Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Season 3 Episode 2


Aired Monday 7:30 PM Sep 25, 1966 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • A classic horror plot is given a science fiction twist with a dose of radiation.

    Radiation is handy stuff to have around when you're writing science fiction.

    There's a volcano preparing to erupt on the island of Makora. Volcanos erupt all the time, but this one seems to have a sizeable amount of radiation in its depths, which would make a major eruption extremely dangerous to the world at large. Seaview is sent to investigate, and they have sent a volcanologist and a radiation specialist ahead of them in the Flying Sub.

    The vulcanologist, Hollis, has remained on the beach while the radiation specialist, Witt, went inland to check on the eruption. He discovers that there are indeed high amounts of radiation. He also discovers a wolf. Although they comment on the discrepancy a couple of times, they never do come up with any explanation for having a wolf on a tropical island. Witt is left frozen in shock while Nelson, Crane and Hollis hear the sound of the wolf's growls coming over the radio. (Considering how far away the wolf was at the time, it must have been growling REALLY loudly.) I happen to like wolves, so I found this scene irritating, but of course this program was made at a time when wolves were routinely portrayed as vicious, or even actively evil, creatures.

    Hollis disregards Nelson's order to stay on the beach, and rushes off to find Witt. Witt, of course, has been mangled by the wolf, and only lives long enough to accidently inflict a deep scratch on Hollis' hand. Just a short time later, a reasonably good imitation of the classic Lon Chaney, Jr, werewolf comes aboard the Flying Sub. Exit the pilot.

    The Seaview arrives to find Hollis on board the Flying Sub, badly shaken. Crane concludes that the pilot was killed by an animal--although how an animal could come out to the sub and climb aboard is a good question. Nelson is concerned about Hollis' exposure to radiation, and wants to know why Hollis had not been wearing a hazard suit. Hollis simply says that there was not enough time to come out to the Flying Sub to fetch it. Nelson could, quite reasonably, have asked why he didn't take the suit to shore in the first place, as it was a pretty safe bet that he was going to need it. He doesn't bring up the subject of Hollis disobeying orders, either. Very oddly, Hollis does not show any signs of radiation exposure, despite the obvious presence of it on the island. Because of this, Hollis is permitted to remain and help Crane's team locate Witt's body and any surviving equipment.

    They pad things out at this point with a little light exchange between Patterson and Sharkey, as they gather up equipment for the trip to shore. (For some reason, Kowalski was not present in this episode, or this might have fallen to him.) It's rather fun to watch Patterson, who is usually a fairly serious man, teasing Sharkey. He almost pushes him too far, but Sharkey gets called away before he can chew Patterson out.

    Hollis is showing some signs of discomfort, and Crane pauses the search to have Sharkey tend to Hollis' injured hand. Shortly after that, Hollis wanders away from the group. Sharkey continues after Witt, while Crane goes after Hollis. Hollis has wolfed-out again, but manages to keep out of Crane's sight. There's a very effective camera shot, with the wolfed-out Hollis overlooking Crane--and the mysterious wolf overlooking Hollis.

    Unable to find Hollis, Crane rejoins Sharkey, who has located the body and some of the equipment. Although Hollis had seemed to locate Witt very quickly, a comment from Sharkey makes it clear that they are some hour's distance from the beach. On their return, they discover Hollis standing near a signal fire, staring rather blankly out to sea, where the Seaview is acknowledging their signal. Crane is coldly furious with Hollis, who offers the lame excuse of being unable to face looking at Witt's body again. No excuse for why he didn't respond to Crane's calls.

    Back on board, Nelson decides that the levels of radiation are extremely dangerous. He asks for Hollis' expert opinion on the volcano itself, but Hollis, looking dazed and exhausted, cannot offer anything specific. Nelson decides that the wisest course is to try and prevent a major eruption by causing the volcano to collapse inward, using four carefully placed implosion warheads. Two of them are sent in, then the Seaview heads for the second site--which presumably would be on the other side of the island.

    Doc treats Hollis' hand with what looks like a dose of infra-red (or ultra-violet?) light--as well as a swab-down with old-fashioned iodine. He takes some samples from Hollis' hand, and discovers a virus in Hollis' blood identical to a blood sample he had taken from Witt's body. He calls Nelson in to consult, telling him that the virus has a "family resemblance" to rabies.

    Patterson, accompanied by Sharkey, arrives at the reactor room to take over guard duty--with the high risk of radiation from the volcano, they're being extra careful. There's another exchange between Patterson and Sharkey--Patterson really seems to enjoy pushing Sharkey's buttons.

    Although the first guard had, sensibly, been standing outside the reactor room, Patterson goes inside. This, of course, makes it easy for Hollis (or anyone else, for that matter) to get inside the reactor room before Patterson can prevent it. Patterson, as a matter of fact, seems to have forgotten that he's on guard duty--as Hollis comes inside, Patterson is casually pulling out reactor rods for a look-see (without a hazard suit!!!) Hollis knocks Patterson down, then opens the reactor and jams his hand inside. This gives the impression of a man trying to distract himself from pain by setting up a counter-irritation. By the time Patterson rouses, Hollis has wolfed-out again, and Patterson (quite understandably) grabs for a mike and yells for help. Hollis knocks him out again--fortunately without breaking his skin--and the entire ship is treated to the sound of growls and snarls.

    Crane and Nelson rush to the reactor room--instructing the crew to seal off that portion of the ship. Sharkey and his crew lock off the reactor room, leaving Hollis howling in frustration inside. He then goes over to the microphone and starts snarling into it. I had an odd thought at this point--did Hollis, in some part of his mind, think that he was communicating coherently over the microphone? Nelson and Crane enter the room--and make a very hasty exit. They send for stun guns--which I don't believe have been seen before. Carefully opening the door, they stun Hollis, who abruptly returns to normal.

    The remaining two implosive warheads are set in place, while Nelson confers with Doc--who apparently flunked Occult 101. Nelson theorizes that the werewolf change is brought on by stress, and Doc agrees that radiation and adrenalin might be what sets things off. As they are talking about this, Hollis--who is unconcious or semi-concious, and therefore not under particular stress at the moment--changes yet again. There's quite a fight, with Nelson getting his shirt ripped off and his back bloodied (although you don't actually see Hollis scratch him). Hollis gets the upper hand--but refrains from actually killing Nelson. Instead, he makes his way to the Missile Room, knocks out the man on duty, and blithely swims away from the Seaview. It's hard to say if he was trying to avoid hurting anyone else, or was instinctively heading back to a source of radiation. Nelson proves to have been infected with the virus. Interestingly, of the five men who survived a fight with the werewolf, Nelson was the only one whose skin was broken. Nelson has himself locked up, while Crane goes off in search of Hollis, hoping to get a vaccine from Hollis' blood. (I kind of think that such vaccines are made from people who have recovered from an illness, so this doesn't make much sense, but we won't quibble overmuch.)

    Crane and Co, suited up (their face masks, pushed up, bear an odd resemblance to some of the larger nun's coifs that I've seen) go in seach of Hollis. Crane, of course, is the one who finds him--or rather, Hollis finds him. The werewolf change seems to be lasting longer and longer. Crane manages to get away, and suddenly finds himself on a cliff ledge. Hollis gets knocked off the ledge, and Crane tumbles off a few moments later (which really looked like a nasty fall, but Crane was uninjured). The original wolf has turned up again, and springs on Hollis. It's a pretty good fight, although Hollis appears at times to be fighting a stuffed animal as well as a large Husky or Malamute. Crane manages to shoot the wolf, but Hollis is dying, either from injuries or the cumulative effects of the radiation. He makes his final change back to normal, and weakly apologizes to Crane. Crane doesn't have time to express much sympathy--he needs to get the blood sample before Hollis dies (not to mention the island blowing up).

    They get back just in time--Nelson has started to show a little more hair. (Nelson has not been exposed to much radiation, so his slower change makes sense.) The island blows, and Doc manages to whip up a vaccine in a matter of moments, and almost instantly finds that it's effective. (Creating blood vaccines is a matter of spinning the blood in a centrifuge, and drawing off the serum that separates out. Normally it takes a little while.)

    Nelson, who by this time has gotten pretty good at NOT reporting certain occurrences on his ship, makes out that Witt and Hollis had died in tragic--but plausible--circumstances. (I wonder how he explained the death of the Flying Sub pilot?) Crane is reasonably certain that his crew will keep their mouths shut, but he's going to point out the probability of their ending up in rubber rooms if they start talking about werewolves.