Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 2 Episode 14

Terror On Dinosaur Island

Aired Monday 7:30 PM Dec 26, 1965 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • The title sounds like an episode of "Jonny Quest", but it's very well done.

    Apparently ratings climbed reliably every time they threw monsters into the mix--which doubtless explains why there were so many as time went by. However, I really believe that this would have made a superb psychological episode if they had eliminated the dinosaurs while keeping the other elements. The dangers inherent in an unstable island would have been quite sufficient, and we wouldn't have had to wonder just how those dinosaurs managed to survive while the island was submerged.

    It seems strange that Paul Carr, who already had a well-established, unstable character in Seaman Clark, was given a different role to play. On the other hand, Clark, while rather squirrely, was not a goldbrick, and it would have been difficult to establish decent motivation for him.

    Seaman Benson IS a goldbrick, which is demonstrated immediately as he attempts to trade a difficult duty watch with Kowalski or Patterson. 'Ski had nearly gotten into serious trouble by doing so before, and has no intention of doing so again, and neither will Patterson. 'Ski suggests that Benson hit up his good friend Grady, who is due for the very easy watch of standing in the nose and looking out the windows. I'm not sure why Benson fell in with this so readily--standing watch in the nose meant that he would be in close proximity with the main officers, and Chip Morton would make it plain a short time later that trading watches was an absolute no-no. Another good question would be how a notorious goldbrick (not to mention the squirrely Clark) managed to stay on board the Seaview in the first place. However....

    Nelson and Sharkey are surveying what they think is the emergence of a new island. Moments after Crane warns them of increased seismic activity, the Flying Sub is caught in the violent updraft of an eruption and goes out of control. Seaview itself gets a very rough ride from the resulting underwater turbulence.

    Having lost contact with the Flying Sub, Crane prepares for a rescue mission. On the way, they have an unfortunate encounter with a dinosaur, which causes serious damage. There is a good bit of footage from the episode "Submarine Sunk Here." The black-and-white is tinted to blend in better with the color footage. It's actually quite effective--it gives the impression of some dim emergency lighting. To save the ship, several sections have to be sealed off completely, leaving one man trapped--Seaman Grady. Benson is unable to deal with the guilt he feels, so he shifts the blame completely onto Crane, who gave the order to seal the hatches.

    Meanwhile, Nelson and Sharkey have both survived the jump from the Flying Sub, although Nelson's radio was damaged in the process and Sharkey suffered a broken leg. Nelson and Sharkey work together nearly as well as Nelson and Crane do, and they have some good exchanges. Nelson has some fun with Sharkey's obvious dislike of his first name, Francis. Sharkey seems almost cheerfully certain that they will not be rescued, and I wish they had gone into his reactions a bit more. Sharkey thinks that they somehow got blown completely off course and landed on a different island--this "newly emerged" island is full of vegetation. Nelson believes that the island has emerged and submerged, perhaps a number of times. They then discover that vegetation is not the only living stuff on the island. There's a good bit of footage from "Turn Back the Clock"--which of course is from the movie "The Lost World", but there is some different footage as well, and it blends in pretty well. Nelson and Sharkey both demonstrate their heroic tendencies--Nelson diverts a dinosaur's attention to allow the wounded Sharkey to get away. Sharkey, for his part, comes hopping to the rescue when Nelson gets his foot trapped. Another dinosaur comes along to liven up the proceedings. (During the ensuing fight, you can hear Jill St. John's scream. It's a pretty raucus sound, which is probably why they missed cutting it out.)

    Back on the Seaview, they actually ram the sub full tilt onto the sand like a beached whale. I'd love to know how they proposed to get back off again. Patterson and Kowalski speak with Benson, who openly blames the Captain for his friend's death. Chip Morton informs Patterson and 'Ski that they are assigned to the rescue mission. Benson speaks up and volunteers to go along, as well, and Morton, rather hesitantly, agrees. You would think that Patterson and 'Ski would wonder about Benson wanting to work with a man he hates, but apparently they were so astonished at Benson volunteering for anything to think about it. In spite of the fact that small arms are usually stored in lockers and doled out as needed, we find that Benson, at least, keeps a weapon in his private locker.

    The search gets underway, with Crane expressing his regret for Grady's death. Benson pretends to go along with it, and Patterson and 'Ski again forget about the resentment Benson had displayed earlier. Benson misses a shot at Crane when the seismic activity gets underway again. He later suggests that the team split up to cover more territory. Crane looks for a moment as though he will agree, but decides that it's safer for them to all stay together.

    Nelson decides to start a fire to signal the rescue party that he is certain is out looking for them. This leads to a delightful little exchange with Sharkey, who reluctantly gives up his "little black book"--which is brown--to provide tinder for the fire. (All of the vegetation is still pretty damp from being submerged.)

    The fire, in fact, does no good. Morton's call warning them that the eruptions will start up any moment now force Crane's party, reluctantly, to turn back. Benson decides not to wait any longer for an opportune moment, and declares his intentions. Crane demonstrates why he's Captain of the Seaview--confronted with a mad crewman, he remains calm. His anger only starts to show when it becomes clear that Benson intends killing Patterson and Kowalski as well. 'Ski offers to be a witness that Benson acted in self-defence--a barely perceptible glance clues Crane (and the viewers) in, and Benson hesitates just long enough for 'Ski to disarm him. Crane is prepared to make allowances for Benson's tormented state of mind, but in spite of his order not to shoot Benson, Patterson and Kowalski keep firing. Nelson and Sharkey hear the shots, and hastily head in the direction of the sounds. There's a great deal of noise and activity compressed into a small space, with Nelson and Sharkey chasing after their rescuers, and the rescuers chasing after Benson. After hearing Nelson's yells, Crane concludes that it must have been Benson, not the Admiral, that they heard. He sees Benson fall. I'm not sure how he knew that Benson was dead, but of course, he was looking from a different angle than the television audience. Nelson and Sharkey finally make themselves heard, and there is a mad scramble to get through the collapsing foliage and back to the beach.

    I found it odd that there were no comments about Benson in the closing scene. Nelson ruefully concludes that no one is going to believe their reports on the island--until Sharkey shows up with a souvenir Patterson had brought along. A dinosaur egg, which he had placed in the galley refrigerator. Now, why would he have put it in the refrigerator? Was he hoping to make a prehistoric omlet?
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