Science Fiction Theatre – The World Below (08/27/55)

Once again Truman Bradley opens up with more dubious facts than a month of Ancient Aliens.  He says there are two great undiscovered areas — “outer space and the 4/5ths of our own planet lying under the earth’s great oceans.  Beneath the sea is a hidden region more than twice the size of all the nations of the earth put together.”  Well, wouldn’t it be five times the size of all the nations then?  I guess he has a partial out with Antarctica not being a nation, but I’m no cartographer.

Bradley also demonstrates how fake boobs are made.

Using a mammalian balloon, he then shows us how a man would explode in the vacuum of space due to the air in his body.  Well, probably not unless he took a big breath and held it.  Conversely, he says deep sea creatures explode when brought to the surface.  I’m doubtful of that too.  Maybe if they have sealed air sacs, but that seems unlikely or they’d be launching out of the water like Polaris Missiles.

To explore the ocean at record depths, the Turner Institute of Oceanography converted a “surface combat submarine” to withstand the pressure 1,000 fathoms down.  The 4-man crew is on a “photographic mission” apparently thinking deep-dive submarines have big ol’ windows.  And BTW, how is a submarine a surface combatant?  Maybe that’s how Indy survived.

Truman Bradley tells us, “On April 2nd, Captain John Forester began his first vacation in 5 years.  He disconnected the doorbell to make sure he wouldn’t be disturbed.”  He has a fiendishly clever visitor at the front door who outfoxes him by knocking.  Turns out it is his old pal Buck Naked Weaver. He has come to recruit Forester to captain an experimental sub named The Loon.  Wait, what?  That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.  Sailors are a superstitious lot.  There’s a reason there was never a ship named after Louis Leakey; although it was probably because he was a paleontologist.

This is Jean’s factory setting.  BTW, pictures 1 and 3 are different shots.

Twenty-6 days later The Loon is cruising at 1,000 fathoms.  When they go down to 1,200 fathoms, they lose radio contact.  On a sonar scope, we see 3 blips — escape pods — rising to the surface.  Later on the news, Forester’s wife Jean is relieved to see her husband survived.  Weaver tells a reporter that at 1,800 fathoms, they found a city and Forester backs him up.  So, they are famous and in the newspaper.

Forester and his wife turn on the TV to see the film they took of the city beneath the sea. The film shows a rippling skyline.  However, when the Navy goes down to salvage The Loon, they see no city.  Forester and Weaver will be charged with perpetrating a hoax that got a man killed.

Forester is called into a Board of Inquiry where they grill him about a possible hoax.  It isn’t The Caine Mutiny but it is pretty good for SFT. The next day Weaver shows up with an explanation of what happened. They did not see a city, but it was an honest mistake.  Shockingly, the explanation does not strike me as complete baloney.

One of the more tolerable episodes, but that ain’t saying much.


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