Even in season 3, Voyage's photography continued to be often brilliant.
Voyage's unique visual strength apparent in this episode .

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

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

The Wax Men  Original Airdate: March 5, 1966

     A large number of crated wax dummies (reportedly from the lost continent of Atlantis???) are loaded into the missile room, cargo which Nelson has been charged by the State Department to transport to Washington for an exhibition.  With no one about, one of the crates is smashed open from the inside and out steps a sinister little clown; he removes one of the other crate lids to reveal a full-size wax likeness of Nelson. 

Crates come aboard.
Out steps clown.
Nelson's doppelganger wax figure.

It's not long before Nelson and the rest of the crew have been replaced with wax doubles, all except for Crane, who, having been detained from reporting for duty, finally shows up at the Institute. 

When he boards Seaview, he's greeted by the clown's pasty-faced doubles -- and they're up to no good.  As in NO GOOD.  Crane is at first surprised, then angry to discover that all the crew, including his best friend (Nelson) are acting and looking very odd.  They want to add Crane to their fold and the Captain wants none of it.  

The wax Nelson.
     All the officers ignore his orders until he is confronted by the clown, who fires a tranquilizing dart at him, but misses.  He escapes, and when confronted by an armed Morton reluctantly fires his gun, but finds it has no visible effect on the officer.  Crane finds Nelson in his cabin; the waxen Admiral denies there's anything wrong as over the intercom, the clown orders Seaview to put to sea.  

From then on, it's more cat and mouse, er, Captain and clown until Crane accidentally discovers that fire will stop the waxen menaces.  While trying to effect repairs in the Flying Sub so he can escape, Crane is confronted by and struggles with the wax Nelson.  The animated dummy stumbles and falls on Crane's blowtorch and melts. 

Wax Crewman eerily glide around Seaview...
...in search of the illusive Crane.
Crane torches tormenter, discovers wax secret.

Crane is joined by the real Nelson, revived since the demise of his double.  They concoct a plan to heat the sub up until all the dummies melt into puddles.  Cut to the missile room where all the crew members begin to revive.  In the control, Nelson and Crane examine the wax remains of the clown's dummies.

All that is left of the wax invaders.

The little bastard opens fire and short circuits some control panels.  This sends Seaview rocking and rolling out of control until the clown is thrown into a high voltage panel and electrocuted. 

Dig those crazy lights. It's getting hotter. Nightmare clown. Dead nightmare clown.
Turn up the heat.
Yep, gettin' there.
Angry clown
Dead Clown

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Written: William Welch
Directed: Harmon Jones
Guest Cast:
Clown....................Michael Dunn

Mark Says: This one is a colossal shame when you consider that Michael Dunn - an Oscar nominee for Ship of Fools (1965), acclaimed for his portrayal of the diabolical Dr. Loveless on The Wild, Wild West, and his poignant turn as a stranded Martian in Norman Corwin Presents (1972) - has his great talents hidden here by clown makeup and a one-dimensional character.  The book Fantastic Television called this episode "a minor classic" but while the teaser is promisingly creepy, and the ending is truly bizarre, it's one of the Voyage's most boring and disappointing hours.

  On set lighting check.
Behind-the-scenes shot of technician checking lighting in episode,  "The Wax Men."  Bob Dowdell, Richard Basehart.

Mike Says: This episode accomplishes what it strives for -- bizarre weirdness.  Forget logic -- who needs it when one eerie, horrifying thing after another occurs.  The clown's humorous appearance and demeanor are counterpoints to the horror of what he's doing -- replacing all human life aboard Seaview with soulless wax ciphers.  My God, where are the seed pods?  The real horror is experienced by Crane, who, returning to all of this, discovers one by one that his friends and crew mates have been reduced to wax automatons and that "uncle Ira is no longer really uncle Ira."  And then, in nightmare fashion, he must "kill" these look-a likes.  Michael Dunn plays the clown to perfect menace.  The soundtrack score by composer Robert Drasnin , known for his 1959 album, Voodoo, and as musical director for CBS TV (he also worked on Lost In Space) adds to the effect.  Its off-key percussive punch is a perfect match for the strangeness that plays out on the screen.  Sorry everybody, I still like this episode.  But then, I like David Lynch's Eraserhead.

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