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Time Express
Doctor's Wife (26 April 1979)

Appearing as Dr. Mark Tolen

Broadcast 26 April 1979 on the CBS television network.

Dr. Mark Tolen's wife of only a year, Olivia (Pamela Toll), is dying of leukemia. When her doctor tells Mark that a bone marrow transplant could save his wife, Mark is overjoyed. All he has to do is get one of her parents to make a donation.

Then comes the devastating news that Olivia is adopted, a fact her adoptive parents never divulged to anyone, even Olivia, and that the records of her adoption were burned in a fire 20 years earlier. Although her adoptive parents knew of an older brother, there is no way to trace him and no other known biological relative.

It appears that Olivia's leukemia will win in this tragic race, and Mark will lose his beloved wife.

Then a mysterious summons arrives for Mark: a package containing a ticket on the Time Express and instructions to present himself at the train station.

Willing to grasp at any straw to save his wife, no matter how illogical or far-fetched, Mark speeds off to station. Upon boarding the train, he is greeted by Jason (Vincent Price) and Margaret Winters (Coral Browne), his hosts.

There it is explained to him that he has been chosen by the Head of the Line as deserving of a chance to alter the past, and thus perhaps change the future as well. He finds himself travelling via the magical Time Express in both time and location to 1967 St. Louis, and the orphanage from which Olivia was adopted. The fire which destroyed her records -- and those of her unknown brother -- has not yet occurred.

When Mark approaches the Mother Superior with his outlandish tale of time travel and future death and asks her to take him on faith, giving him access to the records, he is soundly rebuffed. Unwilling to give up, he waits until the nuns go to lunch, and then tries to break into the files. Unfortunately, young Sister Allison catches him in the act. Luckily, though, she chooses to believe his story, citing her religious instruction in the existence of miracles, and tells him the name of the brother's adoptive family.

Mark reboards the Time Express, stopping next in present-day Phoenix. There he tracks down and meets with Olivia's brother, John Clayton (John de Lancie). Fearful of the potential health risk involved, especially after learning he is about to become a first-time father, Mark's hopes are dashed when John refuses to donate bone marrow to a sister he's never even met.

Returning to Olivia's hospital room, a tearful and dejected Mark tells Olivia of the failure of his mission. As they console each other and promise to make the most of what little time remains to them, they are interrupted by a knock on the door.

It's John, who ruefully explains that on second thought he simply cannot be responsible for bringing one life into the world while intentionally doing nothing to prevent the loss of another. Smiles wreathing their faces, brother and sister embrace, a beaming Mark looking on.

Special Note: No, it's not your browser or your monitor; the images presented on this page really are fuzzy. Due to the scarce availability of this program on video, we've had to make do with a less than perfect copy; however, we thought fans unable to view any version of this program would appreciate even low quality images rather than nothing at all. Therefore, we've cleaned up the images as best we can and present them here for your viewing pleasure. If at some future date we are able to acquire a video with better picture quality, we'll update this page with better images.

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Jerry Stiller

James MacArthur, Pamela Toll

James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Pamela Toll

James MacArthur

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