What are they serving for dinner in the mutated future? Deep dishes of cheesecake.

Released at the height of Beatlemania in the autumn of 1964 – when swinging chicks were more apt to do the frug in a bird cage than ride rocket ships – The Time Travelers features a lab experiment gone terribly wrong and flesh-and-blood bombshells who’d look great in a NASA diaper. Running an hour-and-a-half, the film was written and directed by Ib Melchior (don’t you wish your name was “Ib?”) and produced by American International Pictures, which pitched Cold War cheapo flicks with titles like Ghosts of Dragstrip Hollow to teenagers.

The Time Travelers stars a washed-up matinee idol named Preston Foster – who a decade earlier played a tugboat captain on a TV show called “Waterfront” – along with a looker from the present and a looker from the future. Merry Anders plays Carol White, who assists the contemporary scientists as they stumble upon – and then through – a portal to a nuclear-ravaged Earth just a handful of decades away.

Like almost all forms of narrative, such tales appeared in books long before they hit the screen. Several years ahead of The Time Travelers release – prior to hitting his stride with the novels like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip K. Dick talked about the genre in one of his few works not of science fiction.

In The Time Travelers, one of the Americans sucked to the other side is an electrician named Danny played by Steve Franken. Danny falls for a futuristic fatale played by Delores Wells, a 1960 Playboy Playmate of the Month.

In the film, Wells plays a hot tomato from the future named Reena, who at one point hands Danny a box full of glass eyeballs. Upon which Danny turns toward the camera to address the audience and says, “And I thought I was giving her the eye.”

Rafael Alvarez is a short story writer. He can be reached at film@alvarezfiction.com.