Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Proteus

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:

"See? Antibodies!!!"

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:


SQT said...


For some reason this post kept making the page error out. Blogger has been really tempermental for the last couple of days. And now it won't load pictures properly.

While I was trying to fix the problem the original picture stopped showing up, even though the html code was still there. I put in another picture of the proteus in the mean time to try to keep it as close to the original post as possible but keep the page loading. (it wasn't before)

I hope you don't mind.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Nope...I'm a laid back kinda guy

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

My wife and I went on our honeymoon for our 3 year wedding aniversary to Vegas last year. After several days of enjoying Las Vegas, we went back to our room Sunday afternoon for a nap. I fell asleep with the remote in my hand. My wife had to sit there and watch it that afternoon, though to her credit, she didn't have much else to watch.

SQT said...

I still haven't sat and watched Fantastic Voyage all the way through. I don't really know why, I just haven't.

It must be pretty influential though. I think virtually every show has had some sort of parody of it at one point. Even Sponge Bob had an episode where Sponge Bob and Patrick shrunk down to go inside Squidward and dislodge part of his clarinet from his throat. Funny stuff, at least my kids thought so.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I've seen 'Fantastic Voyage' many times. I like to see Raquel and her....acting.

SQT said...

I like Raquel Welch. I don't know if you could call her acting superb, but she's still beautiful after all these years. And I like that she always looked like a real woman, not a stick figure.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I think science fiction fans owe it to themselves to see this film. During the sixties and early seventies, science fiction was rare..and something seldom done with any degree of seriousness.

Carmi said...

In the real world, the Proteus was also the precursor design to the famous White Knight that carried SpaceShipOne before its suborbital flights.

Burt Rutan: my hero.

Scot said...

Among fictional vehicles designed for the movies, the Proteus was unusual in that its interior was actually built inside the full-size sub, as opposed to being a separate set. This was obviously necessary due to the huge glass windows in the sub's nose, through which most of the interior can be seen. Several removable or "wild" sections allowed the cameras to film the interior action from various angles.

Harper Goff, the man who designed the Proteus, also designed the Nautilus for the 1954 Walt Disney production of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." Unfortunately he received no screen credit for "20,000 Leagues" because he wasn't a union man. On "Fantastic Voyage," he was given the rather vague credit of "creative production research."