Sea Hunt, which ran over 4 seasons from 1958 to 1962, was another television show with a Florida connection. Sea Hunt was about a former Navy diver turned freelancer named Mike Nelson, played by Lloyd Bridges. Bridges performed his underwater sequences alone, and provided narrated voice-overs during the extensive underwater filming on every show, a throwback to the golden age of radio. At the end of each episode, Bridges made a plea for the protection of the world’s oceans.
Among several filming locations were Catalina island in California, Grand Bahama island, and Cypress Gardens, Silvers Springs, and Tarpon Springs in Florida. After initially getting a crash course in scuba diving by his stunt double. Lloyd Bridges gradually learned to do his own underwater stunts as the show progressed until he could do most on his own.
The initial episode involved rescuing an air force pilot from his sinking aircraft, and many more harrowing rescues continued. Many famous actors got their start at Sea Hunt, including sons Jeff and Beau Bridges and Leonard Nimoy, plus Jack Nicholson on the last show.
155 episodes of Sea Hunt were produced by Miami- based Ivan Tors Productions, which later went on to produce Flipper. Sea Hunt was initially turned down by all three networks, CBS, ABC, and NBC, and all three were later shocked by the popularity the show attained, which went into syndication lasting for decades.