The Philadelphia Experiment From A-Z

“The Philadelphia Experiment” The Movies

“Reportedly based on a true incident during World War II involving an anti-radar experiment that caused a navel battleship to disappear in Virginia…” 3½ Stars [1]

It was this science fiction film that first caught my interest in the Philadelphia Experiment, and to this day is still widely available on DVD.

As it turns out there were two movies entitled “The Philadelphia Experiment,” produced by Doug Curtis. One in 1983 and in 1993 a squeal was released, “The Philadelphia Experiment II”, which deals with Germans running amok in time:

In our story {Philadelphia Exp. 1I} the Germans don’t care about altering history, because they have no sense of what the history is, they’re trying to win the war. So they learn how to fly a stealth bomber in a matter of days and they bomb Washington, and suddenly history is changed.” – Doug Curtis Producer of “The Philadelphia Experiment {1 & II}” [2]

Most people are more familiar with the first version produced in 1983 involving the Eldridge:

The premise is very… relatively simple, I’m not sure if you know the original Philadelphia Experiment {referring to the first movie}, but it was essentially about things moving through time vortexes, some people came forward from the 40’s to the early 80’s when the movie was originally made. The concept I had and introduced into the script is really to do with alternate realities.” – Steven Carnwell Director of “The Philadelphia Experiment {2}”, Produced by Thorn EMI Video in 1983. [3]

“This now, this time, it’s not ours. We weren’t here when it happened. The experiment took place on a ship in a Philadelphia harbor. It was – 1943, October. Does this sound… crazy? You know, or is this sort of thing possible now?” – David Herdeg (The Philadelphia Experiment Movie)

Some of the new “witnesses” have said the government tried to ban the first movie from being shown in the U.S. Why would the government ban a science fiction movie, when doing so would only serve to make it more believable than simply letting it run and saying “it’s only a movie….” or, did they really ban it?

Upon checking newspapers around the time the film was released nothing was amiss, as various newspapers around North America ran reviews as usual:

  • Published on August 3, 1984 in The Washington Post “’Experiment’: Time Tripping”
  • Published on August 9, 1984, in The Washington Post “Failed ‘Experiment’”
  • Published on August 24, 1984 in The Philadelphia Inquirer “THE PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT’ TAKES A TIME TRIP”
  • Published on August 27, 1984 in the Philadelphia Daily News “PHILADELPHIA EXPERIMENT’ A FILM WHOSE TIME HAS COME”
  • Published on August 24, 1984 in the Beaver County Times “‘Philadelphia Experiment’ is an experiment that fails”
  • Published on August 26, 1984 in the Star News “‘Philadelphia Experiment’ becomes invisible fast”

it went on to win a few awards; Winner – Best Science Fiction Rome International Film Festival, and Fantafestival Award for Best Film in 1985. In no way was it looking like a “Banned film”

The PX legend as told (before Bielek) concerns two events: Invisibility and Teleportation. There is no account at all of time travel. Steven Carnwell (Director of the “Philadelphia Experiment”) says that he added the idea of alternate realities / time travel to enhance the movie’s storyline.

In 2012 The Sci-Fi Network produced a made for TV squeal of the “The Philadelphia Experiment”;

“In ‘The Philadelphia Experiment’, a secret government research project tries reviving the World War II “Philadelphia Experiment,” which was an attempt to create a cloaking device to render warships invisible. When the experiment succeeds, it brings back the original ship (the Eldridge) that disappeared during the first test in 1943 – which brings death and destruction to the 21st century. It’s up to the sole survivor (Lea) of the first experiment and his granddaughter (Ullerup) to stop it.” SyFy Official Press Release

The Philadelphia Experiment Movie Poster
The Philadelphia Experiment Movie Poster


[1]“Video Movie Guide 1994” By Mic Martin & Marsha Porter, Pg 1032

[2]Interview on Arts & Entertainment’s “Rave” Entertainment magazine, Aired on: Jan 3, 1993, 11PM

[3]Interview on Arts & Entertainment’s “Rave” Entertainment magazine, Aired on: Jan 3, 1993, 11PM

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