Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Great composition by Photographer WInton C. Hoch
Classic Episode

Guest stars J. D. Cannon (Falk), Arthur Franz (Archer) & Alvy Moore (Hoff)

Thomas7g's great test hull computer rendering.

For a full-size view of the artwork, above right, by Thomas7g, Click here.

"The Condemned" came late in Voyage's first season and was written by the talented William Read Woodfield, who also wrote other gritty episodes like "Doomsday" and "The Enemies".  It was during the shooting of "Doomsday" that Richard Basehart went to writer Woodfield and told him he just had to pen more stories for the series.  He did.  "The Condemned" also benefited from the remarkably fluid work of talented director Leonard Horn, who also helmed "The Fear Makers" and "Submarine Sunk Here" and cameraman Winton Hoch.  The end product was one of Season One's best, which also means it was one of the series' best.

The story begins with an unmanned dive of Admiral Bentley Falk's test hull.  The idea is to make it all the way to the bottom using Falk's revolutionary new atmosphere exchange system.  In his absence, the experiment is overseen by Falk's very capable assistant, Archer, and seems to be a complete success. 
Down you go, dummy.  

However, unknown to Nelson, or anyone else for that matter, their current position places them directly over the lair of a dangerous underwater life form--the episode's "bear".  Although the creature below almost snatches the test hull in it's arms, the test proves successful and a manned test-hull trial is planned next.  After that, Seaview herself will use the process to voyage literally to the bottom of the sea. 

Ah, here comes dinner.

Nelson is irritable about the fact that Falk is preoccupied with public relations even as this first test is conducted. 
Press conference?  If this is his project, his test, he should be here.  Who does he think he is?
Crane: But we don't need him for any of these preliminary tests. 

Wait till you see my other mustache.
A jovial Falk finally arrives on Seaview

Nelson: But that's not the point.  He's a scientist conducting an important experiment.  How-the-devil does he call a press conference before the experiment is even half through?  His headline grabbing is a disgrace to the scientific community.
(In the first season, Nelson comes across strongly as the scientist.)

Test hull prep.
Preparing the test hull.


After the initial unmanned success, the hull is prepared for a manned descent to be crewed by Crane, Admiral Falk, Archer and an assistant, Tracy.

Interesting (yet impossible) view of team on the way down in the test hull.
Down they go.

We have a foursome, how about a game of bridge? The dive proceeds like clockwork, with the test hull reaching bottom.  Falk is congratulated on speaker by Nelson, and later whispers, unheard, "I've beaten you father." as he fondles the family good luck piece.  It's becoming apparent that Falk has issues and that he's quite willing to risk lives (preferably someone else's) in order to prove "his" theory. Bully for you!

Wavering on the edge of darkness.

On the way back up to the surface from a thus-far successful test, a sudden gas leak bleeds off 1/4 of their breathing mixture.  Falk flicks a switch limiting Crane's air so that he passes out .

Someone help me, this collar's too tight.
Falk then switches off Tracy's breathing mixture completely.  Archer, whom we by now suspect is the actual genius behind the Admiral's process, protests, but can do nothing to stop the obsessed Falk.

The test hull is hauled to the surface where it's unconscious occupants (with the exception of the now-dead Tracy) are immediately transferred to a decompression chamber to recover.

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