The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo

© Copyright Magic Shadows Inc. All rights Reserved.

 

Click these links hear the music sounds for Captain Nemo: 

Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo Opening

Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo Close

 


September 23, 2006 - Added plot synopses for all of the episodes.   These are actually the synopses Magic Shadows provides in the syndication package for Captain Nemo.

July 19, 2006 - Al Guest and Jean Mathieson contacted me recently by email, and provided some more information about The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo.  They mentioned that their company, Magic Shadows Inc.,  still sells the Nemo shows around the world.   


Introduction

Question:  What are the Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo?

Short Answer:   A series of five minute cartoons produced in Canada in the mid-1970's.  They told the story of Captain Mark Nemo and his young assistants, Christine and Robbie, in their nuclear powered submarine, the Nautilus. 

And the Longer Answer..

In the fall of 1975, children in the United States and Canada were introduced to the animated series The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo.   In America, Captain Nemo was introduced as part of the long running children's program Captain Kangaroo on CBS.  In Canada, one five minute Captain Nemo cartoon was shown during each episode of Peanuts and Popcorn which ran on the CBC.  

Created by Al Guest and Jean Mathieson, (who directed, wrote and produced the show) and produced by Rainbow Animation of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo was a fanciful spin on the original Jules Verne character from his book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  

This time, the Captain is re-imagined as a ocean researcher and do-gooder named Mark Nemo.  Blonde and hunky, Mark traveled the world's oceans doing scientific research and thwarting evil doers.  Along for the ride came two kids Chris (short for Christine) and Robbie who learned, along with the viewers, about life beneath the sea as they went.   

These cartoons were quite short, exactly five minutes in length (30 seconds of which was the opening) but as a child growing up in British Columbia I loved them.  Often, if a program ended early on the CBC, and there weren't enough ads or public service announcements to fill the space, an unscheduled Captain Nemo episode would be run, which was always a nice surprise for me.

In the subsequent years, the series has been sold to television stations all across the globe. In particular, it attracted a huge following in Brazil, where it was used to fill in the extra time for shorter soccer games.  In fact, since its first airing, The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo was never been off the air - it is always playing somewhere in the world.

At least in part educational, these cartoons are an insight into some of the philosophy around children's education of the mid 70's.  Each episode would attempt to convey some information about oceanography or marine biology, and all of the plot lines would be resolved cleanly in five minutes without resorting to much violence.   

At times, Captain Nemo reflects the influence of the 1970's environmental movement, but the sometimes clumsy attempts to convey environmentalist themes are softened by its lighthearted style.  

From time to time, the episodes draw from other sources.   For example the episode "The Sunken Fleet of Truk Lagoon" appears to find its inspiration in the 1971 National Geographic documentary about the same area, depicting the exploration of Truk Lagoon by the renowned French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

Sometimes cheezy, sometimes a little preachy, but always fun, that's the Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo.   Here then is a small web presence to play tribute to this show which brought me so much joy as a kid.   Enjoy.

- Mark Weller   weller43@cox.net

 


Voice Talent

Len Carlson and Billie Mae Richards

Yep - all the voices in the series were done by these two actors!

Here's a link to Len Carlson's entry on the Internet Movie Database.    Most recently, you may know him as the voice of Minimus PU on the Atomic Betty cartoon.  (I'm also convinced he used his Mark Nemo voice for announcing in ads for Kraft Canada in the 70's, but can find no source to back me up.)

Here's a link to Billie Mae Richard's entry on the Internet Movie Database.   She is most well known for providing the voice of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer in the Rankin Bass Christmas specials.  (You may notice Robby sounds a wee bit like Rudolph sometimes.)   Billie is in her mid-80's these days, but from all reports is still alive and well and living in the Toronto area.

Both these actors also worked on the classic 1960's animated Spider-Man series.

 


Characters

 

Captain Mark Nemo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robbie

 

 

 

 

 


The Nautilus

This cool submarine was the un-credited star of the show.   Futuristic and sleek, with two viewing bubbles on the top, the Nautilus was constructed of a non-magnetic alloy.  Extremely fast, this sub could get from one side of the world to another within a single five minute episode.

Some of the equipment on the Nautilus included:

- jet propulsion

- external television cameras which can be easily monitored from the bridge

- accurate long range sonar 

- "surface scan" which could show visually what was happening on the surface of the ocean

- airlock system

- shark cage

- search lights

- global videoconferencing, even from deep in the ocean

- a two person mini-sub which could be launched when the Nautilus is submerged

- a computer library system which a robotic sounding voice readout

- laser guns with the power to weld metal together underwater from a fair distance

- torpedoes

- a harpoon gun and netting system

- powerful pumps which could discharge huge amounts of fresh water

 


Episode Guide

1.    Rescue Of A Killer 

Nemo and crew save a Killer Whale trapped under a cable.

2.    Battle Of The Giants 

Chris and Robbie accidentally become involved in a battle between a giant squid and a sperm whale.

3.    Poachers Of The Deep 

The Nautilus intervenes to save a herd of singing Humpback whales from brutal poachers.

4.    Jaws Of Death 

A shark menaces a lost baby Blue Whale.

5.    Monsters On The Beach 

The Nautilus must act quickly to keep a herd of Pilot Whales from beaching themselves.

6.    The Invisible Girl 

Chris is forced to pioneer a new shark repellent device.

7.    Deadly Ribbons 

Eels become a danger to the Nautilus when it accidentally intrudes on their grounds.

8.    The Floating Peril 

The crew of the Nautilus explore the strange life in the Sargasso Sea.

9.    Guess What's Coming For Dinner 

Nemo rescues Robbie when an experiment with sharks gets out of hand.

10.    Killer From The Past 

The Nautilus faces a dangerous WWII magnetic mine.

11.    The Golden Trap 

The Nautilus finds sunken treasure, but it is guarded by vicious Moray eels.

12.    The Floating Gold Mine

An experimental Sea-gold refining ship is attacked by pirates.

13.    The Tuna Trapper 

An ingenious but illegal way to harvest fish is foiled by the crew of the Nautilus.

14.    The Fish Bomber 

A wealthy collector who illegally bombs fish to add to his collection, has the tables turned on him.

15.    The Devil's Doorway 

The Nautilus is trapped by an undersea volcano.

16.    The Coral Maze 

The Nautilus is lost in an underwater labyrinth.

17.    The Mine At The Bottom Of The Sea 

Mining Manganese nodules becomes hazardous when the kids' mini-sub becomes disabled. 

18.    Wild Water And Oil 

An oil rig's submersible repair craft is trapped under the rig during a storm.

19.    The Silver Sea 

Observing the chaos of the food chain from an open boat becomes dangerous.

20.    The Ice Menagerie 

On a snowmobile exploration of the Arctic the crew of the Nautilus must race a Polar Bear to reach safety.

21.    Behind Bars 

The Nautilus saves an injured dolphin from a ravenous pack of sharks.

22.    Shark Patrol 

Specially trained dolphins guarding a bathing beach, fight off sharks.

23.    Dolphin Express 

Only a dolphin can get to the surface and back with support gear fast enough to save a diver.

24.    Collision At Sea 

The Nautilus becomes a life jacket for an injured whale.

25.    Eyes of the Deep

The crew of the Nautilus investigates the monsters that live in the deeper parts of the sea.

26.    The Bloodhound of the Sea

During an experiment, Robbie has to ward off a hungry Hammerhead Shark with his bare hands.

27.    The Arab Solution

Trapped in treacherous coral reefs with an monsoon approaching, Robbie and Chris have to think quickly to save the Nautilus.

28.    The Undersea Looters

A search for ghosts leads to ruins of Carthage.

29.    Shadow of Death

A Sea Leopard stalks the crew of the Nautilus under the ice.

30.    The Pearl Snatchers

Mysterious thefts of cultured pearls at an oyster farm.

31.    Circle of Fire

Lava from a volcano menaces an Icelandic village and only the Nautilus stands in its path.

32.    Rapture of the Deep

Robbie goes after a Coelecanth and develops Nitrogen Narcosis when he goes too deep.

33.     Fish Farm

The Nautilus investigates a case of deliberate pollution and encounters the largest shark in the world.

34.    Cool It, Captain

An emergency forces the Nautilus to hijack an iceberg.

35.    The Little Island

What is the secret of the ancient gold coins found by the islanders?

36.    Mystery Island

The Nautilus plans to sink an island.

37.    All That Glitters

The Nautilus tries to recover a cargo of valuable medicine from a sunken ship full of explosives.

38.    Queen of the Deep

A mysterious force pulls Chris helplessly into a cave full of sharks.

39.    Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River

A diver is pinned under a container that holds radioactive materials.

40.    The Big Prize

The crew of the Nautilus is honored by the Save the Whale foundation.

41.    Go Fetch, Killer

Trained Killer Whales display their abilities.

42.    Dangerous Welcome

A giant squid menaces the recovery of a group of astronauts.

43.    Mystery Triangle

The Nautilus investigates the Bermuda Triangle.

44.    The Meteorite Shower

Mating Sea Snakes complicate the retrieval of a meteorite.

45.    Snake Charmer

Chris attracts a deadly admirer.

46.    Haul Away Joe

A valuable research submarine disappears.

47.    See Through Killer

Robbie has an encounter with a fatal Sea Wasp.

48.    The Shark Catalog

The Nautilus takes a look at some of the strangest sharks in the world.     

49.    The Blue Hole

A small plane goes down in a lake in the middle of the ocean.

50.    Undersea Flyer

Mark, Chris and Robbie save a rare Leatherback turtle.

51.    The Five-Armed Thief

A plague of starfish descend on an oyster bed.

52.    The Greatest Predator

The crew of the Nautilus sees the results of man's effect on his environment.

53.    Getting Ahead

While testing new thermal diving suits in the Arctic, Robbie and Chris lose their way under the ice.

54.    Everybody Does  It

Why is Mark sending the Nautilus on a collision course with an island?

55.    When Right is Wrong

Poachers hunting the protected Right Whale are pursued by the Nautilus.

56.    The Invisible Wave

The hunter becomes the hunted when the Nautilus, trapped in an underwater landfall, is at the mercy of desperate diamond thieves.

57.    Earthquake Hunters

It's a bad time for Robbie's radio to break down when he gets his foot caught in a giant clam.

58.    The Cloud Under the Sea

The Nautilus creates its own whirlpool to save a kelp farm.

59.    The Haunted Habitat

Mark, Robbie and Chris turn into ghost hunters at a haunted sea lab.

60.    Saved by a Whisker

Help comes from an unexpected source when the crew of the Nautilus is menaced by walruses.

61.    When You've Got to Glow

Teenagers swimming near a nuclear power plant develop a strange glow.

62.    Hawksbill Hero

Mark makes his acting debut to save the Hawksbill turtle.

63.    Charlie to the Rescue

Tables are turned when Chris is saved by a dolphin.

64.    The Penguins of Paradise Harbor

Man-eating Leopard Seals menacing a colony of penguins.

65.    The Mermaid of Key West

Robbie and Chris look for mermaids off the Florida Keys.

66.    Flight from the Swordfish

A Swordfish attacks the Minisub with Chris and Robbie inside.

67.    Heads or Tails

The crew of the Nautilus discover the world's only bullet-proof fish.

68.    The Loch Ness Monster

Robbie is sure he and Chris have found the Loch Ness Monster.

69.    The Sunken Fleet of Truk Lagoon 

Danger still lurks in the graveyard of World War 2 ships.

70.    Undersea Hitch-hiker

Study of the Remora fish takes the Nautilus into the middle of a school of sharks.

71.    Sitting on a Fortune

The Nautilus crew discovers treasure worth millions of dollars.

72.    The Ice Trap

A fleet of whaling ships find themselves mysteriously sealed up in the middle of an iceberg.

73.    Turtle Farm

The crew of the Nautilus discover a plan to save the Sea Turtle.

74.    Now You See It, Now You Don't

Things are seldom what they seem, under the ocean.

75.    The Yellow Flood

Millions of poisonous sea snakes are sighted off the coast of a Jamaican resort.

76.    The Tunas of Taranto

Robbie is almost taken for a tuna when he stumbles into some fishing nets.

77.    The Hidden World

Mark shows Chris and Robbie the secrets of hidden marine life.

78.    The Green Ghost

Mysterious holograms from the Nautilus save a new generation of the Green Sea Turtle.

 


Peanuts and Popcorn 

In 1975, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) moved into children's programming on Saturday mornings with a ninety minute package of films. The program was called Peanuts and Popcorn, and included a cartoon, a serial, and a one hour film. 

The main Canadian component of the program were The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo animated shorts, produced by Rainbow Animation Ltd. of Toronto. 

The whole Peanuts and Popcorn series was coordinated by Nada Harcourt (l975-77) and Suzanne Garland (l977-78).

The original airdates of Peanuts and Popcorn were:

Sat 10:30-12:00 noon, 4 Oct 1975-27 Mar 1976

Sat 10:30-12:00 noon, 2 Oct 1976-26 Mar 1977

Sat 10:30-12:00 noon, 1 Oct 1977-25 Mar 1978

Sun 11:00-12:00 noon, 7 Oct 1978-31 Mar 1979

(Source:  Department of Film Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.)


 

New Life on DVD

In 2005, Digiview Productions, a producer of inexpensive DVDs, released the Captain Nemo cartoons in a series of four volumes.   These were chiefly made available through Walmart where each DVD, containing 12 episodes of the show, retailed for $1.00 a piece. I bought them, of course, and found the transfer quality to be excellent.   Be careful in selecting from the Walmart bargain bins though - sometimes the ones toward the bottom can be a little beat up.

An online review of the Captain Nemo DVDs can be found here.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

(in this area I will post questions I receive from interested visitors)

 

October 15, 2005 - - Question:   Is there any connection between The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo and the animated series Rocket Robin Hood?

Yes.   Al Guest and Jean Mathieson, the creators/directors/writers/producers of Captain Nemo, worked on both series.   Trillium Productions, based in Toronto, Ontario, made Rocket Robin Hood. Trillium was part of the Guest Group, a group of creative companies owned and run by Al Guest, who was somewhat of a legend in Canadian broadcasting circles in the 1970's.    He also produced Captain Nemo.   Jean Mathieson was a key animator of Rocket Robin Hood, particularly in the first and season seasons.   Jean was also notable as one of the first woman animators.  She went on with Al Guest to form Rainbow Animation in Toronto, which produced Nemo, and for that show she had a variety of duties, including animation supervisor.    She also formed Magic Shadows Inc. in the United States with Al Guest.

Finally, the voice of the character Rocket Robin Hood in the 1968-1969 season is that of Len Carlson, who provided the voice for Mark Nemo.

 

October 15, 2005 - - Question:   When does The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo take place?

A good question.  Although this is never quite established in the series, it can be surmised that Captain Nemo takes place in the near future.   

Technology, such as that of the Nautilus, and the presence of the United World Organization which runs a global governmental agency that protects the world's oceans appear to be evidence of that.   Like many near future worlds envisioned in the 1970's, I think it's safe to say it was supposed to take place around the year 2000.    (sidebar:  Sealab fans of course suggest the year 2020, or even better 2021).

Interestingly, one of the futuristic items mentioned in Captain Nemo is a ban on commercial whaling.   In reality, a moratorium was established on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission in 1986. 

 

November 7, 2005 - - Question:   Where can I find a sound file of the opening music?

Right here - click these links hear the music sounds for Captain Nemo (.wav format): 

Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo Opening  (this includes the sound effects from the opening sequence)

Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo Close  (no additional sound effects)

 

July 19, 2006 - Question:  Do the producers of Captain Nemo know about this site?

Yes, they do, and they have offered to answer any questions about the show that I may have, so please send your queries my way!

 

Send your questions to the webmaster, Mark Weller, at  weller43@cox.net

 


Credits

Created, Produced and Directed by Jean Mathieson and Al Guest.

Scripts by John Sone, Richard Oleksiak, Jean Mathieson, Al Guest, Dave Cox and Don Gillis

Layouts by Gilles Chateau and Maureen Walton

Animation Supervisor - Jean Mathieson

Animators - Yanina Cohen, Patricia Crudden, Terry Godfrey, Keith Ingham and Frank Kunz

Ink and Paint - Nathan Guest, Wayne McKenzie, Alysoun McKay and Stana Damjanovic

Camera - Kim Bernard and Dave Pauloff

Production Co-ordinator - Dale Tychie

Editing - Al Guest and Michael Haight

Additional Direction - Gilles Chateau

 


The Undersea Adventures of Captain Nemo and all related pictures, sounds and other content on this page are © Copyright Magic Shadows Inc. All rights Reserved.

 

Page was last updated September 23, 2006.

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Email the webmaster, Mark Weller, at  weller43@cox.net

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