SEA HUNT TV SHOW
Starring LLoyd Bridges – Mark of the Octopus
Sea Hunt is an American adventure television series that aired in syndication from 1958 to 1961 and was popular in syndication for decades afterwards. The series originally aired for four seasons, with 155 episodes produced. It stars Lloyd Bridgesas ex-Navy frogman Mike Nelson, and was produced by Ivan Tors.
Series executive producer Ivan Tors conceived the idea for Sea Hunt while working on the 1958 film Underwater Warrior. Tors tried in vain to sell the series to allthree major networks, but each network passed on the show because they felt a series set underwater could not be sustained. Tors then decided to sell the series into the first-run syndication market. Tors teamed up with Ziv Television Programsand was able to sell the show to over 100 syndicated markets before the series debuted in January 1958.
Lloyd Bridges was soon cast as lead character Mike Nelson. Sea Hunt was intended as a comeback vehicle for Bridges due to his brief blacklisting from acting. Bridges was blacklisted after admitting to the House Un-American Activities Committee that he had been a member of the Actors’ Lab, a group that was tied to the Communist party.
After winning the role, Bridges was given a crash course in scuba diving by Zale Parry and Courtney Brown. Brown served as his underwater stunt double. Over the course of the show’s run, Bridges got more involved in the underwater stunt work, graduating from close-ups in the earliest episodes, to doing all but the most dangerous stunts by the end of the series’ run.
Mike Nelson (Bridges) is a free-lance scuba diver who has various adventures. Traveling on his boat the Argonaut, Nelson outmaneuvers villains, salvages everything from a bicycle to a nuclear missile, rescues children trapped in a flooded cave, and even a dog. In the pilot episode, Mike rescues a downed Navy pilot from his sunken jet. Since no dialogue was possible during the underwater sequences, Bridges provided voice-over narration for all the installments.
At the end of each episode, Bridges would appear as himself to deliver a brief comment. These comments sometimes included a plea to viewers to understand and protect the marine environment, along with gems of wisdom from Bridges’ own experiences.
The series served as a stepping stone for some of Hollywood’s most notable actors, including Leonard Nimoy, Robert Conrad,Bruce Dern, Larry Hagman, Ross Martin, Jack Nicholson (in the last episode of the series), and Bridges’ own sons, Beau and Jeff.