Sunday, December 2, 2012



'Journey To The Center Of The Earth'

Jules Verne

Ron Haddrick

The Tooniverse

From Wikipedia:
"A Journey to the Centre of the Earth" (French: "Voyage au centre de la Terre", also translated under the titles "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" and "A Journey to the Interior of the Earth") is a classic 1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne. The story involves a German professor (Otto Lidenbrock in the original French, Professor Von Hardwigg in the most common English translation) who believes there are volcanic tubes going toward the centre of the Earth. He, his nephew Axel (Harry), and their guide Hans descend into an extinct Icelandic volcano, encountering many adventures, including prehistoric animals and natural hazards, before eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy.

The story begins in May 1863, the Lidenbrock house in Hamburg, with Professor Lidenbrock rushing home to peruse his latest purchase, an original runic manuscript of an Icelandic saga written by Snorri Sturluson ("Heimskringla"; the chronicle of the Norwegian kings who ruled over Iceland). While looking through the book, Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel find a coded note written in runic script. (This is a first indication of Verne's love for cryptology. Coded, cryptic or incomplete messages as a plot device will continue to appear in many of his works and in each case Verne goes a long way to explain not only the code used but also the mechanisms used to retrieve the original text.) Lidenbrock and Axel translate the runic characters into Latin letters, revealing a message written in a seemingly bizarre code. Lidenbrock attempts a decipherment, deducing the message to be a kind of transposition cipher; but his results are as meaningless as the original.

Professor Lidenbrock decides to lock everyone in the house and force himself and the others (Axel, and the maid, Martha) to go without food until he cracks the code. Axel discovers the answer when fanning himself with the deciphered text: Lidenbrock's decipherment was correct, and only needs to be read backwards to reveal sentences written in rough Latin. Axel decides to keep the secret hidden from Professor Lidenbrock, afraid of what the Professor might do with the knowledge, but after two days without food he cannot stand the hunger and reveals the secret to his uncle. Lidenbrock translates the note, which is revealed to be a medieval note written by the (fictional) Icelandic alchemist Arne Saknussemm, who claims to have discovered a passage to the centre of the Earth via Snæfell in Iceland. In what Axel calls bad Latin, the deciphered message reads:

"Descend, bold traveler, into the crater of the jökull of Snæfell, which the shadow of Scartaris touches (lit: tastes) before the Kalends of July, and you will attain the centre of the earth. I did it. Arne Saknussemm

Professor Lidenbrock is a man of astonishing impatience, and departs for Iceland immediately, taking his reluctant nephew with him. Axel, who, in comparison, is cowardly and anti-adventurous, repeatedly tries to reason with him, explaining his fears of descending into a volcano and putting forward various scientific theories as to why the journey is impossible, but Professor Lidenbrock repeatedly keeps himself blinded against Axel's point of view. After a rapid journey via Lübeck and Copenhagen, they arrive in Reykjavík, where the two procure the services of Hans Bjelke (a Danish-speaking Icelander eiderdown hunter) as their guide, and travel overland to the base of the volcano. In late June they reach the volcano, which has three craters.

According to Saknussemm's message, the passage to the centre of the Earth is through the one crater that is touched by the shadow of a nearby mountain peak at noon. However, the text also states that this is only true during the last days of June. During the next few days, with July rapidly approaching, the weather is too cloudy for any shadows. Axel silently rejoices, hoping this will force his uncle – who has repeatedly tried to impart courage to him only to succeed in making him even more cowardly still – to give up the project and return home. Alas for Axel, however, on the last day, the sun comes out and the mountain peak shows the correct crater to take. After descending into this crater, the three travelers set off into the bowels of the Earth, encountering many strange phenomena and great dangers.

There was an animated series in 1967 which would be the Tooniverse sequel to the 1977 version, even though it aired first by a decade.

Professor Oliver Lindenbrook (as voiced by Ted Knight) is a "modern-day" (1970s) descendent of Otto Lidenbrook, whose family changed their name when they came to America.

From the 1967 show's opening narration:

"Long ago, a lone explorer, named Arnie Saknussen, made a fantastic descent to the fabled lost kingdom of Atlantis at the Earth's core. After many centuries, his trail was discovered...first by me, Professor Oliver Lindenbrook, my niece, Cindy, student Alec McEwen, our guide, Lars, and his duck, Gertrude. But we were not alone. The evil Count Saknussen, last descendant of the once noble Saknussen family, had followed claim the center of the Earth for his power-mad schemes. He ordered his brute-like servant, Torg, to destroy our party. But the plan backfired, sealing the entrance forever. And so, for us, began a desperate race to the Earth's learn the secret of the way back. This is the story of our new journey to the center of the Earth."


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