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Review: Timequest

I've never heard of this film but it sounds intriguing if a little too optimistic about US politics - would RFK really dare to put a surviving Martin Luther King (presumably controversial to white swing voters in the Southern states, given their real life conservatism and desertion of the liberalising Democrats ) on the ticket as his Vice-President unless he was way ahead of any potential Republican challenger in the polls at the point of nomination? (Appointing him to replace a retired or deceased incumbent Vice-President might however be logical if there was a large enough registration of black Southern voters under a RFK presidency to balance the loss of whites to the Republicans.) Obviously there is a degree of 'Camelot' mythology in this, but - as with novels I've read on an alternative 22 Nov 1963, one called 'Promises to Keep' where one of the President's protection team in Dallas does an 'Oliver Stone' style investigation after the President is hit but not killed - there is a tendency to downplay JFK's at times hard-nosed pragmatism/ caution and the extent of his family's past political secrets in wheeler-dealing Boston politics.

Ralph Waite is the intriguing name in the film; I take it that this is the US actor who appeared in the long-running Depression Era/ WW2 'poor rural Virginia family saga' 1970s TV series 'The Waltons', as Pa Walton? This used to be one of my favourites during its 1970s-80s run, representing a family story of 'ordinary' people from a rural working-class background struggling to make a living in contrast to the usual run of greedy and high-living tycoons like the Ewings in 1970s - 1980s US drama series. RW played the head of the family, who ran a smallholding and sawmill, with veteran ex-labour activist and friend of Woody Guthrie Will Geer as the elderly grandfather, strict but caring Baptist 'social worker' mother and elderly grandmother, a few regular (and non-parodic but ordinary) black as well as white characters, and an assortment of up and coming teenage actors as the 7 Walton children. It even had one storyline with a sympathetic Native American visitor coming to look at his ancestors' ancient land and referencing the expulsions of the indigenous pre-European population - daring for the 1970s and my first encounter with this. It's perhaps a reminder that US successful 'straight' (as opposed to sitcom) family drama was once less focussed on the rich.

Despite the soapy storylines and sporadic (and much mocked) schmaltz plus over-dramatic accidents and cliffhangers it was basically 'realistic' TV and full of the 'little people' not the metropolitan political/ lawyer elites: and it created its own cult of fans who had regular tours of the filming sites and meet-ups with the actors.
 

M_Kresal

I am nerd, hear me bore.
Published by SLP
Location
North Alabama
I've never heard of this film but it sounds intriguing if a little too optimistic about US politics - would RFK really dare to put a surviving Martin Luther King (presumably controversial to white swing voters in the Southern states, given their real life conservatism and desertion of the liberalising Democrats ) on the ticket as his Vice-President unless he was way ahead of any potential Republican challenger in the polls at the point of nomination? (Appointing him to replace a retired or deceased incumbent Vice-President might however be logical if there was a large enough registration of black Southern voters under a RFK presidency to balance the loss of whites to the Republicans.) Obviously there is a degree of 'Camelot' mythology in this, but - as with novels I've read on an alternative 22 Nov 1963, one called 'Promises to Keep' where one of the President's protection team in Dallas does an 'Oliver Stone' style investigation after the President is hit but not killed - there is a tendency to downplay JFK's at times hard-nosed pragmatism/ caution and the extent of his family's past political secrets in wheeler-dealing Boston politics.

Yeah, having MLK as VP is one of more egregious pieces of trinketization the movie gets up to. Especially considering that you don't get the RFK who might have done that without the assassination. Indeed, you don't get the RFK of 1968, which is the one Timequest evokes, without the emotional fallout and physical journeys he went on. Incidentally, Promises to Keep is on my to-read list for future reviewing.

JFK Lives AH seems to have got more cynical than this, I wonder when that started and the starry-eyed optimistism dropped?
Not that Wikipedia's list is exactly exhaustive, but it's a trope that's been in place since at least the 1980s. It's not hard for me to imagine Timequest as a reaction against that the idea, which pops up even in things like the eighties Twilight Zone segment Profile in Silver (which shares some vague plot similarities with Timequest), Red Dwarf's Tikka to Ride, and briefly in the Doctor Who novel Who Killed Kennedy.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Not that Wikipedia's list is exactly exhaustive, but it's a trope that's been in place since at least the 1980s. It's not hard for me to imagine Timequest as a reaction against that the idea, which pops up even in things like the eighties Twilight Zone segment Profile in Silver (which shares some vague plot similarities with Timequest), Red Dwarf's Tikka to Ride, and briefly in the Doctor Who novel Who Killed Kennedy.
Interesting that all three of those go with "Kennedy living causes the apocalypse" and our timeline is someone's heroic sacrifice, so it still upholds the Camelot mythos to some extent - he's rarely just Some Dude in them. Kim Newman's Dark Futures for Games Workshop had JFK caught having an affair and loses the election in 1960 so he's an unknown, that's a grubby cynical thing, but that still inherently agrees with Camelot because Kennedy being out and Nixon in is how you get the Dark Future.
 
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