VOYAGERS!

While blazing a path through time they forge memorable friendships and have exciting, dangerous, and humorous encounters with notable historical figures. The Voyagers help inspire the creation of the airplane with the Wright brothers, and save Abraham and Mary Lincoln from Rebel spies. They attempt to solve the case of Jack the Ripper with help from Nellie Bly and Sir Author Conan Doyle, and rescue young Harriet Tubman from a hanging so she can spearhead the Underground Railroad. Jeffrey gives Thomas Edison a push to improve the light bulb, and Babe Ruth the confidence for the game. These escapades are all in a days work for this tireless duo.

Phineas Bogg (Jon-Erik Hexum) is one of a society of time travelers called Voyagers that strive to keep history on its proper, current course. Voyagers interfere with the time line and remove those pesky parallel worlds where The Wright Brothers didn't invent the airplane or Bell the telephone. Little is known of Phineas' early life. In the episode "Old Hickory and the Pirate" Phineas mentions that some of his best friends had been pirates. This places his origins in the seventeenth century. Throughout the series he drops little hints about his talents – which include dancing, boxing, card-playing, acrobatics, and a little baseball. He can wield a sword and handles dynamite almost too well. (If you consider that a talent!)

The adventures begin when Phineas teams up with young Jeffrey Jones. He relies on Jeffrey’s impeccable knowledge of history to help him. In the Pilot episode, Phineas casually explains that a "blonde in his class" distracted him from his studies, and he later admits to sleeping during certain subjects. Perhaps all of them. Some of Phineas' character trademarks are his fear of dogs and snacking on beef jerky he stashes in his pouch. Last but not least, Phineas is a great kisser!

Phineas said he was "plucked out of time" and trained to travel through the ages. The show makes references to Voyagers attending a school to learn the earth's history and time-travel concepts. In the last episode, Phineas explains that he'd helped young Jules Verne out of a brawl in France, and Verne later used him as inspiration for his character "Phileas Fogg" in his famous novel, "Around the World in Eighty Days.” Jeffrey's undoubtedly a stand-in for Fogg's loyal sidekick, Jean Passepartout, whose name means "Goes everywhere." Jeffrey travels everywhere with Bogg.

Despite the first impression of Phineas being a block-headed Casanova, he's very intuitive with a heart of gold. His ingenuity, creativity and his physical prowess should never be underestimated. You’ll see the scheming glare in his eyes and know he has a plan in action. Midway through the series, Phineas' character is written as more responsible and wise, with shorter hair and neater clothing. While the changes seem seems blatant, (And to appease TV censors that cracked down on the show) that would've been more natural for a second season. Phineas matured fast, considering he’s Jeffrey's guardian and has a moral responsibility to be a father-figure and positive influence in his life. The adventures of season 1 may have occurred over 2 years.

Phineas is often proud of Jeffrey's intelligence and performance as a Voyager. On the other hand, he gets annoyed when Jeffrey acts too grown-up or has a bratty attitude. Phineas mutters catch-phrases like, "smart kids give me a pain" or, ''ll deal with that smart mouth of yours later!" When Jeffrey isn't sure about a historical fact, Phineas quickly points out that he's supposed to be the “History book in pants." Whenever situations go wrong, Phineas often shouts, "BAT'S BREATH!" Despite their frequent squabbles and Phineas' roguish methods, the two are inseparable. They became a real family, arguments, and all.

Picture it. A Manhattan high-rise, 1982. (As Sophia from Golden Girls would start the story!) Voyager Phineas Bogg crash lands into the room of lonely orphan Jeffrey Jones. Phineas loses his Guidebook in a tug of war with Jeffrey's faithful dog Ralph. Bogg dives to Jeffrey's rescue after he falls out of his skyscraper window. Ralph's stuck with the Guidebook, and Jeffrey never returns home again. After a few successful voyages full of bickering and bonding, Jeffrey becomes an invaluable companion. Bogg time-travels using a device called the Omni, but the circuits stop at the year 1970. A supposed "glitch" had sent him to Jeffrey's time-zone. The Voyager Tribunal later reveals that Jeffrey's meant to be a Voyager. When an Omni light's red, it means history's wrong, and it's a Voyager's job to correct it. A green light means the time-zone's repaired, and they can move on to the next assignment. The changes to history aren't explained. We can chalk it up to cracks in time that need repair.

11 yr-old Jeffrey Jones (Meeno Peluce) lived with his selfish aunt and uncle, and they're forced to be guardians after his parents' tragic deaths. Jeffrey faces their decision to put him in an orphanage just when Phineas Bogg crashes into his life. Jeffrey, although a smart-mouthed, streetwise kid, is also sensitive and cries over his parents and his supposed failures on voyages. He tearfully tells Phineas in the Pilot episode that when they died, he couldn't get anyone to stop to help save them in the camper fire. From then on, Phineas becomes a supportive father figure and always reassures Jeffrey that everything will be okay. Jeffrey becomes a convenient replacement for Bogg's lost Guidebook, but he means much more than that to Phineas.

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Jeffrey proves his Voyagers worth in many episodes. His can-do attitude and precocious charm warm the hearts and turn the minds of many figures in history like pilot Charles Lindbergh, Queen Victoria, J.P. Morgan, Teddy Roosevelt, and Babe Ruth. Jeffrey is full of confidence and has a keen sense of justice. He's brave and doesn't consider the dangers to himself. Jeffrey saves his partner without hesitation – snatching the omni out of a bonfire to rescue Phineas from a burning stake. While Bogg's unconscious, Jeffrey dodged a tent explosion. He also disrupted a firing squad to escape with Bogg. These are just a few of his exploits.

Jeffrey sometimes displays insecurities about abandonment. You never forget that he's still just a kid at the cusp of young manhood and carries childish traits like impulsiveness, impatience, and a rebellious attitude toward Bogg's authority. Yet, Jeffrey is very attached to his partner and learns valuable lessons from him. When Phineas was torn emotionally and decided to leave him with his great-grandparents, Jeffrey desperately reminded him that "I've already got a family! It's you."

 

At some point, Jeffrey will need to go to Voyager school for proper training. For now, in Jeffrey's words, "Bogg's the best Voyager there is!" and gives him plenty of field training.

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Voyagers! is ©James D. Parriott Productions! – Universal Television (MCA) –  Scholastic Productions.


Voyagers Guidebook is an archival website dedicated to preserving the memory and history of Voyagers! the Television series. Any views, ideas, and opinions expressed in essays belong solely to the website creator and other guest writers and actors. All images and multi-media are copyright their original owners and are posted for promotion of the show, the actors, and the enjoyment of fans worldwide.

 

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Voyagers! (NBC, 1982-1983)