The Silent Service TV Series Overview


Introduction

The Silent Service is an American syndicated anthology television series based on actual events in the submarine section of the United States Navy.

Outline

Documentary dramatic anthology about the US Navy’s submarine fleet. All stories were based on fact and the realism was heightened by actual use of combat footage from the files of the Navy. The stories were varied between the South Pacific during World War II and the Korean War.

The series was the brainchild of Rear Admiral Thomas M. Dykers, who retired from the Navy in 1949 after 22 years service. The Navy loaned him the USS Sawfish for the filming of several episodes. He also narrated the series.

He began each episode with this refrain: “Tonight, we bring you another thrilling episode of Silent Service stories, of warfare under the sea.”

Many of the episodes focused on the history of specific submarines, including:

  • U-47 (1938).
  • USS Bergall (SS-320).
  • USS Bowfin (SS-287).
  • USS Crevalle (SS-291), season 1, episode 19.
  • USS Dace (SS-247).
  • USS Darter (SS-227).
  • USS Flier (SS-250).
  • USS Gabilan (SS-252).
  • USS Gato (SS-212), subject of the series finale.
  • USS Grayling (SS-209).
  • USS Growler (SS-215).
  • USS Guardfish (SS-217).
  • USS Hawkbill (SS-366).
  • USS Nautilus (SS-168).
  • USS Perch (SS-176).
  • USS S-38 (SS-143).
  • USS Sculpin (SS-191).
  • USS Spearfish (SS-190).
  • USS Sunfish (SS-281).
  • USS Swordfish (SS-193).
  • USS Tang (SS-306).
  • USS Thresher (SS-200).
  • USS Tinosa (SS-283).
  • USS Tirante (SS-420).
  • USS Trigger (SS-237).
  • USS Triton (SS-201).
  • USS Wahoo (SS-238).

Cast

Actors appearing on The Silent Service included Russell Johnson, cast twice as Edward L. Beach Jr. and once as “Eddie Kent”. DeForest Kelley appeared in three episodes as Lieutenant Commander James C. Dempsey and Leonard Nimoy appeared in two episodes as Sonarman (both of Star Trek fame). Jerry Paris and Liam Sullivan each guest starred twice. Wright King played “Bony” in the 1957 episode “The Squallfish”. Eric Morris appeared in nineteen episodes, identified only as “Soldier”.

Other guest stars included Joe Conley, Jack Lord, Chuck Connors, Lawrence Dobkin, Joe Flynn, Ron Hagerthy, Adam Kennedy, Robert Knapp, Paul Richards, Edward Platt, Bing Russell, Craig Stevens, Dennis Weaver, Bob Denver, Dick Van Patten, L. Q. Jones, and Stuart Whitman.

Trivia

  • Comedian Bob Newhart spoofed the program with “The Cruise of the U.S.S. Codfish”, a routine from his 1960 live album The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart.

The Silent Service Series

Production & Filming Details

  • Presenter(s): Thomas M. Dykes.
  • Director(s):
    • Jean Yarbrough … (37 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Sobey Martin … (29 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Gilbert Kay … (4 episodes, 1957).
    • Derwin Abbe … (2 episodes, 1957).
    • Bernard L. Kowalski … (2 episodes, 1958).
    • Stuart E. McGowan … (1 episode, 1957).
  • Producer(s):
    • Thomas M. Dykers … executive producer / producer (78 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • George Cahan … producer (77 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Bill Tinsman … associate producer (39 episodes, 1958).
    • Dorrell McGowan … executive producer (1 episode, 1957).
  • Writer(s):
    • Thomas M. Dykers … (episode) (11 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Tony Barrett … (episode) (10 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Leonard Lee … (episode) (10 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Robert C. Dennis … (episode) (8 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Jack Jacobs … (episode) (8 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Sidney Morse … (5 episodes, 1958).
    • Joseph Calvelli … (episode) (4 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Sidney Marshall … (episode) (3 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Malvin Wald … (episode) (3 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Milton Geiger … (episode) (3 episodes, 1957).
    • Beirne Lay Jr. … (2 episodes, 1957).
    • Antony Ellis … (1 episode, 1957).
    • Halsey Melone … (1 episode, 1957).
    • Robb White … (episode) (1 episode, 1957).
    • John Tucker Battle … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Vincent Fotre … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Paul King … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Richard H. Landau … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Herm Lewis … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Arthur E. Orloff … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Arthur C. Pierce … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Jay Rosenburg … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Paul Savage … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Joseph Stone … (1 episode, 1958).
    • William Tunberg … (1 episode, 1958).
    • Lawrence Menkin … (uncredited) (1 episode, 1958).
  • Music: Ken Wilhoit and Eve Newman.
  • Cinematography:
    • Lucien N. Andriot … (34 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Howard Schwartz … (24 episodes, 1957).
    • John J. Martin … (6 episodes, 1957).
    • Lester White … (6 episodes, 1958).
    • Carl Berger … (3 episodes, 1957).
    • William Margulies … (2 episodes, 1957).
  • Editor(s):
    • William W. Moore … (16 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • Robert Belcher … (11 episodes, 1957).
    • Jack Kampschroer … (10 episodes, 1958).
    • Bill Lewis … (7 episodes, 1957-1958).
    • James Baiotto … (7 episodes, 1958).
    • Michael Minth … (4 episodes, 1957).
    • William Morgan … (4 episodes, 1957).
    • Jack Wheeler … (4 episodes, 1957).
    • Harry V. Knapp … (4 episodes, 1958).
    • Harry Komer … (4 episodes, 1958).
    • Irving Berlin … (3 episodes, 1958).
  • Production: California National Productions and Twin Dolphin Productions, Inc.
  • Distributor(s): NBC Television Films.
  • Original Network: Syndication.
  • Release Date: 05 April 1957 to 28 November 1958.
  • Running Time: 30 minutes (per episode).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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