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Encyclopedia > Admiral Harriman Nelson
Richard Basehart
Richard Basehart

Admiral Harriman Nelson was a fictional US Naval officer first played by Walter Pidgeon in the 1961 Science Fiction movie, "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea", and later played by Richard Basehart in the 1964-1968 TV series of the same name. Both the movie and the series were set in the near-future of the 1970s, with the series generally using dates between 1973 and 1980. Since this era was depicted from the vantage point of a decade earlier, their version of the decade obviously differs considerably from the one that actually took place. Image File history File links This is a copyrighted promotional photo with a known source. ... Image File history File links This is a copyrighted promotional photo with a known source. ... Walter Pidgeon (September 23, 1897 – September 25, 1984) was a Canadian actor. ... Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was a science-fiction film directed by Irwin Allen and released in 1961. ... Richard Basehart Richard Basehart (August 31, 1914 - September 17, 1984) was an American actor. ...


Nelson, as depicted in the original movie, was a borderline-geriatric career naval officer, about age 65 or so, strong willed, forceful, not used to being questioned about his decisions, and overly fond of a good cigar. The TV iteration of Nelson was a bit younger - about fifty - and considerably more energetic, as more generally befits the protagonist in an action/adventure series. This version was evidently somewhat based on Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, the youngest admiral in US Naval history. The younger version of Nelson preferred cigarettes to cigars, and chain smoked for the first several years of the series. Elmo R. Zumwalt Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr. ...


In both versions, Nelson is a four-star admiral, and one of the world's most brilliant scientific minds. He's cited as being "One of the world's foremost marine biologists" in both versions, and also apparently holds high degrees in Nuclear Physics as well. The TV series added that he was also one of the brightest minds in computer engineering alive at that time.


Nelson is unmarried, and apparently childless, though why this should be is never explained, and it is unknown if he is widdowed, divorced, or perhaps a life-long bachelor. His only living blood relative, a sister who was kidnapped and held hostage in an attempt to get Nelson to release top-secret information. His place of birth is unknown, however his accent implies that either he or perhaps his parents were New Englanders. This is supported by the fact that his one known ancestor was an 18th century New England captain of a slave ship. Nelson has an extremly close relationship with Commander Lee Crane, which is alternately describes as "Father/son" or "Brotherly." The two trust each other implicitly, except when the script says differently.


Nelson's naval record is never expressly stated, however it is known that he has extensive naval combat experience, both in submarines and in the surface fleet, and he's an extremely experienced aviator as well. It is known that he commanded the USS Nautilus at some point in the late 1950s, and that Lee Crane first met the Admiral when he served on that ship's crew. It is also known that he has served as an instructor at the United States Naval Academy on occasion. He has some background in Counterintelligence, and evidently speaks fluent Russian as he is occasionally seen on assignment under cover in the Soviet Union. His credentials as a sceintist and explorer are above repute, and although he is mentioned as being "Always controversial," he is held in generally high regard by the scientific and military communities, despite his mercurial temper, and is popular in the media, probably because of said temper. Six ships of the United States Navy have been named USS Nautilus. ... The United States Naval Academy (USNA) is an institution for the undergraduate education of officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and is located in Annapolis, Maryland. ...


Nelson retired from the active-duty Navy at some point prior to the beginning of the series (And movie), and formed the Nelson Institute for Marine Research, which is headquartered in Santa Barbara, California. In this capacity, he designed and built the Seaview, which is the world's only privately-owned-and-operated Nuclear Submarine. The Seaview is, however, listed as a Naval Reserve vesel, and is automatically drafted into active service in wartime. As such, her crew is composed entirely of retired naval personel. This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Nelson has always felt it was his duty to be strictly apolitical, and refused to ever voice an opinion publicly on a political matter. In the second season, however, he was forced to take a different stance when he discovered that a leading candidate for Secretary of Defence was actually an enemy agent. Despite his apoliticism, Nelson is extremely close friends with fictional US President Henry Talbot MacNeil, and was counted as one of the president's poker buddies.


Nelson's religious beliefs are a subject of some debate. He is obviously a rational - if moody - intellect, and clearly believes in evolution, however he has also memorized lengthy passages of the bible which he recites on occasion, and he seemed condescending towards a visiting Soviet dignitary's vocal atheism on at least one occasion. That said, despite his several paranormal experiences, Nelson appears, on balance, to be Deistic or else guardedly irreligious.


Nelson's career after 1981 is unknown, however it is fanon that he went on to become President of the United States. (This is most likely based on Richard Basehart's appearance as an unnamed president in the TV movie City Beneath The Sea several years later. That film is thought by many to be in the "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" universe, given it's wholesale use of props and miniatures left over from that series. For the author, see Frantz Fanon. ... Richard Basehart Richard Basehart (August 31, 1914 - September 17, 1984) was an American actor. ...


 
 

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