THE FEAR MAKERS
The sub Polidor is at 3800 feet, the men sweating, nervous, and irritable. Nelson calls from the radio shack of Seaview at Nelson Marine Institute where Seaview is docked. Two officials, Dan Case and Nelson's closer friend, Philip James are aboard Seaview. Phil tells Nelson, "Relax Harrimin. Every key man on board the Polidor was hand picked from Seaview." Polidor reaches crush depth--4300 feet. Due to Connors, a helmsman, the sub slides down further. The sub is under control and up to 4100 feet again and the hull is okay. Nelson calls them to change their attitude when some water comes in and a leak is evident. The men panic and try to get out of the sub. Nelson yells for Captain Anders over and over, hearing the screams of the men. The Polidor sinks lower and lower and blows up. Nelson puts the mike down.
Seaview dock; men loading crates; an officer walking with a sailor. Seaview is ready to go. Observation nose: Nelson reminds Chip Morton to reset the gyroscope compass--it will need four hours to settle down. Chip tells him he already has. He is also checking the reassembly of the inertial guidance system which was recalibrated. Nelson barks at Curley not to give him excuses of why crewmen can't make the sail time (he reached the wives of Powell and Lacey and they told him the two men went on a fishing trip). 7 of 9 crewmen on shore leave can make it. Nelson tells him to tell them not to waste any time or they'll be waiting on an empty dock. Nelson tells Crane to tell Lt. Henly to check the air revitalization system but Crane tells him, gently, that Henly was on the Polidor. Nelson's hand shakes, making him drop coffee on it, burning it slightly. He sits down. Phil and Dan are still on board, telling him the congressional committee wants a hearing but Nelson tells them he can't delay. Crane tells Nelson that a few hours won't make any difference to the men of the Polidor now--"you've got to accept that." The committee believes man cannot live and function at deep sea levels due to the emotional strain and the crash of the Polidor shows this. Nelson tells them to abandon the sea is to lay untold wealth, minerals, foods, scientific information to other countries. Dan asks Nelson to forget other countries and asks Nelson if he wants to go as a curious scientist or as a human being wanting to salve his conscience. Phil tries to stop Dan but Nelson wants to answer that. Nelson hopes it is because he is a clinical scientist and as such must know what happened. Phil tells him the committee will withhold judgement if he takes a psychologist observer along, a Dr. Arthur Kenner to determine the stress level and analyze the crew. Kenner will be able to call off the mission on emotional matters, not technical ones. On emotional matters he will be able to countermand the Admiral's orders. Nelson agrees but tells them they shove off at 8 hundred hours, "I don't intend to wait for anyone." Kenner is called as he shows a group of two scientists the effects of a fear gas on a cat and mouse---the cat was given the gas and is afraid of the mouse. (THIS IS ACTUALLY THE FILM IN REVERSE of a mouse chasing a cat). These experiments will help them isolate the elements of fear. Phil calls Kenner who tells him he will be aboard Seaview. Each element of the fear gas was provided by one of each of the three scientists, none of which know the full formula. Martin Davis, Kenner's aide asks about it in humans. Kenner doesn't fully answer--there must be more testing. The other two leave. Kenner tells them fear in lower animals is for survival, but in humans it is much more complex. Martin gets Kenner to decide to take him along as an aide--the committee will let him. At 6 AM they leave. Martin closes a curtain, takes out a screwdriver, and opens the cabinet where Kenner locked his fear gas canisters. He hides it in the back of a tape recorder and puts the recorder in a suitcase. He calls a man in a limo--the Director--one container will turn Nelson and his crew into panic stricken madmen. This gas worked on the Polidor but this time, the sub must return so that Nelson can testify that man cannot function under the sea. Davis finds that knowing what the gas can do limits its fear on the human mind--a sort of immunity--which is why he will be able to go along. The Director wants Nelson to be afraid, leaving the riches of the sea to, "US." Nelson's cabin: there is a giant model of the Polidor--we hear the slow theme song. Nelson tells Crane to tell Sparks to observe radio silence once they are underway. Crane has already told the men to get underway as soon as the guests arrive. Nelson thanks him. Chip brings the two to the cabin. Seaview heads out (Seaview theme). Crane shows Kenner to his cabin; Davis finds and asks about the Air Revitalizing Room. Crane explains about the system which purifies the air and recycles it. The exhaust vents are at deck level. Crane arranges the duty schedule to match the men Davis wants to interview and profile. Davis tells Crane why--short handed since many of your men were on the Polidor. Ski and Pat search his things and while they do, Davis adds an element of fear--talking about possible survivors, asking about Ski's buddies on the Polidor ("yeah, I had a couple" Ski tells him), and pumping Patterson that he might be the only man who makes it out alive since he works near the escape belt and would be the first one out alive. Ski makes Davis open his suitcase and Davis diverts his attention from the tape recorder, which doesn't seem to work at first, by taping Ski's voice. Ski tells Davis, "These guys don't scare easily--you name it--they've been through it." When Davis tells Patterson the man who had his job on the Polidor didn't get off, Ski and Pat leave without any further discussion. Davis turns his back to the door, proud of his work.
Seaview is undersea. Crane tells Kenner they may spend a week to ten days at a time submerged depending on the mission. Davis questions Pat about how it feels to be at 4500 feet--like an egg shell. Nelson slams paper down on his desk. Chip tells Crane that Nelson ordered silent running and is in his cabin, some of the men are worried since they haven't seen Nelson since they left and are at war alert status. Crane will go see him and does. He finds Nelson deep in thought, playing with a smaller version of the Polidor model and listening to the tape he took of the Polidor call--the men screaming and himself calling Anders. Crane talks to him about the disaster--the specification of the sub were checked--Nelson tells him they took no chances. Crane tells him nothing could attack the Polidor that low and nothing has been planted on Seaview. Davis goes to Air Revitalization, a huge room, with large shafts. He opens the case and plants the tape recorder in a smaller shaft vent. It beeps and periodically releases the fear gas. Seaview is at 3400 feet. Nelson shows Kenner the pathometer which tells them the depth and the precision depth recorder which gives a graphic representation of the ocean bottom so they know what is under them at all times. Davis talks to Nelson, who sees Davis doubts the instruments. Kenner is unusually nervous and wonders if men should function under constant threat of death. He could cancel the mission. Davis eggs Nelson on, wanting to have Kenner stop the mission. Nelson doubts Kenner's judgement. Crane tells Pryor (the same actor who later would play Frank Werden in AND FIVE OF US ARE LEFT in season two) to look sharp and tells him to settle down--he doesn't like this any more than they do. Pat is in the Missile Room. They are at 4500 feet and the manometer tells them what metal is in the area. Davis tells he is a bit nervous himself. Nelson tells him it takes a bit of getting used to. A crewman is not sure what he is hearing, making Nelson angry. Nelson grabs his headset and listens--metal is 300 feet below. "Shape up sailor, you're as much an important part of this mission as anyone else." He is still not sure and Davis sticks up for him; Nelson tells Davis he is not helping. Nelson admits that being afraid is not a crime or a sign of weakness--only a fool would deny there is danger here. Nelson goes on to say, "My biggest fear is not death...that's always with us one way or another--the men are used to it and so am I. My big fear is of failure when I know this mission should succeed." Nelson orders Kenner back to his cabin when the man tries to get them to abort the mission. Chip escorts Kenner out. Crane tells the men the slightest malfunction could be disastrous. Davis tells Nelson he will overlook the incident if they turn back now. He taunts Nelson with the 100 lives. Nelson tells him Kenner is not able to command. Crewman tells them there is contact--metal on a ledge. Curley in damage control tells them there is a pin leak in the Missile Room. Crane wants to level off but Nelson wants to move in closer. Curley points out the wall in the Missile Room---the Polidor is right out there. Pat tells him so is Bently and the other men--so close you can almost hear them. They hear banging--like somebodies out there, Pat says. One of the crewmen who turns around looks a lot like Jay Leno. One of the men yells that his buddy is still alive and out there, "Querle?" Two to three men panic and try to leave their posts. Nelson and Crane push the pilots back. Crane yells to take er up; Nelson stares at him; Crane orders to hold that order; Nelson relents to take her up to 3500 feet and hold. Davis stirs up Crane when Nelson leaves--fear takes many forms and its always destructive he tells Crane. He urges Crane to takeover before Nelson pushes them down to destruction if Crane doesn't. "We're in your hands now, Captain."
Nose: Curley reports number 2 is damaged; he tells Crane the men can't take it and neither can he. Crane angrily dismisses him twice. The radio man looks at him. Crane bursts off, watched by Davis in hiding, to Nelson's room (on the door is B-2-0-1, not ADMIRAL NELSON as in later episodes) and goes in. He wants to surface even though they have only minor damage. He tells Nelson they were lucky so far and he thinks the men can't hold up under another dive. Crane insists they go back down at another time and when the men are in better shape. Nelson yells, "I'll make that decision!" They then discuss, more calmly, the Polidor and the fact that it may have been sabotaged. Crane tells him there is no evidence of that and Nelson may be avoiding another answer--one that may lay the deaths of 85 Nelson's feet. Nelson tells him he wants nothing more than to get out of here and, "put all this behind us but I can't, won't, at any price!" Air Revitalization: Pat finds it clear. Davis talks to Curley and Pat about the strain--that they will be okay if they surface now. Crane announces they are going to go back down. Davis runs out and pumps Kenner, calling the officers madmen. Kenner tells him, "I'm something of a madman myself." He tells him he feels like a victim of his own fear gas...but glad it isn't...it could kill him. When Davis reacts in fear, Kenner tells him the gas turns into a deadly nerve gas that works directly on the brain in humans. It is too unstable to use on humans. Davis pushes Kenner down and the old man hits his head on the wall and the sink. Davis runs to the Air Revitalization Room and tries to recover the tape recorder but (using his jacket) manages only to knock it over a ledge deeper into the sub. He runs to his cabin (filmed in wide angle lens), fearful himself now. He stuffs the vent with blankets and pillows to no effect. He hears lee calling, "Standby to dive." Seaview dives. NOTE: at this point, I thought, perhaps, Kenner and the men of Seaview were playing a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE on Davis since he was getting his own back on him. Served him right.
4470 feet: Pryor gets up and tells the Admiral it is too far down. Lee tells Clark to take him away (Clark is seen only in long shot and from behind) to Sickbay. 400 feet ahead is a metal contact. It is wreckage which Seaview hits as Nelson wants to prepare the diving bell to salvage what they can. There is a leak and a fire which a fire detail lead by Anderson puts out. Chip calls damage control to the 4th floor tank which is jammed. Without Curley and Pat freeing it by hand, they cannot surface. Crane is told by Curley it can be done but it will take time. Davis, his jacket off, covered in sweat and oil, comes in and tells them to surface now or they'll die. He tells the truth. The gas slipped into a main duct--the 8 hours are up and it will become a nerve gas. Nelson grabs him, "Is that what happened to the Polidor!" He seems at breaking point and crying. Davis tells him yes. Nelson tells Crane to get Davis out of the room. Nelson orders revitalization unit shut off and for them to go on established air. Kenner comes in and tells them that won't be enough--the gas can still kill them. Nelson and he figure if they heat the sub, the gas will rise and cling to the ceiling. Nelson says, "Pass the word, this boat is going to be a sweat box!" Curley and Pat are in the shaft and find the unit (the same one Sharkey found underwater in SECRET OF THE DEEP). Lee tells the men, "Keep down, all of you." He has his shirt open. Lee and the others try to move the steering but they are losing trim. Another man helps Pat and Curley and they use a chain to move the valve. Pat keeps talking about it giving and getting lose. Curley says, "Shud yap and stop using up air." They free it. Curley tells Crane after, he himself, tells Pat and the man it is lose. In the control room, another crewman takes his shirt off (a rare thing on the Seaview where, though informal, all act professional). The nose goes up somewhat and Seaview surfaces. Good "happy" music follows. Conning Tower: pure unrevitalized air, Nelson, Crane and Kenner. In Washington DC the FBI will pick up Davis. Kenner feels guilty==the gas and Davis is all his doing. Nelson says, "Almost your undoing." He tells them fear and humans are a complicated thing...but he didn't realize how. Nelson and Crane, Nelson with his hat on, breath the air as it winds up at them. Nice ending. Nice scene.
REVIEW: Lloyd Bocher, Barry Atwater, Robert Loggia, and Peter Mark Richman all played several times on VOYAGE, all reminding me of one another but all very good guest villains. FEAR makes one feel the "hard to breath" effect of the gas using many claustrophobic sequences and dark angles to make one feel they are actually going to be trapped in an airless coffin sub. I remember the ending on the conning tower being most optimistic after a fairly dark episode. Edgar Bergen was great. The crash of the Polidor was most upsetting, possibly the most upsetting loss of a sub (with THE ENEMIES a good contender). Nelson and Lee had lots of tension to deal with, both with and from each other and the crew, as well as the crew among themselves. The actor who played Frank Werden plays Pryor in this one. Someone named Murdock is credited. Either Bishop or O'Brien is in this one in the background quite a bit and it is difficult to tell which one is which between the two characters.