Voyagers - a journey through the ages through the mystery
and wonder of time travel. Starring Jon-Erik Hexum as time traveler
Phineas Bogg, who was plucked from the 17th century where he lived as a
pirate and trained as a time traveler to give history a push where
needed, and Meeno Peluce as 'Jeffrey', a kid from the year 1982 who is
dragged along after Bogg uses his time travel device called an Omni to
save Jeffrey's life after he falls from an apartment balcony, almost
plummeting down to the concrete below.
When Bogg arrived in 1982 it was
considered a forbidden time zone, and as he saves Jeffrey from certain
death his Voyager guidebook is left behind which carries all the
historical information Bogg needs in his travels. Without the guidebook
Bogg has to rely on Jeffrey to help him with historical information,
since Jeffrey (as it conveniently turns out) is a historical whiz.
The time machine Bogg and Jeffrey
use, the Omni, is shaped much like a gold watch (or in one case, silver).
It has two lights on it. If the Omni lights red that meant that history
was not following the recorded path, and that Bogg and Jeffrey needed to
get everything back on track, which was indicated by a green light.
However, there were times when the Omni would be as
temperamental as a TARDIS and it would take them to places that they were
not set for. The explanation for this would be that the Omni would get
stuck in automatic at times. The landings in time zones weren't much
better either as Bogg and Jeffrey fell from the sky and landed on the
ground hard (most of the time).
'Voyagers' was a cute family-fare
show that was designed to entertain and educate adults and children
alike. It was created by James D. Parriott and ran in association with
Scholastic Productions and MCA/Universal. The show ran at 7PM on Sunday
nights just before the final season of 'Chips'.
On the series viewers were treated
to events in history that they felt they could take part of. Such events
were Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address (after making sure he
wasn't captured by the Confederacy), meeting Franklin D. Roosevelt (and
ensuring that he becomes President of the United States and not a movie
director), the inventions of the plane and the electric light, as well
as holding court with Queen Victoria. There was no door in history that
couldn't be opened in 'Voyagers'.
Others accompanied Bogg and
Jeffrey on time trips as well. Cleopatra of Egypt inadvertently stowed
away on a trip to 1920's New York. A retired Voyager decides to
accompany Bogg and Jeffrey on a trip, and a woman from the 1940's
accompany Bogg and Jeffrey to the old west while trying to help save
General Douglass MacArthur in World War II. There was also a female
Voyager named Olivia whom Bogg and Jeffrey met who was trying to get the
Mona Lisa back before it went down with the Titanic.
There were also moral quandaries
that the Voyagers had to endure in regards to time travel. For Bogg it
involved falling in love with a woman who was to marry Alexander Graham
Bell and ensure the invention of the telephone (a nightmare to parents
of teenage girls everywhere). For Jeffrey it involved whether or not he
should stop the Titanic disaster and save the lives of everyone on
board. In the end they realized they had to ensure history runs its
course, usually with one reminding the other of a Voyager's duty.
It is not known why history needs
to go the way we as the audience remember it, or what causes history to
go wrong. One cause we are introduced to is a renegade Voyager named
Drake (played by Steven Liska) who had his own agenda for history and
puts Bogg on trial for trumped up charges of violating the Voyager code.
In this episode entitled 'The Trial of Phineas Bogg' we saw a glimpse of
the futuristic world of the Voyagers. It also establishes Drake as a
villainous foil who now seeks to mess up history for revenge. We see
Drake one time try to stop reporter Nellie Bly from completing her trip
around the world, as well as keep Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from telling
more stories of Sherlock Holmes, by masquerading as Jack the Ripper. A
plan foiled by Bogg and Jeffrey.
Voyagers aired on Sundays at
7PM. However not all of NBC's affiliates aired the program, which
probably contributed to low ratings. One affiliate aired in its place
the syndicated Lawrence Welk show in the place of Voyagers. At any
rate, Voyagers only lasted one season of 20 episodes before the
series was cancelled.
Meeno Peluce did a few more roles
before fading into obscurity. Hexum, however, would not be so fortunate.
Hexum was tapped for a starring role on the 1984 CBS series 'Cover Up'.
During production, one episode being filmed ran into production delays
to the point where Hexum was getting frustrated. As a joke, he picked up
the gun he was going to use in the scene (a .357 Magnum revolver) and
held it to his head, pretending to blow his brains out. The gun, loaded
with blanks, went off. The concussion of the shot fractured his skull and
caused significant brain damage. After being taken
off life support, Jon-Erik Hexum died October 18, 1984, a promising
career cut short. CBS aired the completed episodes, attempting to
continue the series without Hexum, but the show failed.
Voyagers would see a brief
resurgence in syndication due to the arrival of new UHF stations in the
mid to late 80's that were looking to air new programming. These
stations would become the platform for new networks like FOX, the WB and UPN.
Written by JSC1