Fourth Season Landmarks
The fourth season of Voyage To The Bottom Of
The Sea premiered September 17, 1967. There were again 26 episodes,
and with them, Voyage crossed the 100th episode milestone. This
landmark remained unbeaten by an American science fiction series
until Star Trek, The Next Generation. For the record, Captain
Crane (David Hedison) was in all 110 episodes of the series. The
1966-67 seasons of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea and Lost In
Space are generally considered the weakest of both shows. Although
ratings were good, everyone involved knew both shows had more
potential. The 1967-68 seasons were therefore targeted for improvement.
With the demise of The Time Tunnel, Irwin
Allen could focus his attention and staff on these two classics,
and it showed. Lost In Space went through a transformation similar
to the one Voyage experienced with its second year. Significantly,
there was a new vehicle, the Space Pod, whose creation was obviously
influenced by the successful Seaview/Flying Sub relationship.
Also notable was a change in format, with the Jupiter 2 in flight,
rather than marooned. The VTTBOTS format did not lend itself to
the infinite possibilities of outer space, but Allen and his team
still pushed the envelope, showcasing:
1. Chip Morton.
2. New props and hardware for the Flying Sub.
3. Many new special effects.
4. New incidental music.
5. A wild car chase.
6. Some First Year-type drama.
7. New Diving Bell Adventures.
8. A revised theme and new opening credits
starting with the ninth episode.
9. Dynamic plots, including a trip to Venus,
a volcanic lava pit, intense Nelson/Crane conflicts,
a jungle-choked Seaview,
atmospheric ice caves, and a cavern full of flying saucers!
The fourth year was full of adrenaline,
and a string of exciting episodes kept the pulse pounding. One
might say the fourth year was full of testosterone, as there were
no females at all this season.
Episode 1, "Fires Of Death": Season Premiere! The
Seaview spins on her axis. First use of the Flying Sub's full-size
stern prop. Motion Picture-level set design and special effects.
Great make-up too (by Hollywood makeup master Ben Nye.)
Episode 2, "The Deadly Dolls":
First use of the restyled pull-down laser control. Two of
Voyage's most famous guest stars: Vincent Price and the Nelson
Victor Jory has seen better health. From "Fires
Episode 3, "Cave
Of The Dead": First use of the Flying Subs manipulator claws.
The Flying Sub's landing gear is visible for the first time. Some
of the best Nelson/Crane dialogue. Richard Basehart's rambling,
distracted Admiral Nelson is a classic. Based on the legend of
the Flying Dutchman, this episode gives new meaning to the expression,
Bob Dowdell set for wild ride in "Journey With
Episode 4, "Journey With Fear": Chip's greatest
adventure. He does astronaut duty; and he is temporarily blinded.
The Seaview launches Chip's space capsule. The dive/emergency
klaxon now sounds like a police cruiser. The only visit to
another planet. Bernard Herrmann music from Journey To The
Center Of The Earth provides a unique mood for the Venusian
Episode 5, "Sealed Orders":
The slow motion scenes include an abstract version of the
Paul Sawtell theme.
6, "Man Of Many Faces": Lee Crane owns a Shelby Cobra
roadster. Pushes the envelope with gritty drama and a fresh car
chase. Stock footage of the Flying Sub launch is inverted
so we get to see her and the Seaview from the starboard side!
Episode 8, "Time Lock": Interesting new views of
the Control Room "rock and roll" from outside the
observation windows, including the closing of the collision
Episode 9, "Rescue": A
new opening is introduced with a re-scored Paul Sawtell theme.
(The new opening in the second year was also introduced with
the ninth episode.) These are the credits which freeze-frame
the teaser and lead through to the sonar scope action stills
of Basehart and Hedison. (They are similar to the new "countdown"
credits on Lost In Space.) On a trivial note, the word "and"
is inserted for the first time between the actor's names.
Surprisingly, the Seaview is not in this opening! The closing
credits and theme remain unchanged.
Control Room rock and roll shot from beyond the
transparent ports. Note the bubbles.
Episode 10, "Terror":
The Seaview and the Flying Sub fire on each other! The discussion
in the finale is eloquent of the Nelson/Crane chemistry.
Episode 12, "Blow Up": The
most intimidating character in the whole series--Richard Basehart's
portrayal of a paranoid Admiral Nelson.
Episode 14, "The Return Of Blackbeard":
A refreshing plot twist places Chip aboard the Flying Sub.
Episode 16, "The Lobster Man":
January 21, 1968: Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea airs its 100th
Episode 20, "Man-Beast": The
Diving Bell is launched a record four times. The Leith Stevens
score creates a different mood for this thriller. Some of David
Hedison's best work.
Episode 21, "Savage Jungle": Pushes the envelope
with jungle-choked sets. The crew's slow carbon dioxide poisoning
is a Voyage classic.
Episode 22, "Flaming Ice":
Rare later season appearance of the Conning Tower set. Standout
features include a frozen Control Room. Gelid's dialogue is
a cut above the usual "we shall conquer you" drivel.
Episode 23, "Attack!":
Episode percolates with unique music and costumes, a note on pacifism,
a cavern full of flying saucers, and a landmark action scene of
Sharkey, Crane and Nelson diving into a lagoon. Robek's "noxious
weeds" speech is heavy material for an Irwin Allen production.
Episode 25, "The Death Clock":
The Flying Sub's stern prop is used again.
26, "No Way Back": March 31, 1968. The 110th
episode! Season Finale. Series Finale. Sequel to "A
Time To Die". (Mr. Pem returns.) All regulars appear
except Doc. (Patterson has a cameo.) The Nelson Institute
for Marine Research is included too. Most gut-wrenching scene
of the series. (The teaser, where the Seaview is -----------------.)
The last line of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea is spoken
by Admiral Nelson: "I'm afraid the world isn't quite
ready for that yet."
From 1964 through 1968 something
special happened on ABC TV.
Henry Jones as Pem, one last time.