Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Production information and notes by Mark Phillips
Story synopses, Mike Bailey

The Monster's Web  Airdate: February 27, 1966
70 knots....just too fast for their instruments to track the surrounding terrain. Experimental sub races through the depths. Balter orders speed slowed.Caught in the spider's web.
Travlin' fast!
Too fast!
Balter orders, "Slow down!
 Too late--trapped!

Counter to the judgment of Bill Balter, his XO, Captain Mike Gantt orders a cavalier high-speed test of a powerful and equally unstable new fuel which pushes his sub to outrun its own scans, thus crashing pell-mell into the web of a giant undersea spider.  With the exception of Balter, all escape from the doomed sub, which, along with several canisters of Gantt's fuel, crashes to the bottom of the sea.  Gantt later boards Seaview at the behest of a Naval Board of Inquiry to retrieve the fuel, which Nelson and Crane demonstrate is perilously unstable at great depth.  Not only that, but should the fuel explode, vast quantities of a highly lethal gas will be released.         Big heep spider attacks Seaview in this still-photo publicity shot.

Gant and Riley retrieve Gant's powerful fuel. Big arachnid comes a runnin'. The Flying Sub bound by the spider's web.
Gantt & Riley retrieve fuel.
Big-daddy spider on the prowl about to...
...ensnare the Flying Sub.

Nelson, Riley and Gantt fly ahead in FS-1, enter the wrecked sub and retrieve the fuel along with Gantt's XO, Balter, who has miraculously survived, although barely.  Reboarding FS-1 with the fuel, they discover the spider has wrapped them all in its steely web. 

Nasty-looking bad-guy spider.  Seaview soon arrives and Crane, Kowalski and crewman Olson set out to cut the Flying Sub free, but Kowalski and Olson end up trapped as well.  Amidst all this action, on Seaview, the dying Balter admits it was his fault the sub went down in the first place.  (The hard fact is, the fault was Captain Gantt's.--Mike) In the end, the reckless but valiant Gantt suits up, and equipped with a spear gun tipped with his own unstable fuel, blows their big arachnid friend to that great spider web in the sky, thus saving the day. 

The Monster's Web 

Written: Peter Packer, Al Gail
Story: Peter Packer
Directed: Justus Addiss

Guest Cast:
Capt. Mike Gantt....Peter Mark Richman
Bill Balter...............................Barry Coe
Sonarman..........................Sean Morgan
Doctor.............................Wayne Heffley
Crewmen........................Vince Deadrick
                                        Howard Curtis

Sean Morgan: "I was a last-minute addition because they forgot to cast the role and needed somebody quick!  I remember the giant spider attacking us and having a spark burn my ankle but the real highlight for me as a young actor was to watch such a marvelous and professional actor as Richard Basehart at work.  That was a wonderful learning experience."

Mark Says: A grade-B adventure with a giant spider that struggles to look real (and occasionally succeeds - its attack on Seaview is eye-catching, thanks to brilliant lighting). Not a bad episode, but I never understood why the dying Comdr. Balter accepts blame for what was clearly Mike Gantt’s mistake.

Why the devil did the dying Balter accept blame for the accident?  s  s  

Balter was wither a chump for taking the blame or the writer had it in for him.

Mike Says:  OK, here's where I lose all credibility . . . I pretty much like this episode.  If it's a monster outing, give me a struggling miniature over a man in a suit any day--no matter how stiff.  As Mark admits, the spider effects are occasionally very effective, although on the other hand, sometimes NOT.  The story by the notorious Peter Packer is basic, but having Gantt's XO take the blame for that which the viewer clearly knows is not his fault, makes no sense at all.  What was Peter Packer smoking?  This episode is no work of art, but you gotta give the effects boys and the actors credit for trying--and it's loaded with action. 

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