MERMAIDS OF TIBURON Pacific Productions, 1962. George Robotham, Diane Webber, Gaby Martone, Timothy Carey, Jose Gonzales-Gonzales, and John Mylong. Written, produced & directed by John Lamb.

   A real oddity, released, re-released and re-edited in sundry permutations (including the title The Aqua Sex) over the years by auteur John Lamb, and a big hit on Army Bases.

   Diver and all-around Deep Sea Honcho Dr. James Samuelson (played by stuntman George Robotham, here under the name George Rowe) is contacted by a mysterious scientist-guy (John Mylong, the scientist-guy in Robot Monster) for help exploring the waters off the island of Tiburon, apparently chock-full of pearls and mysterious sea critters. They arrange to meet in Mexico, but when Rowe gets there Mylong is missing, amid signs of violence in his Hotel Room.

   Enter Timothy Carey as a bad guy in possession of Mylong’s maps and a trunk large enough to hold a body. He charters a boat with skipper Jose Gonzales Gonzales and sets off for Tiburon, right behind our hero.

   At which point the action slows a bit—to put it mildly. Rowe (who also narrates, like Lloyd Bridges in Sea Hunt) gets there first, and after many long, extended, lengthy, leisurely interminable minutes of looking at water, he comes across a race of Mermaids.

   They’re a diverse lot, these Merladies. Some have fish tails, some wear seaweed bikini bottoms, but all are topless and blessed by nature. No wonder this was popular on Army bases.

   What follows is about twenty minutes of unadulterated ogling, dressed up like exploration, as Rowe follows the Merbabes into their briny homeland. I will say right now that the underwater photography is expertly done, with a professionalism you wouldn’t expect in a low-budget picture like this, and the aquatic toplessness is diverting… for a while. But after a near half-hour of nothing but buoyant boobs, I thought I was seeing double.

   Fortunately about this time we get back to the story, and I was never so glad to see Timothy Carey’s ugly mug or hear Jose Gonzales Gonzales sing off-key.

   Carey gets to show off his nasty side here, and he does it quite well, deep-sixing the trunk with Mylong’s body, dynamiting the water with Rose and the Merwomen underneath, and setting off in ruthless search of giant oysters (they look more like bits of décor swiped from a sea food restaurant) and precious pearls.

   So obsessed is he with loot that he spear-guns a Merlady in a fit of pique, leading to an end unique in the annals of movie villainy that I won’t spoil for you. Suffice it to say (as it usually does) that Mermaids of Tiburon may not be much good, but you’re not likely to see anything else like it.

   One additional footnote. Hero George Robotham spent most of his movie career as a stuntman, including stints in the Mole People, Confessions of an Opium Eater and doubling for Kirk Alyn in Atom Man vs Superman. Somehow Mermaids of Tiburon seems to fit right in.