This was originally shown as an episode of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse. The producer of the show, Bert Granet, had trouble finding new scripts for the show. The show's sponsors were reluctant to produce sci-fi stories, but Granet managed to convince them to air the episode.
When The Time Element was broadcast, the response to it was overwhelming. They received more letters than they had ever received for a drama. Soon after, Rod Serling penned the first episode, "Where is Everybody", for the new Twilight Zone series, a series he had been pushing for a long time.
Bookie Pete Jensen has a recurring dream that he is at Pearl Harbour on December 6, 1941, the day before the bombing. In the dream he tries to warn people of the impending attack, but no-one listens. He visits a psychiatrist, Dr. Gillespie, who listens to him but is essentially disbelieving. Just then, Jensen falls asleep on the couch and his dream continues.