A submarine suffers a series of disasters: a broken prop, damaged instruments and an explosion onboard.





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Episode cast overview:
Thomas M. Dykers ...
Himself - Host / Narrator
Lawrence Dobkin ...
Melhop (as Touch Connors)
Rivet (as Norman Frederic)
Les Johnson ...
Richard Karlan ...
Eddy Grove ...
Edwin Luke ...
Domingo the Cook (as Eddie Luke)
Robert Nash ...


A submarine suffers a series of disasters: a broken prop, damaged instruments and an explosion onboard.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | War




Release Date:

12 July 1957 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

A bad luck Ship
6 March 2016 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

THE SILENT SERVICE "The Ordeal of the S-38"1957

This is the 15th episode of the U.S. war series, "The Silent Service". The series was about the exploits of the U.S. Navy's submarine fleet. Each episode is a stand-alone tale of the actions of a particular submarine. Most of the stories are about actions against the Japanese Navy and merchant fleet in the Pacific. There is also the odd tale from the Korean conflict. The series ran for 78 episodes during 1957 and 1958. The stories were all based on actual events. Some pretty good attention to detail here with the U.S Navy allowing filming on several WW 2 era Gato class subs.

Each episode started and ended with retired Real Admiral Thomas M. Dykers giving a breakdown of the action. Dykers became a writer, producer and technical adviser after leaving the service. He worked on films such as, TORPEDO ALLEY, FLAT TOP, THE FROGMEN, HELL AND HIGH WATER and SUBMARINE COMMAND.

This episode is about the U.S.S. submarine,"S-38". It is the day after Pearl Harbor and the "S-38", an old World War One submarine based in the Philippines, is sent out on patrol. The submarine's Captain, Larry Dobkin plans on sneaking over a reef at high tide and attacking a group of Japanese troopship invading the islands.

He closes in and fires off a full spread. The "S-38" fails to get any hits. (Torpedoes of the early war period were terribly unreliable) The misses though do draw the attention of the Japanese destroyer escorts. The submarine and crew are soon on the wrong end of a depth charge barrage. The "S-38" later comes up and again fires off a spread of fish. This time they are lucky and they sink a cargo ship. It is now a return to the bottom and another round of depth charges.

The attack and the grounding have caused a fair amount of damage, including a bent propeller. The Captain decides to continue the patrol but bad luck dogs the submarine. A battery explodes starting a fire and badly burning a man. The "S-38" limps along on one propeller coming under attack by several more Japanese ships. She just barely makes port for some quick repairs before heading to Australia.

The "S-38" was considered a rather unlucky ship with many mechanical problems popping up during her wartime patrols. These would cause the ship to return early from most wartime patrols. The ship was finally decommissioned in 1944 and expended as an aircraft target in Feb 1945.

Also in the cast are, Dean Fredericks, Don Keefer, Mike Connors and Bobby Driscoll. Former child star Driscoll is best known for his turns in the adventure film, TREASURE ISLAND and the solid film noir, THE WINDOW.

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