his return to television, Irwin Allen, the man who created the
first celebrity panel show and the mystery guest for TV, has
chosen the most ambitious series ever undertaken, VOYAGE TO
THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.
VOYAGE, starring Richard Basehart, David Hedison and Bob
Dowdell, is based on creator-writer-director-producer Allen's
successful 1961 box-office hit of the same name.
In its transition to television, Allen was determined
that the video version be fashioned with the meticulous care
of a motion picture. The result is a series of
tremendous proportion. This, however, is Irwin Allen's
style and forte.
In an era when many of
the motion picture industry's critics have accused
Hollywood of "mass production" techniques, Irwin Allen
has consistently produced highly exploitable and
successful pictures in the best tradition of men like
Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney and George
Allen's career reads
like one of the Horatio Alger stories. He was born
in New York, June 12, 1916, attended public schools and
later Columbia University where he majored in journalism
and advertising. He came to Hollywood in 1938 as editor
of "KEY" magazine. Less than a year after his arrival,
he was invited by radio station KLAC to produce a
one-hour show. He wrote, produced, directed and narrated
a program that shortly enjoyed 22 sponsors and ran
continuously for 11 years.
The success of the radio show prompted the Atlas Feature
Syndicate to offer him a Hollywood news column. Allen took on
the role and his "Hollywood Merry-Go-Round" soon appeared
daily in 73 newspapers around the world.
With the advent of television, Allen created the first
celebrity panel show produced in the United States. Through
the show's four-year history, over 1,000 film stars and
Hollywood celebrities made their TV debuts on his "Hollywood
But Allen, whose reserve of energy, like his interests, is
boundless, continued to add to his fields of operations. In
1944, while juggling his radio show and newspaper column, he
opened a literary agency representing writers and literary
material for the radio and film industries. He obtained the
motion picture rights to Rex Beach's "The World in His Arms"
which he sold to Universal-International. He was subsequently
granted the franchise to represent all of the Rex Beach
material. He also represented such important literary figures
as Fanny Hurst, P.L. Wodehouse, Ben Hecht and Lois Joseph
Vance as well as the Duel, Sloan and Pearce, Harcourt-Brace
and Putnam publishing houses.
Allen eventually became one of Hollywood's outstanding
"packagers" of motion picture deals. Inevitably, he was drawn
into production himself. His first production partnership was
with RKO for the Groucho Marx-Jane Russell-Frank Sinatra
feature "Double Dynamite." He followed "Dynamite" with "Where
Danger Lives" with Robert Mitchum and Claude Rains and "A Girl
in Every Port" starring Groucho Mark, William Bendix and Marie
While still at RKO, Allen launched a
project recognized throughout the industry as a superb
artistic achievment--his production of Rachel Carson's "The
Sea Around Us." Allen wrote the screenplay and produced the
magnificently successful film for which he won an Academy
By this time, Allen had dropped all his other projects, and
was concentrating full-time on film production. He
formed Windsor Productions through which he produced and
direct "The Animal World" and "The Story of Mankind" for
In 1959, Allen wrote and produced his gigantic story of the
big top, "The Big Circus" with Victor Mature, Rhonda Fleming,
Kathryn Grant, Peter Lorre, Red Buttons and David Nelson. On
of the biggest moneymakers of the year, the film was shot at
MGM and released by Allied Artists.
In 1960, Allen moved to 20th
Century-Fox where his first film, "The Lost World" with
Michael Rennie, David Hedison, Jill St. John, Fernando Lamas,
Claude Rains and Ray Stricklyn, was one of the studio's
biggest box-office hits of the year.
Allen's key to success is basically his modernized version of
the "one-man show." He surrounds himself with the most able
and experienced technicians and artists in the motion picture
industry to work under his guidance and supervision. Allen's
incredible capacity for work, his almost frighteningly
accurate memory and his scrupulous attention to detail in
every phase of production have won him the respect and
admiration of his co-workers. His results on the screen have
made him one of the most talked about young men in Hollywood
and his effect at the box-office has made him one of the most
sought after producer-directors in the industry.
Picture Credits . . . . .
|1951 - Double Dynamite, RKO
1952 - A Girl in
Every Port, RKO
1953 - The Sea Around Us, RKO
1954 - Dangerous Mission, RKO
1956 - The Animal World,
1957 - The Story of Mankind, Warner
1959 - The Big Circus, Allied
1960 - The Lost World, 20th
1961 - Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,
20th Century Fox
1962 - Five Weeks In A
Balloon, 20th Century Fox.