Monday, January 29, 2018

R.I.P. Bob Dowdell

Another really sad one for me, actor Robert Dowdell passed away on January 23, 2018, at the age of 85.

Bob Dowdell was best known as Lt. Cmdr. Chip Morton, Executive Officer of the submarine Seaview on the classic TV series VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA.  

As Morton, Dowdell was truly the "rock" of the Seaview crew.  He was that dedicated, focused, and unshakable presence, throughout the Seaview's four TV seasons of incredible adventures.  

This, in contrast with Admiral Nelson (Richard Basehart) who sometimes exhibited questionable judgement and sanity - and often kept it from his crew, and Captain Crane (David Hedison) who was prone to outbursts of "William Shatner-Level" intensity. 

Be it Communist spies, gigantic sea creatures, or Shadowmen from Centauri...

...Chip Morton was unaffected by it all, and could always be counted on to set course, depth, and speed, organize a search party, and prepare the Flying Sub for immediate launch!  

...He did have that one "way-overly emotional moment" during "Deadly Amphibians" which seemed out of character (If you've seen it, you know what I mean!) - but, for only once in four years, I think we can forgive him that!  

Prior to VOYAGE, Bob Dowdell co-starred with Jack Lord in the one-season western series STONEY BURKE!  

Bob Dowdell in STONEY BURKE, solo and with the great Bruce Dern! 

HERE is a list of Bob Dowdell's credits from IMDB.

And HERE is a tribute to him from ME-TV, that still runs Voyage each week!

Rest in Peace, Bob Dowdell, and thanks for "keeping it together" each week on my favorite sci-fi series!  


Achille Talon said...

I'm sorry to say I never watched Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea… it just wasn't popular in France. But it looks fun from what you've shown and mentioned of it, and it looks like poor Bob Dowdell (RIP) had no small part in its entertaining qualitieis…

TC said...

Mr. Morton's ability to stay calm in a crisis came in handy when dealing with foreign spies, saboteurs, mad scientists, werewolves, ghosts, dinosaurs, robots, alien invaders, and bug-eyed monsters.

And about half of the sabotage attempts were committed by his own (brainwashed or hypnotized) superiors!

Roberta said...

A very nice tribute, but the cowboy photo is not Robert Dowdell. It is Chuck Courtney.

Joe Torcivia said...


…And let’s not forget POSSESSED and just plain-old DUPLICATED (as in “The Wax Men”, “The Deadly Dolls” with Vincent Price, and “Nightmare”)!

Even Chip himself was a “Golden Zombie of Alchemy” in "Fires of Death"!

…But, let’s be honest… That’s what we LOVED about the show!

Joe Torcivia said...


Despite the often-weird places it went (…or, more likely BECAUSE of them), VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA remains my favorite TV show of all time!

Truly, there was never a dull moment for four seasons and 110 episodes!

You should be able to check it out somewhere, somehow. There are lots of bad-copies of it on YouTube, which I do not endorse – but it’s better than nothing. I prefer the American DVDs, which are of unusually high quality for a non-Blu-ray release. Needless to say, I’ve got ‘em all, and watch ‘em often.

You CAN see a “Next Week Teaser” for an episode I like (and some other program interstitials) at THIS POST! I’m amazed that it hasn’t been taken down yet.

If you DO ever check VOYAGE out in whatever form you chose, I’ll give you a “Top Ten Episode” List to choose from:

“Jonah and the Whale”

“The Cyborg”

“The Phantom Strikes”

“Graveyard of Fear”

“Day of Evil”

“Deadly Waters”


“Fires of Death”

“A Time to Die”


…And, there’s THIS... A program I put on at my Thursday Night Horry and Sci-Fi Film Appreciation Society! …Gotta be seen to be believed.

Happy viewing!

Achille Talon said...

I'll see how i can find it, being that unfortunately and as you may know, American DVDs don't run in European DVD players. Some "zone" nonsense or what have you. I'll probably track it down in some form, though, and I'll be sure to check out those episodes you mention!

By the way, the post you linked to concerning The Lost World also mentioned an episode called The Deadly Dolls, whose villain is placed by Vincent Price. Is it any good/representative of the story? Being a huge fan of Vincent Price in general, it might ease my transition into the story to begin with an episode prominently featuring a familiar face… just a thought.

Speaking of Price, have you ever seen the 1963 The Comedy of Terror? It boasts an all-star cast (down to the cat) including Price, Boris Karloff and Basil Rathbone, and it is hilarious as far as "Halloweeny" movies go. The movie is unjustly half-forgotten, unlike the similar 60's The Raven film (which also features Price, Lorre and Karloff, albeit in very different roles); that one is crazier, but somewhat less funny than Comedy of Terrors in my opinion, and the effects are extremely cheesy at times.

Joe Torcivia said...


Thanks for the correction. If there’s a discrepancy between Google Images Search and one of my readers, I’ll throw it to the latter every time.

I’ve watched NOWHERE NEAR as much STONEY BURKE as I have VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, and, to me, it sure looked like Dowdell that came up on that Google Image search on his name. But, I’ve gone directly to my DVD’s of STONEY BURKE to pull the images that are now in the post, so there can be no doubt.

Joe Torcivia said...


Perhaps by now you have seen VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA’s “The Deadly Dolls”, and I’m sure you’ll agree it was both a wild and unusual ride.

I’m also a huge Vincent Price fan, and love both “The Comedy of Terrors” and “The Raven”! There’s lots of Vincent Price on my DVD shelves, movies, TV, anything I can get my hands on!

TC said...

It's best to see Comedy of Terrors after seeing Tales of Terror. "What place is this" is even funnier in context.

Joe Torcivia said...

I don't believe I've ever done that... but YEAH!