Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is a 1960s American science fiction television series based on the 1961 film of the same name. Both were created by Irwin Allen, which enabled the movie's sets, costumes, props, special effects models, and sometimes footage, to be used in the production of the television series. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was the first of Irwin Allen's four science fiction television series, as well as the longest-running. The show's main theme was underwater adventure.
Voyage was broadcast on ABC from September 14, 1964, to March 31, 1968, and was the decade's longest-running American science fiction television series with continuing characters. The 110 episodes produced included 32 shot in black-and-white (1964–1965), and 78 filmed in color (1965–1968). The first two seasons took place in the then future of the 1970s. The final two seasons took place in the 1980s. The show starred Richard Basehart and David Hedison.
The pilot episode "Eleven Days to Zero" was filmed in color but shown in black-and-white. It introduces the audience to the futuristic nuclear submarine S.S.R.N. Seaview and the lead members of her crew, including the designer and builder of the submarine Admiral Harriman Nelson (Richard Basehart), and Commander Lee Crane (David Hedison), who becomes the Seaview's captain after the murder of her original commanding officer. The submarine is based at the Nelson Institute of Marine Research (NIMR) in Santa Barbara, California, and is often moored some 500 feet below NIMR in a secret underground submarine pen carved out of solid rock. The Seaview is officially for undersea marine research and visits many exotic locations in the Seven Seas, but its secret mission is to defend the planet from all world and extraterrestrial threats in the then-future of the 1970s.
The first season of 32 episodes began with Admiral Nelson and the crew of the Seaview fighting against a foreign government to prevent a world-threatening earthquake, and continuing with a foreign government destroying American submarines with new technologies in The Fear Makers and The Enemies. The season also had several ocean peril stories in which the Seaview crew spent the episode dealing with the normal perils of the sea. Two examples are "Submarine Sunk Here" and "The Ghost of Moby Dick". The season introduced the diving bell and a mini-submarine, as well as the first alien story (Don Brinkley's; 'The Sky is Falling') and the first sea monsters. The season ended with the Seaview crew fighting a foreign government to save a defense weapon.
In the first season, the gritty, atmospheric, and intense series featured story lines devoted to Cold War themes, as well as excursions into near-future speculative fiction. Many episodes involved espionage and sci-fi elements. While aliens and sea monsters, not to mention dinosaurs, did become the subject of episodes, the primary villains were hostile foreign governments. While fantastic, the scripts had a semblance of reality.
During the course of the first season Admiral Nelson was promoted from Three Star to a Four Star Admiral, and it was established that while essentially a marine research vessel SSRN Seaview was also part of the U.S. nuclear armed fleet (most notably defined in William Read Woodfield's episode; Doomsday).
The first season opening credits depicted Seaview rising towards the surface, and the closing credits played out over a still of the Seaview's surfacing spectacularly in the arctic, as featured at the start of the 1961 film.
The second season began with a trip inside a whale, a trip inside a volcano, and a few Cold War intrigue and nuclear war-themed episodes, and saw several brushes with world disaster. The season ended with a ghost story, one of the show's few sequels.
Due to ABC's demands for a somewhat "lighter" tone to the series, the second season saw an increase in monster-of-the-week type plots, yet there were still some episodes that harkened back to the tone of the first season. The second season also saw a change from black-and-white to color. The beginning of the second season saw the permanent replacement of Chief "Curly" Jones with Chief Francis Ethelbert Sharkey, due to the death of Henry Kulky, who portrayed Chief Jones.
The most important change in the series occurred during this season when a notably redesigned Seaview interior was introduced, along with the Flying Sub, a yellow, two-man mini-submarine with passenger capacity, armed with a laser gun. It could leave the ocean and function as an airplane. The Flying Sub was referred to by the initials FS-1. The futuristic craft greatly increased the Seaview crew's travel options. It was launched from a bay with automatic doors added in the lower part of the bow section of Seaview that was apparently built between Seasons One and Two. The Seaview's private observation deck from the first season was never seen again. The ship's eight smaller observation windows became four large windows giving the sub a sleeker, more futuristic look. The control room was made larger and more open-plan showing the bow windows beyond the control room area (previously this was both closed off by a bulkhead and doorway and on another level in the black-and-white first season), while a large rectangular panel screen of flickering lights was moved across the control room, and access to the Flying Sub via a sealed hatch stairway at the bow section was added. The Seaview also now had a powerful laser beam in its bow light. The small mini-sub from the first season was retained and occasionally still used in the color episodes.
The ship's enlisted men were also given more colorful uniforms (red or light blue jumpsuits) and white Keds Champion sneakers, evidently to take advantage of the changeover from black-and-white filming. The traditional sailor uniforms worn in the first season were only seen in stock footage from the first season and on characters who were newly filmed to match up with that footage. All these changes occurred between seasons.
A second-season episode, "The Sky's On Fire", was a remake of the basic storyline of Irwin Allen's 1961 film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea utilizing considerable film color footage, though several film sequences were removed and had been featured in other first-season episodes such as 'The Village of Guilt' (the giant octopus) and 'Submarine Sunk Here' (the derelict minefield)
A few later season two episodes were filmed without Richard Basehart, who was hospitalized for a bleeding ulcer. He filmed the scenes in the Flying Sub for "The Monster's Web" before hospitalization, requiring a stand in and other characters taking over his lines. He was missing entirely from the next two episodes. These episodes didn't feature his character at all, while in one story "The Menfish" Gary Merrill guested as Admiral Park, a colleague of Nelson's who substituted for him. Basehart returned for "Return of the Phantom," the final episode of the season.
The third season of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ran simultaneously with two other Allen-produced television series: the second season of Lost in Space and the premiere (and only) season of The Time Tunnel.
The third season began with Dick Tufeld of Lost in Space playing an evil disembodied brain from outer space. The season continued with a werewolf story that is one of the few episodes to inspire a sequel. In one episode, the Seaview's officers and crew encountered Nazis who believed World War II was still ongoing. The third season only had two espionage stories and one ocean peril story that were reminiscent of the first season. One of those three stories was about a hostile foreign government trying to steal a strange new mineral with the aid of a brainwashed Admiral Nelson. This espionage story was the end of the third season.
The final two seasons continued the shift towards paranormal storylines that were popular in the late 1960s. Mummies, werewolves, talking puppets, and an evil leprechaun all walked the corridors of the Seaview. There were also fossil men, flame men, frost men, lobster men, and shadow men. The opening credits were largely identical to the revised season two, but the initial season two yellow lettering credits that were first altered to white, (and then back to yellow on the later revised sequence) were now depicted in a golden/yellowish lettering, and closing credits were set over a green-backed painting of Seaview underwater.
Though many female characters appeared in Seasons One and Two, in Season Three only two appeared at all, an unseen woman's voice (Sue England) over the intercom in "The Death Watch" and the title character in "The Mermaid" (Diane Webber), who did not speak.
The fourth and final season of Voyage began with Victor Jory playing a five century old alchemist while the Seaview is threatened by buffeting underwater currents created by a volcano on the verge of a major eruption. After a few episodes there were revamped opening credits depicting action sequences and the stars' pictures in color set on a sonar board design. The closing credits picture remained unchanged from season three. Near the end of the fourth season, there were three unrelated stories of extraterrestrial invasion in three weeks. One episode had an unknown master of disguise infiltrating and wreaking havoc aboard the Seaview. Another episode has Nelson, Morton and Sharkey actually "gaslight" Crane! There were two time travel stories in two weeks, which both featured the enigmatic but dangerous Mister Pem. The second of the two had the Seaview going back in time to the American Revolution. The episode (and series) ended with the Seaview returning to the present. The final scene of the show has Nelson and Crane sitting in the seldom used easy chairs on the port side of the observation nose discussing how fast time goes by. With this the Seaview is seen sailing into television history.
Not a single actress appeared in any episode during the entire fourth season, even as a voice or non-speaking role.
In March 1968 it was announced that Voyage would not be back for a fifth season.
The series' main theme, "The Seaview Theme", was written by Paul Sawtell. A new darker, more serious theme composed by Jerry Goldsmith was introduced at the beginning of the second-season episode "Jonah and the Whale", but this was quickly replaced by the original version. A version of the Goldsmith suite re-orchestrated by Nelson Riddle was heard as incidental music in the episode "Escape From Venice", and the original Goldsmith suite was used as incidental music throughout the rest of the series. The series' main composer, supervisor and conductor was Lionel Newman, who for the second season composed a serious sounding score for when the episode credits (episode title/guests/writer/director) were shown just after the theme song, which would be used by many episodes (starting with "The Left Handed Man") thru the second and into the early third season. Other guest composers included Lennie Hayton, Hugo Friedhofer, Star Trek: The Original Series composer Alexander Courage, Morton Stevens, Leith Stevens (no relation) who wrote the music to nine episodes, and Sawtell, who worked on the show for a while in the first season.
GNP Crescendo issued a soundtrack album in 1997 as part of its series tying into the documentary The Fantasy Worlds Of Irwin Allen, featuring Sawtell's theme from the series and his score for the pilot episode "Eleven Days To Zero" (tracks 2–6) and Goldsmith's work for "Jonah and the Whale."
Scott McFadden, Ray Didsbury, Marco Lopez, and Ron Stein provided additional crewman in non-speaking roles often requiring stunt work.
Note: Two different episodes (28 and 73) are both titled "The Creature".
|Nº||Ep||Title||Original air date|
|1||1||"Eleven Days to Zero"||September 14, 1964|
|Guest Starring Eddie Albert, Theo Marcuse, and John Zaremba|
|2||2||"The City Beneath the Sea"||September 21, 1964|
|Guest Starring Hurd Hatfield, Linda Cristal.|
|3||3||"The Fear Makers"||September 28, 1964|
|Guest Starring Lloyd Bochner, And Special Guest Star Edgar Bergen.|
|4||4||"The Mist of Silence"||October 5, 1964|
|Guest Starring Rita Gam, Alejandro Rey.|
|5||5||"The Price of Doom"||October 12, 1964|
|Guest Starring David Opatoshu, John Milford and Jill Ireland. Screenplay by Harlan Ellison (under his Cordwainer Bird alias, credited as "Cord Wainer Bird").|
|6||6||"The Sky Is Falling"||October 19, 1964|
|Guest Starring Charles McGraw.|
|7||7||"Turn Back the Clock"||October 26, 1964|
|Guest Starring Nick Adams, Yvonne Craig.|
|8||8||"The Village of Guilt"||November 2, 1964|
|Guest Starring Richard Carlson, Anna-Lisa.|
|9||9||"Hot Line"||November 9, 1964|
|Guest Starring Everett Sloane, And Special Guest Star: Michael Ansara|
|10||10||"Submarine Sunk Here"||November 16, 1964|
|11||11||"The Magnus Beam"||November 23, 1964|
|12||12||"No Way Out"||November 30, 1964|
|13||13||"The Blizzard Makers"||December 7, 1964|
|14||14||"The Ghost of Moby Dick"||December 14, 1964|
|Guest stars June Lockhart, Edward Binns.|
|15||15||"Long Live the King"||December 21, 1964|
|Guest star Carroll O'Connor.|
|16||16||"Hail to the Chief"||December 28, 1964|
|17||17||"The Last Battle"||January 4, 1965|
|Co-starring John Van Dreelen, Joe De Santis, Rudy Solari. Establishes that the series takes place in an alternate timeline when Admiral Nelson states that the Third Reich lasted for 19 years (as opposed to 12 years in the real world).|
|18||18||"Mutiny"||January 11, 1965|
|Guest starring Harold J. Stone.|
|19||19||"Doomsday"||January 18, 1965|
|Co-starring Donald Harron, Paul Carr.|
|20||20||"The Invaders"||January 25, 1965|
|Guest starring Robert Duvall, credited as "Robert Duval".|
|21||21||"The Indestructible Man"||February 1, 1965|
|Co-starring Michael Constantine.|
|22||22||"The Buccaneer"||February 8, 1965|
|Co-starring Barry Atwater|
|23||23||"The Human Computer"||February 15, 1965|
|24||24||"The Saboteur"||February 22, 1965|
|Guest stars Bert Freed, Warren Stevens, featuring James Brolin.|
|25||25||"Cradle of the Deep"||March 1, 1965|
|26||26||"The Amphibians"||March 8, 1965|
|27||27||"The Exile"||March 15, 1965|
|Guest star Edward Asner, co-starring David Sheiner.|
|28||28||"The Creature"||March 22, 1965|
|Guest star Leslie Nielsen.|
|29||29||"The Enemies"||March 29, 1965|
|Guest star Henry Silva, co-starring Malachi Throne.|
|30||30||"Secret of the Loch"||April 5, 1965|
|Guest star Torin Thatcher, co-starring Hedley Mattingly, George Mitchell and John McLiam.|
|31||31||"The Condemned"||April 12, 1965|
|Guest star J. D. Cannon, co-starring Arthur Franz, Alvy Moore.|
|32||32||"The Traitor"||April 19, 1965|
|Nº||Ep||Title||Original air date|
|33||1||"Jonah and the Whale"||September 19, 1965|
|Guest starring Gia Scala.|
|34||2||"Time Bomb"||September 26, 1965|
|Guest Star John Zaremba|
|35||3||"And Five of Us Are Left"||October 3, 1965|
|Guest Star Phillip Pine, co-starring Robert Doyle, Teru Shimada.|
|36||4||"The Cyborg"||October 17, 1965|
|With special guest star Victor Buono co-starring Brooke Bundy.|
|37||5||"Escape from Venice"||October 24, 1965|
|38||6||"The Left-Handed Man"||October 31, 1965|
|39||7||"The Deadliest Game"||November 7, 1965|
|Guest starring Lloyd Bochner. Co-starring Audrey Dalton, Robert Cornthwaite and Robert F. Simon.|
|40||8||"Leviathan"||November 14, 1965|
|Guest starring Karen Steele. Co-starring Liam Sullivan.|
|41||9||"The Peacemaker"||November 21, 1965|
|Guest starring John Cassavetes, co-starring Whit Bissell, Irene Tsu, Dale Ishimoto.|
|42||10||"The Silent Saboteurs"||November 28, 1965|
|Guest starring Pilar Seurat, co-starring George Takei, Bert Freed.|
|43||11||"The X Factor"||November 5, 1965|
|44||12||"The Machines Strike Back"||December 12, 1965|
|45||13||"The Monster from Outer Space"||December 19, 1965|
|46||14||"Terror on Dinosaur Island"||December 26, 1965|
|47||15||"Killers of the Deep"||January 2, 1966|
|48||16||"Deadly Creature Below!"||January 9, 1966|
|Guest star Nehemiah Persoff, co-starring Paul Comi.|
|49||17||"The Phantom Strikes"||January 16, 1966|
|Guest star Alfred Ryder|
|50||18||"The Sky's on Fire"||January 23, 1966|
|Guest Star David J. Stewart, Co-starring Robert H. Harris, Frank Marth.|
|51||19||"Graveyard of Fear"||January 30, 1966|
|Guest starring Robert Loggia.|
|52||20||"The Shape of Doom"||February 6, 1966|
|Guest star Kevin Hagen.|
|53||21||"Dead Man's Doubloons"||February 13, 1966|
|Guest star Albert Salmi.|
|54||22||"The Death Ship"||February 20, 1966|
|55||23||"The Monster's Web"||February 27, 1966|
|Guest star Mark Richman|
|56||24||"The Menfish"||March 6, 1966|
|Guest star Gary Merrill, special guest star John Dehner|
|57||25||"The Mechanical Man"||March 13, 1966|
|Guest star James Darren, special guest star Arthur O'Connell|
|58||26||"The Return of the Phantom"||March 20, 1966|
|Guest star Alfred Ryder, co-starring Vitina Marcus|
|Nº||Ep||Title||Original air date|
|59||1||"Monster from the Inferno"||September 18, 1966|
|60||2||"Werewolf"||September 25, 1966|
|Guest Star Charles Aidman.|
|61||3||"The Day the World Ended"||October 2, 1966|
|62||4||"Night of Terror"||October 9, 1966|
|63||5||"The Terrible Toys"||October 16, 1966|
|Guest star Paul Fix.|
|64||6||"Day of Evil"||October 23, 1966|
|65||7||"Deadly Waters"||October 30, 1966|
|Guest star Don Gordon.|
|66||8||"Thing from Inner Space"||November 6, 1966|
|67||9||"The Death Watch"||November 13, 1966|
|68||10||"Deadly Invasion"||November 20, 1966|
|69||11||"The Haunted Submarine"||November 27, 1966|
|70||12||"The Plant Man"||December 4, 1966|
|71||13||"The Lost Bomb"||December 11, 1966|
|72||14||"The Brand of the Beast"||December 18, 1966|
"The Creature Returns"
|January 1, 1967|
|74||16||"Death from the Past"||January 8, 1967|
|75||17||"The Heat Monster"||January 15, 1967|
|Guest star Alfred Ryder.|
|76||18||"The Fossil Men"||January 22, 1967|
|77||19||"The Mermaid"||January 29, 1967|
|Guest star Diane Webber.|
|78||20||"The Mummy"||February 5, 1967|
|79||21||"The Shadowman"||February 12, 1967|
|80||22||"No Escape from Death"||February 19, 1967|
|81||23||"Doomsday Island"||February 26, 1967|
|82||24||"The Wax Men"||March 5, 1967|
|Guest star Michael Dunn.|
|83||25||"Deadly Cloud"||March 12, 1967|
|84||26||"Destroy Seaview!"||March 19, 1967|
|Nº||Ep||Title||Original air date|
|85||1||"Fires of Death"||September 17, 1967|
|Guest Starring Victor Jory.|
|86||2||"The Deadly Dolls"||October 1, 1967|
|Guest Starring Vincent Price.|
|87||3||"Cave of the Dead"||October 8, 1967|
|Guest Starring Warren Stevens.|
|88||4||"Journey with Fear"||October 15, 1967|
|89||5||"Sealed Orders"||October 22, 1967|
|90||6||"Man of Many Faces"||October 29, 1967|
|91||7||"Fatal Cargo"||November 5, 1967|
|Guest Starring Woodrow Parfrey.|
|92||8||"Time Lock"||November 12, 1967|
|Guest Starring John Crawford.|
|93||9||"Rescue"||November 19, 1967|
|Guest Starring Don Dubbins.|
|94||10||"Terror"||November 26, 1967|
|95||11||"A Time to Die"||December 3, 1967|
|Guest Starring Henry Jones.|
|96||12||"Blow Up"||December 10, 1967|
|97||13||"The Deadly Amphibians"||December 17, 1967|
|Guest Starring Don Matheson.|
|98||14||"The Return of Blackbeard"||December 31, 1967|
|Guest Starring Malachi Throne.|
|99||15||"The Terrible Leprechaun"||January 7, 1968|
|Guest Starring Walter Burke.|
|100||16||"The Lobster Man"||January 21, 1968|
|Guest Starring Victor Lundin.|
|101||17||"Nightmare"||January 28, 1968|
|Guest Starring Paul Mantee.|
|102||18||"The Abominable Snowman"||February 4, 1968|
|103||19||"Secret of the Deep"||February 11, 1968|
|Guest Starring Peter Mark Richman.|
|104||20||"Man-Beast"||February 18, 1968|
|Guest Starring Lawrence Montaigne.|
|105||21||"Savage Jungle"||February 25, 1968|
|Guest Starring Perry López.|
|106||22||"Flaming Ice"||March 3, 1968|
|107||23||"Attack!"||March 10, 1968|
|108||24||"The Edge of Doom"||March 17, 1968|
|109||25||"The Death Clock"||March 24, 1968|
|110||26||"No Way Back"||March 31, 1968|
20th Century Fox has released all 4 seasons on DVD in Region 1 in two volume sets.
In Region 2, Revelation Films has released the entire series on DVD in the UK in four complete season sets. On March 26, 2012, they released Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea: The Complete Collection, a 31-disc set featuring all 110 episodes of the series as well as bonus features.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date||Additional Information|
|Season 1 Vol. 1||16||February 21, 2006||
|Season 1 Vol. 2||16||July 11, 2006||
|Season 2 Vol. 1||13||October 24, 2006||
|Season 2 Vol. 2||13||February 20, 2007||
|Season 3 Vol. 1||13||June 19, 2007||
|Season 3 Vol. 2||13||October 23, 2007||
|Season 4 Vol. 1||13||March 31, 2009||
|Season 4 Vol. 2||13||January 11, 2011||
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