One in this series of dramas about the investigations undertaken by staff members of Howard Publications, a Los Angeles-based publishing empire run by Glenn Howard. While recording a memo to the president concerning an ecological conference, Glenn passes out behind the wheel of his car, awakening in a desolate smoke-filled landscape being carried off by ambulance workers in gas masks. He is shuffled around until he is put in the office of Cameron, a police psychiatrist. He soon discovers that he has somehow traveled into the future, the year 2017, in a version of Los Angeles that exists largely as an underground community. He is then taken to meet with Dane Bigelow, the Vice President in charge of Los Angeles. Dane's investigation confirms that Glenn is from the year 1971, and suspects that a "time warp" of some sort brought him into the future. He then elaborates on how the world has changed: a mass death of algae in the Indian Ocean caused poisonous gas to be released into the atmosphere, killing thousands and interrupting the earth's oxygen cycle. Attempts to clean the algae only further polluted the atmosphere, and numerous other ecological and biological disasters contributed to the current state of the world, with a global human population of perhaps three million people. Corporations have assumed governmental control, acting as the heads of a "shareholder's democracy." The chairman of the company that owns the United States, Walt, speaks with Glenn and informs him that the United States is at war with England. He hopes to incorporate Glenn into the "management" of the United States. Dane sets Glenn up with a room for the night and assigns his secretary Sandrell to accompany him. On the way they witness a man being apprehended by the "doctors," the police of Los Angeles, and Glenn takes in the gloomy subterranean surroundings. Sandrell shows him his room and reveals that everyone is constantly monitored. She also shows him a "chapel" filled with computer terminals. Later they go to Glenn's place for dinner and Glenn meets his family. Dane has recreated the home he once had on the surface, complete with an image of the Los Angeles skyline and an artificially-controlled environment. Dane turns morose when his fish dies; his wife Helen reveals to Glenn that Dane possessed one of the few aquariums left in the country. Glenn also discovers that Dane has access to milk, a rarity not found amongst the general public. Dane tells Glenn that corporate management wants to start Glenn's magazine up again for the purpose of reinforcing the current government and to eliminate the "psychological scars" left over from the relocation underground. Glenn says he'll think about it; Dane has Sandrell show him more of the city. In a place reserved for the elderly, called "discards," Sandrell attempts to speak in private with Glenn. She reveals that she was made Dane's secretary and sterilized because she served as a "companion" to him and he didn't want an "illegal child." She also reveals the harsh living conditions of the underground Los Angeles, such as overcrowding, disease, and dangerous working conditions. They realize they are still being monitored and Sandrell offers to go back to Glenn's apartment with him, saying she knows a way to short-circuit the security cameras. They kiss and leave together. Glenn discovers more aspects of the future society, such as the "genetic screening" used as a system of eugenic population control, and the separation of all children from their birth parents. He finds a man he knew from 1971 named Bergman, now aged, broken, and kept in a mental institution. He discusses more of the disasters that befell the surface over the years, and how his family was butchered during a famine, also revealing that industrial plants are still running on the surface, further polluting the planet. Bergman is kept alive so that he can be interrogated through the use of chemicals for his scientific knowledge. Sandrell takes Glenn to see Dane; on the way a bank is blown up by the resistance movement which opposes the government. Glenn confronts Dane over the totalitarian nature of Los Angeles. Dane explains that many had to be sacrificed for the sake of survival, and that all the atrocities of the government are necessary for that survival. Glenn vows to fight against Dane and everything he represents, and then leaves. Sandrell tries to get him to take her with him, but he does not. Dane arranges for Sandrell's death, making it look like another attack by the resistance. A "doctor" comes to assassinate Glenn, but he is saved by the resistance, who spirit him out of Los Angeles and into a temporary headquarters in an abandoned office building. They plan to take him to one of the communities they have established in the desert, where they plot against Dane and the government. They also inform Glenn of Sandrell's death, and he is upset that the resistance uses violence to achieve its means. However, Dane arrives and his security forces arrest the resistance leaders. He reveals that he allowed Glenn to escape so that they could root out the resistance. Before Glenn can be taken back to Los Angeles, he uses a spray weapon to hold Dane at bay and escape onto the road in an ambulance. The police pursue under orders from Walt; Dane is now considered expendable. The police disable the ambulance and Glenn tries to flee on foot. Just as it seems he is about to be killed by the police, Glenn finds himself back in 1971, sitting at the wheel of his car. The episode ends as Glenn pulls his car out from the side of the road and drives off, listening to the recording he made just before his experiences in 2017. Includes commercials.


  • DATE: January 15, 1971 Friday 8:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:20:08
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T86:0175
  • GENRE: Drama, fantasy/science fiction
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, fantasy/science fiction
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1968-1971
  • COMMERCIALS: TV – Commercials – Arm & Hammer baking soda^TV – Commercials – McDonald's restaurants^TV – Commercials – Purina cat food^TV – Commercials – Pepto-Bismol digestive aid^TV – Commercials – Oldsmobile automobiles^TV – Commercials – Dial soap^TV – Commercials – Johnson's foot spray powder


  • Richard Irving … Executive Producer
  • Dean Hargrove … Producer
  • Steven Spielberg … Director
  • Philip Wylie … Writer
  • Billy Goldenberg (See also: William Goldenberg) … Music by
  • Robert Prince … Music by
  • David Grusin … Theme Music by
  • Gene Barry … Cast, Glenn Howard
  • Barry Sullivan … Cast, Dane Bigelow
  • Edmond O'Brien … Cast, Bergman
  • Severn Darden … Cast, Cameron
  • Sharon Farrell … Cast, Sandrell
  • Paul Stewart … Cast, Dr. Rubas
  • Louise Latham … Cast, Helen Bigelow
  • Regis J. Cordig … Cast, Chairman
  • Michael C. Gwynne … Cast, Dr. Parker
  • Gloria Manon … Cast, Dr. Arnold
  • Jason Wingreen … Cast, Hammond
  • Stuart Nisbet … Cast, Dr. Simmons
  • Geoffrey Lewis … Cast, Bates
  • Phil Montgomery … Cast, Keeger
  • Alicia Bond … Cast, Dr. Barton
  • Sarah Lord … Cast, Technician
  • Stephen Louis Karpf … Cast, Karpf
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