Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Series Basics and Episode Landmarks, Season One.
Courtesy I.A. Fan, Ray Westafer

Arctic breach--footage from the Movie used in the color pilot and subsequent episodes.
Movie/Pilot Seaview Arctic breach.

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea's first season was filmed in black and white, with the exception of the pilot episode, which was filmed in color.  Seaview's external design was lifted intact from the 1961 feature film.  The observation lounge was separate from and a level lower than the Control Room, and was accessed via the spiral staircase, starboard side.  The nose had 8 observation windows, although only the lower four were ever seen from within.  The boat's exterior color was a basic military gray.  Science fiction, espionage, and Cold War themes dominated Season One.  At 32 episodes, it was the longest of Voyage's four broadcast seasons.  There were no two-part stories or sequels.  Premiering on September 14, 1964, the ABC series ran Monday evenings at 7:30.

Season One Differences From the Movie:

*  The USOS (United States Oceanographic Submersible) Seaview becomes the SSRN Seaview.
*  Crew no longer wears radiation film badges.
*  There are no female crewmembers.
*  The Nelson Institute For Marine Research (N.I.M.R.) is introduced.
*  "Peterbuilt"-sounding "dive" siren is changed to an antique car-sounding one. ("ah-ooh-gah")

 The following are Episode Specific Landmarks: 

Episode 1, "11 Days To Zero": This color pilot had unique opening credits, with no voice-over.  Dick Tufeld's narration aside, Kowalski (Delbert Monroe) speaks the first line of VTTBOTS: "Washington, Sir."  Written and directed by Irwin Allen, the pilot marks the first appearance of Admiral Harriman (Harry) Nelson, Captain Lee Crane, Lt. Commander/Exec Chip Morton, Kowalski (Ski), Malone, Chief "Curly" Jones, "Sparks", and the Chairman.  First use of the treaded Sno-Cat® vehicle.

Pilot episode finds Nelson huddled over earthquake gear in the nose.
Chief "Curly" Jones, O'brien and Nelson in the pilot.

Episode 2, "City Beneath The Sea": The first "regular" VTTBOTS episode.  First use of the Paul Sawtell theme for the opening credits, with voice over.  Closing credits are of the Seaview in the emergency blow maneuver from the movie. (The same view, in color, was used for the pilot.)  First female guest star (Linda Cristal).  First use (and loss!) of a mini-sub in the series. (The mini-sub also appeared in the 1961 movie.)  First appearance of Patterson (Pat).

Episode 3, "The Fear Makers": The Seaview has a sister ship, the Polidor.

Episode 4, "The Mist Of Silence: Second and last appearance of the Chairman.

Episode 5, "The Price Of Doom": First "monster" story, albeit a great one!

Episode 6, "The Sky Is Falling": First (and best) alien story.

Episode 7, "Turn Back The Clock": First Diving Bell Story! (See photo at right.} First dinosaur story.  Excellent adaptation of Allen's film, The Lost World.

Episode 8, "Village Of Guilt": Only "regular" episode of VTTBOTS directed by the man himself, Irwin Allen.  First creature/Seaview battle!

Episode 9, "Hot Line": First actual Cold War Story.  First appearance of Clark.

Episode 10, "Submarine Sunk Here": First disastrous Seaview sinking.


Crane wades ashore in episode Turn Back The Clock.
Diving Bell, Turn Back The Clock

Episode 12, "No Way Out": First chase through the air ducts!

Episode 14, "The Ghost Of Moby Dick": First liberal adaptation of a classic tale. (Others would include Ten Little Indians, The Flying Dutchman., and from the Bible, Jonah and the Whale.)  First giant whale!  VTTBOTS only domestic violence scene (see photo at right).

Episode 15, "Long Live The King": VTTBOTS Christmas episode and only holiday themed episode!  VTTBOTS only significant child character/guest star. Richard Basehart narrates.  The only time in the series that we see the original 8-window movie version Seaview fire torpedoes.

Wonderfully gritty, the first season sometimes packed a wallop, no pun intended.
Gritty stuff in
"Moby Dick"

Episode 16, "Hail To The Chief": A non-NIMR diving bell is used to transfer the President.

Episode 17. "The Last Battle": Nelson is now a four-star Admiral!

Episodes 18 & 19. "Mutiny"/"Doomsday": In "Mutiny," it is revealed that Seaview has a sister ship, the Neptune.   Nelson's status reverts—It was felt by many, probably for good reason, that Richard Basehart deserved an Emmy nod for his performance in "Mutiny."

Episode 20, "The Invaders": Nelson is once again a four-star admiral, and will remain so for the rest of Voyage's run.

Episode 23. "The Human Computer": The first episode to feature a virtually empty Seaview, this time with Crane being stalked throughout the ship.  This distinctive episode pushes the envelope with unique music, unusual cameral angles, and a record 15 minutes without dialogue.  Directed by James Goldstone, one of Voyage's top directors.

Episode 24. "The Saboteur": First brainwashing of a crewmember (Crane).  Captain Crane's mother is mentioned.

Episode 25, "Cradle Of The Deep": Last appearance of Chief "Curly" Jones. (Henry Kulky passed away February 12, 1965.)

Episode 27. "The Creature": Only title to be used twice.  Episode 15 of the third year is also called "The Creature".  Plots are unrelated.

Episode 29. "The Enemies": First time Nelson and Crane are pitted against each other.

Episode 30, "Secret Of The Loch": Several lines of dialogue reveal that the Seaview carries multiple mini-subs!

Episode 31, "The Condemned": The Seaview really does "voyage to the bottom of the sea"!  One of Nelson's classic lines: "You're a fool, Falk!"

Episode 32, "The Traitor": Season Finale.  Nelson's sister, Edith, figures in this adventure.

---Ray Westafer

Next, Season Two


Great nose shot from The Condemned.
"The Condemned" confront the price of Falk's folly.

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