"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" Hail to the Chief (TV Episode 1964) Poster

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Hail to the Chief
Scarecrow-882 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The President of the United States has fallen and a subdural hematoma, a blood clot, is in need of special attention, quick-like as a NATO convention, set to feature all the important major powers of the world in attendance, the Commander-in-Chief's presence is essential in maintaining peace treaties that have kept WWIII from breaking out. A new type of machine, designed to dissolve tumors, clots, etc without the need of surgery, the MQ-G, could be of use to the President. Surgery might still be an option, but the MQ-G machine, its magnetic rays, is the safest, or so those among the President's treasured staff are led to believe. When the main architect of this machine is run down by one of The Enemy's agents, the doctor's secretary, Laura (Viveca Lindfors), will be in charge of using it on the President—exactly according to plan as Laura is a member of The Enemy and plans to use the MQ-G as a death ray, the President's death would be attributed to natural causes. When the Seaview, a civilian sub (not commissioned by the military, but built and operated by Nelson's research institute), is called upon to transport the MQ-G machine, surgical staff, and eventually the President himself, they are unaware that Laura is in cahoots with one of the country's most diabolical enemies. One flaw Laura wasn't expecting is that when she turns on the death ray (one check to see if the equipment was functioning properly sets off alarms) it throws the controls of the Seaview out of whack, resulting in a near catastrophe as a specific valve is stuck after the sub rams into underwater mountainous terrain. This episode has another one of those intricately designed plots regarding the political landscape of the world and how there are those countries wanting total anarchy, threatening the life of the US President as his presence is important in maintaining the structure of peace. It was always cool how the Seaview, its main intent in studying and exploring the ocean depths for unique life and answers to potential mysteries yet undiscovered, gets brought into all of the political intrigue. Lindfors is quite good as a sophisticated, yet devious foe, her comfortable explanation of how her machine would change the inside of a raw egg and kill the US President certainly one of the most memorable scenes in the episode, all told to her (Russian?) superior. I was amused at how carefully/exquisitely these nefarious types smoke their cigarettes, a certain style and flair and the dialogue rolls off their tongues…a delicate method of delivery is also part of this style. Anyway, the token suspense scene in regards to the Seaview's danger is a stuck valve inside the ventilation pipes, and how a crew member will have to risk his life to loosen it, with Capt Crane having to come to his rescue when his arm gets stuck.

It's a spotfest in regards to the recognizable faces of several guest stars such as John Hoyt as General Beeker, Malcolm Atterbury as Commander Jamison, Edward Platt as Morgan, and Star Trek's Scotty himself, James Doohan as a White House aide. Lindfors is really the standout, though. Kowalski even gets involved in the plot as he must carry microfilm in an arm device, is knocked out, the film photographed, disturbing what was supposed to be a level of top secrecy. Susan Flattery is a stenographer who works for The Enemy using eye glasses to listen in on the White House Top Brass meeting and communicate back to her superiors what has taken place.
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The President has a nasty boo-boo and the Seaview is called in to help.
MartinHafer22 September 2017
The President has been injured and the government wants to keep this a secret. After all, he's supposed to be leading an upcoming peace conference and if folks learn of his ill health, it might jeopardize the meeting. So, to assure secrecy, the President is smuggled aboard the Seaview where he'll undergo surgery. The problem is, evil folks have learned about this and plan on sneaking aboard and killing him. After all, every other episode of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" SOMEBODY managed to sneak aboard the most important vessel in the entire sea!! In this case, the evil doer is one of the docs who plans on using a death ray on the man! Can Seaview manage to complete this mission without the President assuming room temperature?

This is a decent episode...not among the very best but certainly quite good and watchable. The whole evil person getting on the ship angle has been WAY overused so far in the series...apart from that, it's engaging and interesting.
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Play Spot The Known Guest Star?
StuOz29 October 2016
The Seaview must transport the sick President (aka Chief).

There is no question that this hour is loaded with known male and female guest stars, but you can play guest-star-watch with many TV shows of this period, it takes more than that to make a really good Voyage hour.

Seaman Kowalski (Del Monroe) gets more to do than usual, which is a help to any Voyage hour, but there is a lack of suspense in the episode which makes me call it average-to-good but not great.

The footage of Clark repairing the damaged Seaview would all be reused in the third season hour titled: No Escape From Death.

If you get a bit bored by Hail To The Chief at least you have a funny line from Nelson, in the last seconds of the show, to look forward to.
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