In the early 1960's, as a U.S. Navy ship cruises near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, its sonar detects muted hammering on metal undersea. The eerie sounds emanate from a submarine on the... See full summary »
In the early 1960's, as a U.S. Navy ship cruises near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, its sonar detects muted hammering on metal undersea. The eerie sounds emanate from a submarine on the ocean floor, maybe there since World War II. A very nervous crew member (Mike Kellin) on the ship served aboard that sub - and he was its sole survivor. Written by
Mike Kellin portraying the main character, Chief Bell, died 26 August 1983, the ship used for exterior shots in the episode was decommissioned 11 August 1983. Simon Oakland, who portrayed the captain, died three days later on 29 August 1983. See more »
"Doc" Matthews is an NCO corpsman. A ship large enough to be commanded by an officer of staff rank (like Beecham, who wears the insignia of a commander or lieutenant commander) would have a surgeon of commissioned officer rank. See more »
Incident one hundred miles off the coast of Guadalcanal. Time: the present. The United States naval destroyer on what has been a most uneventful cruise. In a moment, they're going to send a man down thirty fathoms and check on a noisemaker - someone or something tapping on metal. You may or may not read the results in a naval report, because Captain Beecham and his crew have just set a course that will lead this ship and everyone on it - into The Twilight Zone.
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In the fourth season of "The Twilight Zone", they experimented by making the show an hour long instead of the usual half hour. In some cases the new episodes worked well and in other cases it really made you look back fondly at the original format. Obviously the experiment was not successful, as the next season returned to the original length. If you would ask me why I think the shows ultimately failed, I think it's because too often they were just too long--drawing out a half hour story too far--thus ruining the suspense. "The Thirty-Fathom Grave" is a prime example of a story that was harmed by this.
The episode is set on a modern US Navy ship. When they are in the middle of very routine duty, they suddenly begin hearing tapping sounds on the sonar--very much like the sound you'd hear from a crew on a wrecked sub as they tap on the ship as a distress call. The ship stops to investigate and the next 40 minutes are basically doing nothing--waiting until the ultimate twist occurs. But, because it took so long, you are left feeling disappointed.
It's a shame, really, as one of the stars is a fun actor from the era--Simon Oakland. I loved seeing him on a wide variety of shows playing gruff blow-hard characters--especially since here he is NOT that sort of fellow. Because the show was a failure, I am sure his fine performance was overshadowed by the shallow plot and overacting of the main character--who was written in a rather bizarre and inexplicable manner.
Perhaps it's worth seeing, but it is far from a classic despite some reviews giving it a 10. In fact, EVERY episode of the series has a few people giving it 10s...making you wonder if either guys like me are idiots because we don't love every episode or there are people who are such die-hard fans that you need to take these glowing reviews with a grain of salt!
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