This is one of my favorite Sea Hunt collection sections – original Sea Hunt Actor’s Scripts.
The actors in Sea Hunt were supplied with scripts so they could prepare for their various roles. The scripts present a complete dialogue of the episode and include a description of the actor’s role, sometimes his required wardrobe, and often his actions during his dialogue.
So these scripts present an interesting look into the making of Sea Hunt episodes.
These scripts really shouldn’t even exist. At the end of filming for each show, they were of no more value and were usually trashed. Fortunately, many do exist, and lucky Sea Hunt fans can collect and enjoy them.
In my collection, out of 155 Sea Hunt episodes, I have collected 55 script-related items – scripts, working copies, revised scripts, and even some unused scripts.
Working copies are those being prepared by the writers for approval before filming begins. There may be more than one working copy for each episode since the working copies often went back and forth between the writers and the editors several times before final approval. These working copies did NOT have the final, distinctive red covers and were usually missing other things as well such as the final title or the episode number.
The 2 unused scripts are particularly special. These are writers’ scripts submitted to the editors that were NOT approved for production. That they exist is even more amazing.
How To Spot A Genuine Sea Hunt Script
As with a lot of “Sea Hunt” memorabilia, the Sea Hunt scripts are often copied and presented as genuine and even sold to unsuspecting Sea Hunt collectors. I have a few of these in my collection and I include them only because of their interest and the noteworthy pieces of information in them. I try to replace them with the genuine article as quickly as possible.
It’s pretty easy to identify a genuine Sea Hunt script or spot a counterfeit. Here are 6 things to look for:
If you are looking at a Sea Hunt script and any one of these 6 features is missing, it is NOT likely to be genuine.
The reproduction on the right is a brighter red. The insides of the original covers, which have been protected from sunlight, are the same color, so the color difference is NOT a matter of aging.
Notice the Acorn fasteners are slightly fatter on the fake and the Acorn impression on the face is NOT as distinct nor as sharp and detailed as on the genuine script.
Notice that the letters of the font used on the original are slightly taller and slimmer than those of the copy and the shadow of the copy is heavier and darker than on the original.
And notice that the placement of the printing on the bottom is too high on the page.
Copies of the Sea Hunt prints are available fairly easily and sell for between $20 and $150 depending on how convincing the seller is in convincing the buyer it is an original.
Genuine scripts sell for $100 to $200 depending on the condition and episode. RR4
I’m not even going to list all the scripts. I don’t see any value in that.
They are all interesting and each is fun to read and to imagine the actors going through their lines. What is really fun is to have a script in hand as you watch a Sea Hunt episode.
However, a few of them are special and those are described here.
(Click on images to enlarge)
This is the earliest or oldest script I have. #11B is its Production Number so it was the 11th episode completed. Interestingly, it was NOT the 11th episode released or shown. Based on its Release #1021, it was the 21st episode shown.
Not to confuse you but the first Sea Hunt episode shown on TV, 60 Feet Below, where Mike Nelson famously saves the test pilot from his drowned airplane, is Release #1001 but its Production number is #2B. That is, it was the second episode produced but the first one released.
The Production Numbers start at #1B, Mark of the Octopus.
Release Numbers start at #1001, 60 Feet Below.
Despite my efforts, I have not found any scripts for the first twelve episodes.
(Click on images to enlarge)
The script for #11B has many penciled notes inside. In some places, complete sentences or paragraphs are crossed out. In others, single words are changed. Often, the notes refer to the action, essentially what the actors are doing during filming.
Based on the nature of the notes, which are not specific to any single actor, I believe this was a director’s copy. He made changes to the script and to the action as he read the script and perhaps as he watched the filming.
The Director of this episode was John Florea, a well-known war correspondent and photographer for LIFE magazine who became a respected director. John directed many TV programs from the 50’s to the 80’s including MacGyver, Chips, The Dukes of Hazard, Ironside, Bonanza and of course, Sea Hunt.
In fact, he directed more of the Sea Hunt episodes (15) than he did any other television show.
To add credence to my feeling that this was John Florea’s script, on the inside back cover I found a simple, line diagram in pencil that seems to show a diver, a rock and a cameraman. This might be John’s drawings to show the cameraman and/or actors how he wants the shot to be made. There is similar, smaller such diagram on the outside back cover.
This script is neat for a couple of reasons.
It was obviously handled by the Director John Florea.
Inside, the first 3 pages I found a personal letter written by John Florea to both Ivan Tors, the producer of Sea Hunt, and to Leon Benson, another prolific Director of Sea Hunt films. Leon Benson directed 95 of the Sea Hunt episodes so he was certainly a ‘top dog’ at Ziv TV Co.
In his letter, dated February 4, 1958, John Florea explains his set-up for the required underwater photography. The letter is followed by 2 pages of camera and props set-up details.
Another reason I like this script is that on the title page beside the name of one of the characters, a Judy Edwards, described as an attractive assistant to Mike Nelson, is hand printed in pencil the name ‘Zale Parry’. I don’t think anyone who’s a Sea Hunt fan doesn’t know that name. Zale is a wonderful lady, still alive (2020) and sharing her love of the sea. She both starred and was a stunt double in several Sea Hunt episodes. Zale, an accomplished scuba diver and holder of the World’s Record for Deep Dives at the time, also worked with Bill Barada to teach Lloyd Bridges how to scuba dive and later she was an aid to Lloyd Bridges on his dives.
I’ve met Zale numerous times and have the great pleasure of having dived with her.
Needless to say this script is special to me.
This is a very special script for sure.
Not only is this a great episode wherein Mike saves a beautiful girl who is about to die in a sabotaged escape trick, this script has notes made for or by Betty Frazee, the stunt diver for the rescue. Let me explain.
Firstly, this script has been removed from its original red, construction paper cover and inserted into a Duo-Tang cover, also red. I assume this was done to protect it from water and wear as it was being used during filming. This is the only script treated this way.
Next, all of the inside pages are pink. While different colored pages were used for working copies and for revised pages, usually blue or yellow, all of the pages in this script are pink..
Then, on the title page where you find the synopsis of the episode and the list of characters, is written in pencil, the words “Betty Frazee double for Verna”.
I should explain that Betty Frazee was a beautiful young girl, a model for many nationally-known products, a famous competitive swimmer and an actress. Betty was born and still lives in Ocala, Florida, close to Silver Springs where many Sea Hunt episodes were filmed. I have met Betty numerous times. She was an enthusiastic visitor to our Sea Hunt Events at Silver Springs. You can learn more about Betty from my YouTube interview (link below).
In this Sea Hunt episode, Betty was the stunt diver who was “rescued” by Mike Nelson.
Although not credited, Betty actually has a speaking part. Well, sort of. When she is placed in the straightjacket (part of the act) and then chained into the locked trunk, the announcer at the escape performance calls to her in the box to see if she is all right and she (Betty) answers, “I can hear you.”
In this script, these sections are circled in pencil and have “Betty Frazee” written beside them.
The following page also has hand-written notes indicating Betty’s role wherein she is “Inside the trunk, straightjacket, no air”.
The, on the following page are the hand-written words ‘Ricou & Bud safteys bring air hose’. The spelling mistake for safeties is the actual spelling in these notes. Ricou refers to Ricou Browning, a famous diver who was an integral part of Sea Hunt acting as technical advisor, safety diver and stand-in for Lloyd Bridges. The only ‘Bud’ that I know is Lloyd Bridges himself who’s nickname was Bud, although I doubt he was acting as a safety diver.
And finally in this script, as the girl is ‘rescued’ and exits the trunk we find the hand-written notes “Yeah! Courtney Brown, double for Lloyd Bridges” followed by “Betty & Courtney” as the scripts says they swan upward.
Optimistically maybe, but with good reason, I think this was Betty Frazee’s script. I intend to verify that with Betty herself when the opportunity arises.
Clearly a special Sea Hunt script and a wonderful piece of memorabilia.
The front cover of this script has two unique features.
On the top right corner is a stamped block of print that states “ONLY IN THE CASE OF EMERGENCY, AFTER HOURS, CALL BUB MILEY, HOWARD MONTGOMERY” and their phone numbers are included.
Below that message is another stamped block of type that says “Parking Available On Privately Owned Lot Directly Across Street From Auto Gate $0.50 Per Day”
Of greater interest is the handwritten note on the top left corner which includes 2 lines:
“Keith McConnell ‘Ralph Webley’”
Ralph Webley is one of the characters in the episode while Keith McConnell was a fairly prolific character actor who appeared in many television shows from the 1950’s to the 1980’s.
This then is his own script.
This is further proven by the notes on the inside front cover, written in ink, which detail what Ralph Webley was supposed to wear at various points during the episode – “Kaki or Denim Pants, blue shirt, old sneakers, sailor cap” and so on.
Also, through the script, every spot where Ralph Webley has a part to play, spoken or not, that section is highlighted with red crayon.
Yep, this is Keith McConnell’s personal script.
Here’s an example of an original script that includes numerous revision pages.
Revision pages were inserted into a script before production and were exactly that – a revision. It could be in the action or more likely, in the dialogue.
Revision pages were a different color than script pages, usually blue and occasionally yellow. It may be that the blue were a first revision of that page and the yellow were a second revision of the same page. I’m guessing the different color was to alert the director and actors to any revisions.
The script is dated as I‘ve said on the front cover. The revision page(s) are also dated, obviously with the date of the revision) and those dates are of course, later than the script date. For #40B, the script date on the front cover is July 16, 1958. The blue revision date is July 25, 1958.
Shown is a picture of the front cover and of the first revision page. This particular script has a total of 17 revision pages about one half of the total. That is much more than usual.
For this script, I have 2 items.
The first is a shooting script. This provides details of the filming sequence and contents. It has no colored front cover. On the outside front cover it does have all of the details about the episode – name, a Production Number, a Release Number, an Air Date, and a Scriptdate. The scriptdate is an addition to the usual front Cover information and in this case shows 8-1-58 (August 1, 1958).
This script is clearly NOT intended for the actors but would be used by the director, the cameraman and the other scene set-up people.
Each page shows the scene i.e. at sea in a boat or top of the pier which is followed by a description of the shot, whether close up or wide angle, and the action. It’s easiest to see a sample page to understand what this looks like and one is shown.
The second item for #43B is the actual script. This one is a copy of a genuine script as can be seen from the front cover. Rather than red it is gray-colored overall as would be the result of photocopying a red cover. Someone has written the Release Number (1040) on both the left side and on the top.
Otherwise this script is not particularly noteworthy, although a great story!
Neither of these scripts have any outstanding features, OTHER than the name of Harry Redmond printed in pencil on the front cover. These were clearly his personal copies.
You may find it interesting to know that Harry Redmond was NOT an actor on Sea Hunt. His specialty was in Special Effects. On Sea Hunt he was called the ‘Underwater Special Effects’ manager.
Harry supervised the special effects for 90 Sea Hunt episodes. Cleary he was considered the expert in this field (ocean?). For a list of the Sea Hunt episodes in which Harry worked, simply Google his name and open the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) link.
This script too is unremarkable but it has “Director” printed on the first page in pencil at the top. It was likely his copy. The director of this episode was Eddie Davis III. Eddie Davis, a popular Director, Producer and Writer at that time, directed only 6 Sea Hunt episodes. A piece of interesting trivia about Eddie is that he was born in Dunkirk, France.
Now I come to a series Sea Hunt scripts that are very special to me.
These five stories were all written by Teddi Sherman. Teddi (her real name was Theodora, which explains why she used Teddi!) was an actress and writer for both TV and movies. Her father had a production company but she didn’t want to use his reputation to get ahead. His company produced the very popular Hopalong Cassidy western TV series. While her father was out of town one day, Teddi auditioned for a part in the series and was accepted.
However, she enjoyed writing more than acting and was quite successful at it. She wrote these five Sea Hunt stories (the most of any series that she worked on) and many, many more as well for a wide variety of shows – Ben Casey, Mannix, Wagon Train, Ripcord, Bat Masterson, Highway Patrol, The Rifleman, etc.
I was very fortunate to meet Teddi Sherman a few years ago and she sent me these copies of her Sea Hunt scripts plus some Working Copies and other items as well. A few of them she signed to me personally. Teddi died just last year (2019) at the age of 97.
All in all, this is a nice collection within my collection. Having known the person responsible, I really enjoy looking at it. I have included several pictures for you to enjoy.
Here again I have 2 scripts that are special.
In each of these episodes, a character is played by the very well-known and respected actor Robert F. Simon. You will certainly recognize him as General Mitchell in Mash, the father of Darren Stephens in Bewitched, J. Jonah Jamieson in Spiderman and many others. Robert F. Simon was in 203 different TV episodes between 1950 and 1985. His face is instantly recognizable.
Both of these scripts have personal, handwritten notes in areas where Robert’s character is directly involved. Parts where Robert’s character, Dr. Aaron Halliday, are required to speak or be involved, are underlined in red pencil .One script even has a note about what wardrobe he is expected to provide while the other has his name and his role written in pencil on the front cover.
I’m very confident in saying that these were his own, personal scripts.
I’ve included a picture of the scripts with his notes, another with his marks on his roles and a 3rd picture of Robert F. Simon to jog your memory.
This script has the 2 script numbers above (145B & 152B) on the front cover AND it also has the same 2 numbers on the top of the inside front cover, the Synopsis, Cast & Sets page.
BUT, the script has ONLY the story for #152B.
From my records, it appears that the title “Crime At Sea” was supposed to apply to 2 stories, rather like a sequence. But the two stories are completely unrelated.
My script has the word “File” handwritten in pencil on the front cover.
This is a long and quite detailed story but quite captivating to watch.
So, in conclusion, I have a total of 55 unique items in my Sea Hunt script collection.
I have not seen any original Sea Hunt scripts for sale in several years and have to believe they are very hard to find. RR4
Related items, Synopsis, First Drafts, Revisions, etc., are almost non-existent. The simple fact is that, once the final script was produced, all prior working copies would be trashed. RR5
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