Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

    Sutton Roley, longtime episodic television director, died March 3, 2007 at the age of 84.  He was born October 19, 1922, in Belle Vernon, PA. More than any other director of his generation, Roley was known within the industry for his exuberant visual sense, a near- constant use of skewed angles, distorted lenses, long takes, elaborate tracking shots, and bold compositions (as with many of his contemporaries, the influence of Orson Welles and "Citizen Kane" was paramount).  This led to conflicts with more conservative producers, cameramen, and actors, but when Roley encountered equally adventuresome collaborators he could produce some of the most dazzling imagery ever composed for TV.
     His best and most sustained work was probably done for "Combat" in the mid-sixties and "Mannix" in the early seventies(my favorite "Roley shot" is a lengthy love scene between Mike Connors and Sally Kellerman, shot in one take entirely through the bars of a birdcage filled with twittering parakeets).

    Roley started out in live TV, directing (and sometimes writing) "Lights Out" and "The Kate Smith Show," and segued into filmed television via the Ziv factory of cheap half-hour action shows ("Harbor Command, "Men of Annapolis").  His other credits included "Adventures in Paradise," "The Man From UNCLE," "The Rat Patrol,""Twelve O'Clock High," "The Name of the Game," "The Invaders," "Lost in Space," and "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."

Stephen Bowie

Paid death notice from the LA Times (March 7):

ROLEY , Sutton Wilson
Passed away March 3, 2007. He was a film and television director and
writer for over 35 years.
He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth (Sam) Crockett; sons Sutton
and Trenace; grandchildren Sutton Calvin Roley, Preston Roley and
Mackenzie and Blake Crockett.
Private family services will be held. In lieu of flowers, please make
donations to the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, Episcopal Diocese of
Los Angeles, P.O. Box 2164, Los Angeles, CA 90051.
Cabot & Sons, Pasadena Directors.

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