While Sherwood Schwartz was best known for the cult hit comedy, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, during the 1966-67 TV season he had another show which was a quick flop that used the very same sets and props to save money. IT’S ABOUT TIME probably rates as one of the worst TV shows of all time. Airing for one season only, the show is about two astronauts who go back in time during their space mission and end up in prehistoric times, which in reality was the very same set used on GILLIGAN’S ISLAND.
Despite the casting of Joe E. Ross, who was a great comic actor and veteran of many good shows such as THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW and CAR 54 WHERE ARE YOU?, Ross just couldn’t save this absurdly badly scripted disaster, that really rates as his biggest flop performance ever. Even Imogene Coca, another great comic veteran actor, best known from Sid Caesar’s YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, was unable to rescue this show, which opened to good ratings at first, but quickly plunged into ratings hell as audiences quickly tired of the difficult to understand primitive attempts at English that Ross and Coca were forced to use for the show, limiting their effectiveness as great comic personalities. Further, there appeared to only be so many times that the astronauts could run away from dinosaurs chasing them, without audience boredom setting in. The show just had little going for it compared to GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, which was able to constantly impress with new script ideas, as well as new inventions from “The Professor”, etc.
In an effort to save the series, the show was hastily retooled in late January 1967 with a different premise that the astronauts now fix their spaceship and bring Gronk the caveman and his family back with them to modern times. But, this new sudden premise change didn’t help this show very much, and by April 2, 1967, the show was aired for the last time on CBS. The show is now virtually forgotten by most persons, and hardly aired as reruns ever again.
Unfortunately, for fans of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, IT’S ABOUT TIME just had too few of the same elements that made this show a success, going for it. And with the abrupt premise change into modern days as a last ditch attempt to save the show, Sherwood Schwartz seemed to be reaching for anything to save the show, but only really “jumped the shark” here. About the only thing that will missed from this old show is the unique comic personality of Joe E. Ross, best known for his trademark, Ooh!Ooh! exclamations. IT’S ABOUT TIME was a real flop, proving that even Sherwood Schwartz at times failed to entertain the audience, and at times was unable to spin pure crap into gold.