There are 3 legitimate Sea Hunt Jig Saw puzzles.
I say legitimate because, as with some other items, there are modern Sea Hunt trinkets available and one of them is a jigsaw puzzle. These things often come from Argentina and are readily available on eBay and other places.
They are NOT Sea Hunt memorabilia. The word memorabilia implies things that are from the past that deserve to be remembered.
All of these 3 puzzles come from the UK and all 3 were made by a company called Tower Press. They had been making cardboard things since the 1930’s and specialized in card sets for children.
These puzzles are not very common. They do appear occasionally, but it can be a long wait.
Click on images to enlarge.
1. Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt – 1961 “The Dangerous Treasure Hunt”
This is #1 of a 2-game Sea Hunt series produced by Tower Press of England.
This puzzle is number 2548 in the Tower Press catalog.
It is a smaller format, just 11” x 9 ½” with over 240 pieces, all in full color.
The front cover of the box shows the finished puzzle and it’s pretty exciting with all of the elements that made Sea Hunt so popular – treasure, sharks, shipwrecks and scuba divers.
I chuckled when I saw the phrase “ALL PIECES FULLY INTERLOCKING” on the side of the box. Only the British would tell you that the pieces of a jig saw interlock!
In case you are wondering, my puzzle is complete and I did put it together, once, a long time ago. RR 4
2. Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt – 1961 “The Timely Rescue”
#2 of the 2-game series from Tower Press is called The Timely Rescue and it pictures Mike Nelson helping an injured scuba diver into an inflatable boat. It’s the same size and format as #1 described above, has the same colorful box and also states that ‘all the pieces are fully interlocking’, a good thing to check if buying a jig saw!
3. T.V. JIG.SAW SEA HUNT – 1962 – “The Deep Sea Rescue”
Obviously the first two Sea Hunt puzzles that Tower Press made were popular because a year later they made another one. This one is quite different though.
By this time Tower Press had been bought by the Guiterman Group so I suppose they had different people working in the design department. This is Tower Press #3688.
This puzzle is much larger at 17” x 11 ½” and features over 320 pieces.
The picture shows another exciting scene (supposedly) from Sea Hunt. This time a scuba diver is about to free his buddy who is trapped in a shipwreck.
Another thing that’s different is the back cover where Tower Press is again showing other puzzles that they sell. This time however, they show what they call ‘a Series of T.V. Puzzles’. Besides the Sea Hunt ‘Deep Sea Rescue, the puzzles pictured include the Overland Trail called ‘The Stage Coach Race’, Sir Francis Drake called ‘The Fight for the Treasure’ and Frontier Circus called ‘The Circus Comes to Town’.
And again you can see that I assembled this puzzle too, just once, a long time ago. RR 4
There are 2 Sea Hunt board games, one from the USA and one from the UK.
Board games were very popular from the 1940’s to the 1980’s when television, the internet and other technological devices began to replace board games as the preferred time-waster.
I recall with great fondness sitting around our kitchen table with Mom and Dad, my 2 brothers and my sister as we all enjoyed a wide variety of board games. Monopoly, still popular today, CHESS and SCRABBLE were the favorites of the older kids while simpler games, SORRY, UNO and CLUE, were enjoyed by the others, including my Mom. She wasn’t too big on games that were overly competitive. She particularly liked Snakes & Ladders, a very old board game and her favorite by far, Chinese Checkers. Mom actually made her own Chinese Checkers boards using marbles for men and she gave one of her homemade board games to each of us kids.
Click on images to enlarge.
Sea Hunt Games –
The Underwater Adventure Game by Lowell
The Sea Hunt games use a format very similar to all the others – each player gets a man; the player throws dice (or in the case of Sea Hunt, spins a pointer on a numbered dial) to decide how many squares his man can advance; depending on which square his man lands on, the player will have to make certain decisions. In most games, the last man standing or the one with most accumulated points, wins the game.
The USA Sea Hunt game is made by Lowell Toy Mfg. Corp. of New York, NY.
In the Lowell Sea Hunt Underwater Adventure game, the men are small colored dowels, the gifts are “tanks” of compressed air (cards with tanks painted on them) and the treasure or reward is coins of differing dollar value. The object is to get the most treasure without running out of air, getting eaten by a shark or ending your game life some other way.
The game board is 18” square; the box is 18” x 9” and it holds everything. Each game includes the board, 8 men (2 of each color for a total of up to 4 players), 24 cards with compressed air, 5 sets of colored coins (4 coins in each set for a total of 20) plus the spinner. The coins were worth $4,000, $6,000, $8,000 $10,000 or $12,000 depending on their color.
The board is brightly painted with great pictures of Mike Nelson plus everything else you’d expect to find on any scuba dive – sharks and treasure.
The Lowell Sea Hunt Underwater Adventure game is not hard to find. A really nice one with all the playing parts is much harder.
Along with the actual game, my collection includes some other related material.
I have a manufacturers catalog with the Lowell Sea Hunt illustrated. This catalog is made by the manufacturers of toy and games and shows many items from different manufacturers. It is given to toy stores and department stores for them to choose the items they want to buy for their stores.
I also have a flyer from Lowell Toy Mfg. that shows both the Sea Hunt game and a ‘Mister Magoo Visits the Zoo’ game. This flyer suggests that the Sea Hunt game is for ages 8 to 15.
And I have a 2 page spread advertisement for Lowell Toy Mfg. that appeared in a trade magazine called Toys and Novelties in March, 1962. It describes their games as “The most complete line in the industry” and “The Games All America Plays”. This ad has a stack of board games from Lowell with many games all based on TV shows of the 1960’s including, of course, Sea Hunt.
And finally, a very special item. This is a Wallace Wood Portfolio. Wallace Wood, of West 74th Street, New York, was a well-known artist, cartoonist and illustrator who made many paintings that were used in lots of magazines and other media. His work appeared in MAD Magazine, Galaxy Magazine, many children’s books, many advertisements for well-known companies such as American Airlines, and many board games too. In here you can see his artwork as prepared for Lowell Toy Mfg for the cover of their newest board game, Sea Hunt!
Sea Hunt Game RR 2; complete & nice condition RR 3;
Catalog with Sea Hunt game RR 4;
Wallace Wood portfolio with Sea Hunt game cover illustration RR 4.
Sea Hunt Games –
Sea Hunt with Mike Nelson (UK)
This board game is called the ‘MERIT’ game although it is made by J & L Randall Ltd, Potters Bar, England. J & L made many toys in the 1960’s including steam engines and other mechanical devices for kids.
The Merit Sea Hunt game, as they say, “Based on the exciting TV adventure series”, is similar to most other board games. Each player has a man. He spins a pointer to determine how many spaces he can advance to the ‘treasure’ and tries to avoid problems along the way. Of course, in a scuba diving game there are lots of dangers to meet the divers. Throughout the board are messages such as, “Wreck – Miss A Turn”, “Electric Eel – Miss A Turn”, “Giant Clam- Miss A Turn”, “Sting Ray – Miss A Turn”, “Octopus – Miss A Turn”, “Sharks”, etc.
It’s a wonder anyone ever finished this game!!
The men are 4 very tiny plastic divers complete with double tanks and 2 hose regs, just like Mike. And there is a treasure chest in matching colors for each diver, red, blue, yellow and green.
The spinner too makes the game exciting with messages like “Mike Nelson to the Rescue” and “Surfacing Too Fast, Risk of Bends, Drop Gold and Return to Treasure Strong-Room”.
I’m thinking this game is only for very experienced divers!
The game box is 18” by 10” and the board is the same size as it does not fold like many other board games. A complete game includes the board, the spinner, 4 men and 4 treasures chests.
It’s pretty simple and probably designed for junior divers.
Game RR 2; complete in nice condition RR 3
One of my favorite Sea Hunt items is my Acme Mini-Viewer & Sea Hunt films.
The Mini-Viewer was a popular toy in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Several companies made similar toys but Acme Toy Corp. of Chicago 50, Illinois was the best known.
They made films for many topics – animals, travel, trains, cars, planes, TV show heroes, Disney characters and lots more.
I acquired a Mini-Viewer and a Sea Hunt film many years ago and was intrigued. I always wondered where it came from and whether there were more films. Eventually, exploring toy stores and vintage toy catalogs, I spotted an advertisement in a 1961 Newberrys catalog. Newberrys was a big “five & dime” store that started in Stroudsburg, PA in 1911. Good marketing and acquisition of other stores lead to Newberry having 565 stores by 1954.
The advertisement I saw was for a “Movie Viewer with 2 Sea Hunt film strips”. The toy was on a blister pack card and had a great image of Mike Nelson on the front. I was determined to get one.
It took a long time but one day I saw the complete toy – card, blister pack, viewer and films. I won’t bore you with the details but, needless to say, I finally got it.
Then of course, I had to search for, find and acquire the remaining film strips of the Sea Hunt series – all 6 of them.
So this is a complete unopened package of the Sea Hunt Acme Mini-Viewer with films #1 and #2, an additional set of the 6 different film strips, an extra viewer to look at the film strips without having to open the blister-packed toy PLUS a Newberry Toy catalog AND a Hested’s toy catalog.
Hested’s was another department store that was well-known in the Midwest. I have two catalogs because the Newberry catalog, which was sold as a coloring book for kids (remember I mentioned good marketing?) has several of the pages colored while the Hested’s catalog is untouched.
Interestingly, Newberrys acquired the Hested’s store chain as part of its expansion.
The packaged viewer sold for 49 cents and it came with 2 film strips. The other 4 Sea Hunt strips cost 10 cents each at the local toy store. Each came in a tiny box, rolled and held by a very small elastic band. Instructions made a point of saying that the strips should be stored with the elastic band in place and in the box.
The films had no title, just a number – 1 to 6. Even the film strip had no title, just a title page with “Sea Hunt starring Lloyd Bridges” plus the number of the strip (1 to 6) and a picture of Mike Nelson. The last image on the film strip (i.e. #5) said, “STOP-REVERSE See Series #6 for further adventures of Sea Hunt. Build a library of films. Additional films for this viewer can be had at your favorite dealer. IMPORTANT. Keep film rolled. Replace rubber band when not in viewer.”
I’ve included a picture showing a shot of several images in a strip. I won’t dwell on the gymnastics required to take this picture – 3 people, magnifying lens, paper clips and lots of patience. I hope you enjoy it!”
The Mini-Viewer is a very simple, quite crudely-made plastic toy which opens up so that you can insert the film strip. The film strips were black & white and usually had about 20 or 25 images including the title image and the end image.
The instructions for use of the Mini-Viewer are simple: Pull viewer apart, Insert film strip, Close viewer, Look through viewer hole, Turn knob to change scenes.
Actually accomplishing this feat was not so simple. The viewer did NOT come apart easily. The film strip was tightly rolled and did NOT drop into the viewer easily and when it did, the tiny holes that engaged the teeth in the knob NEVER lined up. The knob was not a good fit so sometimes it turned the film, sometimes it didn’t. When you closed the viewer it would often bind so the film wouldn’t turn so you had to pull it apart ever so slightly. The viewer hole is tiny and you needed to point it at a light source – not too much or you couldn’t see but enough so you could read the text. Needless to say, the text was tiny. And the knob didn’t turn smoothly. The images would often jump around or not move at all. Altogether it’s very frustrating. I bet there were more than a few kids who were disappointed and even more fathers who were aggravated as they tried to help!
However, it is still a very neat and very genuine Sea Hunt toy from 1961. And, from a collectors view, this is a great set – the original toy still packaged, an additional complete set of the 6 strips complete in their boxes with rubber band, an additional viewer and 2 catalogs/coloring books showing the toy.
Rarity Rating on this toy is like the Barratt’s Sweet Cigarettes – from easy to impossible.
Acme Viewer RR 2; Sea Hunt film strips RR 3; Unopened Sea Hunt viewer RR 5.
These picture cards were very common in the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s.
TV stars and sports heroes were the most common topic but they also included cars, trains, planes, boats, architecture and more.
Usually, to collect the cards, you needed to buy something, commonly a candy.
I personally collected many sports figures cards that were found in packages of bubble gum. I wish I had them now. They are worth a fortune!!
Barratt & Co. Ltd was a confectioner in London, England started by George Barratt in 1850. By 1910, it was the largest confectioner in the world making 350 tonnes of candies every week (a tonne is 2200 pounds). Part of their success was the marketing of candies in packages containing picture cards.
Barratts offered many different picture cards. These Sea Hunt ones, part of their TV Show series, were found in packages of Barratts Sweet Cigarettes. It may seem odd to offer Sea Hunt cards, a TV show for kids, in a package of cigarettes but you must know that these cigarettes were really candies that only LOOKED like cigarettes. Even that is odd but again, when I was a kid, we bought candy cigarettes that were actually much closer to the real things. They were the same size as real cigarettes even if they were black licorice wrapped in white paper. Obviously, advertising standards then were not too strict and of course, in the 50’s and 60’s, smoking was quite acceptable. My mom didn’t like them but she tolerated them.
So, if you bought Barratts Sweet Cigarettes you got a double treat – really nice candy cigarettes (10) PLUS two Sea Hunt cards with action pictures of your TV hero, Mike Nelson. There were 35 cards in the set for Sea Hunt so that required a fair bit of candy. Oh well.
You can see that the box of sweet cigarettes is quite small. The cigarettes are only about ¼” in diameter and maybe 2” long.
The picture cards were also small – much smaller than the sports hero cards. These cards are only about 1 ¼” tall and 2 ½” wide.
You can see my Barratts Sweet Cigarettes box, still in its original cellophane with 5 of the original candy cigarettes and 2 cards. You can see the small size from the picture where I am holding the box in the palm of my hand. On the side of the box it shows that there are 10 cigarettes in the box for just 2 pence.
The back of the box is most interesting for there you find that Barratts will send you a booklet to keep your Sea Hunt card collection intact and safe. Just send the front of 6 Sweet Cigarettes packages PLUS 9 pence in a Postal Money Order to Barratt and Co Ltd, Mayes Road, London.
The booklet for the Barratts Sea Hunt cards is also pretty neat. You see, each of the 35 cards had text on the back that described the action on the front. One might read, ”Mike Nelson makes a gruesome discovery. Exploring the inside of a sunken ship, he finds the remains of a shipboard prisoner. Abandoned by the crew in their haste to get off the sinking ship, he must have died manacled to her timbers with no hope of survival.” (Barratts Sea Hunt Card #20).
The front of the Barratts booklet is clearly designed to draw attention with Mike battling a giant shark armed with only his 4” knife. I have shown each page with all 35 cards in order. I will not describe each card. You can see and read them for yourself. Each is actually pretty good, sometimes quite amusing.
This is one of my favorite Sea Hunt items. The cards are fairly common. The booklet too can be found with enough effort. Finding an original Barratts Sweet Cigarettes box, wrapped in cellophane, with candies and cards still inside simply isn’t going to happen.
Cards RR 2; Booklet RR 3; Sweet Cigarettes box intact RR 5.