What was Lloyd Bridges like?»He was a well-seasoned Shakespearean actor and the true “actors’ actor” as the industry labels people. He played stage summer stock whenever he could. Lloyd, “Bud” to his close friends, was a genuine gentleman… handsome, kind, considerate, physically fit and eager to learn to do the proper action with this new equipment. After all, he was used to the props of a holster and pistol and was an excellent swimmer. Diving gear was a lot different. He was a caring family man with sons Beau, Jeff and daughter, Lucinda. Later Beau and Jeff were placed in the cast for some episodes. Dorothy was the teacher for the children’s theatrical prowess and a Rock of Gibraltar beautiful wife. He had to be trained in scuba for the role, right?»We didn’t really have time for that in the beginning so his training was everyday on the set although Courtney Brown and I had him in a swimming pool for quick lessons at first. Lloyd was an expert at copying a character and mimicked Courtney’s flutter kick to perfection. It wasn’t until the end of the series, that Lloyd came to Bob Meistrell and told him that he would like to take the full scuba course so that he would be considered a Certified Diver. So you were more experienced as a diver than the man who single-handedly came to be the figurehead for diving for many?»That’s true. I had a lot of experience diving but he really made the character of Mike Nelson come alive for audiences. He was a great actor and a great friend.
Next he made an appointment with the Admiral at the U.S. Navy Base at Barber’s Point for approval before having me play Fane’s wife underwater in the film and living aboard the ship with the remaining cast and crew of men. “No woman was going to sink the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet” were the undertones. I was presented to the Admiral for inspection, thoroughly interviewed, and checked out in the Barber’s Point Dive Tower. A military diver accompanied me in the tall tank of fresh water. The two of us wore swimsuits and nose clips… no masks or fins. From the surface near the ladder we took a deep breath, feet-first, pointed toes and descended with a swoop of our arms overhead with precision. It was a quick drop. The sides of the tank clearly labeled the depth. We went to 70 feet when the military diver touched my shoulder and gave the signal to stop. We kicked to the surface. As we broke the water, I could see the catwalk balcony around the tank with uniformed men, the Admiral and Doug Fane resting their elbows on the rail watching intently. This was my test to be with the film crew or be flown back to the mainland. The Admiral gave the “thumbs up” sign. I passed. I was the first female to dive the tower. The minesweeper carried all the UDT equipment, rubber rafts, scuba gear, crew and cast. The first officer assigned to that ship was given leave to allow accommodations for “the girl” on board.
The month of September and weeks into October were practically used up with underwater and topside filming using almost every Hawaiian island. For one of the shots, a submarine joined us for a full day’s shooting. We were in 60 feet of water off the Island of Molokai for that one. The submarine submerged very slowly while cameraman Lamar Boren captured every angle. The star, Dan Dailey, performed well in the submarine escape hatch sequence. When we finished the day’s work, we were allowed to stand on the deck of the sub while it surfaced very, very slowly. An eerie experience. When we were ankle-deep in water, Dailey performed a Broadway stage soft-shoe-shuffle while still wearing UDT garb with fins and those of us next to him joined the dance. This was serious fun! When filming was complete, arrangements were made for Fane and his personal choice of UDT men with Lamar Boren boarded an airplane to the Marshal Islands to find and film sharks. These were to be the stock footage of the live shark scenes not only for Underwater Warrior but also for the upcoming Sea Hunt television series.