Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Classic episode, Doomsday, page 3

Great Season One photography.     
The Alert is cancelled to the relief of all, but it's short lived relief when three things happen in rapid succession.  Sonar detects enemy destroyers closing in, Nelson is quick to point out they'd better surface and explain themselves, and simultaneously, Corbett notices that missile #4 has not released, and is set to fire at sea level.  They can't surface, he tells Nelson. 
Nelson's response:
If we can't talk, let's run.  Let's get out of here.  Lee, jam their sonar; they'll have to rely on hydrophones.

Seaview below--pursued by hostiles from above.

Seaview under depth charge attack.  
And run they do.  As depth charges rain down from enemy destroyers, Doc tries to save Kowal-ski's sight. 
  Try to hold still, will you.

Slow engines to match the minisub.   
Amidst a hail of depth charges,  Nelson orders Seaview slowed and then has the mini-sub fired up, its engines matched to the pitch of Seaview's.  When launched, the destroyers mistakenly follow the sound of the smaller submarine, allowing Seaview to sneak away undetected, the loss of the mini-sub, a small price to pay for survival.   Nelson, Crane and crew still face the problem that they cannot surface.
   Another minisub is sacrificed to good cause.

Can Seaview go that deep? 


Corbett takes a stand.


Nelson takes a stand, also.
I will not poison the air with our mistake.

When Nelson informs Corbett he needs a firing solution for detonating the missile at 1000 feet, the missile officer reacts: But Why?  To detonate at 1000 feet below surface, we'd have to fire at 4700 feet.  Can Seaview go that deep?
Nelson: It's just possible.
Corbett: Possible? You mean you'd risk every man aboard to conceal a nuclear accident?  To prevent the world from knowing Failsafe is fallible?
Nelson: No, Commander.  Nor would I risk the lives of this crew to honor the test ban treaty which we'd violate if we detonate at surface.  But I will not pollute the atmosphere with our mistake.  I will not poison the air of the earth.  Better to risk the lives of this crew than generations to come.

Nelson, the military man, sums up his case: . . . long ago, under circumstance less nerve wracking that we faced this morning, strategists and statesmen formulated a plan.  A plan which you as a military man have sworn to follow.  If plans made in periods of calm are not followed to the letter in times of stress, we can only face chaos.  Our survival as a nation and as individuals requires that we rely on reason, not on emotions.
     Nelson argues for reason, but is it?

The writers give Corbett the words that to the average viewer might make the most sense.     
On the other side of the question, Corbett sums up his position thusly: Our security also requires an informed public.  The world should learn, as I learned this morning, what doomsday would really mean, what a nuclear accident means. Then maybe we'll throw away these monstrous toys before they destroy us.
Nelson slides in what he thinks is the last word: You want to sound the trumpet, commander, then do it.  But not in that uniform -- and not on Seaview.  We detonate at minus 1000 feet. 

These orders issued, Nelson negotiates with the President for a window of time in which Failsafe can be opened and  missile 4 recaptured for safe release. 
Talented actor Ford Rainey as the President of the United States.
Ford Rainey as the President

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Black and white screen captures courtesy Stephanie Kellerman

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