A television series which began airing in 1964 starring Richard Basehart
and produced by Irwin Allen
Throughout the 20th century, the Earth became a progressively smaller and smaller place. With the advent of air travel, radio & television, and later the internet, the global community shrank bringing us face to face with places and peoples that we would never had even known existed decades earlier. But while we think of the world as shrinking and our knowledge of it expanding, there is still a great deal of the earth that is yet unexplored. What lies beneath the ocean has captured the imaginations of people over the years. Whether it was watching a Jacques Cousteau special on PBS ("Philippe and I dove to where the whales were, watching these beautiful giants of the deep") or seeing Kirk Douglas battle rubber squid tentacles aboard the Nautilus, most of us have become interested to a greater or lesser degree by the secrets of the deep. In 1964, the great television producer Irwin Allen brought to the small screen a series that explored those secrets (more or less) in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
The series told the tale of the crew of the Seaview, a highly advanced submarine whose designer and builder was the great scientist Admiral Hariman Nelson, who was portrayed by character actor Richard Basehart. The captain of the Seaview was Captain Lee Crane, considered the Navy's finest sailor and played by David Hedison. Other members of the crew included first officer Chip Morton, the chief engineer Sharkey, and other crew members whose names were Kowakski, Patterson, and Riley along with an assorted group of expendable red shirt crewmembers.
The Seaview and her crew explored the oceans' mysteries, often running into strange aliens, ghosts, or other unexplainable phenomenon. They also spent time keeping the world safe from the Communist menace. The shows had an awful lot of people in wet suits, running around the submarine, fighting, etc.
Being that this was a science fiction show, the Seaview had many high tech do-dads and often times Admiral Nelson would create some completely unlikely device to get the crew out of a tight jam. Probably one of the best loved of all of the Seaview's gadgets was a yellow mini-sub that looked rather similar to a manta ray. Known as the Flying Sub, this vehicle could carry a couple members of the crew and could, as the name implies, actually fly. As a child, this was the coolest thing in the world, but having seen episodes in the past few years, I have to say that that special effects that had the sub fly were not impressive in the least.
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ran for four years, making it the longest running science fiction television show in the U.S. for quite a number of years. It was the predecessor of shows like Man from Atlantis and Seaquest DSV years later.