The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
13 user 1 critic

No Time Like the Past 

A scientist attempts to use a time machine to prevent tragedies, both in world history and in his own past.


Justus Addiss


Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Dana Andrews ... Paul Driscoll
Patricia Breslin ... Abigail Sloan
Malcolm Atterbury ... Prof. Eliot
Robert Cornthwaite ... Hanford
John Zaremba ... Horn Player
C. Lindsay Workman ... Bartender (as Lindsay Workman)
Marjorie Bennett ... Mrs. Chamberlain
Tudor Owen ... Captain of Lusitania
James Yagi James Yagi ... Japanese Police Captain
Robert F. Simon ... Harvey
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage)


Paul Driscoll doesn't much like the way the 20th century has developed thus far and decides to go back in time to change mankind's future. He first travels to Hiroshima and tries to warn an English-speaking policeman of what is to come, but to no avail. He then travels to Nazi Germany and attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler but is thwarted when his rifle misfires. He then finds himself aboard the Lusitania but again is unable to convince the ship's captain to alter course before it is torpedoed. When he returns to the present, he agrees with his colleague Harvey that the past cannot be changed. He still doesn't like the present and so decides to back to July 1881 and live his life in the small town of Homeville, Indiana. Unfortunately he learns yet again that past events cannot be changed. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »





English | German | Japanese

Release Date:

7 March 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

No Time Like the Past See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The lecture the protagonist gives to the know-it-all, about overly-opinionated men who never fought in a war backing war, is what much of Rod Serling's next series, The Loner (1965), is about. See more »


When the submarine fires the torpedo, the wire that supports it & guides its path can clearly be seen protruding from the front of the submarine model. See more »


Paul Driscoll: We live in a cesspool, a septic tank, a gigantic sewage complex in which runs the dregs, the filth, the misery-laden slop of the race of men: his hatred, prejudices, passions, and violence. And the keeper of this sewer: man. He is a scientifically advanced monkey who walks upright, with eyes wide open into an abyss of his own making. His bombs, fallout, poisons, radioactivity everything he designs as an art for dying is his excuse for living. We live in an exquisite bedlam an insanity. Maybe ...
See more »


Referenced in The Twilight Zone: Cradle of Darkness (2002) See more »


Columbia, The Gem Of The Ocean
Written by David T. Shaw
Sung by the school children
See more »

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User Reviews

History Cannot Be Changed
3 November 2014 | by AaronCapenBannerSee all my reviews

Dana Andrews stars as a time-traveling scientist named Paul Driscoll who decides he can no longer stand his present, which he finds disappointing, so decides to alter three key events in history; first to warn Hiroshima victims that they are doomed, second to kill Adolph Hitler with a rifle, and third to prevent the sinking of the Lusitania, but all attempts fail, so Driscoll instead goes back to 1881 Indiana to settle down, but will yet again learn a most personal history lesson... Partially misguided drama wastes time on three futile attempts to change history(obvious padding) until the narrative picks up in Indiana, which is interesting and well-written, especially the dinner-time speech about planting one's flag. Uneven and overlong, but still entertaining.

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