Shroud of Thoughts, a great blogger who I enjoy reading, announced weeks ago that he was hosting his annual blogathon, where classic film and tv fans could write about a favorite tv show’s episode. Please be sure to visit his site to read all of the other great posts this weekend that dedicated and talented bloggers will be posting! Here’s the link, Shroud of Thoughts.
Two years ago our cable tv provider began airing a new channel, ME-TV. I love this channel as I can watch episodes of many classic tv shows. Plus, it’s fun to spot an actor or actress when they were just getting their careers underway! One of the tv shows I’ve been enjoying appeared on ABC, from 1964-1968, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. This tv show came from movie and tv show creator Irwin Allen, the “king” of disaster films, which were all the rage when I was a child. Firstly, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was a popular movie that Allen directed in 1961. The film did well at the box office and Allen decided to bring a variation of the film to tv. I wasn’t born until 1965, so much of the tv show was unfamiliar to me until last year, when I noticed it on ME-TV’s schedule, and I began to tivo the series. It is an enjoyable show, a wild ride at times with zany plots, but the acting pulls the crazy all together for a compelling show.
For those unfamiliar with VTTBOTS, the action mainly involved the crew of the Seaview, a nuclear submarine, designed and built by Admiral Harriman Nelson. The show is set in the future, the 1970s. The Seaview’s home port was Santa Barbara, CA. Admiral Nelson and his crew had two goals: to explore the oceans and seas of the world, and to keep the world safe. The show’s first season was in black and white, while seasons 2-4 were in color. I also noticed that in the first season, the crew dealt with cold war intrigue, spies, evil dictators, etc. However, by seasons 2 through 4, the intrepid Seaview and her crew were usually battling monsters, aliens, ghosts, and other crazy manifestations.
The two main actors on the show, Richard Basehart as Admiral Nelson and David Hedison as Captain Crane, made their characters believable and riveting to watch. I always catch myself thinking as I tune in to episodes I’ve recorded, “How are they going to get out of this mess?” Basehart, with his unique, deep voice, brought a gravitas, if you will, to the show. Hedison, younger and I am sure partly cast for his good looks, brought smarts and athleticism to his role. The episode I would say is my favorite is #7, from Season 2, and it’s entitled, “The Phantom Strikes.”
The Seaview crew is in the process of mapping the North Atlantic ocean floor when they find a sunken German U-Boat, from WWI. The U-Boat mysteriously begins to rise in the water, and then disappears! A bit later, the Seaview finds a man in distress, lying amid the wreckage of some vessel, and they take him aboard. He says he is Captain Gerhardt Krueger, of the S.S. Edelweiss, out of Hamburg, Germany. He tells the crew that his ship was sunk by a U-Boat during WWI. Krueger is definitely odd, mysterious, and imperious. Admiral Nelson and Captain Crane don’t trust him so Crane orders Krueger be taken to a cabin and orders Kowalski(one of several trusted crewmen featured each week), to guard the cabin. It turns out Nelson and Crane’s uneasy feelings about Krueger aren’t unwarrented, as Krueger, we soon learn, is a ghost! He is able to disappear from his cabin undetected and turns up in the Seaview’s passages, Nelson’s cabin, and somehow, the Seaview’s course has been changed but not by any crew member. Captain Crane orders Krueger to be put in the brig, but he still keeps disappearing and once again, he enters Nelson’s cabin, telling Admiral Nelson about his evil plan:Admiral Nelson will kill Captain Crane so Krueger can enter into Crane’s body and live again!!! If Admiral Nelson won’t do Krueger’s bidding by the time the Seaview reaches the 16th parallel, then Krueger will destroy the Seaview!
As I said earlier in my post, VTTBOTS had some crazy plots, this being one of them. However, the acting by Basehart, Hedison, and guest star Alfred Ryder as Krueger, made for one compelling episode. Also,in this particular episode, director Sutton Roley employed more special effects than normally used which added to the “wow” factor. This particular episode did so well in the show’s ratings, that ABC asked Irwin Allen for a sequel episode, bringing back Ryder as Krueger, back with another evil plan to help him live again as a human.
If you don’t have access to ME-TV, the show has been put into a dvd format, and it is available to view at Amazon via their immediate rent program. You can also visit the show’s imdb site and see how many times it was nominated for Emmy awards and what awards it won.