Wednesday, February 12, 2014

R.I.P. Richard Bull – The Seaview Doctor.

Actor Richard Bull, best known for the role of Nels Oleson on the popular TV series LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, passed away on February 03 at the age of 89.   

To me, Richard Bull will forever be the Ship’s Doctor on VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. 

Bull played the seemingly nameless “Doc”, for 27 episodes over the series’ four seasons (1964-1968), though, oddly, was absent from the role for the entire Second Season, save the final episode. 

Another actor, Wayne Heffley, played the Doctor for that season.   And, though “Doc’s name was never spoken over the course of the series, it seems to have been unofficially noted as “Doctor Jamison”.

Richard Bull lent an air of professionalism – and, most importantly, calmness – that counteracted the often bizarre goings on aboard the Submarine Seaview. 

Beyond the expected crew illnesses, and duty injuries, Richard Bull’s “Doc”, employed that characteristic “calmness” in dealing with such challenges as:

Ghostly Possession.

A Werewolf Virus.


Lethal Toys.

Shape-Shifting Devilish Aliens.

Men Mutating into Rock-Like Creatures.

The Unknown Mysteries of the Fourth Dimension.

And plain old, run-of-the mill psychoses. 

He dealt with each crisis as you’d expect Admiral Nelson’s hand-picked Chief Medical Officer to do – swiftly and competently. 

Beyond VOYAGE, the vast list of Richard Bull’s acting credits can be found HERE.  

Rest in Peace, Richard Bull, and thank you for all the great moments! 



Anonymous said...

Doc's ability to remain calm in a crisis really came in handy while coping with alien invaders, dinosaurs, werewolves, mad scientists, and ghosts. Plus all those attempts to sabotage the ship. And about half of the sabotage attempts were by the Seaview's own senior officers! -TC

Joe Torcivia said...

Both Doc and Chip Morton were the “rocks” (not "Fossil Men" - VOYAGE inside joke) of VOYAGE, except when Chip emotionally “lost-it” for a bit during the “mine-disarming scene” in “Deadly Amphibians”!

Even as a Golden Creature of Alchemy (“Fires of Death”) and a Transformed Pirate (“Return of Blackbeard”), Chip somehow managed to remain low-key.

As did Doc when in thrall to Dr. King’s electric-generating life form (“The Creature” II).

BTW, as long as I’m tossing titles around, my screen-capture illustrations were from “Brand of the Beast” (including his credit), “The Creature” II, and “Blow Up”. All were episodes that nicely featured Doc.

Anonymous said...

Chip appeared to be almost on the verge of losing it in "Doomsday Island," when it looked as if Nelson had torpedoed the flying sub with Crane and Kowalski aboard it. His self-control was commendable.

That last scene from "The Creature" (II), with them in sick bay, showed how much confidence the officers and crew had in Nelson. When Doc said, "It's a good thing the hypnotic influence faded when the monster was destroyed. Otherwise, I don't know what we would have done." Crane said, "Oh, the admiral would have thought of something." He was only half joking.

Joe Torcivia said...

I liked that scene for the same reason – and that’s why I used it to close the post!

VOYAGE doesn’t get enough credit for moments like this!