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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea -- Jules Verne

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Jules (Gabriel) Verne (1828-1905) saw his Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea first serialized from 1869-1870. First translated into English in 1873 by Lewis Mercier, British censors forced him to cut major sections of the book. The translation itself contained numerous errors of its own, some of which are still being corrected to this day. Though the original English translation was faulty, it did translate the title correctly as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (plural). The first American edition of the book (James R. Osgood, Boston), published almost simultaneously with the 1873 English edition, changed the last word of the title to the singular "Sea," by which it has come to be known today. The rare 1873 Osgood edition (lower left) showed the incorrect title on the cover, while the title page (lower right) printed the title correctly as "Seas."

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" aired on the short-lived (but highly regarded) radio show Favorite Story (1946-49) on December 20, 1947. Favorite Story shows were unique in that it asked famous personages of the time -- movie directors, actors, radio personalities, musicians, and anyone else in the public eye at the time -- to suggest their favorite story or novel for adaptation on the radio show. None other than Orson Welles suggested this Verne tale, and an excellent adaptation it is.

First filmed in 1907, then in 1916, Verne's classic tale has seen the silver (or tv) screen countless times, some critics proclaiming the Walt Disney 1954 production as perhaps the best (and certainly the most well known). It starred James Mason (as Nemo), with Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorre also in starring roles.

As he did throughout the Favorite Story series, famed British actor Ronald Coleman hosted and narrated the show (and sometimes would take the leading role in selected dramatizations). So enjoy now the story of the mad genius Captain Nemo and his futuristic submarine, the Nautilus, as he travels "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and shows his captives wonder upon wonder, even unto the lost city of Atlantis. Note that the "20,000 leagues" does not refer to the depth the submarine can submerge, but to the distance it travels in its journeys.

Play Time: 27:22