Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

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


The Monster From Outer Space  December 19, 1965

Newspaper headlines opened several episodes in Season 2 Voyage.       An automated space probe picks up an organic life form which is later apparently killed on fiery reentry into earth's atmosphere (it gets pretty hot).     Monster burning up on atmospheric reentry.

The creature grows anew in the ocean's organic soup.  

     Divers are sent to retrieve the probe, but find contagion growing all over it.  Torches are used on the growth and it seems to shrink away.  Upon retrieval, Nelson orders a thorough decontamination which leaves no detectable trace of the creature. 
     Nelson transports the instrument package to the aircraft carrier Huron where it's discovered that vestiges of alien growth still exist.  Meanwhile, back on Seaview, the life form, which has the ability to expand to alarming size and then shrink invisibly back down into a crack in the probe,

is taking over crewmen.  Riley is one of the first to go, followed by Kowalski and others.  All have instructions from the creature that the whole crew must be controlled. 

Riley mindng his own business. Taking note of unruly monster. Oh oh, I'm toast.
In the missile room, Riley first espies the hideous beast.

     Nelson radios Seaview about the discovery of life on the instrument packet and warns that traces may remain on the capsule.  But it's too late; crew are being taken over at an alarming rate.  Crane eventually becomes suspicious and locks himself in his cabin with a gun. 

Sharkey helps Nelson don outfit which they hope will kill the creature.
Nelson wires up.
       Unfortunately, the life form in giant size comes bursting through the cabin wall and Crane is taken over.  When Nelson and Sharkey return to Seaview, the game's afoot to control them as well.  The two retire to the lab and concoct an electrical shock trap, which, using Nelson as the bait, successfully kills the creature.  With the passing of its influence, everyone returns to normal.   
Initially, things don't look good for Admiral under siege.
The thing attacks Nelson.

Now, it's the monster's turn to be toast.
Monster goes up in a flash of electrical power.
Guest Cast
Navy Commander.............Hal Torey
Flight Control...........Preston Hanson
Technician..................Lee R. Delano
Doctor........................Wayne Heffley
Sonarman.....................Ray Didsbury
Monster.......Darryl Scott McFadden
Crewman....................Anthony Brand
Navy voice.................Bartell La Rue
Divers............................Bill Hickman
                            James Van Niekerk

Trivia: Voyage has had its share of famous fans. In her recent autobiography, Melissa Gilbert (Laura on TVs Little House on the Prairie) recalls that Richard Basehart was one of her favorite guest stars on Little House because he had been starred as Admiral Nelson on one of her favorite shows, Voyage. In an interview before his death, John Lennon recalled some of his favorite TV shows, one was the then-current Dallas, another was Voyage. Mel Gibson referred to Voyage fondly on Arsenio Hall's TV show and Novelist Jacqueline Suzanne loved Voyage and posed for photos with the cast on the set. And when film star Victor Mature visited the Voyage set in 1965, Irwin Allen put him to work for a day and cast him in a unbilled cameo as a radio officer in the background.

The Monster From Outer Space 
 Written: William Read Woodfield, Allan Balter
Directed: James B. Clark

Mark Says: The low point of year two.  Although this "alien-on-the-loose" story has more sub-text than later alien stories, itís still a very unpleasant and limited story, with a giant balloon playing the alien.  Only Wayne Heffley, as Doc, looks convincingly possessed (with his blank smile and glazed eyes).  And what gives with the strange radio officer?  The guy sits there without moving or blinking.  A department store dummy?

Mike Says: Yes, this is a monster-on-the-loose episode.  But it's mounted in high fashion (there's budget) and it's NOT dull.  There is a reason it's NOT dull.  It was directed by James B. Clark, who had, for years, cut his teeth editing films for top directors such as Howard Hawks, Leo McCarey, Samuel Fuller, Joseph L Mankiewicz and John Ford.  There is movement o-plenty, and seldom a slack moment throughout.  Although the premise of the episode is suspect and a foreshadow of what would become standard fare in year three, the execution is not.  There is no man in a rubber suit.  There is no Dick Tufeld "You will obey!" monster dialogue.  There is a kind of peek-a-boo, now you see it, now you don't nature to the creature's comings and goings that I still find fascinating and somewhat reminiscent of the "bear" in the Outer Limits episode "It Crawled Out Of The Woodwork."  As far as the creature goes, there was no computer animation back then.  Short of full cell animation or stop-motion photography, inflating and deflating balloons was probably the only way to represent the creature.  The underwater shots are fairly believable.  The dry-land footage holds up less well.  I think that, if taken alone, this show is not as execrable as it has been pigeonholed.  In fact, I kind of like it.  Go figure. 
But really, what gives with the strange radio officer?  Yet over the intercom, we hear Arch Whiting's very familiar voice as Sparks. 

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