August 3, 2011

Nemo and company...

Divers from 20,000 Leagues re-enter submarine Nautilus

One of my favorite memories from my youth was the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. It was a profound aesthetic treat, quite unforgettable. Today's "steampunk" fantasies are weak tea by comparison. And even better was the exhibit at Disneyland where one could walk through sets from the film. Everything in my life since then has been a bit anti-climactic. (The picture above shows divers re-entering the submarine Nautilus.)...

Divers from 20,000 Leagues

So it was very cool today to stumble on this web-site, THE DISNEY DIVERS:

...Filming the underwater scenes for Leagues was the greatest technical feat of its kind ever attempted. Nothing on this scale had ever been done before. The operation was so unparalleled, and the photographic methods were so revolutionary, that the United States Navy sent observers along to film the operation and see what they could learn about underwater photography from the Disney team...

...In 1954, SCUBA diving was still in its early years. The equipment seen in the movie was experimental. Conceived and perfected by people like Harper Goff, Fred Zendar, and Al Hansen, the Disney diving systems combined hard-hat and SCUBA gear with unique art-metalwork that was out-of-this-World...

...The rigs were tremendously heavy: well over two hundred pounds each. Because of this, safety protocols required that each individual diver had to have several assistants to help him in and out of the water. Once aboard the barge, the divers were guided to numbered seats on benches where tenders would remove and service their gear, and the air tanks could be recharged for the next dive...

Divers from 20,000 Leagues on tender

Here we see some of the Disney Divers all geared up and ready to go. That�s Ricou Browning in the #9 station. Ricou is also well known as the diver who played the monster in the underwater scenes for Creature from the Black Lagoon. Al Hansen is the seated diver on the left, and Canadian diver Leonard Mott is the diver on the right side of the picture.
Posted by John Weidner at August 3, 2011 9:37 PM
Weblog by John Weidner