Strange PERILS of Making MOVIES Beneath the Sea
Hollywood’s most intrepid cameraman relates startling adventures he has encountered making undersea movies which chill your blood.
by HOMER SCOTT – Pioneer Underwater Cameraman
IN 14 years I probably have gazed into the cold eyes of more curious fish and looked on the bodies of more actors and actresses beneath the sea than any other man. From the shores of Southern California to the rocky coast of the Socorro islands, far south in the Pacific, and even off the shores of New Zealand I have descended many times in one of my half-bells, my legs dangling puppet-like in the cold water, to photograph dramas that sometimes thrilled me more than were the audiences that viewed the results on the screen. ] When the editors of Modern Mechanix and Inventions asked me to write of the thrills and tell you how these scenes are filmed, I said to myself, “Gosh, there’s nothing very interesting about undersea picture-taking.”
CAP AND MASK IN ONE PROTECTS DIVER’S EYES
Bathing fashions in the course of centuries have seen many novelties, but it remained for a Los Angeles, Calif., designer to think of this new headgear, which is a combination cap and face mask in one.
When the first wearer recently appeared on the Los Angeles beach, the startling, round eyeholes of the mask might have suggested to a fanciful observer the appearance of a feminine Martian or a lady robot. Despite its oddity, the mask serves the practical purpose of protecting the eyes and ears in diving. Celluloid eyepieces keep out the water. The lower portion of the mask covers half the swimmer’s face, leaving the ‘ nose and mouth uncovered. It may be turned up when not needed.
CALIFORNIA FISHERMEN WEAR DIVING HELMET
Fishing in a diving suit is the latest sport innovation at Catalina Island, Calif. Equipped with a diving helmet, and weighted down with a lead belt and shoes of the same heavy metal, the submarine fisherman walks out from shore as shown below. His trailing air hose is attached to a compressor on shore, behind him. He carries a long-handled, three-pronged spear with which to kill his catchâ€”if he can. As fish usually are attracted by the escaping air bubbles, the sport is exciting.
Inventor Gets Thrill in Homemade Submarine
His own invention, a one-man submarine, provides thrills for twenty-four-year-old James Bolar, Jr., of Oakland, Calif. He built the ten-foot craft in the basement of his home at a total cost of fifteen dollars for materials, and demonstrated it recently to astonished spectators in San Francisco Bay. Bolar enters a hinged conning tower, which is then sealed watertight by a rubber flap, and lies flat on the floor. A speedboat takes him in tow.
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Piccard’s Submarine Balloon
A famous explorer of the stratosphere designs a remarkable undersea craft for a journey to ocean depths never before reached by man.
By Charles Wright, Aneta News Agency Correspondent
BRUSSELS, Belgium-(Special to Popular Science Monthly). By applying the lifting principle of a balloon to a diving chamber, Prof. Auguste Piccard, pioneer explorer of the stratosphere, has found a way to descend to greater depths of the ocean than man has ever reached before. He has embodied his idea in a submarine craft of extraordinary design, able to navigate more than two miles beneath the waves. As this is written, he and his Belgian assistant, Prof. Max Cosyns, of Brussels University, are preparing to entrust their lives to the invention in the Gulf of Guinea, off the Ivory Coast of Africa.
Diving Suits Used to Raise Mastodon Bones
Diving for mastodon bones was the strange occupation of a group of scientific explorers at Silver Springs, Fla., not long ago. When the bottom of a large spring was found to be the resting place of remains of prehistoric, elephantlike creatures, an expedition was organized to recover them. Divers descended thirty-five feet to exhume the bones from the mud and silt in which they had lain for thousands of years. Despite the difficulties under which the divers worked, they recovered a magnificent collection of teeth and parts of jawbones. The underwater photo, reproduced below, shows one of the divers at work at the bottom of the spring.
Shark Octopus Undersea Battle Filmed
A most remarkable battle between a shark and an octopus has been photographed by a daring cameraman for the film, “Samarang”â€”(Out of the Deep). With his camera and equipment inside a diving bell, open at the bottom, the internal air pressure being sufficient to keep the water out at shallow depths, he placed a piece of meat in the water to attract the shark, the octopus already being in the vicinity. The battle which ensued between shark and octopus lasted twenty minutes, but it was quite one-sided.
Isn’t this from Innerspace?
Metal Diving Suit Developed
FITTED with ball bearing knuckle joints, which provide mobility for the wearer, a new all-metal diving suit is said to enable a diver to descend to a depth of 1,200 feet. The suit eliminates the need for air lines, having a specially designed built-in air tank. Hand-operated grappling irons are a feature of the suit.
DIVING HELMETS WORN AS SWIMMERS LEARN STROKES
Diving helmets are worn by pupils taking swimming lessons from a San Francisco, Calif., instructor who employs a radical new method of instruction. Wearing these helmets, the beginners frequently remain under water for long periods during which they study the swimming movements of the instructor and later attempt to imitate them. The helmets are made from thin metal containers and cost little. The bottom is removed and the sides hollowed out to fit over the shoulders. The helmet is held in place by straps that pass under the arms of the wearer. Good vision is insured by a large rectangular window in the front of the helmet and air is supplied by a hose that leads to an air-pump at the surface.