The plot of "Magnetic Mine" centered around a dispute between local commercial fishermen and a kelp harvesting barge. The fisherman blamed the kelp harvester for poor catches. The fishermen discover an old World War Two mine in their nets, and drag it to the kelp bed. They are, of course, hoping that the kelp harvester will hit the mine and blow up. In true fashion, Mike Nelson saves the day.
I haven't seen the episode in years, but I remember that much of the episode was filmed at the Port of Hueneme, California. My father was the manager of Kopco, Inc., which harvested and processed kelp. The kelp harvesting barge "Kopco Star" was depicted in the episode, and the Kopco processing plant was used for exterior shots. I was about 5 years old then, and with great excitement was able to watch the filming, including a fight scene where stunt men back-flipped off the dock into the water.
Shortly after this episode was filmed, the strange-looking Kopco Star sank in the Santa Barbara Channel, but its three-man crew was rescued by a passing freighter. A few years after that, Kopco's replacement vessel, the "Ellwood", sank with the loss of all hands.
Port Hueneme, in the late 50's, was a sleepy fishing village that shared the harbor with a small navy base. As a kid, I spent many hours fishing, crabbing, and making a general nuisance of myself amongst the Portuguese and Italian fishermen.
Today, the sleeping fishing village has been replaced by a busy, modern commercial port. Fresh halibut, mackerel and sardines have been replaced by Toyotas and bananas. The small homes and businesses have been torn down to make room for million-dollar condominiums. They call it "progress".
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