July 31, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
In the summer of 1961 the New York Times ran a front page story entitled: ADMIRAL RICKOVER SAYS REDS LEARNED SECRETS FROM TOY SUB. In that story the father of the US Navy’s nuclear submarine program claimed that the hobby company Revell’s model of the USS George Washington nuclear-powered Polaris missile submarine had given away classified information to the Soviet Union. “If I were a Russian,” declared Rickover, “I would be most grateful to the United States for its generosity in supplying such information for $2.98.”
Under the helm of its president, Louis (“Lew”) H. Glaser, Revell’s PR department went into combat mode to not just defend its reputation as a patriotic American hobby company, but also to exploit Vice Admiral Hyman G. Rickover’s backhanded endorsement of their models’ authenticity (“Accurate to one thousandth of an inch” was Revell’s claim). A photographer and writer from LIFE magazine were invited to the company’s headquarters so Glaser could counter that the charges were absurd and demonstrate that the details of the submarine were easily obtainable from unclassified trade and technical journals. A photo taken of Glaser holding the submarine model was the 1960s equivalent of a captain of industry flipping the bird to a military hero.
Once the small feature appeared in the magazine, the Admiral refused to speak further of the incident. Revell on the other hand used the brouhaha to sell record numbers of the Polaris submarine kit.
Category Toys | Tags: Lew Glaser,LIFE,Models,Navy,Revell,Rickover,Submarines | 3 Comments
July 30, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
I have to admit I am hesitant to post an entry about Irwin Allen’s 1961 film Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. There are millions of fans of the movie and the TV show it spawned and I can’t get away with the kind of lazy research that passes muster when writing about the plot of a 50 year old comic book that barely anybody alive remembers reading. So, this weekend, the 50th anniversary of when Voyage to the Bottom of Sea was playing in theaters, I’m merely going to post some great pictures of the concept art used in pre-production, and a few of my modest observations based on nothing more than a couple casual viewing of the film when I was a kid.
This, apparently, was the original design of the submarine Seaview. It’s missing the iconic “manta” bow of the final design and the windows are enormous! I remember thinking how impractiacal the windows on the movie and TV version were. The windows on the submarine in this picture just scream peril.
I really like this picture! It’s a lot more expressive of a sky on fire than the roiling red glow seen in the film.
I’d forgotten there was a giant squid in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. If I’d remembered that, I would have mentioned it in last week’s post about Jules Verne’s banner year in film. Surely, Voyage is only the second most famous story featuring a submarine and a giant cephalopod.
Here’s a view through the interior of the “bigger windows” Seaview, made even more frightening by a gauntlet of sea mines. Granted, windows in a submarine are worth a few points in the terror department, but I think I’d have a hard time following the story worrying that at any moment a stray mine, or (illogically) sinking chunk of ice, or stray baseball could doom the entire crew of this technological wonder.
Category Art, Film, Science Fiction | Tags: 1961,Film,Irwin Allen,Jules Verne,Movies,science fiction,Seaview,Submarines,Underwater | No Comments