Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is an 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.
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 (1964–1965), and 78 filmed in color (1965–1968). 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.
Seaview’s 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, and four windows in seasons two through four of the series. 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, Seaview’s 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 (see “The Ghost of Moby Dick”). 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.
The Seaview also had a small flying sub that would launch from beneath the bow.
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, episode 10).
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 Death Ship”, Season 2, Ep 22)
The ship needed every trick in its arsenal. Sometimes it was attacked by giant sea mutants.
A great ship!!
The beast breaches the surface in the Arctic.