| || A Traveller in Time |
by Alison Uttley
First publication: 1939
While staying with her aunt in Derbyshire, sickly young Penelope Taberner Cameron is swept back to the sixteenth century where she is caught up in the Babington plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I.
I flung open the door, and I fell headlong down a flight of stairs. I had dropped into the corridor where I had seen the servants pass with their jugs and tankards. For some time I lay half-stunned with surprise, but unhurt, for I had fallen silently like a feather floating to the floor. I looked round at the door, but it had disappeared; I stared at the low whitewashed ceiling and the carved doorways, and I listened to the beating of my heart which was the only sound. Then life seemed to come to the world, distant shouts of men, the jingle of harness, and the lowing of cattle. A cock crew as if to wake the dead, and I sat up trying to remember . . . remember. . . .
| || DC Comics (Anthologies)|
First time travel: Dectective Comics 23, Jan 1939
Like all the other publishers, DC also published anthologies of weird stories (as opposed to continuing characters) in the 50s, but even before that, they had anthologies of adventure stories. The earliest time travel that I’ve found so far are from 1939: a two-part story of Slam Bradley and his sidekick traveling to the year two billion, A.D., in Detective Comics 23 and 24; and a five-part story, “A Playboy in King Arthur’s Court,” starting in in Adventure Comics 37. As for the 50s weird stories, the first one I found there was an H.L. Gold tale, “The Endless War,” in Strange Adventures 2. As I find others, I’ll list them in my time-travel comic books page.
History runs wild when Columbus, Napolean, and Cleopatra journey through time from the past to the present!
—from the cover of Strange Adventures 60
| || Arch Oboler’s Plays |
by Arch Oboler
First time travel: 9 Sep 1939
Arch Oboler was a prolific radio playright from the mid-1930s, starting with NBC’s Lights Out radio show. One of the stories in the 1939 Arch Oboler’s Plays series was “And Adam Begot,” which told the story of two men and a woman thrown back into prehistoric times. The story appear in print in a 1944 anthology, was reprised for the 1951 Lights Out tv show, and formed the basis for a 1953 Steve Ditko story in the Black Magic comic book.
The young dramalist expects to face his biggest casting problem in filling the roles of the two Neanderthal men which he has written into “And Adam Begot.” He wants a voice, he explains, which will instantly suggest a cave-man to the radio listener. With that in mind, he conducted a survey of what people expect in a Neanderthal voice. “A cross-section of the answers,” Oboler says, “suggests a bass voiced prizefighter, talking double talk with his mouth full of hot potatoes.”
—The Lima News, 9 Sep 1939
|Close, but No Time Travel|
These are not the stories you’re looking for. Move along.
“The Gnarly Man” by L. Sprague de Camp, Unknown, Jun 1939 [immortality ]
“Stolen Centuries” by Otis Adelbert Kline, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Jun 1939 [long sleep ]
“City of the Cosmic Rays” by Nat Schachner, Astounding, Jul 1939 [long sleep ]
“Greater Than Gods” by C.L. Moore, Astounding, Jul 1939 [visions of possible futures ]
“Lightship, Ho!” by Nelson S. Bond, Astounding, Jul 1939 [FTL ]
The Hidden Universe by Ralph Milne Farley, Amazing, Nov–Dec 1939 [differing time rates ]
“Into Another Dimension” by Maurice Duclos, Fantastic Adventures, Nov 1939 [parallel universes ]
“City of the Corporate Mind” by Nat Schachner, Astounding, Dec 1939 [long sleep ]