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Film: The Incredible Mr Limpet
Live-action/animated comedy from 1964, about a nebbish bookkeeper named Henry Limpet (Don Knotts) who dreams of being a fish... until one day he falls into the ocean and becomes one - a talking fish resembling a tilefish - and helps the U.S. Navy locate and destroy Nazi submarines.


The Incredible Mr. Limpet provides examples of:

  • The Adjectival Superhero
  • All Women Are Lustful: Lady Fish anyway.
  • Attractive Bent Species: When the main live-action character turns into a cartoon fish, he ends up falling for another cartoon fish.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mentioned but subverted. When Mr. Limpet makes his wish, an angelic chorus actually sings "Be careful" a few times before he goes through with it, but it turns out he really is happier as a fish.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Even underwater, Henry needs his glasses. This becomes a plot point when he loses them just as he's about to lead a big attack on the Nazis.
  • The Cameo: Although not a Disney character, Mr. Limpet can be seen in the background at the end of the "Under the Sea" number in Disney's The Little Mermaid.
  • Cartoony Eyes: He even wears pince-nez glasses (although they're not pince-nez when he's human; this is especially obvious near the end of the film when Mrs. Limpet is giving him a new pair).
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Limpet gets turned into an Ugly Cute cartoon fish who can produce a "whale buster" strong enough to fight enemy submarines.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Crusty.
  • Fainting: When George Stickel hears the supposedly drowned Henry Limpet's voice coming from the sea, he faints dead away - probably because he thinks he's hearing Henry's ghost.
  • The Forties: Set in 1941/1942.
  • Gratuitous German: The German in the film starts out sounding legit but quickly descends into this.
  • Handy Helper: Limpet loses his glasses, so his crab friend Crusty becomes his eyes.
  • If Only You Knew: George Stickel is trying to explain to Bessie that her husband, Henry, is still alive, but can't tell her the truth: that Henry has turned into a fish.
    George: You can't see him. You wouldn't want to.
    Bessie: I do want to. How can you say a thing like that? Why can't I see him?
    George: It's impossible. His work for the Navy is top-secret. Just be happy with his paycheck. Don't even mention his name to anyone.
    Bessie: There's something fishy about this.
    George: You said it!
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Limpet falls into a lake, gets hit by lightning, and turns into a fish. However, he did wish for it earlier, and it was accompanied by creepy singing angel voices basically singing, "Be careful..."
  • Like a Fish Takes to Water: Limpet is fascinated by fish, and at one point says, "I wish, I wish I was a fish." He gets his wish, and acclimates very quickly.
  • Little "No": George says "No" softly when he finds out that Limpet has been turned into a fish.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Limpet gained a vocal weapon when he was turned into a fish. Though it's less a sonic shriek and more a sonic boom, as he generates a thundering percussive shockwave. It's put to good use at the climax of the movie when he uses it to guide "thrum" seeking German torpedoes to destroy the Nazi U-boats that launched them.
  • May-December Romance: Ladyfish implies that she only came of "spawning" age very recently. Very recently, as in the moment she met Limpet.
  • Misguided Missile: A wolf pack of Nazi submarines has fired torpedoes at an Allied convoy. The title character discovers that the torpedoes have been modified to follow his "thrum" (the booming call he can make). He uses this to make the torpedoes follow him away from the ships and hit the U-boats that fired them.
  • The Musical: There are several songs interspersed through the movie, but all are presented as fantasy sequences. Don Knotts's singing is...underwhelming.
  • Now Do It Again Backwards: The method Admiral Spewter suggests to turn Henry Limpet back into a human being.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect
  • Rushmore Refacement: While caught up in an imagined celebration of his success, Limpet imagines Mount Rushmore with his (fish) head added to it.
  • Spinning Paper: After Henry Limpet destroys the attacking U-boat wolf pack, a series of spinning newspaper headlines list the final events of World War 2 until victory.
  • Tickertape Parade: While he's protecting the convoy heading to Europe, the title character Limpet daydreams about the awards he will receive for his war hero services, including such a parade in his honor.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Nazi response to Limpet's "thrum", which they only know is an American system that picks out their subs to call in naval fire, is to equip their torpedoes with systems to track it. There is literally no scenario where this doesn't result in them targeting their own ships.
    • Partially justified, since they have no idea Limpet is a fish.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: A staple of Don Knotts comedies and, as usual, a Tiny Guy, Huge Girl scenario.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The entire movie is told by an older George to his superior when Limpet is discover to still be alive and has been teaching dolphins.
  • Wronski Feint: Henry luring the Nazi "thrum-seeking" torpedoes into hitting the U-boats that fired them.


Inch High, Private EyeThe Dark Age of AnimationJabberjaw
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alternative title(s): The Incredible Mr Limpet
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