Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Episode Guide, Year One, shows 27-28.
Production information and notes by Mark Phillips
Story synopses, Mike Bailey

Go To
The Exile
The Creature

The Exile    (Airdate: March 15, 1965)
     Seaview is ordered to rendezvous with a ship carrying the fugitive ex-premiere of an openly hostile country -- one Alexi Brynov.  Brynov's on the run, having just avoided death by firing squad which we come to find, he would most assuredly deserved.  Nelson surreptitiously approaches Brynov's ship in the minisub in order to assay the credibility of valuable microfilm the former dictator supposedly has. What Nelson doesn't know is that even at that moment, Brynov is working on a violent plot to regain power.  Meanwhile, Seaview comes under attack and must withdraw from her strategic position.   Edward Asner as Brynov about to be shot, just before he escapes to become a fugitive.
Surly Brynov faces firing squad, but will escape.
Nelson about to climb aboard found life raft. Simultaneously, an aircraft attacks Brynov's ship, blowing it to smithereens.  The survivors, including Nelson, pile into a lifeboat and the struggle to stay alive begins as more and more people are pulled into  the tiny raft.  

    Unfortunately, they soon encounter Brynov; waterlogged but alive, he further burdens the overloaded raft.  He immediately starts ranting, wondering who was the turncoat who called in the attacking airplanes.  The men take turns in the water to keep the raft from flooding, but when sharks show up, they all try to pile back in.  Brynov hauls out a gun and starts shooting; three of the survivors die. As supplies run low, the tension mounts, and one by one, Brynov eliminates them until only he and Nelson are left. 

  They'll be sorry they brought the waterlogged bastard aboard!
Waterlogged Brynov dragged from the sea.

     Nelson, now aware that Brynov's real plan is to start a war between his country and the US, is wounded.  A storm arises, the raft flounders and Nelson finally gets the gun, but it may be too late.  They have no food or water left and both men are delirious, near death. 

Brynov succumbs to self-inflicted salt water poisoning. Nelson grabs to the gun. He is sorely tempted to kill the miserable skunk, but decides that that honor should go to his own people.

     Unfamiliar with the ocean's ways and out of water, Brynov drinks saltwater and is soon incapacitated.   Nelson is sorely tempted to kill the monster on the spot, but restrains himself with the consolation that Brynov's people deserved to be the ones to eliminate him. Nelson awakes aboard Seaview, having been rescued unconscious, to find that he is the sole survivor – Brynov has died.  The Admiral finds little compassion or sorrow in his heart for the ex dictator.

Mark Says: The old "trapped in a lifeboat" routine and it is stupefying. The emptier the lifeboat gets, the less interesting the drama becomes. Nelson and Brynov’s battle for survival is an overblown endurance test for the viewer.

Mike Says: In spite of the fact that the trapped-in-a-lifeboat formula is stultifying and the telling of it not particularly energized, it remains that this episode, typical of season one, takes a moral position and tries to make a point (by exploring Brynov's ruthlessness.) Not William Read Woodfield's best writing, which is to put in kindly.

Written: William Read Woodfield
Directed: James Goldstone
Guest Cast
Aleksei Brynov.......Edward Asner
Josip.......................David Sheiner
Konstantin.................Harry Davis
Semenev................James Frawley
Mikhil Brynov.......Jason Wingreen
Officer...................Michael Pataki
Garrett....................Buddy Garrett
Survivors......................Ron Burke
                            Denvor Mattson
                                  Paul Kremin
Soldiers.................Ronald Howard
                                  Gene Silvani

Trivia: Bob May, who was
inside the Robot on Lost in
Space, was one of stand-ins
for this episode.

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The Creature    (Airdate: March 22, 1965)
     At an island research center, Captain Wayne Adams makes the decision to continue a missile launch after a strange resonant sound rolls through launch control and creates potential problems.  The potential becomes real when the rocket blows up on its pad and kills some of the crew.  His superiors believe the problem was man-caused sabotage; Adams suspects otherwise and becomes obsessed with clearing his name from any suspicion.  Regardless, when he shows up on Seaview, he acts like a pushy, arbitrary jerk as the search for the accident's catalyst begins.  In spite of false leads and bickering with the crew, Adams finally gets his man, er, as it turns out — fish!    Leslie Nielsen brought a sense of intensity to the role which made his self-centeredness easier to swallow.
Leslie Nielsen played Capt. Wayne Adams.

Superb model work.
Incredible Model work of the Giant Manta.
       It's a mon-strously huge manta ray that creates intense ultrasonic waves.  Crane and Adams manages to catch a young version of the creature which they intend to study.  
Seaview takes a bashing.
Contact sport with giant manta.

Young manta captive.
Nelson, still the scientist warrior in season one, strives to understand the ray, but more rationally than does Adams.
Sine of the times.
The small ray sends out signals...
apparently communicating with the adult...
in the ultrasonic range.

     At this, the giant becomes even more persistent about tailing and attacking Seaview.   The submarine's life support system is knocked out, and Nelson confronts Adams about his irresponsibility, at which point Adams locks himself in the lab and unknown to Nelson and crew, sends out ultrasonics to attract the creature.

Control room observation of the giant.
       This brings on more dangerous attacks even as the crew works on cutting through the hull to get at him.  Nelson retires to the lab and works up an anti-ultrasonic gun that stops the attacks.  In the end, Adams leaves the sub to try to kill the creature.  Crane and Nelson go after him and destroy the creature with explosive-tipped spear guns.  Adams will have to face trial for his rash actions.

Image courtesy Luis Ramos Janeiro
The Creature
Written: Rik Vollaerts
Directed: Sobey Martin
Guest Cast
Capt. Wayne Adams....Leslie Nielsen
Helmsman..................Patrick Culliton
Radioman.....................Robert Lipton
Radarman..................William Stevens
Electricians..................Buddy Garrett
                                    Ray Didsbury
Crewmen.......................Jim Wetherill
                                William Burnside

Mark Says:  The giant manta ray pivoting and crashing into Seaview during the battle scenes is astonishing.  There are some story contrivances, such as Adams continually getting the better of the crew, but Leslie Nielsen adds star power to his role and the show has great special effects to back up its action sequences.

Mike Says:  In my original comments for this episode, I made  the statement that the effects work on this show was "nice."   It had been many years since I'd viewed the episode and did not remember just how astonishing it is.  It is very hard to create biologicals (the giant manta) with models.  Episodes like The Ghost of Moby Dick and Jonah and the Whale did a pretty fair job with their whales.  But the work on the giant manta for this episode is astonishing.  When originally broadcast, the definition of available TVs was inferior to what it is today.  The guide wires used for model control simply weren't visible like they are in some scenes on today's televisions and computer monitors.  Being able to see them now is, in a way, a great lesson on how these sort of effects were created.   (Note...if this had been a movie with greater budget and shooting flexibility, those shots in which wires were visible would not have been used.  They would have been re-filmed with adjustments to the lighting, or guide wires made.  As it was, the lower definition of 60s televisions made this unnecessary.) 
     However--editing bone to pick: Seaview is supposedly hundreds of feet below the surface, but many of the observation nose shots of the creature (shots of a real manta ray rear-projected) clearly show it broaching the surface.  Also, I believe it was writer Rik Vollaerts in this episode, who started the lazy device of having Nelson retire to the lab to magically concoct some whiz-bang gizmo to save the day. Those are minor complaints for an episode that is a delight to view.

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