As long as I can remember I have been fascinated with the concept of time travel. One of my favorite episodes of the original The Twilight Zone is “A Hundred Yards Over The Rim.” Cliff Robertson plays Christian Horn, the leader of a wagon train that has been heading west from Ohio for 11 months and finds itself almost out of food and water in the New Mexico desert in 1847. Horn’s son is desperately ill. Determined not to turn back, Horn sets off alone in a desperate search for water and sustenance, which he tells himself he’ll find over the rim of a nearby hill.
Horn crosses the sandy rim and suddenly finds himself in 1961 New Mexico, not that he knows that at first. He is perplexed to see power lines, a hard black road, and a large truck coming at him, horn blaring. As the loud, fast-moving “monster with a face” zooms past the unnerved Horn, he stumbles, accidentally firing his rifle and grazing his arm. He winds up at a diner where he encounters three people, learns that it is 1961 and that his son becomes (became?) a prominent California physician who pioneers new treatments for childhood illnesses. Horn is convinced that it was his destiny to find modernity so his son can be saved and they can continue to California. Armed with a bottle of penicillin he scampers back to the rim chased by the people he met and a policeman. He returns to the wagon train knowing he has seen a glimpse of the future and knowing that his family will arrive safely in California. From his perspective he has been gone for hours, but from the perspective of the others in the wagon train he has been gone for minutes.
From imdb.com a still from the episode:
My brain has had numerous ideas for screenplays based on time travel. My extremely literal side, though, has always short-circuited any execution of these ideas. Let’s say, for example, that someone wanted to capitalize on modern amounts of wealth by going back in time when things were cheaper. Let’s say that they have the ability to travel through time. This person could have grandiose ideas on how to change the world or simply to become even more powerful. My brain then says: OK, but how does one use modern wealth in, say, 1870? Credit cards didn’t exist, modern currency is different and, besides, displays the issue/series date. Would they have to convert their modern wealth to gold and schlepp all of that gold back to the past? Do you see why it’s hell to live inside my brain?!
I don’t actually have the desire to travel too far in time. My fascination with the topic is more academic than anything else. For example, I think it would be deadly and frightening to travel 500 years into the future without the benefit of the knowledge that would exist then. By the same token, I think the vast majority of people in the developed world in the 21st century would be ill-equipped to live 500 years in the past.
I have written before about my interest in time travel and, not surprisingly, it was in the context of automobiles. If you don’t want to read the entire post linked here, I’ll show the “relevant” passage:
My OCD-addled and ADD-addled brain does a lot of daydreaming. One common theme is time travel. I would love to be able to take a modern ZL1 Camaro, or any other contemporary high-performance car, back 50 or 60 years and run it against a high performance car of that day. The GPS wouldn’t work and neither would my smartphone, but the car would be a revelation to people of 50 or 60 years ago. Not just in raw speed and power, but in handling, efficiency and reliability the modern car is just light years ahead of its ancestors.
My 2016 Corvette Z06, shown below, is simply in another league compared to a 1966 Corvette in terms of engineering. However, aesthetics can transcend time. I still think the C2 Corvette is the best-looking American car ever.
From Bring a Trailer a picture of a 1966 Corvette.
What do you dream about? To quote the movie Diner for the nth time, “If you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.”
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