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Between Time and Timbuktu


Original record date 2/9/72

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Between Time and Timbuktu
Program Description

This work is based on materials by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Stony Stevenson wins first prize in a space poetry competition and trains to become an astronaut. Newscasters track his progress as he travels through space and time in the Prometheus Five space ship. Mission control loses track of his movements, and he finds himself wandering from one bizarre situation to another. Elements of various Kurt Vonnegut stories are incorporated, and Stony finds himself on the island of San Lorenzo with the outlawed spiritual leader Bokonon, in a bizarre totalitarian courtroom, in a laboratory where the "Ice Nine" formula is being created, in a society where everyone's talents are equalized by government-imposed "handicaps," and in a suicide assistance "parlor." Finally, Stony meets a young girl on a fire engine, and she tells him he is in heaven. The parade that ensues is interrupted by the appearance of an Adolf Hitler figure who is supposed to represent death. He and Stony face off in a match that Stony pegs as "death against imagination" with Stony as the victor. In the final scene of the work, Stony finds himself back at his own grave on earth, where he is told that his space ship arrived at its destination, but his body was never found. Vonnegut's works were adapted for television by Fred Barzyk, David Loxton, and David Odell. David Atwood provided special effects, some of which appear to have used the Paik-Abe videosynthesizer.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “Between Time and Timbuktu,” 02/09/1972, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 11, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_28999234DBAC49DCAAAA4928419FF9D6.
MLA: “Between Time and Timbuktu.” 02/09/1972. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 11, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_28999234DBAC49DCAAAA4928419FF9D6>.
APA: Between Time and Timbuktu. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_28999234DBAC49DCAAAA4928419FF9D6
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