dry-witted woman with an English accent. Also a hologram, computer or projection. Was that an earlier version of Quantum Leap or something else?
posted by loquacious at 8:56 AM on April 5, 2012


Time Trax?
posted by khaibit at 9:04 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


loquacious: "I remember there was another 80s show like Voyagers and Quantum Leap (not Time Tunnel) where the wise-cracking, advice-giving hologram wasn't Dean Stockwell but a sort of prim but dry-witted woman with an English accent"

Are you thinking of Quantum Leap's "Evil Leaper" storyline?
posted by zarq at 9:07 AM on April 5, 2012


Khaibit has it, it was Time Trax. Man, that's been bugging me for years.
posted by loquacious at 9:13 AM on April 5, 2012


khaibit: "Time Trax?"

I've actually never heard of this series, but it sounds neat. How was it? If I can find enough footage, I'd totally do a post on it.
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on April 5, 2012


I don't remember it being all that good. It was in the same syndicated package that had that Superboy show and My Secret Identity.
posted by khaibit at 9:16 AM on April 5, 2012


Aw. It's a decent concept on paper.
posted by zarq at 9:20 AM on April 5, 2012


I don't remember it being all that good, either. It's basically a cop show with time travel and a pocket-sized talking computer. I think I mainly had a crush on the computer.

It was just a memory that bugged me every time I saw a reference to Quantum leap, but it's been stuck in my craw for ages.

There are full episodes on YouTube.
posted by loquacious at 9:24 AM on April 5, 2012


Voyagers! is the reason I will always remember that December 7, 1941 was a Sunday.
posted by Edison Carter at 9:29 AM on April 5, 2012


loquacious: "I think I mainly had a crush on the computer.

No worries. We've all been there.

Andromeda. Rommie. 'nuff said. ;)

There are full episodes on YouTube."

Woo! Am gonna watch 'em. :)
posted by zarq at 11:12 AM on April 5, 2012


Maybe it won't hold up, but I loved this as a kid. Thanks for posting!
posted by Chrysostom at 7:40 AM on April 6, 2012


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