This color film was produced and narrated by Otis Barton about his life as a deep-sea diver, inventor, and actor. He is shown in a room with animal heads on the wall behind him as he discusses wanting to be an explorer. Family photos include him as a baby, his father holding him, as a four-year old, his mother, his siblings, the summer house on Cape Cod, him as a child in a rowboat, and his grandfather (:38-2:42). Shown is Sir Henry Stanley in photos: his explorer inspiration (2:43- 2:58). Barton is shown in a high school baseball uniform, tennis, and football. He enlisted in the ROTC in 1918, shown in uniform and on a train car (2:59-3:30). He attended Harvard College and majored in Math. A photo of a drama group is shown, followed by a graduation photo (3:31-3:52). He returns to the present and shows a crude diving helmet he invented in 1917 (3:53-4:18). In 1928, he commissioned a New Jersey company to build a hollow steel sphere with three windows. A photo is shown of it on his head (5:25). He contacted naturalist Dr. William Beebe, shown in multiple photos and in video on a sea ice expedition. In 1930, Barton invented the first bathysphere. Dr. Beebe is shown seated in the front and Barton sat in the back. Underwater footage is shown of the bathysphere as it reaches 600 feet deep, the first record for deep-sea diving (5:27-6:47). Back on land, Barton sticks his head out of the bathysphere now on display. For fun, he acted in the 1938 Hollywood movie, Titans of the Deep. Footage from the movie is shown of Barton fighting with a shark (6:48-9:12). He built the benthoscope in 1948. A newsreel shows his 4,500 ft solo dive in it, followed by newspaper and magazine headlines before his record is topped (9:13-11:30). Barton’s next invention in 1978 was a ‘jungle spaceship’ to use for filming. He arrives by helicopter in Borneo. Bumpy footage is shown of chasing hornbills by helicopter, which frightens animals. His thought is to create a camouflaged gondola powered by a hot air balloon that could also land on water (13:02-13:39). Drawn pictures shown the hazards of hot air balloons (15:15-15:55). Footage is shown of the failed test of the specialized gondola and balloon in California (16:18-17:58). The next test, also in California, uses an airship-shaped balloon. It worked until hitting powerlines and crashing (18:38-20:50). [While Barton finishes by speaking of future use of this invention, no further information is found on him actually taking it to the jungle.]
Frederick Otis Barton Jr. (June 5, 1899 – April 15, 1992) was an American deep-sea diver, inventor and actor. Born in New York, the independently wealthy Barton designed the first bathysphere and made a dive with William Beebe off Bermuda in June 1930. They set the first record for deep-sea diving by descending 600 ft (180 m). In 1934, they set another record at 3,028 ft (923 m). Barton acted in the 1938 Hollywood movie, Titans of the Deep.
In 1949, Barton set a new world record with a 4,500 foot (1,372 m) dive in the Pacific Ocean, using his benthoscope (from the Greek benthos, meaning 'sea bottom', and scopein, 'to view'), which was designed by Barton and Maurice Nelles. Barton wrote the book The World Beneath the Sea, published in 1953. Like Beebe, Barton was also interested in exploring tropical rain forests, and spent considerable time in places like Gabon. In 1978, Barton successfully tested a "jungle spaceship" (actually an airship) that was intended to film wildlife.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com