"Hollywoodland" is the third episode from Season 2 of Timeless. It premiered on March 25, 2018.



When a Rittenhouse sleeper agent in 1941 Hollywood steals the only copy of Citizen Kane, Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus team up with Hedy Lamarr to get it back. Hedy Lamarr turns out to be not only a glamorous movie star but also a scientific wizard whose discoveries led to the invention of Wi-Fi.


The Mission

  • The Lifeboat team must recover the stolen workprint codenamed "RKO 281", which would become the epic film Citizen Kane.

Rittenhouse's Agenda

  • Rittenhouse sleeper agent Lucas steals the RKO 281 workprint and offers it to William Randolph Hearst in exchange for a weekly column in all of Hearst's papers, enabling Rittenhouse to change history with their propaganda.

Changes to the Timeline

  • Using the advice from Rufus, Hedy Lamarr and George Antheil renew their patents for frequency hopping. Hedy quits acting and forms a tech company, making her worth over US$30 billion.

Guest Cast

Historical Events and Figures


Episode Notes

  • RKO 281 was the production number for Orson Welles' classic film Citizen Kane.
  • The episode title comes from the original version of the Hollywood sign, which read Hollywoodland.
    Hollywoodland was a residential development in the 1920s; the sign was erected on Mt. Lee in the Hollywood Hills in 1923 to advertise it, and remained as a symbol of the developing film industry. Over time, it fell into disrepair, and the letters LAND fell away. It has now been restored as an iconic symbol of Hollywood.
  • Although the episode suggests that Hedy Lamarr and George Anthiel were sole inventors of frequency hopping spread spectrum technology, theirs was one of a number of applications of the basic principles going back to Guglielmo Marconi's early experiments in 1899. Lamarr and Anthiel did patent their design for a system based on punched paper rolls, but may never have developed a working model. The technology continued to be developed after their patent expired, eventually leading to modern CDMA technology used in cellular telephones, and to wi-fi.
  • Langston Hughes was an African-American poet and playwright, known as one of the leading figures of the "Harlem Renaissance" of the 1920s and 30s. His work often had a highly political tone, and centered on the experiences of Negro (black) Americans and race relations of the time. He was accused of being a Communist, largely because of his exploration of the growing workers' rights movements of the time.

    Hepburn and Spencer in the original and reproduction dresses

  • The gold and white gown Abigail Spencer wears in the episode is a reproduction of one worn by Katherine Hepburn in the film The Philadelphia Story. In the film, Hepburn plays a spoiled, wealthy divorcee preparing to remarry an equally wealthy but dull man when her ex-husband (played by Cary Grant) and an appealing reporter (played by Jimmy Stewart) enter her life the day before the wedding, leaving her confused about who she should marry.


  • The team meet Hedy Lamarr on the Paramount Studios lot. However, in early 1941, Lamarr was under contract to MGM and would likely have been on the MGM lot in Culver City working on the musical Zigfeld Girl with Judy Garland and Jimmy Stewart.
  • Why would a sleeper cell agent be ordered to steal the reel of Citizen Kane to blackmail Hearst into giving him a job with his newspaper when how powerful Hearst was in those days would have easily have the agent to be killed for blackmailing him to be part of his newspaper, with how Hearst had a hand in the mysterious death of Thomas Ince in which The Cat's Meow was based on ?


  • In 1941, Rufus goes under the cover of African-American playwright Langston Hughes. During the Lifeboat team's meeting with Paramount Pictures President Barney Balaban, Rufus mentions Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton as one of his works. When Hedy Lamarr asks him to recite some of his new poetry, he paraphrases Will Smith's opening rap from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • Studio chief Barney Balaban is the uncle of contemporary actor Bob Balaban, known for his roles in films such as Altered States, Gosford Park and Close Encounter of the Third Kind.
  • Hedy mentions that Lucas is working on a dinosaur film, which he calls Jurassic Park.


  • "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)" by Abigail Spencer
  • "Creep"
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