|(live action, part drawn animation)
Contrary to popular belief, the Allies did not achieve naval superiority in World War II through strategic planning and better-engineered vessels. No, victory came thanks to a spectacles-wearing fish with the voice of Don Knotts. With the information declassified in the early 1960’s, the story of The Incredible Mr. Limpet could finally be told.
In the film, Knotts plays Henry Limpet, a mild-mannered bookkeeper with a fish fixation who wants to enlist in the U.S. Navy. Pal George gets accepted, but Henry just isn’t Navy material. Depressed, Henry takes a walk out on the Coney Island pier with his wife Bessie, only to slip and fall into the water. Suddenly, Henry is turned into an animated fish-same face but a new set of gills and fins.
The transformed Limpet befriends hermit crab Crusty and an attractive lady fish named Ladyfish, who help him get the hang of his new life under the sea. Bridging human and fish worlds, Limpet becomes the Navy’s secret weapon, tracking down German U-Boats and helping turn the tide of the war.
The bug-eyed, perpetually nervous personality of Don Knotts came across perfectly in the animation, and his comic antics delighted young viewers. The animation was supervised by Disney associate Jack Rose, and the Frank Perkins score included the tunes “I Wish I Were a Fish,” “Be Careful How You Wish” and “Hail To Henry Limpet.” His secret finally revealed, the incredible Henry Limpet retired to a life of undersea happiness, his greatest wish fulfilled.