The following was internally generated by 20 th Century Fox back in the late 60s (with the exception of minor editing on my part--Mike Bailey).

About The Production.

No producer in history every approached a television series with more knowledge of his subject and the materials for making the subject into an exciting series than has Academy Award winner Irwin Allen, producer, director and writer for the 20th Century-Fox Television series, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. Boss man.

"Voyage" has been a preoccupation with Allen for five years, from the time he first began researching an original story about a submarine of the future, set in ("Let's say the late 1960s or early 1970's" says Allen).* This grew to be the fantastically successful motion picture, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, a blockbuster for 20th Century-Fox in 1961.

Miniature octo attack!    It is important to the series that "Voyage" started out as a movie. Allen is the first to admit that it would be impossible to obtain the production values for the TV series had it not been for the motion picture version to absorb the initial cost of sets, props, costumes and underwater footage, to say nothing of such intangibles as research, drawings, conception and a myriad of other elements.

"For example" Allen points out, "the three main underwater sections of our Seaview submarine cost more than $400,000 to build more than most television pilot films in their entirety. Yet, when we were ready to make the television pilot, we had at our disposal, and in perfect working order, the intact sections of the control room, the viewing room (the only submarine with a glass nose**) and the missile/torpedo room fully equipped with more than two-dozen of the latest atomic warhead-carrying missiles.

Carrying the value them a step further, Allen points out that his production assistant, Paul Zastupnevich originally designed a complete wardrobe of uniforms ranging from the mess clerk to the Admiral himself.

"We had to have a military appearance," Allen states, "yet we could not duplicate any existing uniform of any army or navy in the world. In addition, we had to take into account the ever changing modes and modernization of military uniforms. I think Paul (Zastupnevich) dreamed up our Department of Marine Science uniforms one day while rotating his thoughts between World War II and a space trip of the future.

"VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA is not way-out science fiction in its accepted form, but actually an extension of science fact and thereby all the more exciting and thrilling because of the extreme plausibility of the men, their submarine and the situations the sub and crew encounter in their hour-long television voyage."***    Seaview in alternate space.

The production values cannot be overstressed. For example, Allen is one of a handful of Hollywood producer-directors who has every piece of action sketched first and then has his players follow through in front of the cameras. For "Eleven Days to Zero," the initial TV "Voyage" of the Seaview, Allen had Maurice Zuberano, Hollywood's top production illustrator, prepare 1,100 sketches, but again, his past familiarity with the project made this a much simpler task than it might otherwise have been.

The Seaview itself is some 600 feet long (the length of two football fields laid end to end) and the majority of the action takes place in the three aforementioned rooms. Its home base is at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research, a private scientific bureau under the direction of brilliant Admiral/scientist, Admiral Harriman Nelson, USN (Ret.).

Seaview's subterranean berth.     For complete security and to protect the sub against nuclear detonations, the craft has a subterranean berth located 200 feet below the surface, which can be reached via underwater sea-lanes, and by land through means of a 200-foot deep elevator.  (***Editors note--in the photograph at right, taken from the Voyage pilot episode, 11 Days to Zero , Seaview's docking area certainly looks subterranean in nature, but there are episodes where the Seaview dock is shown in daylight.  My vote would be for subterranean.  More protected and mysterious.)

Irwin Allen was indeed fortunate in securing the services of Oscar-winning cinematographer Winton Hoch as his cameraman on the filming of Voyage, for Hoch is as familiar with the Seaview as Allen

The Iowa-born Hoch is a graduate physicist from the California Institute of Technology. He applies the scholar's approach to cinematography with the skill that won him three Academy Awards ("The Quiet Man" with John Wayne, "Joan of Arc" with Ingrid Bergman and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" (again with John Wayne.) Perhaps most important to VOYAGE Hoch's technical Oscar for pioneering in photography. He and Allen have teamed up in the past on such successful films as "The Big Circus," "The Lost World," "Five Weeks in A Balloon" and of course, the movie version of VOYAGE.    
winton Hoch, bigshot photog.

Winton C. Hoch

Hoch, a pioneer in the field of trick photography, lighting techniques, painting with the camera, miniature photography and rear screen projection, teamed with 20th Century-Fox Photographic Effects chief Bill (L.B.) Abbott in creating the fantastic visual effects for Voyage including simulated scenes of the Seaview racing underwater at 70-plus knots.

Special effects master Abbott.

L.B. Abbott


Abbott is a 20-year veteran of the Fox photo effects department with an Oscar nomination for "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and such credits as "Cleopatra," "The Enemy Below" and previous Irwin Allen movies. In addition, Abbott won the 1965 Emmy for Special Photographic Effects for his work on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA and later for THE TIME TUNNEL.

"Here again," Allen says, "the footage on underwater scenes which we had literally by the thousands of feet, would have been virtually impossible to duplicate within the budget of any television series."

All the production values in the world won't mean much unless you have the people to carry out the action, and Allen feels confident that he has a cast that not only will be acceptable to the viewing public, but one which will rate with the top adventure stars on the air.

For his Admiral, Allen tapped Richard Basehart, one of the most accomplished actors in the world, and winner of his profession's highest accolades in that he is known as an actor's actor. Basehart approached the characterization of Admiral Nelson with the same thoroughness that won him screen honors in such outstanding successes as "Titanic," "La Strada," "Fourteen Hours," "The House on Telegraph Hill" and "The Brothers Karamazov!"  

One of the greatest actors that ever lived.
Richard Basehart 

But his seriousness stoops as soon as he's off camera and on the set. During the filming of the VOYAGE pilot, Basehart entertained the extras and technicians by reciting Shakespeare in both English and Italian.

The very talented David Hedison

David Hedison

    David Hedison's joining the company as Commander Crane created a bit of real life drama. David, who had worked with Allen in "The Lost World," and was his first and only selection for the pivotal role, was in London preparing for a BBC appearance when Allen reached him by telephone. 

Hedison boarded a plane that night, flew to Hollywood, was fitted within hours after arrival and reported for work the following morning.****

"Hedison looks like the type of modern, thinking-fighting man that we have come to recognize through the brilliance of the image created by the astronauts," Allen says.

There are actually five Seaviews used in the series. These range from the full-scale model containing the three main rooms to an authentic scale model, precision-built to take the buffeting and pounding required for miniature and trick photography.     
Voyage art director William J. Creber
William J Creber
  William Creber, a Navy veteran who has been at 20th Century-Fox more than a decade, was picked as Art Director as a result of his having been assistant art director on the original movie and knows the Seaview better than any man in his business.

Among Creber's other impressive credits in creating sets and settings is one of the most ambitious projects in Hollywood history, "The Greatest Story Ever Told," and another Irwin Allen production, "Five weeks in a Balloon."

If the stress seems to be on visual and mechanical effects, there is a reason, for Voyage is truly an adventure-packed hour in which the audience really lives and feels the excitement and drama of the action aboard an atomic submarine of the future.

*  In fact, early in the series, the chronological setting was 1973, but it was moved up to 1980 and then 1983 in later seasons.
.** It was Theodore Sturgeon in the Voyage movie novelization that came up with the detail that the observation windows/ports were made out of herculite. No glass in or out of existence could withstand the pressures which Seaview's missions would subject them to.
***  One assumes this statement refers pretty much to the first two seasons only.
****  Please note that David Hedison's version of how his involvement in Voyage came about is considerably different than this studio version.

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