The Good

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is dated in the best way.

The Bad

I would have really liked to see an in-depth interview with Irwin Allen talking about his shows, his life and his other work.

Irwin Allen’s Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Vol. 1 is a nail biter of a TV on DVD release if ever there was one. Fans of such movies as The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide will certainly enjoy seeing the Seaview in action. This amazingly built vessel looks like a submarine on the outside, but it is actually America’s best defense during the Cold War. Admiral Harriman Nelson (Richard Basehart) and Captain Lee Crane (David Hedison) lead the crew on some of the most intriguing expeditions ever conducted in the deep sea.

Whether they are investigating why a torrent of blizzards is slamming into Florida, or they are trapped on the floor of the Ocean due to damage from a minefield explosion, or even when they come across an Alien spaceship, this show never ceases to take it’s situation seriously. By today’s standards the special FX look almost remedial, but taken within their context, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Vol. 1 is truly a spectacle to behold.


Never Before Scene Pilot Episode

Titled Eleven Days to Zero , what amazed me the most about this episode was that it was in color. The rest of the episodes were in black and white. Also, this version of Eleven Days to Zero seems like it was shot identically to the episode that begins this first season. While I haven’t done a compare and contrast with both episodes using two TVs, I am starting to wonder if this just isn’t the same episode with some color added in? Why they would do that I have no idea but this whole thing just seems odd.

Home Movies

There are 10 short home movies in all. They are shot on 8mm film and with titles like Weapons Room and Snow Set, you get a thumbnail of what you’re going to see before you see it. Even though much of the effects are the actors acting like they are being jostled around the Seaview (instead of really being knocked around in the submarine), these home movies were very neat to watch. In some ways, not having any audio on these movies makes them have a warmer feel.

ABC Presentation Reel

This reel is an introduction to this show. Irwin Allen, on the set of the Seaview, tells viewers what to expect. In a nutshell, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea will be one hour and it will be action packed. Viewers who originally saw this were then treated to some examples of the shows FX and explosions.

Still Galleries

These galleries are set up so that people can very easily scroll through them with their DVD’s remote. The galleries are Presentation Book, Production/Behind the Scenes and Merchandise. The Presentation Book seems like something that was created to explain this show to people who had never seen it. The Production/Behind the Scenes gallery is a mix of color and black and white pictures. Lastly, the Merchandise gallery shows us the board games that this show inspired as well as the books, stickers and buttons that came from it as well.


1.33:1 - Aspect Ratio. The 16 episodes are all in the classic black and white from the mid-1960s. First off, these shows were very well written. They are thickly layered and very tight and as a result they play like short movies. Now, from purely an FX standpoint, they leave a lot to be desired. You can completely tell that during a lot of the big “FX” scenes the actors are acting against a screen that is projecting something. Still, it is this ability juxtapose shots like this together, that while maybe not looking so great, at least attempted to expand the filmic (and TV) mediums.


English - Stereo and Mono - Spanish - Mono. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Close Captioned. This show is laced with the kind of music that embodies very revealing moments. It sets the tone and creates the mood without viewers even having to think about it. Still, with 818 minutes of footage, and considering how old all the assets for these shows are, I was impressed that A) the sound is as good as it is and B) that I wasn’t able to notice any audio hits, pops or hisses.


This packaging is of the digipack variety. The main color they have used is that of an ominous dark blue. The front cover features two equal sized shots of Richard Basehart and David Hedison. Below them, the Seaview traverses it’s watery landscape. The back features what is essentially the same shot at the front cover only it’s smaller. There is a description of the show, a listing of supplemental features and technical specs. The three discs that make up this set each have their own slim, plastic case, each one with the same cover as the main vinyl, cardboard one that houses them. The back of each cover lists out the episodes that are on that disc, and gives a description of what the episode is about.

Final Word

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing David Hedison for this DVD release. Listening to him talk about the show, working with Richard Basehart and Irwin Allen really made me look at Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Vol. 1 in a different light. Although, I am a big fan of older TV, it was nice to hear from someone like Hedison who has been around for a very long time. There was an earnestness to his, Basehart’s and the rest of the crew’s acting style that didn’t let any moody artifice get in the way.

Even when dealing with very fantastical storylines, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Vol. 1 never ceases to take itself and the situations for the Seaview seriously.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was released .