Sea Hunt

Sea Hunt is an American action adventure television series that aired in syndication from 1958 to 1961 and was popular for decades afterwards. The series originally aired for four seasons, with 155 episodes produced. It stars Lloyd Bridges as former United States Navy frogman Mike Nelson, and was produced by Ivan Tors.

Sea Hunt
GenreAction Adventure
Created byIvan Tors
James Buxbaum
Developed byIvan Tors
StarringLloyd Bridges
Narrated byLloyd Bridges
Theme music composerDavid Rose
(as "Ray Llewellyn")
Opening theme"The Sea Hunt Theme"
Ending theme"The Sea Hunt Theme"
Composer(s)David Rose
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes155
Executive producer(s)Frederick Ziv
Maurice Ziv
Producer(s)Herbert L. Strock
Ivan Tors
CinematographyMonroe P. Askins
Edward Cronjager
Robert Hoffman
Editor(s)James Buxbaum
Charles Craft
Harold V. McKenzie
Thomas Scott
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Ziv Television Programs
DistributorZiv Television Programs
Ziv-United Artists Television
MGM Television
Peter Rodgers Organization
Original networkSyndication
Picture formatBlack and white
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseJanuary 4, 1958 (1958-01-04) 
September 23, 1961 (1961-09-23)


Series executive producer Ivan Tors conceived the idea for Sea Hunt while working on the 1958 film Underwater Warrior.[1] Tors tried in vain to sell the series to all three major networks, but each network passed on the show because they felt a series set underwater could not be sustained.[2] Tors then decided to sell the series into the first-run syndication market. Tors teamed up with Ziv Television Programs and was able to sell the show to over 100 syndicated markets before the series debuted in January 1958.[1]

Lloyd Bridges was soon cast as lead character Mike Nelson. Sea Hunt was intended as a comeback vehicle for Bridges due to his brief blacklisting from acting. Bridges was blacklisted after admitting to the House Un-American Activities Committee that he had been a member of the Actors' Laboratory Theatre, a group that was tied to the Communist Party.[3][4]

After winning the role, Bridges was given a crash course in scuba diving by Zale Parry and Courtney Brown. Brown served as his underwater stunt double. Bridges was also educated in the art of scuba equipment by Brad Pinkernell on the beach in Southern California from 1956 to 1957. It was at a chance meeting when Pinkernell was coming out of the ocean with his scuba gear on. Over the course of the show's run, Bridges got more involved in the underwater stunt work, graduating from close-ups in the earliest episodes, to doing all but the most dangerous stunts by the end of the series' run.


Mike Nelson (Bridges) is a free-lance scuba diver who has various adventures. Nelson, a former U.S. Navy frogman (having left the service about four years before the series began), is a well-known expert on diving who is often called on for difficult or dangerous projects. Traveling on his boat the Argonaut, Nelson outmaneuvers villains, salvages everything from a bicycle to a nuclear missile, rescues children trapped in a flooded cave, and even a dog. In the pilot episode, Mike rescues a downed Navy pilot from his sunken jet. Since no dialogue was possible during the underwater sequences, Bridges provided voice-over narration for all the installments. Nelson also educated non-diving characters (and the audience) in various aspects of diving and the underwater world.

The series made frequent references to Marineland of the Pacific, which provided facilities, resources and technical advice to the production company.

At the end of each episode, Bridges would appear as himself to deliver a brief comment. These comments sometimes included a plea to viewers to understand and protect the marine environment, along with gems of wisdom from Bridges's own experiences.

Guest stars

The series served as a stepping stone for some of Hollywood's most notable actors, including Leonard Nimoy, Bruce Dern, Robert Conrad, Ross Martin, Robert Clarke, Larry Hagman, Larry Pennell, Ken Curtis (these two last actors later of Ripcord fame; Curtis would gain greater fame as Festus, in the long-running Western, Gunsmoke), Jack Nicholson (seen in the last episode of this series), and Bridges' own sons, Beau and Jeff. The Mexican character actor Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr. appeared five times playing different roles on this show.

Production notes


Underwater sequences were often created during post-production from individual scenes shot at many different locations. Locations included studio tanks as well as various underwater sites located in California, Florida, and eventually the Bahamas. Much stock footage was shot and later mixed with episode-specific character footage. Filming locations included:

On-land location shots were filmed throughout Los Angeles, in central Florida, Nassau, or on a sound stage.

Famous divers such as Zale Parry and Albert Tillman were involved in production of the show, as was Jon Lindbergh, son of aviator Charles Lindbergh. Parry was joined in 1960 by 18-year-old Wende Wagner as female underwater stunt double. Pioneering underwater cinematographer Lamar Boren, who also worked on other Ivan Tors productions (such as the motion picture and TV series versions of Flipper, and three James Bond films—Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and The Spy Who Loved Me—shot nearly all of the underwater footage for the series. John Lamb, who went on to shoot the underwater sequences for both the movie and TV versions of Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, also filmed some episodes. Stunt diver Ricou Browning is credited at the show's end credit runs with coordination of the underwater action sequences during the second season. Browning was also the actor who performed in costume as the Creature from the Black Lagoon.


The boat used in the series was named after the mythological Greek heroes who sailed with Jason on the quest of the Golden Fleece, the Argonaut. While several cabin cruisers were utilized in filming, one notable model was the Trojan Express custom built by Trojan Yachts in 1960 with mahogany planking and teak decks and trim, measuring 33 feet long and 12 feet wide.[11][12] Diving equipment was supplied by Voit[13] and Sportsways/Waterlung, wetsuits were made by a small Los Angeles shop, Dive N' Surf, which was the genesis for the company that became known as Body Glove.


Although David Rose is credited with music, a number of the Sea Hunt stock cues are heard in "Buchanan Rides Alone", a 1958 Columbia western feature that used stock music from composers including Mischa Bakaleinikoff, George Duning, Heinz Roenheld, and Paul Sawtell.[14]


Sea Hunt proved to be popular with viewers and was a hit throughout its four-season run. It became one of the best remembered and most watched syndicated series in the United States.[2][15]

During the first nine months of its debut, Sea Hunt came in #1 in the ratings. The show attracted half of the viewing audience in 50 major cities, and averaged 59 percent of audiences in New York City. Producer Ivan Tors later estimated that 40 million people viewed the series weekly.[16]

In a bizarre twist, Princeton University students in 1971-72 formed "The Royal Huntation Society of Princeton," devoted to nightly viewing of reruns, punctuated by outbursts of joy whenever Bridges ended a sentence with a "huh" -- as in, "I won't be gone long, you'll be ok, huh?"[17]


Despite its solid ratings, Sea Hunt was canceled in 1961 due to the dwindling first-run syndication market.[18] The series ran for a total of 155 episodes.[19] Another story has it that Lloyd Bridges was becoming disenchanted with the story lines.


Sea Hunt went into reruns in 1961,[20] and has aired on various channels since. The series currently airs on weekdays on This TV and Light TV, two classic television and movie networks carried on digital subchannels of local stations around the country.

1987 revival series

A revival series starring Ron Ely and Kimber Sissons appeared in syndication in 1987. Ely had starred in a companion undersea adventure series called The Aquanauts during the run of the original series. For budgetary reasons, land scenes from this second series were filmed in Canada (specifically Victoria, British Columbia), despite the stories being set in Florida. Underwater scenes were filmed in tropical locations.[21]

The updated version of Sea Hunt was canceled after only one season.[22]

Episode list

Title Original air date PC
1"Toxic Waste"September 26, 1987 (1987-09-26)8203
2"Murder at 60 Ft."
"Rehearsal for Murder"
October 3, 1987 (1987-10-03)55590
3"Underwater Park"October 10, 1987 (1987-10-10)8206
4"Underwater Quake"October 17, 1987 (1987-10-17)8213
5"The Meeting"October 24, 1987 (1987-10-24)8216
6"Pearl Beds"October 31, 1987 (1987-10-31)8208
7"The Big Blowup"November 7, 1987 (1987-11-07)8218
8"Treasure Hunt"November 14, 1987 (1987-11-14)8225
9"Torch Men"November 21, 1987 (1987-11-21)8212
10"Danger--Mines Ahead!"November 28, 1987 (1987-11-28)8224
11"Jennifer's Rescue"December 5, 1987 (1987-12-05)8207
12"Girl in the Trunk"December 12, 1987 (1987-12-12)8202
13"The Stunt"December 19, 1987 (1987-12-19)8215
14"Wet Diamonds"January 2, 1988 (1988-01-02)8211
15"Amigo"January 9, 1988 (1988-01-09)60534
16"Scavenger"January 16, 1988 (1988-01-16)8217
17"The Siren"January 30, 1988 (1988-01-30)8201
18"Ultrasonic Tag"February 6, 1988 (1988-02-06)8221
19"Witness"February 13, 1988 (1988-02-13)8220
20"Sea Hunt's Been Stolen"February 20, 1988 (1988-02-20)8222
22"The Phantom Strikes"March 5, 1988 (1988-03-05)8223
Note: The episode numbering was derived from the Epguides page for this series.[23]
23"The Persuaders"March 12, 1988 (1988-03-12)55088


Due to the show's popularity, Dell Comics released a series of Sea Hunt comic books.[24] Series star Lloyd Bridges also endorsed swim equipment by Voit.[25]

Home media

TGG Direct released all 4 seasons on DVD in Region 1 on January 29, 2013.[26][27][28][29]

50th anniversary

The Underwater Videographer Podcast presented a Sea Hunt 50th Anniversary podcast in December 2007. Appearing on the podcast were author Eric Hanauer, who interviewed Lloyd Bridges shortly before he died, actress Susan Silo, who guest starred in the "Cougar" episode, and Jeff Bridges, who shared memories of his father and Sea Hunt.

See also


  1. Erickson, Hal (2001). Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947–1987. McFarland Classics. p. 41. ISBN 0-786-41198-8.
  2. Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 1205. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
  3. Allen, Rick (2011-05-25). "Celebrating 'Sea Hunt'". p. 3. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  4. "Variety a hallmark of Lloyd Bridges' career". 1998-03-11. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  5. Bevil, Dewayne. "Silver Springs looks back at its 'Sea Hunt' days". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  6. Van Hoose, Joe (2008-05-23). "Silver Springs marks 'Sea Hunt' anniversary – underwater – Star-Banner". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  7. Alec Peirce Scuba (27 April 2017). "Sea Hunt Remembered: Silver Springs, Florida - S02E11". Retrieved 26 May 2017 via YouTube.
  8. "Sea Hunt (TV Series 1958–1961)". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  9. "Now Endangered, Florida's Silver Springs Once Lured Tourists". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  10. Florida, State Library and Archives of. "Shipwreck used during filming of the TV show "Seahunt" – Silver Springs, Florida". Florida Memory. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  11. Sea Hunt Television Series – The Argonaut Trojan International Boats,
  12. Scott, Susan (8 June 2001). "TV boat's real name holds a rich history". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  13. Boy Scouts of America, Inc. (July 1958). Boys' Life. Boy Scouts of America, Inc. pp. 4–.
  14. "Buchanan Rides Alone (1958)". IMDb. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  15. Weaver, Tom (2003). Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 86. ISBN 0-786-41366-2.
  16. Laslo, Greg. "Dive History: Sea Hunt". Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  17. Waffle, Flyin'. "Huntation". Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  18. Newcomb, Horace (2004). Encyclopedia of Television, Volume 1 (2 ed.). CRC Press. pp. 2627–28. ISBN 1-579-58411-X.
  19. Berard, Jeanette M.; Englund, Klaudia (2009). Television Series and Specials Scripts, 1946–1992: A Catalog of the American Radio Archives Collection. McFarland. p. 277. ISBN 0-786-43348-5.
  20. Olson, James Stuart (2000). Historical Dictionary of the 1950s. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 261. ISBN 0-313-30619-2.
  21. Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946–Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. p. 1206. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
  22. "The Syndicated Season: 1987–1988". 2004-02-01. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
  23. Sea Hunt (1987 series) at
  24. Sassienie, Paul (1994). The Comic Book: The One Essential Guide For Comic Book Fans Everywhere. Chartwell Books, Inc. p. 299. ISBN 1-555-21999-3.
  25. "Take Voit On Your Sea Hunt! (Advertisement)". Boys' Life. Boy Scouts of America, Inc. 48 (6): 69. June 1958. ISSN 0006-8608.
  26. "Sea Hunt Complete Season One". 29 January 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2017 via Amazon.
  27. "Sea Hunt Complete Season Two". 29 January 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2017 via Amazon.
  28. "Sea Hunt Complete Season Three". 29 January 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2017 via Amazon.
  29. "Sea Hunt Complete Season Four". 29 January 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2017 via Amazon.
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