Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I stumbled across these photos online - auction house pix of the original special effects miniature of the submarine Cetacean from the Man From Atlantis television series. For those that might not remember, the unique, deep water submarine was originally owned by master villain Mister Schubert (Victor Buono) in the pilot film, but it somehow became the property of the Foundation for Oceanic Research in the ongoing series. I always loved this ship, and am quite struck by the evident scale; based on the windows, it looks like it would have been pretty cramped for the crew. I vaguely recall the interior sets being considerably more spacious....

I remember reading back in '77 that the underwater effects featuring the Cetacean were shot "dry," with the water and bubbles and such added in optically - unlike the submarine effects for Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea back in the 60s, which actually submerged the models in a huge water tank.

I'm fascinated by these photos - I've always been a fan and advocate of in-camera special effects work, particularly the use of miniatures. I have considerable admiration for the men and women who constructed, lit and photographed those detailed models, and am saddened that it's pretty much a lost art these days.


  1. Those are fantastic shots of the sub, I've never seen such good ones before. Clearly online auction sites are where all the cool previously unseen stuff can be found! I loved this ships design when i was a kid, if they'd only have produced a cool little plastic toy of it at the same time, it definitely would have seen a lot of action in the bathtub and swimming pool, along with the plastic octopuses and sharks I had!

    Dusty Abell

  2. Gerry Anderson's Stingray, Thunderbird 4, and SkyDiver (UFO) underwater sequences were also shot "dry".
    Only "surface" shots were done "wet" in a water tank.

    I believe the same FX people who did Voyage also did the submarine shots "wet" in Batman the Movie (1966).
    And the sub's interior was a redress of the Season One Seaview control room.

    1. Kenner was going to. It was never produced, but my dad was a toy buyer for a major toy chain in Cincinnati (home of Kenner at the time) and became friends with a Kenner salesman who gave him one, maybe a prototype, maybe a one of a kind because other than the Kenner catalog I have never seen one. Any ideas?

  3. Heh. I was watching BATMAN '66 last weekend and noticed the redressed Seaview set for the first time.

  4. Great shots of the sub. Man From Atlantis was one of my favorites from back in the day.
    As far as "dry" underwater scenes go, I was recently watching the Bond film For Your Eyes Only and I noticed that closeups of Roger Moore and Carole Bouquet were also "dry" with bubble efects and a windfan to make Carole Bouquet's hair look like it's underwater.

  5. Wow! I'm astounded this still exists!

    I recently had to review this whole series for my website.

    The original TV movie was filmed "Wet," and the footage from that was re-used endlessly in the next three TV movies. When the series started, they were filming stuff "Dry," and you can really tell. There's a major loss of quality in the FX.

    Republibot 3.0

  6. That is so awesome, I was looking for any pictures from my favorite TV show from back in the day and I recognized the shape of the submarine.