Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was 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. The show's main theme was underwater adventure.
Voyage 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 (1964–65), and 78 filmed in color (1965–68). The first two seasons took place in the then future of the 1970s. The second two seasons took place in the 1980s. The show starred Richard Basehart and David Hedison. It currently airs on AmericanLife TV Network.
In the pilot episode "Eleven Days to Zero", which was filmed in color but shown in black and white, the audience is introduced to the futuristic nuclear submarine Seaview
and the lead members of her crew. Most notable is the designer and builder of the submarine, Admiral Harriman Nelson
(Richard Basehart). We also are introduced to the Nelson Institute of Marine Research (NIMR) which serves as a support structure for the Seaview
. We learn, not for the last time, that the series is set in the then-future of the 1970s. The pilot episode tells the story of how Lee Crane (David Hedison) became the Seaview
after the death of Capt. Phillips. At the end of the episode, we learn that the series will be about the adventures of the Seaview
and her crew roaming the seven seas
and visiting many exotic locations. The Seaview
and her crew's primary task in the series will be to probe the mysteries of nature and fight forces that threaten the survival of the United States
and the entire world.
The first season began with Admiral Nelson and the crew of the Seaview
fighting against a foreign government in order to prevent a world-threatening earthquake, 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 the diving bell
and a mini-submarine
, as well as the first alien story and the first sea monsters. The season ended with the Seaview
crew fighting a foreign government to save a defense weapon.
In the first season, the gritty, atmospheric, and intense series featured story lines devoted to Cold War themes, as well as excursions into near-future speculative fiction. Many episodes involved espionage and sci-fi elements. While aliens and sea monsters, not to mention dinosaurs, did become the subject of episodes, the primary villains were hostile foreign governments. While fantastic, there was a semblance of reality in the scripts. Most fans and many critics believe that the majority of the series' best episodes aired during this season. They also believe that the more real world tone that the series took during this year stands up better than that of the next three seasons.
The second season began with a trip inside a whale, 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 Sharkey, due to the death of Henry Kulky, who portrayed Chief Jones.
The most important change in the series occurred during this season when a slightly redesigned Seaview was introduced, along with the Flying Sub. The Flying Sub was a yellow, two-man mini-submarine with passenger capacity, that 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 Seaview crews' travel options. The Flying Sub was launched from a bay in the lower part 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 Seaview’s eight observation windows became four. The Seaview’s enlisted men were also given more colorful uniforms (red or light blue jumpsuits), evidently to take advantage of the changeover from black and white to color. The officers and petty officers, however, retained their khaki works from the first season. 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. The Flying Sub flying submarine would wind up being the most recognized element of the series, even more so than the Seaview herself. The Flying Sub was showcased in the show's closing credits for the entire 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
The 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. 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 cemented 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 and lobster men.
Fourth and final season
The fourth and final season of Voyage
began with Victor Jory
playing a five century old alchemist
. After a few episodes there were revamped opening credits. Near the end of the fourth season, there were three unrelated stories of extraterrestrial
invasion in three weeks. There were two time travel
stories in two weeks. The second of the two had the Seaview
going back in time to the American Revolution
. The episode ended with the Seaview
returning to the present and sailing into television history.
Ratings for the fourth season took a significant drop as the season progressed, but were not drastic enough for ABC to immediately cancel a fifth season for the series. During renewal discussions between Allen, 20th Century Fox and ABC, Allen instead proposed replacing Voyage with Land of the Giants. Based on a proposal consisting of only a reported two dozen pre-production concept paintings, ABC accepted Allen's proposed new series, and Voyage was cancelled.
The series' main theme, "The Seaview Theme", was written by Paul Sawtell
. A new darker, more serious theme was introduced at the beginning of the second season (composed by Jerry Goldsmith
), but this was quickly replaced by the original version. The series main composer, supervisor and conductor was Lionel Newman
. Other guest composers included Paul Sawtell who worked on the show for a while in the first season, Lennie Hayton
, and Star Trek: The Original Series
composer Alexander Courage
Differences from the feature film
The television series and the theatrical movie do not share the same continuity, and the series was never intended to be a continuation of the movie, but rather a complete 'reboot' using some of the same characters, introducing new ones, and dispensing with others that hadn't quite worked out in the film. Among the many differences between the two continuities:
- Captain Crane is not with Seaview during the beginning of the submarine's history. In the opening scene of the TV pilot, Seaview’s captain was Captain John Phillips. During the episode Captain Phillips was killed and replaced with Captain Crane. The episode makes it clear that Captain Crane had never been assigned to Seaview before, though he had previously served with Nelson on Nautilus. He is only on loan from the Navy for this mission. At the end of the episode he transfers to the Naval Reserve and is assigned to Seaview permanently. In the film, Lee Crane was with Seaview during its trial runs. He also seems to have had something to do with building the submarine.
- The movie submarine is named the USOS Seaview and the TV series submarine is named the SSRN Seaview, which is more in line with the naming conventions for US Navy submarines.
- Admiral Nelson's secretary in the feature film, Cathy Connors, is not in the television series. In the feature film, Cathy Connors worked on board Seaview, but in the TV series, The Admiral seems to have a long list of secretaries who work on land, are basically interchangeable and never seem to last longer than an episode.
- Captain Crane has no fiancée in the television series at all. We see him flirting with women a few times but no woman serves the role in his life that Cathy Connors did in the movie. In the movie she is Captain Crane's fiancée and they are talking about getting married. In the TV show there is no fiancée and the idea of Captain Crane getting married is never even discussed.
- There was no Nelson Institute of Marine Research in the movie. In the film Seaview is under the authority of the Bureau of Marine Exploration which, according to the novelization of the movie, is part of the U.S Department of Science. The Institute was introduced in the pilot episode as the place where Admiral Nelson works on land and where the Seaview docks.
- Admiral Nelson's friend and colleague from the film, Commodore Lucius Emory is not in the weekly series. Instead Admiral Nelson has a long line of colleagues who also never outlast an episode.
- The shipboard aquarium that Commodore Emory managed in the film is absent from the TV version of the Seaview.
- Admiral Nelson is about 15 years younger in the television series than in the feature film. He also prefers cigarettes in the series, as opposed to cigars in the film. Admiral Nelson also appears less flamboyant and less critical of those around him in the series than in the film, although it is clear that he does not suffer fools gladly.
- Crewman Kowski (Del Monroe) in the movie became Kowalski once the series started. (He is the only actor to have appeared in both versions of Voyage)
- The television Seaview is given no origin. The audience is told that Admiral Nelson is the designer and builder of the submarine but we see no diving trials. Unlike the movie we are given no background on what the Admiral went through to build the Submarine.
- It is stated that publicly the submarine is owned by the United States Government, and technically part of the United States Naval Reserve, acting on 'permanently detached duty', and becomes part of the "Fighting Navy" in the event of war or national emergency (Which happened several times in the course of the series). This is all immaterial, however, as the series also makes it very clear that the sub is actually at the beck and call of the Secret Service, to be used in covert operations whenever needed. In the movie, the Seaview was never anything other than a Navy Research Vessel.
- In the episode the "The Sky's on Fire", no mention is made of such a thing ever happening before. This episode is a retelling of the movie, albeit with a slightly different plot and guest characters. In the movie, this incident happened during the Seaview's shakedown crusie. In the series, it happened after the Seaview had been in service for more than a year and a half.
Episode titles and dates of first airing, from tv.com
Note that two different episodes, 28 and 73, are both entitled "The Creature."
Season One: 1964–1965
- 1. Eleven Days to Zero (Sep 14, 1964)
- 2. The City Beneath the Sea (Sep 21, 1964)
- 3. The Fear Makers (Sep 28, 1964)
- 4. The Mist of Silence (Oct 5, 1964)
- 5. The Price of Doom (Oct 12, 1964)
- 6. The Sky is Falling (Oct 19, 1964)
- 7. Turn Back the Clock (Oct 26, 1964)
- 8. The Village of Guilt (Nov 2, 1964)
- 9. Hot Line (Nov 9, 1964)
- 10. Submarine Sunk Here (Nov 16, 1964)
- 11. The Magnus Beam (Nov 23, 1964)
- 12. No Way Out (Nov 30, 1964)
- 13. The Blizzard Makers (Dec 7, 1964)
- 14. The Ghost of Moby Dick (Dec 14, 1964)
- 15. Long Live the King (Dec 21, 1964)
- 16. Hail to the Chief (Dec 28, 1964)
- 17. The Last Battle (Jan 4, 1965)
- 18. Mutiny (Jan 11, 1965)
- 19. Doomsday (Jan 18, 1965)
- 20. The Invaders (Jan 25, 1965)
- 21. The Indestructible Man (Feb 1, 1965)
- 22. The Buccaneer (Feb 8, 1965)
- 23. The Human Computer (Feb 15, 1965)
- 24. The Saboteur (Feb 22, 1965)
- 25. Cradle of the Deep (Mar 1, 1965)
- 26. The Amphibians (Mar 8, 1965)
- 27. The Exile (Mar 15, 1965)
- 28. The Creature (Mar 22, 1965)
- 29. The Enemies (Mar 29, 1965)
- 30. Secret of the Loch (Apr 5, 1965)
- 31. The Condemned (Apr 12, 1965)
- 32. The Traitor (Apr 19, 1965)
Season Two: 1965–1966
- 33. Jonah and the Whale (Sep 19, 1965)
- 34. Time Bomb (Sep 26, 1965)
- 35. And Five of Us Are Left (Oct 3, 1965)
- 36. The Cyborg (Oct 17, 1965)
- 37. Escape Frome Venice (Oct 24, 1965)
- 38. The Left-Handed Man (Oct 31, 1965)
- 39. The Deadliest Game (Nov 7, 1965)
- 40. Leviathan (Nov 14, 1965)
- 41. The Peacemaker (Nov 21, 1965)
- 42. The Silent Saboteurs (Nov 28, 1965)
- 43. The X Factor (Dec 5, 1965)
- 44. The Machines Strike Back (Dec 12, 1965)
- 45. The Monster From Outer Space (Dec 19, 1965)
- 46. Terror On Dinosaur Island (Dec 26, 1965)
- 47. Killers of the Deep (Jan 2, 1966)
- 48. Deadly Creature Below! (Jan 9, 1966)
- 49. The Phantom Strikes (Jan 16, 1966)
- 50. The Sky's On Fire (Jan 23, 1966)
- 51. Graveyard of Fear (Jan 30, 1966)
- 52. The Shape of Doom (Feb 6, 1966)
- 53. Dead Man's Doubloons (Feb 13, 1966)
- 54. The Death Ship (Feb 20, 1966)
- 55. The Monster's Web (Feb 27, 1966)
- 56. The Menfish (Mar 6, 1966)
- 57. The Mechanical Man (Mar 13, 1966)
- 58. The Return of the Phantom (Mar 20, 1966)
Season Three: 1966–1967
- 59. Monster From the Inferno (Sep 18, 1966)
- 60. Werewolf (Sep 25, 1966)
- 61. The Day The World Ended (Oct 2, 1966)
- 62. Night of Terror (Oct 9, 1966)
- 63. The Terrible Toys (Oct 16, 1966)
- 64. Day of Evil (Oct 23, 1966)
- 65. Deadly Waters (Oct 30, 1966)
- 66. Thing From Inner Space (Nov 6, 1966)
- 67. The Death Watch (Nov 13, 1966)
- 68. Deadly Invasion (Nov 20, 1966)
- 69. The Haunted Submarine (Nov 27, 1966)
- 70. The Plant Man (Dec 4, 1966)
- 71. The Lost Bomb (Dec 11, 1966)
- 72. The Brand of the Beast (Dec 18, 1966)
- 73. The Creature (Jan 1, 1967)
- 74. Death From The Past (Jan 8, 1967)
- 75. The Heat Monster (Jan 15, 1967)
- 76. The Fossil Men (Jan 22, 1967)
- 77. The Mermaid (Jan 29, 1967)
- 78. The Mummy (Feb 5, 1967)
- 79. The Shadowman (Feb 12, 1967)
- 80. No Escape From Death (Feb 19, 1967)
- 81. Doomsday Island (Feb 26, 1967)
- 82. The Wax Men (Mar 5, 1967)
- 83. Deadly Cloud (Mar 12, 1967)
- 84. Destroy Seaview! (Mar 19, 1967)
Season Four: 1967–1968
- 85. Fires of Death (Sep 17, 1967)
- 86. The Deadly Dolls (Oct 1, 1967)
- 87. Cave of the Dead (Oct 8, 1967)
- 88. Journey With Fear (Oct 15, 1967)
- 89. Sealed Orders (Oct 22, 1967)
- 90. Man of Many Faces (Oct 29, 1967)
- 91. Fatal Cargo (Nov 5, 1967)
- 92. Time Lock (Nov 12, 1967)
- 93. Rescue (Nov 19, 1967)
- 94. Terror (Nov 26, 1967)
- 95. A Time To Die (Dec 3, 1967)
- 96. Blow Up (Dec 10, 1967)
- 97. The Deadly Amphibians (Dec 17, 1967)
- 98. The Return of Blackbeard (Dec 31, 1967)
- 99. The Terrible Leprechaun (Jan 7, 1968)
- 100. The Lobster Man (Jan 21, 1968)
- 101. Nightmare (Jan 28, 1968)
- 102. The Abominable Snowman (Feb 4, 1968)
- 103. Secret of the Deep (Feb 11, 1968)
- 104. Man-Beast (Feb 18, 1968)
- 105. Savage Jungle (Feb 25, 1968)
- 106. Flaming Ice (Mar 3, 1968)
- 107. Attack! (Mar 10, 1968)
- 108. The Edge of Doom (Mar 17, 1968)
- 109. The Death Clock (Mar 24, 1968)
- 110. No Way Back (Mar 31, 1968)
- A hardback novel, City Beneath 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 the same name. The storyline was about an attempt by a wealthy family to transport the earth's oceans to another planet for re-settlement.
- 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 1964–1970. 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 bought 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. The comic was also the villain's second appearance, but not his final one as is commonly thought: the character was re-cast mid-way through the filming of the pilot episode, and appered in five more episodes in the first season. The character was retired when Werner Klemperer joined the cast of Hogan's Heroes in 1965.
- In 1966, World Distributors, a British publishing company in Manchester, England, published a hardback book called the Annual. The British-made book used the series characters in all new stories. The book contained a reprint of a story from Gold Key Comics. Both books were mostly prose stories with some illustrations.
- Aurora released a plastic model kit of Seaview as well as the Flying Sub during the original run of the series. Both kits were recently re-released by Polar Lights. The Flying Sub model sold more than the Seaview model.
- Other collectables from the show include a Milton Bradley board game with a drawing based on the pilot episode, a school lunch box with depictions of Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane trying to save the Flying Sub from an evil looking octopus. There was also a View-Master slide reel based on the episode "Deadly Creature Below."
- The popularity of the TV show inspired Mad Magazine to spoof the show, their version being called Voyage to See What's on the Bottom, featuring a submarine called the Seapew.
- Australian TV show Fast Forward sent-up the series as "Voyage to the Bottom of the Harbour"
- Stock footage of Seaview was used in the Wonder Woman episode "The Bermuda Triangle Crisis."
- An often referenced running joke is that in many episodes of the series, characters lurch to camera movements on the visibly static set, to give the illusion that Seaview had sustained impact. British television sitcom Red Dwarf frequently utilized parodies of this gimmick, including an extended outtake of the cast lurching from side to side of the Starbug set at the instance of Craig Charles.
20th Century Fox
has released the first 3 seasons on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. It is expected that Season 4 will be released soon.
||Additional Information |
| Season 1 Vol. 1
|| February 21 2006
- Unaired Colour Pilot
- Behind the scenes home movie from Irwin Allen
- Promotional Reel featuring Irwin Allen from 1964
- Still Gallery
| Season 1 Vol. 2
|| July 11 2006
- Still Gallery (22 images)
- Blooper Reel
- David Hedison Interviews
| Season 2 Vol. 1
|| October 24 2006
- Special Effects Footage (22:04)
- Concept Art Gallery (5 stills)
- Episodic Photo Gallery (35 stills)
- Publicity Photo Gallery (8 stills)
| Season 2 Vol. 2
|| February 20 2007
- David Hedison Interview
- Still Gallery
| Season 3 Vol. 1
|| June 19 2007
- Still Galleries
- David Hedison Interviews
- Visitors on Set
- Letters from Fans
- "The Rock and Roll"
- David Hedison 1966 Interview (audio only)
| Season 3 Vol. 2
|| October 23 2007
- Episodic Photo Gallery
- Publicity Photos
- TV Merchandise
- David Hedison Interviews
- Richard Basehart 1966 Interview (audio only)
- SEAVIEW: The making of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea by Tim Colliver, copyright 1992, published by Alpha Control Press.
- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea DVD sets
- The Irwin Allen Scrapbook Volume One Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Edited by William E. Anchors, Jr.; copyright 1992 by Alpha Control Press.