|Lynne Thigpen as "The Chief"|
|Owen Taylor as Engine Crew #1 (Yellow) (Season 1)|
Jamie Gustis as Engine Crew #1 (Yellow) (Season 2)
Alaine Kashian as Engine Crew #2 (Orange)
John Lathan as Engine Crew #3 (Red)
|WGBH Boston and WQED Pittsburgh|
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? was a short-lived, half-hour spinoff game show based on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, following the same theme but with several differences to the format, not to mention the set had been updated to a more futuristic look. The show starred Lynne Thigpen as "The Chief", Kevin Shinick as the "ACME Time Pilot Squadron Leader" and "The Engine Crew" as various informants.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 V.I.L.E. gang
- 3 Prizes
- 4 Production
- 5 Rating
- 6 Music
- 7 Inventor
- 8 Merchandise
- 9 Facts about the Engine Crew
- 10 Other Trivia
- 11 In popular culture
- 12 International Versions
- 13 Fundings
- 14 Broadcast history
- 15 Additional Pages
- 16 Links
A cold open scene was shown where Carmen is in her office deciding which henchman would be right to steal the artifact of the day. After the henchman reports to Carmen, she tells him/her to go to the location and year of the artifact of the day. In Season 1, the information is stored in an info beam. In Season 2, the information is stored in an orb. After Carmen sends the henchman off to said year and location, the Chief informs the audience that the henchman stole something from the past and they have 28 minutes to get it back or history will be changed forever. Then, she orders the engine crew to prepare the chronoskimmer and then get going. Following this, the Engine Crew performs the theme song in the opening credits. In Season 1, after the opening credits, the Chief introduced Kevin, as he made his entrance with his own salute, and went straight to the left of the Chronoskimmer, as he welcomed the viewers. In Season 2, after the opening credits, the Chief introduced Kevin, as he goofed around in his bedroom by doing a different activity, until the Chief announced him to do the show. The Chief said "Kevin?, KEVIN!". After the Chief announced him to do the show, Kevin would leave his bedroom, and went straight to the right of the Chronoskimmer, as he welcomed the viewers. Following this, he introduced three contestants ages 10-14, known as "Time Pilots", as they entered the Chronoskimmer's bridge.
The time pilots were given 100 Power Points to begin the game. The Chief then told them what was stolen and from what time it was stolen. In Season 2, the ship's Nano-Probes showed the time and place where Carmen sent her henchman, so the squadron warp-traveled through space, straight to the time of the crime. Once they got to their time target, the Chief would give them their briefing. Sometimes, the ship arrived upside-down or sideways, but would always right itself.
Various skits were performed. These skits gave clues to the location where the villain of the day went to, and were locked in to someone from the past, as well as the future. After the skit, three possible answers/locations were shown to the Time Pilots. They simultaneously chose their answers, and then told Kevin what they were. The viewer could see what the individual choices were (each was represented by an individual color (pink, green, or blue) and which choice the pilots made by looking at the lights in front of them, before they actually told their answer. Any pilot with the right answer scored 10 Power Points; otherwise, their score would still be the same.
At one point in the game, Carmen's henchman would provide a clue from the viewscreen; in Season 2, he/she would appear in front of the pilots in a projector tube, on the ACME Time Net Nano-Probe, and, if delivering a message to Carmen, which was also shown on the ACME Time Net Nano-Probe, on her monitor. The points in time visited followed the historical progression of the "seed" that was originally stolen and it was repeatedly emphasized that all the history traveled through was erased unless the artifact was returned. Therefore, the final point in time would always be the present or else very near. The typical course of the round would be as follows:
At two points during the game (one in Season 2), there was a Data Boost. The first one happened when the ship's Fact Fuel was low after warping to the time of the crime (used in Season 1 only); the second happened after Carmen's henchman attacked and damaged the ship or did strange things to engine crew, which was shown on the ACME Time Net Nano-Probe in Season 2. When such a situation arose, Kevin announced that the only fuel/solution was by activating the Data Boost. In Season 2, when the ship's Engine Crew reported what was going on, they would tell Kevin, "Better do a Data Boost!" (Ex: the time-probes launcher malfunctioning, the Engine Crew being teleported to Times Square, engine problems, etc.)
Kevin asked questions about a given subject and gave the pilots a choice of two or three answers for example, "Bill Cullen: game show host or pilot?". The first pilot to buzz in with the right answer scored 5 Power Points; if they were incorrect, they would lose 5 Power Points. The example above, however, is a trick question - Cullen flew airplanes and even owned an airport briefly during his career as a game show host. If such a question were used, however, the answer accepted as correct would be "game show host".
Several questions like this were asked according to time. As Kevin said with a salute, "All our fact fuel/data is verified by (ding) Encyclopædia Britannica!"
Click here for a full list of the sketches used on Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
One of the sketches in Season 2 had the Chronoskimmer being pulled into a parallel universe, which seemed to be quite similar to Star Trek’s Mirror Universe. There, ACME was evil and V.I.L.E. was good. On at least one occasion, a future Kevin would give clues to himself three episodes in the past (the current episode). The fictional pilots in the future episode usually had scores in the 500s or higher, though the highest possible score was 260. Other skits included:
- Cluefinder – The Cluefinder was an alarm identifying a clue, whereupon a historical figure or object appeared aboard the Chronoskimmer to reveal more clues.
- V.I.L.E. Villain – The show's villain was shown revealing a clue; ostensibly against his or her intention. When this happened, Kevin often exclaimed, "We're losing communications!", if the villain was taking over the ship. On other occasions, the ship's nano-probes filmed the villain reporting to Carmen, still giving the clue to the pilots (this was called a Nano Probe Intercept, and was similar to the Phone Tap from World).
- Omnicia – On occasion, Kevin would run out of clues and ask the Chief to contact the spiritual informant known as Omnicia.
- Engine Crew's Clues – The Engine Crew sang the clues of the year from the Engine Room. On other occasions, the Engine Crew were in the Chronoskimmer's cafeteria and talking with Libby the Cafeteria Robot (played by Lynn Thigpen).
- Intruder Alert – The Intruder Alert alarm alerted Kevin to an intruder in his bedroom. When he got there, he found his mother that gave him info about a specific point in Kevin's life.
- Millenia – "The world's oldest woman" (played by Lynn Thigpen), she ostensibly had been around for almost everything.
- Elephant Guy – A businessman being chased by an elephant (played by Owen Taylor) gave clues to the time pilots.
- The Unknown Explorer – An old bearded sailor riding on a float (played by John Lathan) provided a clue.
- ACME Street Entertainers – Three street entertainers (portrayed by The Engine Crew) performed in front of some of the studio audience members and gave out a clue.
- Molecular Generator Clue – Kevin found clues inside the Chronoskimmer's Molecular Generator.
- TIMENET Weather Report – A weather woman with a southern accent (played by Alaine Kashian) gave clues during her weather report.
After one skit was performed, the Global Pursuit round was played (in Season 2, this replaced the second regular Data Boost). This was based on "The Chase" round from World, for a series of questions with three possible answers (all places in the world) were asked. Only one pilot could buzz in, for 5 Power Points, up or down. In some episodes, this came before the Data Boost.
Ultimate Data Boost
This series of questions were the final ones for the round. For the end of Round 1, the squadron had to make one last jump through time. To do that, they needed all the Fact Fuel to generate, by answering this final round of questions. This was similar to a normal Data Boost, except the questions were worth double (10 Power Points), and again, several questions were asked according to time.
The two pilots with the highest score advanced to Round 2, and the 3rd-place pilot would be eliminated, but would receive the official ACME Time Net Mission Pack. In case of a tie for second place, Kevin would ask a question about a famous person or place. The first person to buzz in with the right answer advanced to Round 2. Like in World, the last clue, if needed, would contain the correct answer.
Afterwards, in Season 2, the eliminated pilot waved goodbye to the pilots as they went back to Time Net Command (the present) via the teleporter, with Kevin and the other two pilots doing the same.
Round 2: The Chronological Order Game
With Kevin on command, the two remaining pilots warped to the present day (or near-present day), where they had to activate the Loot Tractor Beam to bring back the stolen artifact away from the day's villain and make him/her upset (this was shown in the ACME Time Net Nano-Probe in Season 2), and place it safely on board. The Cybersphere that the loot was in could be seen glowing in the center of the big HyperSpin wheel in the engine room.
The Chief then listed eight events, related to the artifact that was stolen. The events appeared on a board, and the pilot leading after Round 1 had the option of who would go first. If there was a tie between the pilots, a coin toss was decided who would choose (the coin toss was shown on camera in Season 2). Whoever went first had to list the eight events in reverse chronological order (thus, starting with the most recent event, and finishing with the least recent event). As long as the current pilot continued to list events in chronological order, they could continue playing. If the pilot chose an event that broke chronological order or took too long, that pilot’s turn ended, and the opponent had to start again from the beginning.
The first pilot to successfully list all eight events in reverse chronological order saved history, retrieved the artifact (in Season 2, the pilot activated a transporter to automatically transport the loot back from whence it was stolen), won the game, and played the Final Round to catch Carmen, and the villain of the day, while the eliminated pilot was sent to the teleporter and back to the present day, along with the Time Net Mission Pack and a portable CD player.
Final Round: Trail of Time
In Season 1, the Chief told Kevin and the pilot to go to the escape pod, and head for the final round to capture the day's villain, as he warned, "Look out, Carmen!, we're on our way!". In Season 2, Kevin and the pilot would go to the escape pod to capture the day's villain, with Kevin saying, "Look out, Carmen, we're on our way!". This was followed by the Engine Crew performing the show's theme song. On some episodes of the first season, the theme song was edited, and the villains sang the end part, used in Season 1 only. In Season 2, when the pilot headed for the Trail of Time, the ending was normal. Then, everyone would race across the studio to the starting point of the final round.
The pilot (with a bicycle helmet on in Season 1) had 90 seconds to pass through six "Time Portals" by answering a historical question on each gate posed by Carmen herself on the Trail of Time, which went from the past to the 20th Century.
The Engine Crew always guided the pilot to the appropriate portal using hand signals; in Season 2, the portal flashed to help them. All questions were dual-choice and related to the artifact that was stolen; on several occasions, each question used up six seconds of the player's time to ask.
Following the Engine Crew's directions, the pilot ran to the first gate and pressed a button to activate the question. If the pilot answered correctly, the gate opened automatically. If the pilot answered incorrectly, he/she would have to operate a device, such as pulling a rope, and turning a wheel, to manually open the gate. He/She then ran to the next gate and the process was repeated. After the first two or three portals, the pilot captured the villain of the day, who stole the artifact from the beginning of the show.
If the pilot could get through all six portals before time ran out, they energized the Capture Crystal, took it over, and placed it in the Chronolock Chamber at the edge of the studio, catching Carmen Sandiego and winning a new multimedia computer system, a one-year subscription of Brittanica Online and a Brittanica CD-Rom Encyclopedia. If the pilot failed, Carmen escaped, and the pilot would win a 32-volume set of Encyclopædia Britannica, and a portable music system with a collection of music. In Season 2, the encyclopedias were replaced with a Time Net mission pack.
The set looked slightly confusing, and required the engine crew and stage hands to be on-stage to wave the contestant to the next portal by using airport-style marshaling wands. Despite this, contestants would occasionally arrive at the wrong gate, wasting precious time. It should be noted that almost all contestants getting five out of six questions right won, and contestants answering four correctly could complete the run if they operated the gate devices rapidly enough. Some contestants got a perfect score.
In Season 1, Carmen was captured in a spherical cage with a clock in the background; in Season 2, she was captured in a Capture Crystal.
At the end of the show, Kevin, the pilot, and the Engine Crew get ready to head back to the present day by saying, "At ACME Time Net, history is our job; and the future is yours!". Then, they all went back to the present day. And then, the show's theme song played over various angles of the empty set as the credits rolled, used in Season 1 only. In Season 2, the Engine Crew was seen on the Trail of Time set, dancing, and performing the show's theme song as the credits rolled. After the credits finished rolling, the viewer would see various angles of the empty set.
Other than playing the Engine Crew, Owen Taylor, Jamie Gustis, Alaine Kashian, and John Lathan as well as James Greenberg (who was also one of the show's producers) and Paula Leggett Chase also portrayed Carmen's V.I.L.E. minions. In addition to Carmen, a total of six crooks rotated in each episode, with one substitution/replacement for the second season:
- Carmen Sandiego (Janine LaManna, Season 1; Brenda Burke, Season 2) – V.I.L.E.'s mastermind, portrayed as a straight villain. Though her iconic red trench coat and fedora were visible, her face was largely obscured. Carmen herself was played by general cast members Janine LaManna and Brenda Burke. They were not credited, because the actresses also played "good" characters who would help the contestants.
- Baron Wasteland (James Greenberg, Season 1 only) – A moustached villain wearing a V-marked eyepatch; a wealthy aristocrat who loves pollution and enjoys destroying the environment. His name is a play on "barren wasteland" and he is supposedly a native of the Industrial Era. His getaway animation showed his body shattering into several triangular shards. When assaulting the Chronoskimmer, he would shock it with lightning emitted by his cane. He was dropped from the show after Season 1 and was also the only villain on the show not adapted into the newer version of the computer game, although the game featured a different villain holding the title of baron, that being Baron Grinnit ("grin and bear it").
- Buggs Zapper (James Greenberg, Season 2 only) – Buggs Zapper is a New York-accented gangster with a fear of insects who wears a pinstriped suit and constantly carries an old-fashioned bug sprayer. He was introduced in Season 2, replacing Baron Wasteland. In the computer game's manual, it is stated that his only goal in life is to "rub out" a single fly that may exist only in his imagination. When assaulting the Chronoskimmer, he was shown spraying a cloud of pesticide from his bug sprayer into an open hatch. His time era is presumably the 1920s to the 1930s. His name is a play on "bug zapper" and gangster Bugsy Malone.
- Dr. Belljar (Owen Taylor, Season 1; Jamie Gustis, Season 2) – A cyborg mad scientist. His name apparently refers to bell jars. He appeared in both seasons, but his appearance was drastically retooled for Season 2. His getaway animation in Season 1 showed him disintegrated into a multitude of cubes through a device mounted on his wrist. In Season 2, he was simply obscured by television static. In Season 1, he assaulted the Chronoskimmer by zapping it with electricity from his fingertips (identified as the 'Misinformation Missile'). In Season 2, he sabotaged the systems directly.
- Jacqueline Hyde (Alaine Kashian) – Jacqueline Hyde is a girl with a split personality, one ("Jacqueline") being sweet-tempered and innocent with the other ("Hyde") being vindictive and insane. She repeatedly alternates between her personalities, with each surfacing for a few seconds. She wears a red blazer, a pink blouse, a red miniskirt and knee-length stockings, perhaps to suggest a traditional schoolgirl uniform of the early-to-mid-20th century. Her getaway was becoming a sphere and floating from sight. In Season 1, she assaulted the Chronoskimmer by throwing an orb of electricity; in Season 2, she physically sabotaged the craft at an open maintenance panel. Her name is a play on "Dr. Jeykll & Mr. Hyde".
- Medeva (Paula Leggett Chase) – Medeva is a witch from the Middle Ages who mostly speaks in rhyme. In Season 1, she assaulted the Chronoskimmer by breathing fire at it; in Season 2, she would cast a spell into an open maintenance panel. Her name seems to be a portmanteau of Medea (a sorceress in Greek mythology) and "diva" or a play on the term "medieval".
- Sir Vile (John Lathan) – Sir Vile is an obsequious medieval knight. In Season 1, his armor was a dull silver; in Season 2, his armor appeared fiery red. In Season 1, he assaulted the Chromoskimmer by striking with lightning; in Season 2, he was shown ripping a cable from a maintenance panel and breathing fire into the opening. His name is a play on the adjective "servile", owing to how obsequious he acts around Carmen Sandiego.
The budget was smaller on this version of the show compared to World. As a result, the grand prize for a winning pilot capturing Carmen was a computer system instead of a trip. All pilots received the official ACME Time Net Mission Pack, which consisted of: a baseball cap, a T-shirt, a Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? board game, a Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen Sandiego? board game, a Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego? board game, a plastic watch, an Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, and a set of the most recent Carmen Sandiego CD-ROM games (all of which also featured Lynne Thigpen as the Chief).
The program was recorded at Kaufman Astoria Studios, in New York City, home to its previous incarnation, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and another hit PBS show, Sesame Street. Just like in World, contestants were required to live in the NYC metropolitan area.
- Directors: David Turner and Dean Gordon (associate director)
- Producers: Shirley Abraham (senior producer), Howard Lee (supervising producer), Charles Nordlander, James Greenberg, and Dana Calderwood (coordinating producer)
- Executive Producers: Kate Taylor and Jay Rayvid
- Writers: James Greenberg, Susan M. Clarke, Andrew Todhunter, and Fern Feller
The set design was by Hank Liebeskind, Eric Cheripka, Laura Brock, James Fenhagen, and Erik Ulfers.
D. Norman Yazbek & Sean Altman
Theme Lyrics (D. Norman Yazbek & Sean Altman)
We're on the case and were chasing her through history!
Chronoskimmer, engine's hot.
VILE villains, evil plot.
Our brave squadron leader will help us defeat her,
and bring back the loot to its rightful place in time.
Tell me, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
Stop her crime, and solve this mystery.
Tell me, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
We're on the case and we're chasing her through history!
We're on the case and we're chasing her through history!
Throttle open, thrusters on,
Chronoskimmer, gets us gone.
Pack extra socks, and we'll all beat the clock,
From the stone age, the middle age, the space age and back.
Nero's fiddle, Lincoln's beard,
Newton's apple, disappeared.
The finest tea from the Ming Dynasty,
And the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria, we've got to get them back.
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (Repeat until fade)
Based on the computer game by Broderbund Software
Also a spinoff of its previous incarnation Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
A CD-ROM of the same name as the show that was released in 1997 when Time aired its second season. This version of the CD-ROM featured the Chief and the voices of the villains from the hit TV show. The theme was also heard in the game as well. By 1999, it was renamed to "Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time".
A toy camera
Watch and T shirts
Facts about the Engine Crew
Alaine Kashian portrayed two different roles on the same show. She portrayed the villain Jacquelline Hyde and she was one of three members of the engine crew.
Owen Taylor also portrayed two different roles on the same show. He portrayed Dr. Belljar and he was one of the three members of the engine crew for season 1.
Jamie Gustis also portrayed two different roles on the same show. He portrayed Dr. Belljar and he was one of the three members of the engine crew for season 2.
John Lathan also portrayed two different roles on the same show as well. He portrayed the villain Sir Vile and he was one of the three members of the engine crew.
All the engine crew members were once Broadway performers in New York City.
Like its predecessor series, so as to counter the effects of outdated information by the time an episode came to air, episodes of this series ended with Lynne Thigpen announcing that "All historic information has been verified by Encyclopedia Britannica (and was accurate as of the date this program was recorded).", with the recording date shown with the copyright information at the end of each episode. (The part in parentheses was not heard in Season 2.)
Jacqueline Hyde became the very first villain to appear on the series premiere.
For Season 1, a fanfare was sometimes heard when Carmen was captured.
The Chief's face didn't appear in the very center square on the series premiere when the chronological order rules was explained. However her face did appear in the very center on later episodes.
When the chronological order round was being explained on early episodes, there was no music but the music used from the introduction of the mission profile was played on later episodes.
In episode 31 of the show, Kevin Shinick described the tutorial rules in the Trail of Time and John, one of the engine crew members, explained the action tutorial rules in the Trail of Time.
Carmen Sandiego was captured on the day this version made its series premiere.
Carmen was also captured on the final episode.
In Season 1, the audience clapped along to the beat of the theme song. In Season 2, the audience did not clap along.
The ring-in sound effect and time's up buzzer sound effect were re-used from Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, the former of which was also used later on the short lived game show Pressure Cooker!.
The DANGER alarm sound effect would later be used on Figure it Out. This was basically a stock sound featured in other uses, both real life and fiction. On early tapings (all with Dr. Belljar), the DANGER sign was a white background with the word DANGER in white inside a red oval, and did not flash when the alarm sounded. The second version, after several tapings, used the word DANGER that flashed red via a light up sign with a transparent overlay on a black background.
The audience did not applaud when the contestants got correct answers, when The Chief congratulated the time sleuths, or after the Engine Crew performed a song unlike on World. They only applauded when Kevin was introduced, when Kevin announced the winners moving on to the second round, when the contestant saved history in the second round, when the contestant entered the Trail of Time (season 1 only), and when the contestant won in the Trail of Time. The reason is unknown.
The studio audience was almost never shown on camera (except for during the sketch of the ACME Street Entertainers).
Unlike its predecessor series, there was no "Chief's Office" or routine banter between the Chief, the host, and contestants. This is because Thigpen appeared almost exclusively in pre-recorded inserts, made apparent by the fact she does not address contestants by name, only with general terms like "time pilot."
The closing tagline, "History is our job, the future is yours!" has varied based on who said it. In early season 1 episodes, Kevin said, "History is our job" and the winning contestant said, "The future is yours!" In later season 1 episodes, Kevin said the tagline all by himself. Then, in the second and final season, Kevin said, "History is our job" while he, The Engine Crew, and the winning contestant all said, "The future is yours!"
In Season 1, the Egyptian time portal was the last time portal in the bonus round and the electrical time portal was the fourth in line. By Season 2, the Egyptian time portal was second in the lineup while the electrical time portal was the last time portal in order.
In Season 1, the Engine Crew pointed to each time portal to direct where the time pilot to go. By Season 2, a spotlight flashed on the portal while the Engine Crew used airport light wands to direct the time pilot to the portal.
The Chinese portal had two different devices to open the gate. In Season 1, the time pilot had to pull a rope to lift the dragon puppet. In Season 2, the time pilot had to pump to make a larger dragon puppet to breathe out streamers to look like fire.
The National Endowment for Children's Educational Television and Delta Air Lines were removed from fundings of Season 2.
The show was nominated for 13 Daytime Emmy Awards and won for Outstanding Lighting Direction in 1998.
It premiered the same day as Arthur, another PBS Kids show made by WGBH.
When Kevin introduced the time pilots individually, their names did not appear on the screen unlike World.
In popular culture
In an episode of Robot Chicken, the Mission Profile was to get back the Brooklyn Bridge. When Kevin (who also works for Robot Chicken as co-producer & creative director) receives a phone call from his wife about a jacket, he tells everyone in the studio that they had to retrieve a lost jacket, but all did not go well for him.
Kevin Shinick acted on the Nickelodeon show Kenan and Kel, in the episode "Attack of the Bugman", in which he played the Bugman.
There was a Canadian French version of Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego that lasted from 1998-1999, just after the PBS version got cancelled. Patrick Labbé was the Time Pilot Squadron Leader and Brigitte Paquette as the Chief. The Engine Crew members were Daniel Do, Marie-Hélène Fortin and Widemir Normil. Joe Bocan played the role of Carmen Sandiego. Unlike the winning contestant getting the computer as a grand prize, the grand prize for this version was mountain bikes as well as a prize package. The Canadian French version was titled as À la poursuite de Carmen Sandiego (Translated: In Pursuit of Carmen Sandiego)
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Public Television Viewers
National Endowment for Children's Educational Television (Season 1 only)
Delta Air Lines (Season 1 only)
NOTE: All times are Eastern.
|Fall 1996||Weekdays, 3:00 p.m.||WISU|
|Weekdays, 4:00 p.m.||KTCA|
|Weekdays, 5:00 p.m.||WNET|
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?/Villains
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?/Airdates
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?/Catchphrases
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?/Gallery
Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?/Video Gallery
List of Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? Sketches
Season 1 episodes
Carmen Sandiego gets captured from Season 1
- Episode 6
- Episode 14
- Episode 27
- Episode 30
- Episode 31 - Tutorial Rules in the Trail of Time
- Episode 35
- Episode 39
- Episode 44 - Last gate opens too early but answered question correctly in the Trail of Time
- Episode 56
- Episode 60
- Episode 64
Season 2 episodes
A Season 2 Episode