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Before John Williams was Irwin Allen's composer of choice, the team of Paul Sawtell and Bert Shefter were the regular musicians for the future Master of Disaster. Sawtell and Shefter scored Allen's early films The Big Circus (1959) and The Lost World (1960), and Sawtell alone scored Allen's debut documentaries The Sea Around Us (1951) and The Animal World (1956), as well as his Jules Verne adventure Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962).
In 1961 Sawtell and Shefter scored a feature film which would become the first of many Irwin Allen franchises for Twentieth Century Fox: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. The film introduced the Seaview, a futuristic submarine commanded by Admiral Nelson, played by Walter Pidgeon and later by Richard Basehart in the 1964-1968 spin-off TV series. The Seaview must brave undersea monsters, a treacherous minefield, sneaky saboteurs and its own navy in order to save nothing less than the world itself.
Veterans of sci-fi films such as Kronos and The Fly, Sawtell and Shefter provided the perfect accompaniment to the Irwin Allen mindset, emphasizing danger, action, suspense and adventure on (and under) the seas. Although Sawtell later wrote the theme and five episode scores for the Voyage TV series, the feature score is its own entity; Russell Faith wrote the title song (performed by Frankie Avalon, who also plays a supporting role) and Sawtell and Shefter elaborated on its melody for most of their score, with gorgeous underwater "travelogue" music. They also captured seafaring tropes which have since become standard in space-based sci-fi scores like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Starship Troopers—and of course the pair broke out the classic Hollywood monster-movie aesthetic for the moments of high peril.
Sawtell and Shefter were Hollywood workhorses but are seldom represented on CD. FSM addresses this oversight with a full stereo remix of the complete score to this genre classic. The CD features liner notes by Irwin Allen expert Jeff Bond plus rare stills from the Fox archives.