How Far Back Can I Throw You?

 

TTunnelTime Tunnel was a cheesy Irwin Allen science fiction show about a government project to facilitate time travel that ran for one season on ABC in the late 1960’s,* starring James Darren, Robert Colbert, and former Miss America Lee Meriwether. There was a lot of historical inaccuracies in episodes set in the past and a lot of people wrapped up in aluminum foil for shows set in the future. Of course, our protagonists seemed to be able to function highly anywhere and in any time.

If, by mechanical means or the power of angels, how far back into the past do you think you could be thrown back and still survive? Could you hunt for food and build shelter in the 1850’s? Would your children even know how to operate a phone in the 1940’s? Could you find work or would you create it? Good Lord, what would you do without the Internet!?

Send me back far enough and I could pass as a doctor, my 21st Century layman’s knowledge would surpass that of many professionals in the 19th. Put me at the dawn of network radio and I could become the stuff legends are made of.

*Many things ran for only one season on ABC in those days. The standard joke was that the best way to end the war in Vietnam was to put it on ABC – it would get cancelled in 13 weeks.

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  1. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    If it’s the 1800’s, I’ll invent the Egg McMuffin, except I’ll put it on a biscuit.  Once I have steady income, I’ll start working on the zipper in my spare time.  (This came up in the PIT months ago, so my answer was all ready.)

    • #1
  2. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    I would not survive in any time period before mascara. So don’t send me because I won’t go.

    • #2
  3. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    I couldn’t live without hot running water.  So, about 1890 is the earliest I’d be willing to go.

    Edit: As long as I get to hob-knob with the rich folk.  They had hot water.

    • #3
  4. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    I would struggle with any time prior to last week.

    But before anybody volunteers to get in the WaBac Machine – just think these two words: modern dentistry.

    • #4
  5. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    anonymous:If I found myself transported back to any time since, say, 1920, with all of my existing knowledge, I’d be able to amass an enormous fortune simply by knowing which stocks to buy and hold and when to sell. Knowledge of technologies not yet developed would amplify this effect, especially after one had amassed sufficient capital to make seed investments in them.

    There is a 2013 paper by Robert J. Nemiroff and Teresa Wilson, “Searching the Internet for Evidence of Time Travelers” which describes a search for prescient tweets and searches which might be made by time travelers from the future.

    If transported thirty years in the future, I fear I wouldn’t survive long because I’d lack the essential skill of digging for grubs with a blunt stick.

    So then, I guess we mark John down in the Pessimistic View of the Future column.

    • #5
  6. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I think I could go back as far 1970 but I’d have to do some research on what people did at work before Ricochet.

    • #6
  7. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Casey:I think I could go back as far 1970 but I’d have to do some research on what people did at work before Ricochet.

    Hahaha! They read paperbacks under their desks.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Songwriter: So then, I guess we mark John down in the Pessimistic View of the Future column.

    John’s an optimist.

    • #8
  9. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Let me recommend a book on this subject that I frankly love, I reread it every so often because it fires my imagination. Replay by Ken Grimwood. It was written in the late 80’s , it’s Oct 1988, the 43 year old main character, unhappy with life , job and other things, drops dead at his desk while talking to his wife on the phone. He wakes up in 1963 as a college student and knows everything that’s going to happen for the next 25 years. It’s amazing how easy it is for someone to get rich with just the average person’s knowledge of sports and stocks and such. After reliving the 25 years , Oct 88 rolls around and it happens again and again.  It might work especially well for me because the character and I are approximately the same age.

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Rightfromthestart: It was written in the late 80’s , it’s Oct 1988, the 43 year old main character, unhappy with life , job and other things, drops dead at his desk while talking to his wife on the phone. He wakes up in 1963 as a college student and knows everything that’s going to happen for the next 25 years.

    “Time and Time Again” by H. Beam Piper, first published in 1947.

    • #10
  11. John Seymour Member
    John Seymour
    @

    EJHill: Of course, our protagonists seemed to be able to function highly anywhere and in any time.

    Of course it helped that everyone spoke modern English wherever they went – Troy, who knew?  I liked this show when it was on.  I know, I had the judgment of an 8 year old.

    • #11
  12. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Time travel is happening all around us!
    Justin Timberlake, you are busted:TT 1

    Jay Z, you are busted too:

    TT 2

    This portrait of Mark Zuckerberg from 1544 reportedly has the initials FB on it somewhere. Zuckerberg you are busted:

    TT3

    • #12
  13. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    EJ,

    Check out the book 1632 by Eric Flint.  It’s about what happens when a West Virginia town of about 3,000 souls circa 2000 A.D., are sent lock, stock and barrel back through time and space to Germany in… 1632.  Anachronisms ensue.  It’s a heck of a fun read.

    • #13
  14. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    I could probably survive in the Roman empire as long as I could bring my tooth brush.

    I would prefer to go back to the fall of the empire, that way I could learn how to survive the next 20 years in America when I came back to present day.

    • #14
  15. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    RightAngles:Time travel is happening all around us!
    Justin Timberlake, you are busted:TT 1

    Jay Z, you are busted too:

    TT 2

    This portrait of Mark Zuckerberg from 1544 reportedly has the initials FB on it somewhere. Zuckerberg you are busted:

    TT3

    Wow.  These resemblances are really amazing.

    • #15
  16. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    If I took the collected works of Shakespeare with me back to when he was a teenager, and handed them to him to save him the effort of writing them, who would have written them?

    • #16
  17. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Man With the Axe:If I took the collected works of Shakespeare with me back to when he was a teenager, and handed them to him to save him the effort of writing them, who would have written them?

    Sir Francis Bacon, just like the first time.

    • #17
  18. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    Man With the Axe:If I took the collected works of Shakespeare with me back to when he was a teenager, and handed them to him to save him the effort of writing them, who would have written them?

    “My Lord Edward, Earl of Oxford; seventh of that name and seventh in degree from the English crown!”

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I’d head on back to the Middle Ages and set up shop manufacturing steel where there’s a sufficient quantity of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

    • #19
  20. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Historical doppelgängers. Google it and find out that Nicolas Cage is trapped in a never ending time warp.

    (And that Alec Baldwin WAS Millard Fillmore)

    • #20
  21. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    Percival:I’d head on back to the Middle Ages and set up shop manufacturing steel where there’s a sufficient quantity of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

    Oooo, you better take a can of Raid and some d-Con.  The Black Death might put a damper on your plans.  Just sayin’.

    • #21
  22. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Yudansha:

    Percival:I’d head on back to the Middle Ages and set up shop manufacturing steel where there’s a sufficient quantity of iron ore, coal, and limestone.

    Oooo, you better take a can of Raid and some d-Con. The Black Death might put a damper on your plans. Just sayin’.

    I was going to breed cats too. Big ornery ones.

    • #22
  23. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Even 50 years ago you’d be at risk of contracting diseases you have little-to-no immunity for.

    You can get a vaccine before you head down to the Caribbean on vacation. It would be harder to get a vaccine for pathogens that only exist in the past.

    • #23
  24. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Can I go back and trip Sid Bream as he rounded third?

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    ilewisp001p1

    Johnny Depp, busted.

    • #25
  26. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    When I was in my early teens my personal dream was to get thrown back to the mid-1700s and the Age of Fighting Sail. I thought it would be so cool to be an officer aboard a frigate or sloop-of-war.

    Then, at age 17 I got stabbed, and my lung was punctured in the fight. They patched me up quickly, and I was in no real danger of dying thanks to 1970s medicine. But as I lay in a hospital bed, recovering and reading the latest Alexander Kent sea saga it occurred to me that had I received that injury at age 17 in, say 1773 – two centuries earlier – it would have been fatal. Perhaps not immediately, but eventually and painfully. It cured me of any desire to get stuck in a past prior to . . . oh . . . 1880, and really anytime before 1920.

    The age of fighting sail is fun to read about and write about, but visiting it? Fuggetaboutit.

    Seawriter

    • #26
  27. HeartofAmerica Inactive
    HeartofAmerica
    @HeartofAmerica

    First of all, might I be allowed go squirrel here and shout Moon Doggie? Oh my gosh, Time Tunnel. Hadn’t thought about that show in ages. I had such a crush on James Darren back then.

    Now back to the question at hand. I think I could survive in a late 1800’s situation. New inventions were coming with electricity and the telephone soon at hand, although not widespread for some time. Medical advances had at least, moved physicians beyond blood-letting, but would assume that a typical person had an increased chance of living to their early 60’s.

    • #27
  28. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Seawriter:When I was in my early teens my personal dream was to get thrown back to the mid-1700s and the Age of Fighting Sail. I thought it would be so cool to be an officer aboard a frigate or sloop-of-war.

    Then, at age 17 I got stabbed, and my lung was punctured in the fight. They patched me up quickly, and I was in no real danger of dying thanks to 1970s medicine. But as I lay in a hospital bed, recovering and reading the latest Alexander Kent sea saga it occurred to me that had I received that injury at age 17 in, say 1773 – two centuries earlier – it would have been fatal. Perhaps not immediately, but eventually and painfully. It cured me of any desire to get stuck in a past prior to . . . oh . . . 1880, and really anytime before 1920.

    The age of fighting sail is fun to read about and write about, but visiting it? Fuggetaboutit.

    Seawriter

    And I’d have died of appendicitis at age 21.

    • #28
  29. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Turkish revolutionary Mahir Cayan and Jimmy Fallon

    TT TUrkish revolutionary Mahir Cayan tt4

    tt5

    tt mj

    • #29
  30. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Oh, and we can’t forget anonymous, busted!

    • #30

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