Sunday, November 11, 2007


Today is Veterans' Day. We remember and pay tribute to the men and women in the military who risk all to protect us and our freedoms back home, here in the United States. Far too many make the ultimate sacrifice in defending us.

Two years ago we paid tribute to the memory of Emil Peterson from 'The Bob Newhart Show'. "The Hostile Mouse" had been a Marine at Iwo Jima and had been portrayed by John Fielder, who passed away earlier in 2005.

In 2006, we honored Leroy Jethro Gibbs of 'NCIS' and Mac Taylor of 'CSI: NY', both of whom survived the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut back in 1983.

This year our salute honors Admiral Harriman Nelson, who left a brilliant career in the Navy at the beginning of the 1970s to focus his attentions on his own oceanographic pursuits at his center, the Nelson Institute of Marine Research. (If only it was the Nelson Institute of Marine Observation.... Then its acronym would have been "NIMO"!)

However, Nelson and his employees still worked for the US government with a top-secret base under the Institute from which the nuclear powered submarine Seaview would set sail on he missions.

I've seen it said that 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' took place around 1973, even though it was broadcast in the early 1960s. Taking that into account, it's quite possible that Admiral Nelson is still alive in his 80s, maybe in his 90s even, but probably not very active in the daily workings of his own research institute.

I wrote about Admiral Nelson the other day, charting the genetic link between him and one of his ancestors, Captain Aron Sligo (as seen in 'Gunsmoke'). But I know far less than I should about the man who designed the Seaview, so I am bowing to others more knowledgeable than myself.

Writers and fans of 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea' have crafted several excellent biographies, character sketches and pictorial portfolios of this seafarer. And you'll find those links below.

But first, this is from the Special Archives Library at UCLA. It's a selection from Irwin Allen's Writers' Guide for 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.

– the head of the Nelson Institute of Marine Research in Santa Barbara. A brilliant engineer-scientist of mature middle age, he resigned his position as Dean of the Department of Science at Annapolis to form the Research Institute which bears his name.

His imaginative and creative mind conceived the design for Seaview and his driving, forceful personality made it possible to bring the dream to reality. Even to those who know him best, it came as a distinct surprise when this dedicated and gifted officer gave up his Naval career to devote the rest of this life to science. But only a handful of people know that Nelson’s retirement was in name only. Actually he and his Institute of Marine Research serve as a powerful and secret intelligence force, ranging the world under cover of scientific research on missions of vital importance to the security of their country.(My thanks to the Daffron and Delaney site for unearthing that.)

For more on Harriman Nelson, check these sites:

From the "Richard Basehart" fan site

A Character Sketch by Roger Thompson

"Biography" from Daffron and Delaney

And click on Basehart's name for more on Richard Basehart and his feelings about Harriman Nelson

[From all of those links, you can go further in exploring more about 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'.]

On this Veteran's Day, we salute you, Admiral Harriman Nelson.

Toby OB

"A man learns a great deal from sitting on top of an armed nuclear bomb for 24 hours."
Admiral Harriman Nelson
'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'


Anonymous said...

The Nelson Institute of Marine Research can be see at

yate corsair said...

El Almirante Harriman Nelson.....¿Lleg√≥ al Estrecho de Gibraltar?