Fire! Flood! Tsunami! Bees! Polar ice cap melting! Volcanic Eruption! Irwin Allen, the Master of Disaster, had a hand in them all.
There was an Irwin Allen produced science-fiction series on the air every year from 1964 – 1970. One of those years, 1966, he had three series running concurrently on two networks: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (ABC, 1964 – 1968), Lost in Space (CBS, 1965 – 1968), and The Time Tunnel (ABC, 1966 – 1967), the channel’s most expensive series at the time.
With a few films throughout the decade, and his insane success on the small screen, studios threw money at the Master of Disaster in the 70s, and so he earned his title. Allen produced the successful The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974) which he also co-directed, in addition to several made-for-TV disaster movies including Flood! (1976), Fire! (1977), Hanging by a Thread (1978), and The Night the Bridge Fell Down and Cave In!(both 1979). As the decade dragged on he continued at it, but with poor earnings for movies like The Swarm (1978), Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979), and When Time Ran Out (1980) it seemed to many that the man had lost his touch. His formula for success – a star studded cast coupled with romantic drama and disaster – was an expensive one to sustain, and by the end of the 70s he just couldn’t compete with the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
Nevertheless, Allen will forever be remembered as the Master of the Disaster, and for creating the “Irwin Allen rock-and-roll” – you know that move when the camera is rocked as the on-screen cast rushes from side to side on the set and it looks exactly like a ship being tossed around! He helped a cast of the biggest stars save the world over and over again for two decades … until time ran out.