Kurt Vonnegut's Bizarre TV Movie, Between Time and Timbuktu

Check out a super-psychedelic clip from Between Time and Timbuktu, or Prometheus-5: A Space Fantasy, a 1972 PBS special written and created by Kurt Vonnegut. In which we experience the weirdness of the "Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum." Whoa.

This was Vonnegut's third and final film project, after the successful movie of Slaughterhouse-5 and the unsuccessful movie of his play Happy Birthday, Wanda June. In the preface to the printed script book of Between Time and Timbuktu,Vonnegut announces he is retiring from film, because it's too clanking and real a medium for him.


The Airship has a pretty good run-down of the TV movie's origins and its storyline, which follows Stony Stevenson, the first civilian in space, who journeys to reach the chronosynclastic infundibulum, a time warp which is described in Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan as a wormhole that allows you to exist in the past, present and future. You can see for yourself what that looks like in the clip above.

The whole thing is anchored by satirical fake news segments featuring comedians Bob and Ray:

And eventually the whole thing turns into a kind of mish-mash of several Vonnegut stories, as Airship explains:

Eventually, Stony reaches the chronosynclastic infundibulum, at which point he can experience multiple realities all at once. He zips from the island of San Lorenzo, where he encounters Bokonon and his followers from Cat's Cradle to a television studio in the far future, where he witnesses Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General, shoot down Harrison Bergeron with a shotgun for removing his state-mandated handicaps. Stony has no control as to where he lands, much like Billy Pilgrim in Slaughterhouse-5, who becomes "unstuck in time," and endures near-constant leaps through history without any warning.


Here's a glimpse of what that looks like:

Find out more at the link, including excerpts from the script and Vonnegut's introduction. [The Airship]


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