VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA

Admiral Harriman Nelson

THE ROLE

Quotes From Fans.

When I started watching Voyage I was ecstatic! A hero with brains!--(of course being a female, I definitely didn't mind that he was also charming and had a twinkle in his eye!) And on top of that he was a scientist! Here was a character who was smart, could think on his feet, was world renown as a scientist, not necessarily only as military man. He could also shoot them up with the best of them. There wasn't any way I was going too miss this show and I didn't! Then when one of his inventions didn't work he became a man of action. He could do most anything. He was the oldest character on the show, but was the most active. He could fight and get knocked around like everyone else. He had the rugged looks that go great on a hero. He was shorter than the others, but with his presence I definitely didn't think about it. Also, finding out recently that Richard Basehart loved the ocean how appropriate was it to recruit him for the role of Admiral Nelson.

When he took the role it seems it was because of the money and the stability of a continuing series. Also, Irwin Allen gave him the grand description of the series taking place all over the globe with the seaview being their ticket to these places. It sounded like it was primarily going to be a science fiction series with a James Bond twist. It seems that this grand description went by the wayside and they stayed primarily in the submarine the first season. He apparently wasn't too happy with that. Later on though, they moved outside more and things seemed to be going better, but it finally degenerated into a monster of the week show and Basehart became disenchanted. That did not keep him from giving it his all. He was a professional and remained so. And with his acting even the monster of the week episodes became more believable.

"No matter how dire the circumstances, you knew everything was going to be okay because Richard Basehart was there. He was strong, masculine, choleric; possessed of a Vesuvian temper that could plummet to an Artic chill faster than a San Francisco summer - which made him infinitely dangerous but absolutely fascinating at the same time and yet along with that masculine strength that corrugated face could suffuse with an almost boyish charm and humour that my knees still feel the effect of 30 plus years later . Admiral Nelson without Basehart would have been like Rhett without Scarlett; Stanley without Livingston; Smith without Wesson. In a word, inconceivable!"

"RB, for me, represented in his portrayal of Nelson a man of quiet courage, dignity, and leadership. When I first watched this show I was a kid and he was the ideal father figure for me then. He was respected and loved by his men, who were fiercely loyal to him. He had a sense of humor as well as the occasional temper flare-up, which just made him more human. Richard Basehart gave Nelson such charisma and believablity that he pulled off even the silliest of stories with dignity. As Irwin Allen said, he was a consummate actor whose presence made the show believable. Because he was a quiet and dignified man in real life and also highly intelligent, Basehart brought those qualities to Nelson. Nelson was more out-going than Basehart, but he spoke with quiet authority in most cases and he had immense dignity even in the face of styrofoam monsters. My love of him back then was half crush and half father/hero worship. Today, I see him as someone I'd want on my side if the chips were down and the crush continues in a more adult fashion, but Richard Basehart's Nelson will always be for me the ideal dad..a man devoted to his crew (kids), his ship (home) and to his principles and beliefs, tempered as well with the charisma of a quietly powerful personality and the ability to take control of difficult situations with self-confidence, which in turn gave his men confidence in the face of danger. He played a brilliant scientist and it was completely believable because he was a brilliant man in real life. I could not accept anyone else in that role. The fact that it was a TV show, which brought it into my house once a week, also made it feel more intimate..almost like he was part of the family. He made me feel safe and secure, and the respect and love the crew had for him mirrored my own feelings. Richard Basehart's Nelson was, and is, very dear to me and I cannot imagine anyone else in that role. I am very grateful to have had this show, in its first run, during a turbulent period in my life. Admiral Nelson was, and still is, a man who inspires love, respect, and admiration within me. I'd have been part of his crew in a heartbeat! I wouldn't be surprised if today, in heaven, he's a story-teller to the angels and has them enthralled as well."

"Richard Basehart as Admiral Nelson then and for all these many years has been a security blanket for me as well. He is like the air I breath and the water I drink for survival. He is like sunshine which warms my face on a cold Winter day. When I'm having a bad day or a tough time with something at work I stop for a moment and reflect. I think about Richard as the Admiral and all my troubles seem to melt away. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Richard aka Admiral Nelson. He and his character had such a deep and long lasting effect on me. I loved my own father deeply but he was gone most of the time as he was a truck driver and on weekends he ususally chose to go out and drink. Richard as the Admiral was always there to keep me company, to console me, and I think teach me the virtues of honesty, loyalty, love for my family and friends no matter what and give me the courage to face adversities when I was growing up. He also taught me that no matter what the odds that good can always prevail over evil. Those lessons are so very important especially now. As many times as I saw the movie version with Walter Pidgeon as the Admiral I can't imagine anyone else as the Admiral...no one except the one and only Richard Basehart..."

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Copyright --October 20, 2000 Stephanie Kellerman and the Basehart Family