Research ship tossed in storm.
Storm-tossed research ship at sea.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

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


Brand of the Beast  Original Airdate: December 12, 1966

      Nelson orders Crane to run Seaview at flank speed to try to rescue the top scientists and crew on board the British vessel Columbine that's foundering in a storm.  When Seaview's reactor goes critical, Nelson is exposed to massive doses of radiation when he attempts to bring it under control. 

Mouse-over for dramatic Nuclear flare-up    

  There'll be a hot hand in the old reactor tonight!

First sign of returned virus. The radiation causes a flare up of the mysterious rabies virus he was exposed to in the episode, Werewolf.  He hides the condition from Crane and the crew and when he feels a transformation coming on, solicits Sharkey's help. The Chief locks Nelson in his cabin to prevent him from injuring others.  While covering for Nelson, Sharkey invokes Crane's ill will, but Nelson, recovered from the bout with werewolfery, talks Crane out of confining the chief to his quarters.   Jerry Catron brings the werewolf to life.

Nelson Stares down at crane...





...and Crane stares back in shock.
Crane discovers the truth.

Send me to the!

      Nelson has recurrent attacks, and Crane, discovering the truth, orders him to be subdued with tranquilizers.  When that proves unworkable, the Captain orders live ammo to be used on his friend.  In the meantime, Nelson raises plenty of werewolf havoc.  Luckily, when Sharkey and Kowalski finally catch up with the Admiral, he's passed out, returned to normal.  They lock him in his cabin for safety, but Nelson, feeling the onset of another attack, escapes through the ventilator system and orders Sharkey to send him to the bottom in the diving bell, thus getting him off the sub. 

Apple One on her way to the bottom.

On discovering this, Crane orders the bell hauled back, but Nelson hits the quick-release, and the bell plummets to the sea bottom.  Crane then remotely fires the ballast release and the bell rises like a rocket, subjecting Nelson to rapid decompression.  When he comes out of the bell, he's returned to his normal self and Doc says there's no sign of virus left.  Nelson hypothesizes that the nitrogen introduced into his blood during rapid decompression must have been fatal to the virus.  Thus ends the episode.   Doc, Nelson and Crane relieved that the werewolf bug is gone.  Or is it?

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Written: William Welch
Directed: Justus Addiss
Guest Cast:
Jerry Catron............The Beast



Mark Says: When I was a kid, I thought it was really Richard Basehart who was under the werewolf mask, doing all those tortured spins and leaps throughout the show.  But it's Jerry Catron who takes over every time the Admiral turns into a monster. This is another example where a great cast really works for its pay (Chief Sharkey caught between the orders of Nelson and Crane, the bewildered Doctor grappling with the Admiral's condition, Crane's confusion, etc). There's even a weird scene where Chip Morton's character suddenly appears for a cameo. Story wise, the episode is frustrating for its many lapses in logic and the werewolf makeup is more comical than frightening.  It's another budget saver but it's the dedicated cast who really saves this one.

Mike Says:  Fine miniature stock footage of an ocean vessel tossed at sea in the midst of a terrific storm sets the story in motion, plus the acting is terrific.  Basehart may have hated this stuff, but he made it work, as did everyone else.  The denouement, however, feels tacked on.  Nelson tries to save the crew by isolating himself in the diving bell, Crane orders the emergency ballast released which sends the bell to the surface, and hey, wow, the sudden release of Nitrogen into Nelson's blood from the quick surface kills the werewolf virus.   This ending is done in such an such a quick, off-the-cuff manner that if really feels just like what it is--a quick

Production art created for Brand of the Beast.
Production art from Brand of the Beast.
way to abruptly  resolve the jeopardy.  Oh, and yes, the werewolf mask looks like they bought it at a costume shop.  Even so, overall, I kinda' like this outing, although, for the life of me, I can't remember what happened to the damn scientists.

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