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Sea Hunt

by Billy Ingram and YOU

Sea Hunt cast photo"I have been looking for re-runs of a fabulous show that I'd like to request. Sea Hunt - the Lloyd Bridges (pre-comedy) underwater classic. My afternoon staple diet in the early to mid-sixties and it shaped my life since then! If you have anything about Sea Hunt, I'd be one happy '60's TV junkie!"

- Mark (Mike Nelson) Hall

lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt  Sea Hunt was one of the most popular shows in syndication in the Sixties (episodes were filmed from 1957-1961). I watched it religiously as a kid but mostly remember the haunting, ominous theme music that reflected perfectly the murky despair of the show itself.

The show was produced by Ivan Tors ('Daktari') and the underwater footage was shot in various warm water places around the world, from California to Australia, from the Caribbean to the Florida Keys.

There was lots of action on Sea Hunt, and the underwater fight scenes were quite spectacular as Mike Nelson hunted down criminals from the undersea underworld and ran afoul of sharks, manta rays, octopuses and giant sea turtles. The experienced skin diver also went after salvage, treasure and performed rescues - whenever danger or excitement lurked below the surface Mike Nelson was ready to go.


While some footage was filmed in exotic locales, most of the show's underwater action scenes were shot in a huge aquarium located in California's long-gone Marineland amusement park in Palos Verdes.

Ironically, Lloyd Bridges had no experience as a diver before starting the series but quickly became fairly accomplished - he even wanted to ride Marineland's star performer, 'Bubbles' (a 1,800 pilot whale cow) in an episode. Producer Tors was against it: "All Bubbles has to do is to flip her tail and I lose my leading man!"

lloyd bridgesEarly in the run of the series, Mike Nelson operated from land and the diving sequences were short. As the show gained popularity, more and more of the action took place underwater and Mike was operating almost exclusively from his high-tech boat, the 'Argonaut'.

The boat used in the TV Show Sea Hunt was called the Argonaut and featured a flybridge helm for Mike Nelson to drive the vessel. Many of today’s cruising boats, like Nordhavn Yachts for sale, have similar designs for the boat’s captain. Lloyd Bridges would have fit in perfectly with all of California’s sunken pleasure boats.

'Sea Hunt' went on to become one of the most merchandised TV programs of its time, with "Mike Nelson" flippers, goggles and rubber boats being offered during the height of the show's popularity.

Sea Hunt TV show"One thing I can't understand is why more of these great shows don't make it back to re-run status. If not on the cable oldies networks (Nick-at-Night, TV Land) but at least through syndication for local markets. Our local Detroit programming includes the same 10 'Friends' episodes replayed over and over again - as well as another 10 pack loop of old 'Mad About You' shows. Why isn't there a TVparty TV show?

Sea Hunt TV show"Many of these old shows have shaped our lives to greater extents than we may expect. I remember taking SCUBA lessons about 10 years ago and discovered that at least 20% of the class named 'Sea Hunt' as one of the reasons they were there!

"When I was a kid I really loved the "Two Guys With a ..." genre of shows - 'Whirlybirds' (Two Guys With a Helicopter) 'Ripcord' (TGWa parachute), 'Cannonball' (TGWa BIG Truck) and the 'Sea Hunt' rip-off... was it 'Riptide'? (TGWa Scuba tank).

"If I remember correctly, 'Sea Hunt' nearly qualifies for the 'TGWa' - I mean, we had one Mike Nelson on the screen sucking air and battling baddies, while simultaneously we had Mike Nelson on voice-over telling us what the hell was going on!

"The two things I remember from 'Sea Hunt' are:

"1 - The good guys always had the big double hose regulators, while the baddies had the sinister small single hose regulators (that are the only ones available today). In retrospect I realize that without this little white hat/black hat type of ploy it would have been extremely confusing when watching two (or more) guys fighting and rolling around underwater in masks and wet suits... with B&W TV they couldn't very well have all the bad guys wear red. It would still look gray.

Sea Hunt TV show"2 - Rebreaters will KILL YOU! It seemed to be an ingredient in many of the stories that some foolish SOB would use a dreaded RE-BREATHER Scuba tank to get a little more time down below - and invariably Mike would have to go down and save his butt..."

- Thanks, Tony  


Sea Hunt TV show
Sea Hunt


Sea Hunt on DVD
Sea Hunt DVDs - RARE!

Sea Hunt DVDs

- January 1958 - 1962 (first run)

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