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Bill Jones The Scuba Guy's SEA HUNT Trivia Guide
SEA HUNT Fact or Myth?
 © Copyright 2004-13    Bill Jones    World Rights Reserved
The most comprehensive SEA HUNT Trivia Guide available anywhere!
Read more about it:   Sea Hunt Sparked Interest in Diving
Sea Hunt Trivia
Sea Hunt Episode Guide
Sea Hunt Principal Cast & Crew
Sea Hunt Guest Stars
Sea Hunt Fact or Myth
Sea Hunt FAQ
Sea Hunt Legacy
Sea Hunt Memorabilia
Sea Hunt Travel Guide
Lloyd Bridges Biography
Lloyd Bridges Trivia
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Sony / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has made SEA HUNT available at major DVD retailers.  Do not confuse these DVD's with the poor quality pirate DVD's offered on some websites.

There are many SEA HUNT Myths that fans tell.  Some of the myths come from what appears to be very knowledgeable sources including most other SEA HUNT websites.  Only The Scuba Guy website works toward the most complete and accurate SEA HUNT trivia.  If you find an error on this or other websites, send an eMail to The Scuba Guy so that your favorite SEA HUNT myth will appear.

The Scuba Guy now dispels some of these myths. 

So.......dive deep below, and test your SEA HUNT knowledge with The Scuba Guy's SEA HUNT FACT or MYTH?

The Scuba Guy's SEA HUNT Trivia Guide is the most referenced SEA HUNT trivia source in the world.

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Editor Note:  Bill Jones, The Scuba Guy, is a PADI Master Instructor and a Published and Award-Winning Writer


FACT or MYTH?  SEA HUNT aired from 1957 to 1962.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  SEA HUNT originally aired in first-run syndication for four television seasons from 1958 to 1961 and was in continuous syndicated re-runs into the late 1980's in some markets.

The reason for this myth is probably because SEA HUNT's two pilots and a few of the other first season episodes were actually filmed in 1957.  Many SEA HUNT trivia fans are often confused about the range of filming dates and the Original Release Dates. The show was produced and filmed during the five years of 1957, 58, 59, 60, 61. The show originally aired during the four years of 1958, 59, 60, 61.

Some over-zealous fans clearly remember watching SEA HUNT in 1957 although the first time SEA HUNT hit the air was January 4, 1958.  The final episode aired September 23, 1961.  Since re-runs began immediately, many fans didn't notice that the show was no longer in first-run.

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FACT or MYTH?  There were 156 episodes of SEA HUNT.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  There were only 155 episodes of SEA HUNT produced.

The reason for this myth is probably because Bridges was quoted as saying "We did 39 of them for four years, 156 episodes".  Ok, our hero makes mistakes too.  Sorry Mr. Bridges, we wished you had made 156 or more.

Another possible reason for this myth is that SEA HUNT originally aired in first-run syndication for four television seasons.  Ziv planned to produce the standard 39 episodes each season which was common at the time.  39 episodes times 4 seasons equals 156 episodes.

Unable to compromise with Bridges on the details of re-tooling the storyline for a 5th season, Ivan Tors pulled the plug on production with only 38 episodes "in the can" for season 4, ending the show September 23, 1961 with a total of 155 episodes .

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FACT or MYTH?  144 episodes of SEA HUNT were shot at Silver Springs.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Not one episode of SEA HUNT contained shots only from Silver Springs.  The "144 show" claim is a theme park publicity myth.

The reason for this myth is probably because at least one of the Silver Springs Tour Guides repeatedly told groups of Silver Springs guests that 144 episodes of SEA HUNT were shot at Silver Springs.

Another possible reason for this myth is that promotional and media releases from Silver Springs have, for decades, claimed that more than 100 episodes of SEA HUNT were shot there.

SEA HUNT was shot in a matrix fashion where the second unit film team would go to locations such as Silver Springs and shoot topside and underwater "stock footage" that would be edited with mostly California footage into the storyline for an episode of the show.  Stock footage like this was used to falsely "establish" a location of the story for the viewer. In other words, it made the viewer think that's where the show was taking place.

Assume the definition of "an episode was shot at Silver Springs" means that at least one cut or one scene from Silver Springs appears in an episode, the episode can be said to have been shot at Silver Springs. The claim still cannot be true since scenes or shots from Silver Springs are not in 144 episodes.  There were 155 episodes produced and the claim would imply that only 11 episodes were produced without a Silver Springs scene or shot.  SEA HUNT fans can easily watch 12 shows and know that's not true.

For the third and fourth season of SEA HUNT, the second unit permanently moved from Florida to the Bahamas and little or no second unit footage was shot in Florida after the move. The claim would suggest that the second unit spent two years in the Bahamas for 11 or fewer shows. Ivan Tors and Fred Ziv watched the $40,000-per-episode budget a little too close for that to be true.

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FACT or MYTH?  SEA HUNT included scenes shot in Hawaii and Australia.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Sea Hunt was shot in studios, on location, and in the water around California, Florida, The Bahamas, and even some shots in Nevada

The reason for this myth is probably because Bridges mentioned in interviews that his family traveled to Hawaii and Australia and went Scuba diving while they were there.  There is an article in at least one publication that at first glance looks as if Bridges is talking about SEA HUNT but he is actually referring to his own family vacations.

Another possible reason for this myth is that in Ziv #2.33, "Proof of Guilt", Original Release Date:  August 16, 1959, the show begins with Mike Nelson telling the viewers that "it started in the tropical waters of the Hawaiian Islands.  I was running a series of operational tests ...  on underwater photography with both motion picture and television cameras".  Both the topside (notice the Mexican palms) and underwater scenes (notice the kelp) are from Long Beach and Catalina, not the Hawaiian Islands. 

In Ziv #4.18, "Cougar", Original Release Date:  May 6, 1961, Mike says he is in Hawaii to search for lion fish.  The beach is clearly a mainland west coast location and with more Mexican palms.  Underwater footage for this episode was shot in Nassau.  Actual newsreel footage of the Mauna Loa volcano erupting in June 1950 is inserted into the episode to establish the location to the viewer.     

Another possible reason for this myth is that SEA HUNT Producer Ivan Tors, Special Effects Supervisor Harry Redmond Jr., Special Effects artist Robert "Bob" Overbeck, and Diving Stunt Artist Wende Wagner were simultaneously on location in Hawaii during the shooting of "The Aquanauts" (1960-61) at the same time SEA HUNT was still being filmed in it's usual locations in the continental United States and Nassau.

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FACT or MYTH?  Some SEA HUNT episodes aired in Color in some markets.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Monochrome prints were distributed for both SEA HUNT Color episodes and no episodes were ever broadcast in Color.

The reason for this myth is probably because the two original pilots made to sell SEA HUNT (1B “Mark of the Octopus” Ziv #1.4 and 2B "Sixty Feet Below" Ziv #1.1) were shot with several Kodak EastmanColor® film stocks. 

Unfortunately for fans today, EastmanColor® film stocks were notorious for fading to red with age.  The Color prints used to shop the pilot would be a fantastic memorabilia find if any still exist.  These prints may well require a public auction to determine their value.  MGM has not confirmed the condition of the original Color masters, but its likely that only the Monochrome masters of these two episodes still remain intact.  The Scuba Guy has been unable to locate anyone claiming to have a Color copy in any format of these two episodes.  Black & White presentations are easy to find.

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FACT or MYTH?  SEA HUNT aired on the CBS Television Network.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  SEA HUNT has never aired on the CBS Television Network or any other broadcast television network.  SEA HUNT re-runs have been aired on several cable networks in recent years including The Outdoor Network, TV Land, and the THIS network.

CBS EyeThe reason for this myth is probably because some CBS Television Network local affiliate TV stations around the country aired the syndicated SEA HUNT in primetime foregoing the CBS network supplied programming in the timeslot.  This caused some fans to believe that SEA HUNT was on CBS, but that never happened.

Another possible reason for this myth is that even the CBS Television Network flagship station, WCBS-TV in New York City, broadcasted SEA HUNT at 10:30p on Saturday nights in primetime grabbing a 25.3 (25.8 the second week) rating beating out "Wagon Train" (1957-65), $64,000 Question (1955-58), Maverick (1957-62), and Lawrence Welk (1955-82)!  San Francisco, Pittsburg, and Birmingham even did better than New York City.  Miami took the biggest rating of 33.7 in primetime.

Frederic W. Ziv masterminded a deal with United Artists to syndicate the series to 167 TV stations around the country and broadcasting the show to more than 180 markets.  This translates into more than 40-million viewers.  SEA HUNT became the most successful first-run syndicated television show ever.  "Baywatch" (1989-2001) now holds this title after airing in first-run syndication in 144 countries to more than one-billion viewers!

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FACT or MYTH?  The Working Name for SEA HUNT was UNDERWATER.

It's a FACT.

FACT:  The working name for SEA HUNT was UNDERWATER and the working name for the main character was JASON DOUGLAS not MIKE NELSON.

Ivan Tors was forming the show concept right up to the shooting of the first pilot and beyond.

Several actors were considered for the part of Jason Douglas, now renamed "Mike Nelson", including Marshall Thompson (Dr. Marsh Tracy, "Daktari" 1966-69), but Lloyd Bridges showed up for the audition in a tight shirt and slacks displaying his muscular build and "seemed to be perfect" for the role.

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FACT or MYTH?  Tor's Plagiarized the Concept for SEA HUNT.

It maybe a FACT or It maybe a MYTH, this one is up to you!

The Scuba Guy believes that Tor's did NOT plagiarize the SEA HUNT concept, but like anything else in life, a person is influenced by everything that you read and experience.

FACT:  The first ideas about the SEA HUNT television show was conceived in 1955 while Ivan Tors was producing underwater sequences for "Science Fiction Theater" (1955-57).

1.  In 1955, Tors was formulating his idea for a possible spin-off TV show with an underwater hero.  During this time, Tors was using a small one-man submarine to make second-unit shots for a couple of episodes of "Science Fiction Theater" that had underwater themes.

2.  Frank Donahue submitted a proposal to Ziv for a show named "The Underwater Legion" that included the show format, 12 story outlines, a screenplay, and a proposed budget.  The story was about a world organization of hand picked men that have dedicated their lives to protecting the seas.  These men lived on the flagship "Courageous", and were headed by Johnny Neptune.  The proposal was for several episodes on "Science Fiction Theater" (1955-57) or for a possible new TV show. Tors agreed to produce Donahue's pilot but then backed-out two weeks later saying he didn't like the idea.  Donahue filed a California civil action against Ivan Tors and planned a separate action against Ziv Television Programs alleging that in 1955, he had conceived the idea for the show "The Underwater Legion" that had become Tors' and Ziv's project that was now in pre-production under the working title of "UNDERWATER".  Donahue claimed that he had incurred $250,000 in costs and damages for his unsold pilot.  Ziv and Tors denied most of the allegations.  The court found no significant similarity between "The Underwater Legion" and UNDERWATER and found that the UNDERWATER concept was an independent literary work of Ivan Tors.  In a 1969 Donahue vs. United Artists case decision, a jury awarded Donahue $2.00 for each of 100,000 telecasts of SEA HUNT.  The court affirmed that $200,000 was a reasonable value of Donahue's ideas that were wrongfully used.

3.  Some fans believe that an unsold half-hour TV pilot "Sea Divers" (1956) inspired SEA HUNT.  The pilot stars Rhodes Reason (as Tom Gorman) and John Smith (as Mike Gilbert) and tells the story of two divers that are hired to find valuable papers in a shipwreck.  Harold Minniear, the creator of "Sea Divers", sued Ziv claiming that he had shown the "idea" to Ziv and to producers and within the television industry.  The creator further claimed that it was understood that if the producers were to use the idea, they would pay the submitter for the idea.  While there was no express contract with Ziv to pay for "Sea Divers", "there was an implied contract, and that it is understood in the industry that when a showing is made, the "offeror" shall be paid for any ideas or material used therein".  The court concluded that "there is substantial evidence in the record for the jury to infer a reasonable expectation by appellant that the defendant Ziv might buy the idea for a TV underwater series in the spring of 1956".  Other facts brought out in this case include:  Thomas Scott, a film editor for Ziv, cut and edited "Sea Divers" at Ziv facilities.  Minniear also gave Tors a booklet with the outline of "Sea Divers". A month after seeing the pilot, Tors began production of "SEA HUNT", hired "Sea Divers" underwater photographer and attempted to hire one "Sea Divers" leading men.  Tors had purchased from Minniear a story and used it in the SEA HUNT premiere and pilot "Sixty Feet Below" Ziv #1.1.

4.  USNR Commander Francis Doug Fane and Dan Moore published a book in 1956 about the Navy Underwater Demolition Team.  Titled "The Naked Warriors", the book documented the UDT during World War II and the Korean War.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Ivan Tors picked up the theatrical rights and produced "The Underwater Warriors" (1958), a feature movie based on Fane’s book.  Dan Dailey played Commander Fane and the real Fane was the Technical Consultant on the film.  During this production, Tors began framing his idea of the hero character JASON DOUGLAS (Mike Nelson) for his concept television series that would be loosely based on Fane's military life during World War II with a post war and post military story.

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FACT or MYTH?  James Buxbaum was the creator of SEA HUNT.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Ivan Tors was the creator of SEA HUNT.

The reason for this myth is probably because there are several internet websites that incorrectly list James Buxbaum as the show's creator. 

Another possible reason for this myth is in Ziv #4.37, "Crime at Sea", Original Release Date:  September 16, 1961, Buxbaum was given a "Created By" credit for suggesting the idea for the episode, not creating the SEA HUNT television series.

Tor's very generously gave Buxbaum "Associate Producer" credits in Ziv #3.23, "Ghost Light", Original Release Date:  June 11, 1960 and Ziv #3.19, "Cross Current", Original Release Date:  May 14, 1960 and in Ziv #3.24, "Rebreather", Original Release Date:  June 18, 1960 a shared "Story-By" credit.

Buxbaum was an attorney by profession and was related to Tor's wife.  If you look back at the previous MYTH above, you will also notice that none of those lawsuits named Buxbaum as the person alleged as the person that plagiarized "their" ideas.

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FACT or MYTH?  There was a SEA HUNT movie.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  There was no SEA HUNT movie.

The reason for this myth is probably because there have been rumors in Hollywood over the years about several possible script ideas for a movie.  Peter Benchley, who wrote "Jaws" (1975), was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in November 1994 to write a script that would focus on the estranged son of Mike Nelson.  Still four years before his death, no one was sure if Lloyd Bridges would come back to play Mike Nelson but speculation was that they would try to get Jeff Bridges to play Nelson's son in the movie.  MGM planned to release the movie in 1997.  The project never really got off the ground.  Bridges died in 1998.  Benchley died in 2006.

Another possible reason for this myth is that Bridges played Dr. Doug Standish in "Around the World Under the Sea" (1966).  In this Ivan Tors MetroColor® production, the crew of a five-man  new experimental submarine, The Hydronaut, travels the world oceans planting sensors on the ocean floor to warn scientists of any impending earthquakes.  Marshall Thompson, the guy that Bridges beat-out for the Mike Nelson role during SEA HUNT auditions, plays along side of Bridges as Dr. Orin Hillyard.  Ricou Browning directs Lamar Boren's shooting of the diving sequences while Elmer Parsons, Arthur Weiss and Art Arthur handle the screen writing, all are SEA HUNT veterans.

Another possible reason for this myth is that Bridges played Vic Powers in "Daring Game" (1968).  In this Ivan Tors film production, a Scuba diving expert that uses specially designed underwater equipment to search for a man and his daughter who are being held prisoner on a tiny island.  SEA HUNT's Ricou Browning directs Lamar Boren's shooting of the diving sequences and Art Arthur came up with the story idea and wrote the screenplay.

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FACT or MYTH?  SEA HUNT was technically correct with Scuba rules and theory.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  SEA HUNT made lots of errors concerning current Scuba rules and theory of the time.

The reason for this myth is probably because the "look and feel" of the show seems so convincing to audiences that even Master Scuba Instructors watching the old shows today will ignore Mike's total lack of buddy-system diving and needlessly dropping weight belts.  "Courtney Brown was my mentor", said Bridges.  "He taught me so many things about the underwater world.  He... was responsible for making me look good.  We felt my form was very important, my strokes, how I kicked".  

The fact is that many of the stories about nitrogen narcosis, getting the bends, maximum bottom times, ascent rates, and "deadly re-breathers" often contained erroneous or over simplified information

Bridges readily admitted that the concept of him diving alone was not accepted by the sport diving community as it "violates the principles of buddy diving".  He went on to claim that the shows were not meant to be a documentary and "our excuse for existence is in dramatic entertainment and our purpose is to present an illusion of reality in dangerous situations which the public will enjoy and want to see".

NAUI Co-Founder Al Tillman was an un-credited Script Technical Advisor and Consultant for SEA HUNT.  He was only given a few dozen of the 155 scripts to read.  Tillman would send his comments back to the writers and was paid $25 for each script.  In spite of his best efforts, there are lots of technical Scuba errors and unrealistic storylines in Sea Hunt that certainly weren't Tillman's doing.  The writers thought these questionable ideas would make the storyline more interesting and the average viewer wouldn't know the difference. 

The point is that you would be much better off taking a Scuba certification class at your local dive center than to try to learn Scuba diving from watching SEA HUNT.

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FACT or MYTH?  Mike Nelson had a young daughter in the show.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  We never meet anyone who is said to be Mike Nelson's daughter in the original 1958 SEA HUNT series.

The reason for this myth is probably because SEA HUNT had become a very successful TV show by 1960 and National Telefilm Associates (NTA) made a television series called "Assignment Underwater" (1960) for first-run syndication.  The show starred Bill Williams as Bill Greer and Diane Mountford as Patty Greer.  Greer is an ex-marine, professional diver, and owner of the "Lively Lady" charter boat.  Greer, a widower, fights crime under the sea with the help of his eight-year-old daughter Patty.  Sound familiar?  There were only 39 episodes of "Assignment Underwater".

Another possible reason for this myth is that in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1987 remake of SEA HUNT, Kimber Sissons plays Mike Nelson's daughter Jennifer Nelson who is a young woman.  Nelson is played by Ron Ely.

Both of Lloyd Bridges real-life sons appear in the original SEA HUNT series but not as Mike Nelson's sons.  Bridges had a real-life daughter Cindy, but she never appeared in the show.

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FACT or MYTH?  Mike Nelson's girlfriend was played by Zale Parry.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  There were no repeating characters of female interest or otherwise other than the Mike Nelson character in SEA HUNT.  Parry played several different characters and did stunt doubling for many actresses in the show.

Zale ParryThe reason for this myth is probably because Zale Parry did perform several powerful portrayals of female divers in SEA HUNT.  When Bridges was asked if he should have had a regular love interest in the show, he replied "No, not really.  I just felt that I was there to show all these different things that happened underwater.  Having a love interest might not have set well with the kids".  In spite of this Bridges quote, Mike Nelson had many unrelated female relationships over the four years, each was separate and in an individual episode, and no female relationship repeated in another episode.

Parry continues her enthusiastic public speaking about SEA HUNT and Scuba diving and has encouraged thousands of women and men to learn how to dive.  Perhaps the most important role Parry has ever played is that of "Scuba Good-Will Ambassador" for which she earns a place in the history and evolution of recreational diving.  Considered by many as the First Lady of Diving, Parry lives in Oregon these days and still enjoys speaking and diving and is available for personal appearances fully armed with SEA HUNT stories, videos, and slides.

In February 2010, Parry and Bridges were honored at a SEA HUNT 50th Anniversary celebration held by National Association of Underwater Instructors NAUI at the Hilton Garden Inn in Riverview Florida.  Parry said, "Diving exploded in popularity because millions of kids grew up wanting to be like Mike Nelson".

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FACT or MYTH?  Mike Nelson is seen touching another diver's breast during an episode.

It's a FACT.

FACT:  Nelson is swimming slightly ahead of another diver in a cave when his left hand clearly touches the other diver's left breast.  In another episode, Nelson pokes at another diver with his finger.

This is one of those stories that has evolved into lots of different versions but the base story is true.  The Scuba Guy has been in broadcasting since 1968 and still cannot explain how something like this can make it all the way to broadcast without being edited.

On July 19, 1959, Ziv released episode Ziv #2.29, "The Female".  The story is about a beautiful woman that plots revenge against Nelson after flunking out of his scuba instructors class.  There are reports that a couple of affiliates cut a few frames out of their copy before air time but it's clear that most stations aired the episode in its entirety.  Re-runs shown on TV today and copies of this episode sold on the web include the controversial frames.

This is the infamous episode where Nelson is seen cupping Zale Parry's breast while diving in a cave.  It does not appear to be Lloyd Bridges but rather one of his underwater stunt doubles playing Mike Nelson.  It does appear to be Parry.  The footage was shot in the fresh water of Silver Springs Florida.  Many fans wrongly suggest that this "cupping scene" is from Ziv #1.6, "Female of the Species".

It happens again February 4, 1961 when Ziv released Ziv #4.5, "The Dancer".  This time Nelson pokes the female stunt double possibly Wende Wagner in the left breast twice with his left middle finger.  Again, its probably not Lloyd Bridges but possibly stunt double "Big John" McLaughlin.  Along on the dive appears to be Wagner's husband Courtney Brown.  This footage was shot in Nassau, Bahamas

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FACT or MYTH?  Mike Nelson's boat is the Aquanaut.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Mike Nelson's boat is the Argonaut.

ArgonautThe reason for this myth is probably because an Aquanaut is an underwater explorer and the word sounds similar to Argonaut.

Ivan Tors derived the boat's name from the ancient Greek tale of Jason and his ship the "Argo", built by the master ship builder Argo.  Argonauts were the Argo's crew members that traveled with Jason in search of the Golden Fleece.

Throughout the SEA HUNT series, we see Mike using a lot of different boats named Argonaut and Argonaut II including a Chris-Craft, a 1955 wooden Eddy Craft that included a prop that was supposed to be an underwater TV monitor, and a 33-ft 1960 Trojan Sea Breeze (seen here). 

Look carefully at the Argonaut name on the boats in the early first season episodes.  It looks like a wooden or cardboard Argonaut sign covering the rented boat's real name.

In Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's new version of SEA HUNT (1987-88), Mike Nelson's boat's name is "Sea Hunt".

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FACT or MYTH?  Mike Nelson wore a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms dive watch.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Bridges playing Mike Nelson wore a two-tone Rolex Submariner in the two pilot episodes, an Elgin "Canteen" (model 18W8) wrist watch during early episodes, next he was wearing a two-tone yellow gold and stainless steel expanding-bracelet Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, and later an expanding-bracelet, unidirectional rotating-bezel Rolex Submariner (model 6538 large crown).

Bridges wearing the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms for Skin Diver MagazineThe reason for this myth is probably because Bridges wore a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms dive watch in a photo that appeared on the cover of the February 1962 edition of Skin Diver Magazine (photo at right).  The Elgin and Rolex watches were property of Ziv United Artists Television, not Bridges personal property at the time this photo was shot.  In real life, Bridges (not Mike Nelson) was also seen around town wearing a gold Rolex two-tone black-face Submariner, a watch from Cartier, and a Blancpain dive watch.  In later years, Bridges was often photographed wearing a yellow gold Rolex Submariner with a blue bezel and matching blue dial which is visible on Bridges wrist in the movie "Airplane!"(1980).   The Cartier watch was a gift to Bridges from the SEA HUNT crew after the show ended.

Since Bridges death in 1998, Jeff Bridges has often been photographed wearing this distinctive blue-dial Submariner.  On the February 3, 2011 episode of "The Tonight Show", Jeff Bridges told Jay Leno that he wears "my father's SEA HUNT watch that he gave me.  It calms me down ... I wear it every day"

 In the two pilot episodes, Nelson is wearing a two-tone Submariner (which may have been Bridges' personal property) and sometimes Nelson is wearing no watch at all.

Bridges as Nelson wearing Elgin CanteenThe Elgin Canteen was worn by U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team divers during the 1940's and 50's.  It has a very distinctive appearance because of the stem cap and chain that looks like a canteen cap.  The watch is smaller than most men's watches.  The Elgin is clearly seen in Ziv #1.2 "Flooded Mine" and  Ziv #1.18, "The Sponge Divers" and in other episodes too.

The Rolex flagship model "Oyster Perpetual Datejust" was introduced in 1945, and was one of the first Rolex models to carry a date display on its dial through an aperture at the 3 o'clock position. The two-tone gold and stainless steel Datejust models are naturally self-winding and waterproof up to 330 feet.

The Rolex Submariner series watches are known to collectors as the "James Bond Submariners" and have become the standard that dive watches are compared to still today (even though this is not the highest standard in dive watches on the market).  Sean Connery is believed to be wearing a model 6538 in "Dr. No" (1962) and because of that, many collectors will say that only the 6538 Submariners are the "James Bond Submariners".  In any case, since Mike Nelson is seen wearing the model 6538 more than two years before "Dr. No" was released, Bridges would have had no idea that he was wearing what would become the Rolex "James Bond Submariner" dive watch.  Each Submariner case is made from a solid block of 904L corrosion-resistant stainless steel and gold alloy and sell for about $7,000 to $9,000.  Custom and jeweled versions can go for as much as $40,000 or more.  The watch is designed for a depth of up to 1000 feet which far exceeds the maximum recreational dive depth of 130 feet.  Rolex is a trademark of Roles Swiss.

In the 1987 remake of SEA HUNT, Ron Ely playing Mike Nelson wore a Citizen Aqualand dive watch.

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FACT or MYTH?  Mike Nelson carried the Puma "Frogman" dive knife.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Bridges playing Mike Nelson carried a Voit (U.S. Divers) "Vulcan" dive knife in later episodes of SEA HUNT.

The reason for this myth is probably because several knife sellors have made this claim on some of the popular auction websites to make their Puma "Frogman" knife more attractive to collectors.  The myth was probably told as early as while the show was in first-run syndication since the "Frogman" and "Vulcan" are very similar looking knives with a protective guard over the finger-holds.

Voit and Ziv Television Programs had a joint Voit-SEA HUNT professional Scuba product marketing promotion deal. The contract called for Voit scuba gear to be featured throughout the series. There was no such cross-promotion deal with Puma. 

In early episodes, Nelson carries a USN Mark II Ka-Bar combat knife issued for the U.S. Navy and Marines.  The knife was made of 1095 carbon steel and Nelson's had an optional synthetic Kraton handle (a non-slip rubber substitute for the standard leather) which was manufactured by The Union Cutlery Company.  This knife has no protective guard over the finger-holds.  The knife would have required regular lubrication to be used in saltwater.  Today's dive knives are stainless steel.

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FACT or MYTH?  Bridges recapped the "lessons learned" with a safety message at the end of each episode.

That's a MYTH. 

FACT:  At the end of each show, following the last commercial break but before the ending credits, Bridges would be seen on his boat telling viewers to tune-in again next week, couched in what many fans and most websites wrongly remember as a "safety message" that was somehow associated with the storyline.

 SEA HUNT Tune-In-Again-Next-Week "Tag Lines"
exactly as Performed by Lloyd Bridges

1.  "Hi, there, I'm Lloyd Bridges.  Skin diving is certainly a lot of fun and it's full of adventure.  See some more of it again next week, huh? ... when there'll be another excursion into that fabulous underwater world of SEA HUNT."

2.  "Hello there. I'm Lloyd Bridges. Skin diving is fun and adventure for young and old, but it can be dangerous!  So know the sport well and don't take any chances.  ... be with you next week for another exciting SEA HUNT."

3.  "Hello there.  I'm Lloyd Bridges.  You know, three-fifths of the world is covered by the sea, and how little most of us know about that underwater world.  Go below with us again next week, huh? ... for another thrilling adventure in SEA HUNT."

4.  "Hi.  I'm Lloyd Bridges inviting you to join us for another action-packed story of underwater adventure one week from today."

5.  "I'll be back next week at this same time with another SEA HUNT story.  Plan to be with us again.  Huh?"

The reason for this myth is probably because in one of these "closing tags" that aired in the rotation, Bridges reminds viewers that Scuba Diving can be "dangerous".  Actually, there were just five of these tags, they were rotated among shows, and the tags had no connection with the storyline.

Another myth that is often told is that Bridges would make a plea to protect the oceans in the closing tags.  Beau Bridges is often quoted saying that his dad made these pleas at the end of each episode but the tags are clearly just an invitation to the viewer to "tune-in again next week".  The five closing tags that aired are shown in the box to the right exactly as aired and performed by Bridges.

Many TV shows of the day would end with some sort of invitation to watch the show again next week. One of the better remembered closing tags in the 60's was "Tune-in again next week, Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel". Today this is usually done a little more discretely by showing you scenes from next week's show and touting the promo with an excited announcer, "Next week on Boston Legal".

Many affiliates didn't even air these SEA HUNT "tag lines" so they could use these precious seconds of air time for their own promo or commercial followed by SEA HUNT's closing credits. 

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FACT or MYTH?  Bridges won the role because he was an avid Scuba Diver.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  One day before shooting began on the first pilot episode 1B “Mark of the Octopus” Ziv #1.4, Bridges had his first Scuba lesson in Courtney Brown's swimming pool.  Bridges was an accomplished actor and had appeared in 94 movies and 27 television shows before accepting the Mike Nelson role.

Lloyd BridgesThe reason for this myth is probably because Bridges and stunt double artist Courtney Brown made Scuba diving look so easy.  "Courtney Brown was my mentor", said Bridges.  "He taught me so many things about the underwater world.  He... was responsible for making me look good.  We felt my form was very important, my strokes, how I kicked.  We wanted to set a good example for the growing number of divers watching".

"People believe that he was a skin diver, he carried that part off so believably", said Jeff Bridges.

Bridges showed up for the audition in a tight shirt and slacks displaying his muscular build and "seemed to be perfect" for the role.  Tors had seen Bridges playing Ray Douglas, a hard-hat diver in the movie "Sixteen Fathoms Deep" (1948), and extended an offer for the part in his new show SEA HUNT.

In Ziv #1.21, "Magnetic Mine", Original Release Date:  May 31, 1958, we learn that Mike Nelson has been diving for 15 years.

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FACT or MYTH?  Bridges "Star" on "The Hollywood Walk of Fame" is in front of a PADI Dive Center on Vine Street.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Bridges "Star" is in front of the old offices of the Screen Actor's Guild at 7065 Hollywood Boulevard (SAG moved to Wilshire Boulevard in the early 1990's).

Bridges' Star on the Hollywood Walk of FameThe reason for this myth is probably because it seems appropriate for his Star to be located in front of a dive store.  Subject to availability, property owner's approval, and approval of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, an actor may influence the locating of their "Star".

"The Hollywood Walk of Fame" sidewalks run for 18 blocks from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard. The Walk of Fame also runs for three blocks along Vine Street from Sunset Boulevard to Yucca Street (crossing Hollywood Boulevard).  The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce receives about 200 nominations per year for "the award" and select about 20.  Only 1 posthumous award is allowed each year.  The Chamber charges $15,000 for "the honor".  About 2200 "Stars" are on "the walk".

There are no Dive Centers on "The Hollywood Walk of Fame" sidewalks.

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FACT or MYTH?  "Sixty Feet Below" Ziv #1.1 is the Pilot Episode used to shop SEA HUNT to broadcasters.

That's not exactly a FACT or a MYTH.

FACT:  "Sixty Feet Below" Ziv #1.1 and "Mark of the Octopus" Ziv #1.4 were both Pilot Episodes that were shot and shown to broadcasters before any deal had ever been made to air SEA HUNT.

The reason for this myth is probably because Fred Ziv insisted that "Sixty Feet Below" Ziv #1.1 was used to shop SEA HUNT to the networks and syndicated affiliates.

Two pilot episodes of SEA HUNT were shot.  Ziv Television Productions used the following numbering scheme as Production Sequence Numbers for the production pilots.  "1B" was assigned to the first pilot episode “Mark of the Octopus” Ziv #1.4 that was unsuccessfully used to shop the networks.  A second pilot was made and "2B" was assigned to "Sea Dart" (title was later changed to "Sixty Feet Below" Ziv #1.1) and it was used to re-shop the networks and shop syndicated affiliates.

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FACT or MYTH?  Bob Gilbreath was the Aerial Cinematographer.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Gilbreath was never a Cinematographer.

The reason for this myth is probably because one of the television database websites makes the claim without substantiation and erroneously copied the incorrect information from another website that was misinformed at the time.

In a letter to The Scuba Guy, Gilbreath's nephew insists that Gilbreath was never a Cinematographer.  There is no evidence that Gilbreath was ever in a cinematography union.

Bob Gilbreath flying a Bell 47GGilbreath's contributions can be seen in many SEA HUNT episodes and in many other 1950's TV shows and movies. An experienced Bell 47G helicopter pilot, Gilbreath's work includes piloting aircraft as a camera platform to establish location shots such as 'proving that the Argonaut is in the middle of the ocean' to establishing exteriors in "I Love Lucy" (1951-57).  He also piloted for stunts and to create subject shots in "The Whirlybirds" (1957-59).  He was regularly used by Desilu productions and piloted for the aerial shots in "Oklahoma" (1955)

Tors used National Helicopter Service and Engineering Company to supply the needed helicopter camera platforms for SEA HUNT, a company founded by Gilbreath and others.  On July 1, 1961, Gilbreath was killed in an unrelated helicopter crash in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

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FACT or MYTH?  Bobby Darin played Joey "The bomb maker" in an episode.

That's a MYTH.

FACT:  Darin (who was born Walden Robert Cassotto in New York on May 14, 1936) never appeared in SEA HUNT.

Bobby Darin & Sandra DeeThe reason for this myth is probably because Grammy award winning Bobby Darin of "Mack the Knife" fame went through a period in his career where he was doing dramatic roles and insisted on being credited at Robert Darin.  At the same time, another dramatic actor named Robert Darin appeared on SEA HUNT in Ziv #3.3, "Mr. Big", Original Release Date:  January 23, 1960, B&W.  Darin's "Official Website" claimed that Darin appeared on SEA HUNT.

After a flood of letters from SEA HUNT fans, Bobby Darin fans, and The Scuba Guy website fans, The Scuba Guy researched the issue and found that SEA HUNT's Robert Darin is clearly not Grammy winning Bobby Darin of "Mack the Knife" fame.  Darin's "Official Website" no longer makes the claim that Bobby Darin appeared on SEA HUNT. 

Darin, 37, died in Los Angeles on December 20, 1973 following open-heart surgery.

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FACT or MYTH?  Morgan Brittany began her career on SEA HUNT.

It's a FACT.

Morgan BrittanyFACT:  Brittany appeared in SEA HUNT and she would have been 8 at the time the episode first aired, maybe she was 7 at the time the footage was shot.

On the "official" Dallas TV Show website, there is an interview with Morgan Brittany where the interviewer states, "You started off acting at the age of 5 in a series called Sea Hunt."  Brittany turned 5 on December 5, 1956, just months before the first SEA HUNT pilot was shot and over a year before regular episode filming had begun.

In a June 2007 letter,  Morgan Brittany assured The Scuba Guy that she appeared in a SEA HUNT episode as a little girl named Cindy when she was about 6 or 7.  Brittany went on to say, "I vividly remember working at Hansen Dam on a very cold day when they shoved me under the water with a scuba mask and then brought me up out of the water, wrapped me in a blanket and handed me over to my father in the show".  Hansen Dam provides flood control protection of for lower portions of the San Fernando Valley and includes recreational areas for water sports.

Brittany appeared in SEA HUNT episode Ziv #3.18, "Cindy", Original Release Date:  May 7, 1960, B&W and is credited with her real name Suzanne Cupito.  She is seen clearly in several scenes toward the end of the episode, although she has no on-screen lines.  It's unclear if her voice was used in some scenes where we hear the voice of "Cindy" but she does not appear in those scenes.  It's unfortunate that some of the film Brittany refers to in her letter, where she is wearing a scuba mask, never makes it to the final print of the episode as Mike Nelson saves the trapped Cindy from a well she has fallen into.  The story was changed to match the underwater footage shot with a child mannequin in Silver Springs and Bridges explains in his narration that he must "pinch her nose" while she breathes on the extra regulator and tank he has brought with him.  Apparently, Nelson didn't bring a child's scuba mask with him on the rescue.  We do see her being wrapped in a blanket and handed to the actor playing her father in the show.

Brittany's credited SEA HUNT appearance comes prior to her un-credited first appearance on the Twilight Zone in the episode "Nightmare as a Child" (1960).  Brittany appeared credited in two of her three episodes of Twilight Zone (1959-64).  Brittany is also credited as Suzanne Cupito in "My Child Is Yet a Stranger" (1962) and "The Wonder of Wanda" (1963) episodes of "The Lloyd Bridges Show" (1962-1963).  She would have been 10 and 11 years of age respectively when these shows were made.

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Editor Note:  Bill Jones, The Scuba Guy, is a PADI Master Instructor and a Published and Award-Winning Writer

Attention Publishers:  An un-shopped, un-published, narrative, 400 page manuscript of The Scuba Guy's SEA HUNT Trivia Guide is available for publication.

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