The Seaview is a privately owned twin-turbine nuclear submarine that appeared in Irwin Allen's 1961 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea movie, and later the television series of the same name. The Seaview was prefixed ' USOS ' in the motion picture (per the tie-in novel by Theodore Sturgeon, which was short for United States Oceanographic Survey). In the later television series, it was prefixed ' SSRN ', for ' Survey Submarine Research Nuclear '.

The Seaview in the MovieEdit

For the motion picture, Admiral Harriman Nelson (USN-ret) was the designer/builder of the nuclear sub Seaview, paid for by his family fortune from banking and government funding, and operated under the auspices of the Bureau of Marine Exploration, US Department of Science. From this original design, Nelson, also a scientist and engineer, developed a process he named X-tempered Herculite, which provided eight full-protection hull-plates for the sub's shark nose, that appeared as see-through windows. The Admiral described the panoramic views as being able to afford views never before seen by Man, and by seeing, solve some of the mysteries of the Deep.

Along with the shark nose, the Seaview had manta-ray flared-out front stabilizers. In the stern, V-shape long tail stabilizers were incorporated. The basic sub periscope design was still included, but was updated to show the views on various monitors. The 400 foot sub's depth floor was classified, but the speed was described as being ' 35+ knots '. For its exploration missions, the sub carried a mini-sub and diving bell. The Seaview was also secretly available for special classified military missions and weapons testing.

The Seaview in the SeriesEdit

In the context of the series, the Seaview was one of three submarines designed by Admiral Nelson (Richard Basehart), director of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research, in the then-future years between 1973 and 1983.

The SSRN Seaview had three sister ships depicted in the television series. The first was a prototype attack sub, The Polidor, which was destroyed in the third episode of the series. The other two were regular operational experimental subs, the Neptune (a variant of the same class as the Seaview, destroyed late in the first season), and the virtually identical Angler (featured in the episode The Enemies).  The Seaview had a crew of that varied from 90 - 125 men (Turn Back The Clock).

Reportedly the Seaview model, along with the original Time Machine from the George Pal movie of the same name, was sold in the MGM 1970 auction. These 2 items were loaded into a truck and driven around the country for voyeuristic fans who would pay to see them. The Time Machine was reportedly found in a Goodwill Store and reconstructed in all its original glory by Bob Burns, but it is currently unknown what happened to the Seaview model.

Production BackgroundEdit

Three models of the Seaview — four, eight and a half, and 17 feet long — were built. The four foot wooden pattern/model was often seen as set decoration on a shelf in the observation nose, and behind Nelson's desk in his cabin. All three Seaview models were built for a total price of $200,000 USD by Herb Cheeks model shop at Fox, and was filmed by L.B. Abbott.

From Abbott's book, Special Effects - Wire, Tape and Rubber Band Style, The Story required a submarine, presumably 350 feet long, utterly unique in design and visually exciting. It also had to be theoretically feasible. The onus for the design fell on Jack Martin Smith and Herman Bluemethal.

Herman had said that he started by consulting with a marine design firm and was told that anything he would design had already been designed. That was a relief to him, because he and Jack now were on their own. The nose of the submarine was probably the most innovative part of the design. It was double-decked, and had four large glass ports to allow us to make composite shots of whatever was outside the sub. The Seaview was atomic powered, carried nuclear missiles and was equipped with a mini-sub, a computer and many ultra-modern detecting devices.

For the TV series, he won two Emmy Awards for special effects. Also for the series, the eight window, two level nose models were reduced to four windows and one level. This allowed the eight foot model's nose area to house a nine inch Flying Sub, while a more detailed 18 inch Flying Sub was held within the larger Seaview. Also for the series, a very poorly rendered two-foot model was built. The fates of the three original models vary; the original eight-window wooden four foot display model was at the home of Irwin Allen for many years and is now in a private collection, the eight foot model was extensively changed for use in the short-lived 1978 series "The Return of Captain Nemo" and has probably been destroyed. The 17-foot model is currently on display at the "Museum Of Science Fiction" located in Seattle, Washington.

LinksEdit The technology page on the N.I.M.R.

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