"David Hedison on Voyage to the
Bottom of the Sea"
Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers
by Tom Weaver
McFarland & Company, 2003, pp. 156-174.
The interview originally ran in Starlog #303 "Taking a Dive" (October
TW: In the first year you had the
great "Bomber" Kulky, the wrestler turned actor, as the Crew Chief.
DH: He was wonderful. God, you didn't even have to write anything for him,
you could just look at him and you'd know he was a character. He had a great
sense of humor and got on well with everybody. But after the first season,
he died and that's when we got Terry Becker. I got on very well with Terry.
He was another one who was very creative and wanted to do things - he would
also talk to Irwin.
TW: Who was your stuntman?
DH: His name was George Robotham. He would come and do all the
dangerous stuff - but a lot of times he didn't, because I love doing a lot
of the stuff myself.
TW: Director-wise, any Favorites??
One of the favorites was Leonard Horn, who is now dead. Another one was
Sutton Roley and Harry Harris - I loved Harry Harris. I had a rapport with
Sutton and Leonard and Harris because I'd always kid with them. And they
always came up with interesting ideas. And there was another one -- I liked
him a lot - he directed "Man Beast" - Jerry Hopper.
TW: Were all the Voyage sets at 20th?
DH: Yes. On Stage 10 was where the submarine was - all
the rooms and the cabins and everything else. In the first
year we went on location to Catalina a lot - did water stuff there.
But mostly it was the 20th Century back lot.
TW: Were you under contract right through the end of Voyage?
DH: I was there for five years, starting in 1957, and then my
option was dropped and everyone's else's was, too. The Studio
was losing all kinds of money in 1962-63 - they sold off half the lot.
They couldn't have - or take care of - contract players any more, and
they dropped all of us.
After I was let go, I began free lancing. I was doing The Greatest
Story Ever Told for George Stevens when Irwin started in with
me about [doing] the Voyage series.
TW: When you went under contract for Voyage ...
DH: I was under contract to Fox and ABC. It was a five year
contract for the series, with increases in salary. Like 20 cents every year.
DH: The best thing about Voyage was Richard Basehart.
Absolutely the best. He invited me to his house every Thanksgiving -
it would be Richard and his wife Diana and his children and whoever
else was there. For Thanksgiving, we'd only get a Thursday and a
Friday off, we didn't get a week off like they give you today. And for
Christmas we didn't get much more, about one week. I would always
go over there on holidays because we hit it off very well. I spent a lot
of time with Richard and his family. When he died, it was just devastating.
About a month before Richard died, I had lunch with him.
We just got together for old time's sake and we had lunch at the
place we used to go to when we were doing Voyage. We talked
about everything he was going to be doing and it was a very wonderful
pleasant three hour lunch. The Beverly Hillcrest is what it is called
today, on the corner of Pico and Beverwil
DH: Mutiny in the first year, I thought was
interesting, and Doomsday, I got a lot of fan mail on that one.
TW: You mention long hours ...
DH: Oh, yeah, the first year, particularly. We'd go in early in the morning, but
we'd work 'til like ten o' clock at night, eleven o clock, sometimes 'til
midnight, trying to get that first year going. And we did it.
TW: Voyage first two seasons...
DH: Oh, the first two years, by all means. They were by far the best.
TW: Because they had more espionage stories...
DH: Yes, and more believable, more interesting characters and all that kind of
stuff. When they got into the monsters, I think the show just fell apart. Irwin
could have brought in issues of the day and so on, but ... no, it got to be way
out. Too way out. It could have had more lasting value, particularly with
someone in it like Richard Basehart, who I thought was brilliant. There could
have more substance, more characterization. But ... that never happened.
DH: I was sure it was not going to work, the pilot was horrible, I thought. And
yet it worked! And I guess we were happy, too, Richard and I. I guess we
thought, well, maybe we're gonna do some good stuff. And then we did start
making some good episodes, things Balter and Woodfield would write. [Note: Balter and Woodfield left Voyage to do Mission Impossible