Monday, February 14, 2011

Sea Hunt

Last fall a friend mentioned he'd been watching Sea Hunt on hulu. I was a fan of the old show back in the stone age of TV so I started watching them too. The opening theme song was just perfect for the show, it was pure 50's underwater theme music.

Lloyd Bridges starred as Mike Nelson, a former Navy frogman now freelance diver who often dives for Marineland. Produced by ZIV Television Sea Hunt was syndicated from 1957-61 to local stations for airing rather than broadcast by a network. Ivan Tors produced the series. Tors returned to TV later in the 60s with Flipper.

Which brings us around to the topic at hand. Dell published three issues of Sea Hunt in the Four Color Series. Sea Hunt continued as a quarterly with it's own numbering beginning with issue 4 and continuing to issue 13 dated April-June 1962. All issues featured photo covers of Bridges in his scuba gear.

The first issue in number 928 in Series II. Undated on the cover and indicia it carries a job number on the first story page that appears to be SEA H. O.S. #928-588. This would have it scheduled for August 1958.

Cover priced at 10 cents and 36 pages. The cover has Bridges in full gear and wetsuit giving us a concerned raised eyebrow. Inside the front cover we get some more photos and a descriptive paragraph introducing us to Mike Nelson.

The first story is "Dynamite Cove", a 22 pager with art by Dan Spiegle. We open with a half page splash of Nelson in a large tank at Marineland feeding the sharks to the wide-eyed astonishment of school kids on a field trip.

Meanwhile out in the Pacific a small cargo ship carrying secret military equipment for the Space Missile Program hits a coral reef and sinks. At a Secret meeting in Washington a Naval Officer recommends Mike as the perfect guy to either salvage the equipment or destroy it before it falls into unfriendly hands.

Contacted by the Navy Mike accepts the assignment and select 3 additional divers from the Navy to assist in the operation. Using the cover story that they are a fishing party they take off for the site of the wreck. Upon reaching the island they find a yacht anchored in a cove.

On the yacht are agents of a foreign power seeking the prizes on the sunken ship. Both sets of divers explore the cove while keeping a wary eye on the others. The yacht's divers find the ship first. The leader decides to send some of his men to capture Mike's boat and the rest to dispose of the crew searching underwater.

Mike and his diving partner escape from the underwater battle only to be captured when they reach the boat. Mike devises a plan to escape and blow the equipment. As you can see the right Mike's crew has overpowered the enemy agents and taken control of both vessels. Mike reached the sunken ship and placed his charges and set the timer.

Pushing against the clock he makes it back to his boat just in time to board and pull away as the charges go off destroying the secret missile equipment.

Our successful warriors set off to home as the story ends.

The second story "Ghost Island" immediately follows. A 10 pager it fills out the inside story pages.

This story is also illustrated by Spiegle. Writer credits on both stories are unknown at this time.

We find Mike and friend Bill James doing some relaxing and sport fishing off the coast. Mike hooks a large yellowtail but losses it during the fight. Deciding to call it a day Bill turns the boat and heads towards shore.

As they pass Santa Luna Island they notice a line of smoke rising from the interior of the island. Supposedly a haunted island it's been uninhabited for over 100 years and is currently owned by the U.S. Navy who has declared it to be off limits.

When Mike attempts to raise the Navy on the radio to notify them he finds that it's not working properly. So they decide to head for the island and see if they can find who's there and warn them off.

Mike finds a couple of teen boys on the island. A friend with a boat has dropped them off to explore the island while he's off fishing. A third teen is diving in a cove.

While Mike is rounding up the boys Bill has gotten the radio operational and has contacted the Navy. He gets just the news that island is scheduled to used as bombardment practice before the radio quits again. Bill uses the boats horn to signal Mike using Morse Code of the impending shelling.

As the shells begin to fall Mike has rounded all the boys and Bill and picked the lot of them up. They safely continue back to shore as the story ends.

The inside back cover is a one pager entitled "Man Beneath The Sea" which illustrates various ancient and early methods devised to breathe underwater. It appears to be drawn by Spiegle as well.

The back cover is a Juicy Fruit Gum ad that gives kids advice on playing safely.

The second issue is number 994