Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

17'3" Seaview Miniature

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17'3" Seaview Miniature
Large-scale miniature Seaview submarine from Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (TCF, 1961 and ABC-TV, 1964-68). This is the breathtaking, 17 ft. 3 in. S.S. Seaview special visual effects "beauty miniature," used in the filming of the classic Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea feature film as well as the television series. This historic miniature was designed by Irwin Allen's talented art department to capture his optimistic and idealized belief in a nuclear powered future. The sub's memorable design is inspired by the sleek lines and anatomy of marine life, such as manta rays and porpoises. (Note: the gray upper and white bottom areas reminiscent of a dolphin or shark, and the curved wing-like nose area of the submarine resembles a manta ray.) This miniature was the "Hero" Seaview miniature, photographed both on the surface and submerged in the massive 20th Century Fox water tanks (where films such as The Poseidon Adventure and Tora! Tora! Tora! were filmed). The miniature's impressive size was used by Irwin Allen's directors of photography and special effects units to create a more realistic look and representation of the immensity of the fictional submarine for TV viewers of the 1960s - a standard technique used by special effects technicians of the era prior to digital technology, as is used today.

The miniature features a variety of interesting original details including the following:
1) Original brass antenna and periscope miniature accents.
2) Miniature port door accents.
3) Missile hatches.
4) Miniature tie bars.
5) Miniature matching swivel rudders.
6) Plexiglas bridge window.
7) Steel girder support arches in the bridge interior.
8) Two-man sub deployment area.
9) Internal special effects wood and cable control handle.
10) Hanging points for cable control.
11) Miniature working bay doors under the bridge area which open and close on rollers. This feature was engineered to permit the miniature Flying Sub to be deployed in the series!

The miniature was restored to its present condition for display at Planet Hollywood's now-closed Beverly Hills location. It rests on a sturdy, custom-made wood gurney with carpeted supports, and heavy duty casters allowing for easy movement, and is accompanied with a one-sheet poster from the film. A stunning and highly recognizable miniature, worthy of inclusion in the finest collections of Hollywood memorabilia.

Sold for $47,500 at the Profiles in History Hollywood Auction 17, 12 December 2003.

Photo Credits

Profiles in History