Sunday, February 06, 2011

Voyage To See What's at The Bottom


Ed here: I watched the first couple episodes of "Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea" from a hospital bed, recovering from a bad car accident. I'd had modest hopes for it despite the fact that it was being produced by Irwin Allen. I gave up early on. The tilting camera whenever the submarine was hit was almost always the worst part of the show until Allen went into Monster of The Week. Another science fiction hope dashed. I was still reading and occasionally writing for sf fanzines in those days. It was generally referred to as "Voyage To See What Was At The Bottom." And bottom it was.

The co-star David Hedison talks about the show in the LA Times and manages to make it interesting. I always felt it was pretty sad to see an actor of Richard Basehart's cred on a show this bad. But he'd hit a rough patch in his career and life and I suppose he thought he could bank some serious cash by humiliating himself this way.

From The Los Angeles Times:
‘Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea’: David Hedison looks back on periscope days
Jan. 30, 2011 | 8:48 a.m.
by Susan King

Richard Basehart, left, and David Hedison on "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea." (Fox Home Entertainment)

When you think of sci-fi stars on American television in the 1960s your thoughts naturally beam up to the Enterprise and the famous crew of ”Star Trek,” but the cast of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” actually logged more time aboard its ship — the ABC maritime adventure that ran from 1964 to 1968 ended up as the decade’s longest-running non-anthology sci-fi show.

The most famous faces of the “Voyage” cast were the late Richard Basehart , in the role of Admiral Harriman Nelson, and David Hedison as Commander Lee Crane. Hedison, now 83, was a reluctant star at first — he had very little interest in getting on board with the show’s creator and producer, Irwin Allen, when Allen was putting together the 1961 submarine feature film that would spawn the television series of the same title.

The reason? Hedison had worked with Allen on the 1960 sci-fi feature film “The Lost World” — and it was not a memorable experience for actor. “I made some excuse that there was something else I wanted to do, so I got out of that without being put on suspension at Fox,” Hedison said. “When the series came about, he asked me to do it. He just kept hounding me, but then he said that he had Richard Basehart as the admiral, I thought, ‘My God, maybe between the two of us, we can really make something out of this.’ So I signed on immediately.”


Fred Blosser said...

As I recall, the pilot episode recycled the plot and footage from Allen's 1961 feature film of VOYAGE, which starred Walter Pidgeon and Robert Sterling in the Basehart-Hedison roles. A later episode lifted footage from THE LOST WORLD, including scenes with Hedison. Allen's similarly cheesy TIME TUNNEL used footage from a bunch of '50s 20th Century Fox costume adventures--KING OF THE KHYBER RIFLES, PRINCE VALIANT, etc.

Ed Gorman said...

The Time Tunnel made Voyage seem not-rotten.

Todd Mason said...

The quartet of Allen skiffy atrocities on 1960s tube: BOTTOM, TUNNEL (a theme already), LOST IN SPACE and LAND OF THE GIANTS, all quickly turned or were from the start devoted to BATMAN-style camp, displayed even more hamhandedly...the Vincent Price/killer puppets episode of BOTTOM was a low point even for that series...with the Basehard puppet muttering "too bad...too bad" at the end...which probably summed Basehart's experience. Happily, at least one other puppet, the "female" robot Gypsy on MST3K, had a much-expressed crush on Basehart throughout that series...

Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

I don't know why anyone expected quality from Irwin Allen. That was never his track record.

And remember those awful disaster movies he then churned out? Putrid.

Cap'n Bob said...

Coincidentally, I saw a nice little thriller today called TENSION starring Richard Basehart and co-produced by Irwin Allen. Also in the cast were Audrey Totter, Cyd Charisse, Barry Sullivan, and William Conrad.