Sunday, December 03, 2006
Keeping the theme of fantastic vehicles going, and I am not sure why I am doing this, let's now turn attention to the Proteus. The Who? Most people won't know it's name, but the ship was one of the stars of "Fantastic Voyage", which contrary to belief was not written by Isaac Asimov, but rather Asimov wrote a novelization of the script by adapted for film by Harry Kleiner.
The film is about a group of scientist who are miniaturized and injected into the body of a Soviet defector in order to zap a blod clot. Not great science. Asimov would later point out that the patient should have been killed when the submarine and the body of one of the scientists were left behind in the brain. As I am writing this, I'm realizing how absurd it sounds. But trust me, this film at the time of its release (1966) was hailed as a miracle of special effects and people were thrilled with an "accurate" portrayal of a trip through a human body. Science teachers around the country pointed to pictures from the film and gleefully proclaimed:
And speaking of bodies...(you knew this was coming) another reason for the film's success was Raquel Welch in a skin tight costume. I pause for dramatic effect.
Getting back to The Proteus, the submarine the scientists used for traveling the blood stream was a fictional underwater vehicle designed for studying the spawning habits of fish. Yep..that was my response, too. The vehicle, in reality, was the design of Harper Goff, the man responsible for the design of The Nautilus from Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea".
The Proteus itself was both a full size mock up and a series of minatures. There were also cutaways which allowed the camera crew to follow the actors as they moved through different parts of the ship. Detailed information on this, as well as gallery of wonderful pictures of the sets can be found at the website: