Full Scale Proteus Mock-up
Proteus Filming Miniature
U-91035 Proteus, Exp. Oceanographic
Web site by: Phil Broad
Conceived by its designer as a tool for studying the spawning habits of fish in the wild, the experimental nuclear submarine "Proteus" would begin and end its career on a single mission. Brought into the secret government research project being run by CMDF Command on an emergency basis, the submarine would become the base of operations for a team of surgeons who would attempt to save the life of a Soviet defector. Once moved into the the CMDF main laboratory the Proteus and her crew would be subjected to miniaturization then injected into the blood stream of the critically injured Soviet scientist in an attempt to perform life saving laser surgery on the brain "from the inside".
The Proteus is in reality the
product of the same creative man who designed the famous "Nautilus"
from Walt Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", Harper Goff. In
fact, many similarities may be found in the two designs, the pilot position
in a bubble on top, large protective keel and sheer water flanges, dive
planes embedded in the flanges and large crescent shaped vertical tail/rudder
surfaces. Even the mid ship position of upper and lower hatches is
the same. Mr. Goff was a longtime friend of Walt Disney but it would
be his work on "Leagues" which would sour their relationship and possibly
cause Mr. Goff to seek employment elsewhere, such as 20th Century Fox.
It was Mr. Goff who convinced Disney that the Nautilus should appear to
be built from the technology of the late 1800s rather than the sleek futuristic
concept originally favored by Walt. Because the sub is the locale
of the majority of the action in the film, it is arguably the convincing
design of the ship which contributes heavily to the movies ultimate success.
There was only one problem, Mr. Disney ran a "union shop" and Mr.
Goff refused to join any union. Because of this fact, Mr. Goff could
not be listed on the screen credits as "Art Director" so another man got
that title. After the premiere, the movie would go on to win an Academy
Award for Art Direction. The other man got the Oscar, not Harper
Goff. It has been said that Walt could not look Mr. Goff in the eye
after that incident and I doubt their relationship was ever the same again.
When watching the credits on Fantastic Voyage you see the same sort of
ploy, Harper Goff is listed as a "special consultant", not Art Director.
However, it may be that he only designed the sub itself and not the many
other wonderful sets found in this film.
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