Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a 1960s
American science fiction television series based on the 1961 film of
the same name. Both were created by Irwin Allen, which enabled the
movie's sets, costumes, props, special effects models, and sometimes
footage, to be used in the production of the television series.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was the first of Irwin Allen's four
science fiction television series, and the longest-running. The
show's theme was underwater adventure.
was broadcast on ABC from September 14, 1964, to March 31, 1968, and
was the decade's longest-running American science fiction television
series with continuing characters. The 110 episodes produced included
32 shot in black-and-white (19641965), and 78 filmed in color
(19651968). The first two seasons took place in the then-future
of the 1970s. The final two seasons took place in the 1980s. The show
starred Richard Basehart and David Hedison.
The pilot episode "Eleven Days to
Zero" was filmed in color but shown in black-and-white. It
introduces the audience to the futuristic nuclear submarine S.S.R.N.
Seaview and the lead members of her crew, including the designer and
builder of the submarine Admiral Harriman Nelson (Richard Basehart),
and Commander Lee Crane (David Hedison), who becomes the Seaview's
captain after the murder of her original commanding officer. The
submarine is based at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research in
Santa Barbara, California, and is often moored some 500 feet beneath
the facility in a secret underground submarine pen carved out of
solid rock. The Seaview is officially for undersea marine research
and visits many exotic locations in the Seven Seas, but its secret
mission is to defend the planet from all world and extraterrestrial
threats in the then-future of the 1970s.
The first season of 32 episodes began with
Admiral Nelson and the crew of the Seaview fighting against a foreign
government to prevent a world-threatening earthquake, and continuing
with a foreign government destroying American submarines with new
technologies in "The Fear Makers" and "The
Enemies". The season also had several ocean peril stories in
which the Seaview crew spent the episode dealing with the normal
perils of the sea. Two examples are "Submarine Sunk Here"
and "The Ghost of Moby Dick". The season introduced a
diving bell and a mini-submarine, and the first episodes featuring
extraterrestrials (Don Brinkley's "The Sky is Falling") and
sea monsters. The season ended with the Seaview crew fighting a
foreign government to save a defense weapon.
The first season included gritty,
atmospheric story lines devoted to Cold War themes and excursions
into near-future speculative fiction. Many episodes involved
espionage and sci-fi elements. Aliens, sea monsters and dinosaurs
were featured, but the primary villains were hostile foreign
governments. While fantastic, the scripts had a semblance of reality.
During the course of the first season,
Nelson was promoted from a three-star to a four-star admiral. It was
also established that while essentially a marine research vessel,
SSRN Seaview was also part of the U.S. nuclear armed fleet (most
notably defined in William Read Woodfield's episode, "Doomsday").
The first season opening credits depicted
Seaview rising towards the surface, and the closing credits played
over a still of the Seaview surfacing in the Arctic, as featured at
the start of the 1961 film.
The second season began with a trip inside
a whale, a trip inside a volcano, and a few Cold War intrigue and
nuclear war-themed episodes, and saw several brushes with world
disaster. The season ended with a ghost story, one of the show's few sequels.
Due to ABC's demands for a somewhat
"lighter" tone to the series, the second season saw an
increase in monster-of-the-week type plots, yet there were still some
episodes that harkened back to the tone of the first season. The
second season also saw a change from black-and-white to color. The
beginning of the second season saw the permanent replacement of Chief
"Curly" Jones with Chief Francis Ethelbert Sharkey, due to
the death of Henry Kulky, who portrayed Chief Jones.
most important change in the series occurred during this season when
a notably redesigned Seaview interior was introduced, along with the
Flying Sub, a yellow, two-man mini-submarine with passenger capacity,
armed with a laser gun. It could leave the ocean and function as an
airplane. The Flying Sub was referred to by the initials FS-1. The
futuristic craft greatly increased the Seaview crew's travel options.
It was launched from a bay with automatic doors added in the lower
part of the bow section of Seaview that was apparently built between
Seasons One and Two. The Seaview's private observation deck from the
first season was never seen again. The ship's eight smaller
observation windows became four large windows giving the sub a
sleeker, more futuristic look. The control room was made larger and
more open-plan showing the bow windows beyond the control room area
(previously this was both closed off by a bulkhead and doorway and on
another level in the black-and-white first season), while a large
rectangular panel screen of flickering lights was moved across the
control room, and access to the Flying Sub via a sealed hatch
stairway at the bow section was added. The Seaview also now had a
powerful laser beam in its bow light. The small mini-sub from the
first season was retained and occasionally still used in the color episodes.
The ship's enlisted men were also given
more colorful uniforms (red or light blue jumpsuits) and white Keds
Champion sneakers, evidently to take advantage of the changeover from
black-and-white filming. The traditional sailor uniforms worn in the
first season were only seen in stock footage from the first season
and on characters who were newly filmed to match up with that
footage. All these changes occurred between seasons.
A second-season episode, "The Sky's
On Fire", was a remake of the basic storyline of Irwin Allen's
1961 film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea utilizing considerable film
color footage, though several film sequences were removed and had
been featured in other first-season episodes such as 'The Village of
Guilt' (the giant octopus) and 'Submarine Sunk Here' (the derelict minefield).
A few later season two episodes were
filmed without Richard Basehart, who was hospitalized for a bleeding
ulcer. He filmed the scenes in the Flying Sub for "The Monster's
Web" before hospitalization, requiring a stand in and other
characters taking over his lines. He was missing entirely from the
next two episodes. These episodes didn't feature his character at
all, while in one story "The Menfish" Gary Merrill guested
as Admiral Park, a colleague of Nelson's who substituted for him.
Basehart returned for "Return of the Phantom," the final
episode of the season.
The third season of Voyage to the Bottom
of the Sea ran simultaneously with two other Allen-produced
television series: the second season of Lost in Space and the
premiere (and only) season of The Time Tunnel.
third season began with Dick Tufeld of Lost in Space playing an evil
disembodied brain from outer space. The season continued with a
werewolf story that is one of the few episodes to inspire a sequel.
In one episode, the Seaview's officers and crew encountered Nazis who
believed World War II was still ongoing. [This proves a theory we
have here at the Neat Stuff The Hall of Fame that no matter what the
show, eventually nazis will show up.] The third season only had two
espionage stories and one ocean peril story that were reminiscent of
the first season. One of those three stories was about a hostile
foreign government trying to steal a strange new mineral with the aid
of a brainwashed Admiral Nelson. This espionage story was the end of
the third season.
The final two seasons continued the shift
towards paranormal storylines that were popular in the late 1960s.
Mummies, werewolves, talking puppets, and an evil leprechaun all
walked the corridors of the Seaview. There were also fossil men,
flame men, frost men, lobster men, and shadow men. The opening
credits were largely identical to the revised season two, but the
initial season two yellow lettering credits that were first altered
to white, (and then back to yellow on the later revised sequence)
were now depicted in a golden/yellowish lettering, and closing
credits were set over a green-backed painting of Seaview underwater.
Though many female characters appeared in
Seasons One and Two, in Season Three only two appeared at all, an
unseen woman's voice (Sue England) over the intercom in "The
Death Watch" and the title character in "The Mermaid"
(Diane Webber), who did not speak.
The fourth and final season of Voyage
began with Victor Jory playing a five-centuries old alchemist and the
Seaview is threatened by the hydrodynamic effects of a major volcanic
eruption. After a few episodes there were revamped opening credits
depicting action sequences and the stars' pictures in color set on a
sonar board design. The closing credits picture remained unchanged
from season three. Near the end of the fourth season, there were
three unrelated stories of extraterrestrial invasion. One episode had
an unknown master of disguise infiltrating and wreaking havoc aboard
the Seaview. Another episode depicted Nelson, Morton and Sharkey
gaslighting Crane. There were two time travel stories featuring the
enigmatic but dangerous Mister Pem. The second had the Seaview going
back in time to the American Revolution. The episode (and series)
ended with the Seaview returning to the present. The final scene of
the show had Nelson and Crane sitting in the seldom used easy chairs
on the port side of the observation nose discussing how fast time
a single actress appeared in any episode during the entire fourth
season, even as a voice or non-speaking role. In March 1968 it was
announced that Voyage would not be back for a fifth season.
The series' main theme, "The Seaview
Theme", was written by Paul Sawtell. A new darker, more serious
theme composed by Jerry Goldsmith was introduced at the beginning of
the second-season episode "Jonah and the Whale", but this
was quickly replaced by the original version. A version of the
Goldsmith suite re-orchestrated by Nelson Riddle was heard as
incidental music in the episode "Escape From Venice", and
the original Goldsmith suite was used as incidental music throughout
the rest of the series. The series' main composer, supervisor and
conductor was Lionel Newman, who for the second season composed a
serious sounding score for when the episode credits (episode title/guests/writer/director)
were shown just after the theme song, which would be used by many
episodes (starting with "The Left Handed Man") thru the
second and into the early third season. Other guest composers
included Lennie Hayton, Hugo Friedhofer, Star Trek: The Original
Series composer Alexander Courage, Morton Stevens, Leith Stevens (no
relation) who wrote the music to nine episodes, and Sawtell, who
worked on the show for a while in the first season.
A paperback novel, City Under the Sea,
authored by Paul W. Fairman, was published in 1965, to tie into the
series. It had a different storyline than the episode of the same
name. The book should also not be confused with the later Irwin Allen
film of nearly the same name, which was about the attempts of the
world's first under-sea city to prevent the earth from being hit by a
rogue asteroid. It is not about "A wealthy family attempting to
move the Earth's oceans to another planet for resettlement" as
has occasionally been stated.
Western Publishing published a comic book
based on the series. Western's comic company, Gold Key Comics put out
a series that ran 16 issues from 1964 to 1970. Most covers were
painted, and most had a photo of either Richard Basehart or David
Hedison on them. The first issue of the Gold Key comic was a story
called "The Last Survivor". The story brought back Dr.
Gamma, the villain from the pilot episode, "Eleven Days to
Zero". Gold Key's story was the only sequel to the pilot
episode. Hermes Press reprinted the entire run in 2 hardback volumes;
the first was released in 2009.
In 1966, World Distributors, a British
publishing company in Manchester, published a hardback book called
the Annual. The British-made book used the series characters in all
new stories. The book also contained a reprint of a story from Gold
Key Comics. Both books were mostly prose stories with some illustrations.
Aurora Plastics Corporation released a
plastic model kit of Seaview as well as the Flying Sub during the
original run of the series. From 1975 - 1977, Aurora reissued both
kits; the Seaview (kit #253) was modified with a sea floor base
(originally created for the Dick Tracy Space Coupe kit #819) and sub
surface details, while The Flying Sub (kit #254) was remodeled in a
different base color. The 1975 - 1977 kits - part of Aurora's reissue
of 5 of their 11 TV & movie-related science-fiction kits, also
included instruction sheets with a detailed history of the TV series
or movie plot. Both kits were recently re-released by Polar Lights.
collectables from the show include a board game with illustrations
based on the pilot episode, as well as a boxed card game with a
painting of the divers' battle with the giant octopus, both from
Milton Bradley, and a school lunch box with thermos from Aladdin with
depictions of Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane trying to save the
Flying Sub from an evil looking octopus. There was also a Sawyers
View-Master slide reel based on the episode "Deadly Creature Below."
In 1964, a 66-card set of black-and-white
trading cards was released by Donruss. Selling for 5 cents a pack,
the set consisted of stills from the first season. Today, a set in
mint condition can sell for several hundred dollars.
In the UK, TV TORNADO published 14 issues
that contained VOYAGE stories, either comics or text with
illustrations as per the issue and at least two TV TORNADO annuals
had original stories as well.
Theodore Sturgeon wrote a novel, Voyage to
the Bottom of the Sea, based on the original script written by Irwin
Allen for the movie, and published in 1961.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a 1961
American science fiction disaster film from 20th Century Fox,
produced and directed by Irwin Allen, that stars Walter Pidgeon as
Admiral Harriman Nelson (in a return to filmmaking after some years
of doing theatre), and Robert Sterling as Captain Lee Crane. The
supporting cast includes Peter Lorre, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden,
Michael Ansara, and Frankie Avalon. The story was written by Irwin
Allen and Charles Bennett. The opening title credits theme song was
sung by Frankie Avalon.
When the Earth is threatened by a burning
Van Allen Radiation Belt, U.S. Navy Admiral Harriman Nelson plans to
shoot a nuclear missile at the Belt, using his experimental, state of
the art atomic submarine, the Seaview. The Seaview was ahead of it's
time in more ways than one because it had Barbara Eden (Lt. Cathy
Connors) on board. In real life no woman served on board a US
submarine until 20 years later.
The name of the film is an inversion of a
phrase popular at the time, concerning the exploration of the Arctic
Ocean by nuclear submarines, namely, "a voyage to the top of the world."
August 1st, 1958, through August 5th, 1958, USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
(the first nuclear-powered submarine), under the command of Commander
(later Captain) William R. Anderson, steamed under the Arctic ice cap
to make the first crossing from the Pacific to the Atlantic via the
North Pole. On August 3rd, 1958, she became the first ship to reach
the North Pole. For this accomplishment, Nautilus and her crew were
awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, the first Presidential Unit
Citation awarded in peacetime. The citation began with the words,
"For outstanding achievement in completing the first voyage in
history across the top of the world, by cruising under the Arctic ice
cap from the Bering Strait to the Greenland Sea."
Nautilus 90 North (1959, with Clay Blair)
was the first book Anderson wrote about the Arctic missions of USS
Nautilus. It was named for the radio message he sent to the Chief of
Naval Operations to announce that Nautilus had reached the pole. His
second book about these missions, The Ice Diaries: The Untold Story
of the Cold War's Most Daring Mission (with Don Keith), was completed
shortly before Anderson's death. This second book includes many
previously classified details.
On March 17th, 1959, the nuclear submarine
USS Skate, under the command of Commander (later Vice Admiral) James
F. Calvert, became the first submarine to surface at the North Pole.
While at the Pole, her crew scattered the ashes of Arctic explorer
Sir Hubert Wilkins. Calvert wrote the book Surface at the Pole about
this and the other Arctic missions of USS Skate.
film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea begins with Seaview in the
Arctic for the final phase of her sea trials, including a dive under
the ice cap.
Two milestones in underwater exploration
were achieved in 1960, the year before the film Voyage to the Bottom
of the Sea was released.
From February 16th, 1960 to May 10th,
1960, the submarine USS Triton made the first submerged
circumnavigation of the world. Triton observed and photographed Guam
extensively through her periscope during this mission, without being
detected by the U.S. Navy on Guam.
In the film, Seaview's voyage to the
firing point follows much of the same track that Triton took on her
circumnavigation: south through the Atlantic Ocean, around Cape Horn,
and then northwest across the Pacific Ocean to the firing point near
Guam. Seaview's bow and stern are radically different from Triton's,
but Seaview's long, slim hull resembles the hull of Triton.
On January 23rd, 1960, Jacques Piccard and
Lieutenant Don Walsh (USN), in the bathyscaphe Trieste, made the
first descent to the bottom of the Challenger Deep. The Challenger
Deep is the deepest surveyed spot in the world's oceans, and is
located in the Mariana Trench, southwest of Guam.
the film, Seaview is attacked by another submarine as she approaches
the firing point. Admiral Nelson advises Captain Crane to dive into
the Mariana Trench to escape, claiming Seaview is the only submarine
that can survive the pressure of the trench. The attacking sub is
crushed by the pressure when it follows Seaview into the trench.
The USS George Washington was commissioned
on December 20th 1959 as America's first nuclear-powered ballistic
missile submarine (SSBN). On June 20th 1960, she made the first two
submerged launches of the Polaris missile and got underway on the
first deterrent patrol on November 15th 1960.
In the film, Seaview fires a ballistic
missile with a nuclear warhead to extinguish the "skyfire."
At the time that Voyage to the Bottom of
the Sea was made, the Van Allen radiation belts had only recently
been discovered, and much of what the film says about them is made up
for the film. Discoveries since then clearly invalidate what the film
says: the Van Allen belts (actually somewhat more radiation-dense
portions of the magnetosphere) are made up of sub-atomic particles
trapped by the Earth's magnetic field in the vacuum of space and
cannot catch fire, as fire requires oxygen, fuel and an ignition
source, all of which are insufficient in the Van Allen Belts.
Unburned hydrocarbon emissions have never reached concentrations that
could support a "skyfire." Even though the plot was
scientific nonsense... it had Barbara Eden on board and that makes it
OK in our books!
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was
released to movie theaters in early July 1961 and played to mixed
reviews from critics, but audiences made it a success. Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea was made for $2 million USD and brought in $7
million USD in box office revenue. The success of the feature film
led to the 19641968 television series on ABC, Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea. During the series run, the film's storyline was
remade as a one-hour episode. That episode was written by Willam
Welch and was titled "The Sky's on Fire". Other scenes in
the film were also rewritten and incorporated into the television series.
For the filming of Voyage to the Bottom of
the Sea, a number of detailed sets, props and scale models were
created to realize the Seaview submarine. After the film was finished
the sets were placed in storage. When Irwin Allen decided to make a
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea television series, all he had to do
was pull the sets out of storage. This was done at a fraction of the
cost that he might have had if he had begun from scratch. The film
reduced the cost of setting up the show and was the template for the
type of stories that were done. The studios, having made the film,
helped make the television series easier to produce. The success of
the television series encouraged Irwin Allen to produce other science
fiction television shows. The most notable of these shows were Lost
in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants.
Congressman Llewellyn Parker was played by
Howard McNear (above second from right). McNear is best remembered as
Floyd Lawson, the barber in The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968).
Barbara Eden make a memorable guest appearance on The Andy Griffith
Show in the episode The Manicurist (1962). When a pretty young
manicurist starts working in Floyd's Barbershop, the men are uneasy
about it at first but eventually take to the idea in a big way. The
wives of Mayberry, not so much.
In June 1961, Pyramid Books published a
novelization of the feature film by Theodore Sturgeon. The book was
reprinted several times during the 1960s. One of those reprintings
has Richard Basehart and David Hedison pictured on the cover, but the
book is still based on the Walter Pidgeon film. Collectors who want a
novelization of the television series should find City Under the Sea.
That book uses the television characters, but should not be confused
with either the television episode or the later Irwin Allen film of
the same name.
Sturgeon's book is based on an early
version of the film's script and has the same basic story as the
film. The book also has a few characters that were not shown in the
film and some additional technical explanation. Some scenes are
different from the film. Some scenes in the book are wholly absent
from the film, and likewise some scenes from the film are entirely
missing from the book.
original 1961 cover of Sturgeon's book shows a submarine meeting a
fanged sea serpent. This scene appears in neither the novel nor the
film. The design of the submarine on the 1961 cover matches neither
the Seaview shown in the film nor the Seaview described in the novel.
The cover submarine's bow is opaque, and her "Observation
Room" is a rearward projection from the base of the conning
tower. The basic shape of her hull resembles that of USS Skipjack
(SSN-585), the first American nuclear-powered submarine with an
"Albacore hull", including the cruciform stern and single propeller.
A submarine design very similar to the
craft on the 1961 cover, and its mission to save the world, shows up
in a Dell Comics series called Voyage to the Deep in 1962 to
capitalize on the movie's popularity. Its mission also took it to the
Mariana Trench to stop the Earth from wobbling out of orbit. It
stopped publishing by issue #4. That ship was named Proteus, later
the name of the 'submarine' in Fantastic Voyage.
In 1961 Dell Comics created a full color
adaptation of the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea movie. The comic
was Four Color Comics #1230 and drawn by Sam Glanzman. It has a few
publicity stills of the movie plus a section on the history of
submarines. In the comic book the Admiral's first name is Farragut
instead of Harriman. There was also a Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
coloring book released in the mid-1960s.
MAD Magazine published a parody based on
the TV series in one of their monthly issues entitled, "Voyage
to See What's on the Bottom". There is also a board game,
manufactured by a company called GemColor, that is tied to the movie
and not the television show. The box has a photo of a diver with an
eight-foot miniature of the Seaview. The film has been released on
VHS, DVD and Blu-ray.
Seaview, a fictional privately owned
nuclear submarine, was the setting for the 1961 motion picture Voyage
to the Bottom of the Sea, starring Walter Pidgeon, and later for the
19641968 ABC television series of the same title.
The accomplishments of America's
nuclear-powered submarines were major news items in the years before
the film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was released. Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea was the third American science fiction film to
feature such ships. The first two were It Came from Beneath the Sea
(1955) and The Atomic Submarine (1960).
Seaviews hull was designed to
withstand a depth of 3600 feet (1 km), and in one episode survived a
depth excursion approaching 5000 feet (1.5 km). The transparent-hull
"window-section" bow of Seaview was not rounded like a
traditional submarine but was faired into a pair of manta winglike,
stationary bow planes (in addition to her more conventional sail
planes). This was added after the original B 29 -like front with
twelve pairs of windows on two levels was modified for "Freudian
anatomically analogous issues." In exterior shots, Seaview's bow
had eight windows in the film and the first season of the television
series (below left), and four windows in seasons two through four of
the series (below right). The interior shots always showed only four
windows although it did indeed imply two levels in the feature's
scene with the giant octopus attack. Also in seasons two through four
of the TV version, a pair of sliding metal "crash doors"
shut across the face of the bow's observation deck to protect the
four-window transparent surface in emergencies. In Theodore
Sturgeon's novelization of the film, the windows are described as
"... oversized hull plates which happen to be transparent."
"They are incredibly strong because they are made of
"X-tempered herculite", a top secret process developed by
Nelson. To avoid a claustrophobic feeling during viewing of the 1961
feature film, Seaviews interior was considerably more spacious
and comfortable than any real military submarine. This was further
enlarged when the Flying Sub was added to the miniatures with an even
more open set for the control room interior.
The stern had unconventional, lengthy,
V-shape planes above the twin engine area. On the original Seaview
design, a single, central skeg rudder was specified, as well as two
trailing edge control surfaces similar to an aircraft V-tail; a
combination elevator-rudder or "ruddervator" fitted to the
Beechcraft Bonanza and other aircraft. But on the filmed miniatures,
the 8 1/2 foot (103") miniature had three rudders: one behind
each nacelle and on the rear most portion of the skeg. This
functional skeg rudder was only fitted to the 103" miniature and
non-operationally inferred on the 51 1/2" miniature and not at
all on the 206" version which had a fixed skeg.
In both the film and the series, Seaview
was armed with torpedoes and ballistic missiles. The series added
anti-aircraft missiles to Seaview's armory. They were called
"interceptor missiles" in the pilot episode, and "sea
to air missiles" in the episode "Terror" (season 4,
In seasons two through four of the series,
the forward search light also housed a laser beam that could be used
against hostile sea life or enemy vessels.
Seaview was also capable of electrifying
the outer hull, to repel attacking sea life that were trying to
destroy the ship. In the episode "Mutiny" (season 1,
episode 18), Crane ordered the "Attack Generators" made
ready to use this capability on a giant jellyfish.
Lastly, Seaview was outfitted with an
"ultrasonic" weapon capable of causing another submarine to
implode, though special authorization was normally required to
utilize it. The Seaview's hull was also partially protected by an
"electronic defense field".
The 19-foot model of the
Seaview on display at Movie World.
Although never stated, it was implied that
Seaview used some kind of aquatic jet engine, which might possibly
explain her speed (very fast for a submarine) and her penchant for
dramatic emergency surfacing.
Whether a submarine is faster submerged or
on the surface depends on her hull design, not her power plant.
America's early nuclear submarines were slightly faster submerged
than on the surface because their hulls were streamlined in
accordance with the Greater Underwater Propulsion Power Program
(GUPPY). An "Albacore hull", which Seaview did not have, is
necessary for submerged speed to be significantly higher than surface
speed. USS Triton, the real-life submarine whose hull Seaview most
nearly resembles, was slower when submerged than on the surface.
In Theodore Sturgeon's novelization of the
film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Seaview is faster on the
surface than underwater: "...the Captain ...proceeded on the
surface, where it was possible to squeeze another fifteen knots out
of the big submarine."
In the series, there are many shots of
Seaview running on the surface with the bow higher than the stern,
and water splashing at the bottom of the bow. But there are also
shots of her running on the surface and properly trimmed fore and aft
- that is, the bow and stern are level. In these shots, the water
flows up and over the bow, similar to a submarine with an Albacore
hull. Therefore, it is possible that Seaview was faster submerged
than on the surface. Such shots can be seen in the opening titles of
the first season, and in the episodes "The Ghost of Moby
Dick" and "Long Live the King".
Between the TV version's first and second
seasons, the Seaview miniatures were extensively revised. Dated May
1965 the drawings penned by William Creber (who also designed the
Flying Sub itself) stated "modifications to be applied to all
miniatures." The number of bow windows was reduced from eight on
two levels of four each to a single row of four (actually two with a
dividing girder.) This then matched the interior set with the
exterior miniatures but with the added detrimental effects of a more
bulbous frontal appearance and a reduction in apparent overall size
of the vessel. The Control Room, previously located on an upper
level, was moved forward on a lower level ahead of the conning tower,
to connect directly with the Observation Room, and a large hangar bay
was added to the bow, beneath the Observation Room/Control Room
combination. This hangar held the 36 foot wide and long, flying
submersible, aptly called the "Flying Sub" or
"FS-1", implying that there were several more back at the
base, which would have to be the case since several Flying Subs were
lost to mishaps or combat during the run of the show. Promotional
materials published between the first and second seasons referred to
it as the Flying Fish, but the name was evidently dropped prior to
the start of filming and was never used in the show. It was deployed
through bomb-bay like doors. As it broke the surface, its engines
could generate enough thrust for the vehicle to take off and fly at
supersonic speeds. The Flying Sub was also nuclear powered.
Three models of Seaview (a 4 foot, 8.5
foot and 17 foot versions) were built (eight-window nose in the
motion picture and first television season, four-window version
thereafter). The four-foot wood and steel tube approval/pattern model
was extensively seen in the feature and on the TV series used as set
decoration on a shelf in the observation nose, and behind Nelson's
desk in his cabin. The eight-foot model had external doors for a not
fitted nine-inch Flying Sub, while a more detailed 18-inch Flying Sub
was held within the larger Seaview. For close-ups, a three-foot
Flying Sub was produced, which was also used in the aerial sequences.
All three Seaview models were built for a total 1961 price of
$200,000 by Herb Cheeks' model shop at Fox, and were filmed by L. B.
Abbott who won two Emmy Awards for special effects in the series. For
the television series a rather poorly rendered two-foot model was built.
The fates of the three original models
vary; the original eight-window wood and steel four-foot display
model was damaged in an altercation between writer Harlan Ellison and
ABC Television executive Adrian Samish and after a full restoration
resides in a private collection. There were at least two fiberglass
cast "wet models" in this size all of which are now in
private hands. One of the two eight-foot model was extensively
modified; (bow cut off) for use in the short-lived 1978 series The
Return of Captain Nemo and aside from the nose section, is believed
to have been destroyed. The single 17-foot model sat in the Virginia
Beach garage of model maker Dave Merriman (who built several of the
miniatures for The Hunt for Red October movie) during most of the
1980s where it was modified from its original appearance. It then was
displayed above the bar at the (now-defunct) Beverly Hills Planet
Hollywood restaurant from 1993-2002 and after a partial restoration,
is on display at the Museum Of Science Fiction located in Seattle,
Washington. There were several miniatures of the Flying Sub and the
mini-sub, and after a props and memorabilia auction in the late 1970s
at 20th Century Fox most have found their way into private collections.
Both the Seaview and Flying Sub have been
represented by several model kits. Both were originally offered by
Aurora Plastics Corporation back in the 1960s during the run of the
show, and have been re-released several times. Moebius Models have
recently issued versions of both the Seaview and Flying Sub, each in
two differing scales. Though superior to the original kits from the
60's, these are still not entirely faithful to the contours and
dimensions of the original miniatures.