Tribute to Mel Fisher

 

Mel Fisher Tribute

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About the films

Back before the Atocha, before the 1715 Plate Fleet, before a move from California to Florida changed their lives, there was a family who enjoyed the adventure of exploration, not only of the underwater world but also in every aspect of their lives. Led by Mel and Deo, the Fisher family spent many weekend outings in the mountains as well as the beaches of California. Mel recorded these and their many other adventures with a 16mm video camera equipped with his own underwater housing. From panning for gold in mountain streams to spear fishing tournaments in the ocean, from Panama to the Caribbean, Mel captured the adventures of a family growing up in the 50s and 60s.

All of this 8mm film footage was stored in metal canisters inside a fiberglass box, which Mel kept with the family during all their years of travel from California to Florida to Vero Beach and eventually to a houseboat in Key West. It was when the houseboat sank that the fiberglass box sustained water damage and eventually taken to the 5th floor of the Key West museum.

In 1998 while Taffi was talking with Mel she asked, "If there was one thing you could preserve and pass on what would it be?" Mel thought for a moment and replied "My movies. I wish everyone could see my movies." By the time Taffi was able to recover the fiberglass box, significant damage had been done to some of the film canisters. The box and its contents were taken to the film preservation lab of Century III at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fl. After months and months of waiting, the film that could be restored was transferred to eight VHS tapes. Because the majority of the film had no audio track there was no way for Century III to know the time and event sequence of the restored film.

The VHS tapes and the segments of events on them now needed to be placed back in their proper time/event sequence. To do this, the movie room at the Mel Fisher Center was used and as Deo watched the films, we recorded her narration of time and events.

The film is then captured to a computer and with the use of a video-editing program, placed back in sequence along with the recorded audio tracks taken from Deo's narrations. The first of these segments takes us to the Cenotes of Chichen Itza.

High Road to Danger is from a syndicated TV show that aired in 1957. It is just a small part of the restored film recovered from the fiberglass box. We have broken the show into 5 chapters for easy viewing on the web. Chapter 5 will be uploaded at the same time as this posting, so for those who have not yet seen HRTD all chapters are on and ready for you to join Mel and take The High Road to Danger.

ENJOY

Bill Moore

Bill Moore was part of the "Golden Crew" that salvaged the Motherlode of the Atocha. He worked closely with Deo Fisher to add her naration to some of these movies.