One Last Salute…

The SQV has just learned of the sad passing beloved actor Richard Herd – our very own Admiral/Secretary General Noyce.

As tributes pour in for one of the best character actors and familiar faces on TV in a career spanning almost 50 years, we present an except from ‘Tales From The Cult Film Trenches’ , featuring a rare interview with Herd where he speaks candidly about his time on SeaQuest, sharing his affection for his co-stars and giving a unique insight into the production…

“I was a recurring character on SeaQuest –  here’s how I got the role – I had done what I consider my very best piece of work on television.  I did a character called Captain Galaxy aka Moe Stein on an episode of Quantum Leap (Future Boy).  I did the last episode of Quantum (Mirror Image) as well, reprising that character.  SeaQuest came up, and Tommy Thompson who wrote Future Boy was one of the producers on that show.

The pilot for SeaQuest was directed by Irvin Kershner, who had directed the Empire Strikes Back.  I had met Steven Spielberg when I was up for a role in the movie 1941, but I lost that part to Robert Stack.  I went in and auditioned for SeaQuest, and then Kershner had me back again, to be approved by Spielberg.  I believe it helped that Tommy Thompson was the fellow who worked on Quantum Leap.

Everybody wanted SeaQuest to be a success, including all of the Star Trek fans.  The Trek Science-Fiction show type of fans were looking for a new show to latch on to.  You do not know the opportunity that was presented to SeaQuest.  There was no show on at that time that was even remotely like it.  Today there a sci-Fi shows all over the place.  At the time, there was nothing besides SeaQuest, except for Star Trek:  The Next Generation really.  They wanted it to be a success, and the people behind the scenes and everybody working on the show wanted it to be a huge success too.

They had a huge response to the first couple of shows, then they had too many producers, too many people became involved, too many suggestions.  I also believe that it wasn’t set that far enough into the future either – it took place sometime around 2024 (2018!)

Still, the show had a fabulous cast.  We had some good directors and and we had some good guest stars – William Shatner, Topol…Some wonderful people came on.  Then they paid for bigger names; we later had Charlton Heston on as a guest.  However the producers started to tinker with the show.  What they did after the first year was a terrible, terrible thing.  They just about fired any actors involved over the age of 45.  They dropped myself, Royce Applegate and a couple of others.  They then replaced us with these nice kids; we used to refer to it as Sea Hunk.  The show was then moved to Florida, supposedly to save money on sets and locations, and they ended up spending more money to to put all these people up in houses and whatever, and give them cars.  However, they did not save any money.

They brought me there to do a couple more episodes for the second season but it was a disappointment.  But I will tell you one thing, if I were called to work with Roy Scheider again, I would be there in a minute.  He is one of the best actors I have ever worked with.  He was the kind of person who tried to make the show better, he was a tough guy – but a tough guy in the right sense that he cares about the work, and he wanted it to be better…” 

In customary fashion, the last word goes to Dr. Kristen Westphalen herself, who posted this message on her facebook page earlier –




Surfing The Lightwave…

The SQV is overjoyed to be once again bringing you both exclusive material and first-hand accounts from those who actually worked on the show.

SeaQuest was pioneering in its use of CGI for most all of its Special Effects work.  Though the technology and software used was primitive by today’s standards, Sci-Fi themed TV shows like Babylon 5, Star Trek, Voyager and Space, Above and Beyond had nonetheless moved beyond traditional model work for vehicles and environments generated entirely by computer by the 1990’s, setting the standard for what was to come.

One of the upcoming young visionaries responsible was Fred Tepper – a VFX artist who managed to put his stamp on SeaQuest from the very beginning, working on the pilot under director Irvin Kershner.  Fred recalls his experiences developing experimental CGI and the pressure of meeting deadlines for a big-budget Primetime Sci-Fi TV show at length here.

Fred has also exclusively uploaded two of his showreels from his personal archive featuring his work on SeaQuest and other projects. The first is  an Amblin Imaging VFX Reel –

Followed by an Amblin Reel of Playback Screens, showcasing Computer OS type displays as seen on the SeaQuest bridge and beyond…

My sincere thanks to Fred for sharing this content with the SQV and SeaQuest fans across the globe..!




Do not adjust your set – normal service is resumed at the SQ Vault with this third in a series of vintage articles exploring the origins of SeaQuest DSV directly from series creator Rockne S. O’Bannon.

The November 1993 Special Edition of very short-lived publication Not Of this Earth features a piece by Mark A. Altman (click for larger) contains a few more revelations about the show’s influences (citing the Hunt For Red October) and declares O’Bannon had already departed for ‘personal reasons’, which, in the fullness of time would be fully explored (in a future post!)

For all the great ideas about the future as depicted in 2018 and the courageous rejection of a dystopian vision, its seems apparent even at this point in time (midway through Season 1’s run) many of these concepts still to be fully explored and were off and running with only the ‘three sentence idea’ as outlined.  Among the casualties discussed here was ‘Earthnet’, the mock news TV channel intended to provide insight into world affairs.

While its easy to see how the subject matter lent itself so readily to Television, one can’t help but think that the movie as originally planned by Spielberg rather than a series of self-contained adventures may have been the voyage to a new frontier audiences would have craved…



Motion Sense…

Mark Simon may be notable for his current duties on The Walking Dead for AMC, but ask him what his favourite assignment was from the 4,500 productions he is credited with and he maintains it was one of his first, an ambitious Sci-Fi TV show produced by Steven Spielberg.

Indeed the young artist’s enthusiasm is evident in the superb piece by Bill Wilson taken from the pages of Starlog Science-Fiction Explorer circa 1995, where its clear that, while enjoying the creative freedom that can only be provided by a fantastical theme, there is much more to storytelling than mere imagery.  This became the basis of his first book Storyboards: Motion In Art and culminating in his own company Storyboards and Animatics. Inc.

Although referred to as ‘storyboard artist’ for SeaQuest DSV’s second season, his formidable experience accrued already in the field meant his collaboration with Production Designer Vaughn Edwards went beyond sequential art into concept illustration and eventually, second-unit direction (on the episode ‘Playtime’.) and would leave a legacy of illustrations for the show that still resonate today.

So it is with considerable pleasure that the SeaQuest Vault smashes the champagne bottle on the Mark Simon Portfolio – a permanent page not only featuring galleries of his work but a world-exclusive all-new audio interview where we catch up with Mark himself as he recalls his experiences on the show.   His candid recollections are in turn fascinating, insightful  and surprisingly poignant.  Be sure to read the above interview carefully and then jump to over two decades later here – its essential listening for ‘Questie’s and sci-fi fans alike..!