Welcome back, welcome back, welcome baaaaaaack (to be sung like the theme song to Welcome Back Kotter). Yes, welcome back folks, to another review from the much maligned Bargain Bin. It is nice to be back and I hope that you haven’t forgotten about my segment and if you have, well I guess I am here to remind you that there is a plethora of cheap DVD’s out there to enjoy and despise. These movies from the Bargain Bin are, nonetheless, often purchased as a roll of the dice or to simply take a stroll down memory lane. This week’s review is, for me anyway, a trip down memory lane, starring one of my all time favorite comedic actors. You may know this particular actor from films such as “The Reluctant Astronaut”, “the Ghost and Mr. Chicken”, and maybe even more notably from television as Deputy Barney Fife in “The Andy Griffith Show”, and, one of my favorites, the loudly dressed landlord, Ralph Furley from the sitcom starring the late John Ritter, “Three’s Company”. The actor that I am referring to is, of course, the one and only Don Knotts. The late, great Don Knotts passed away a year from this Sunday on February 24th, 2006 and I guess that you can say that this review is my small tribute to the great comedic actor who may have often starred as a second fiddle in many cases yet quickly proved that all eyes were to be on him, soon leading him from the hugely successful 1960′s television show, TheAndy Griffith Show to headlining films like this week’s subject, “The Incredible Mr. Limpet” which was his first headlining film after departing from The Andy Griffith Show. Without further ado, lets get to this week’s review of the 1964 film……………The Incredible Mr. Limpet!!
Movie: The Incredible Mr. Limpet
Director: Arthur Lubin
Writers: Jameson Brewer and John C. Rose
Starring: Don Knotts, Carol Cooke and Jack Weston
Reviewer: Joe Sikes
“Our thanks to the Department of Defense, and especially to the U.S. Navy, without whose authorization this heretofore carefully guarded “military secret” could not have been told.” Yes, that’s right, heretofore! The Incredible Mr. Limpet opens with the preceding quote sparking your curiosity to question what is this “military secret” and who the hell uses the term “heretofore”? The United States Government and Ben Affleck’s character in “Good Will Hunting”, that’s who! Enter two highly ranked Naval officers, Harlock (Andrew Duggan) and George Stuckel (Jack Weston) who are forced to re open a file from 1945 for the sake of assisting Naval scientists in their studies to discover why porpoises have brain structures rivaling man’s. There is a very strong possibility that this man-like intelligence possessed by porpoises may be due to the teachings of a man by the name of Henry Limpet (Don Knotts) who, lets just say, is not exactly who he used to be.
Henry Limpet is a curious case. You see, Henry is a meek gentleman of slender build who is an easy target for his contemporaries, especially his peer, George Stuckel, who has no problem with bragging endlessly of his naval exploits. Henry, unfortunately, due to his poor vision and lack of physical strength, has been rejected numerous times by the Navy and George isn’t afraid to remind Henry of his unfortunate predicament. On top of dealing with George’s endless boasting and his co-workers’ disrespect, Henry must endure his wife, Bessie Limpet (Carole Cook), who cannot stand Henry’s preoccupation with all things fish, which is all Henry has to escape his trying existence. If Henry were to have just one wish granted, this wish would be to trade his human existence for that of a fish. “I wish, I wish, I wish I were a fish”! When Henry accidentally overfills his fish tank Bessie demands that Henry give all of his fish to the local pet store. Henry reluctantly complies with Bessie’s order and is left fish-less, leaving Henry without his only friends.
On one fateful day, while on a picnic with George and Bessie at Coney Island, Henry once again states “I wish, I wish, I wish I were a fish” and mysteriously plummets into the Atlantic where his beloved fishes await. Unable to be saved by the great George Stuckel, Henry Limpet has finally achieved his dream of being a fish. Not only has Henry become a fish but he also makes new fish friends including a love interest by the name of “ladyfish” (Voice of Elizabeth MacRae and a hermit crab by the name of “Crusty” ( Voice of Paul Frees). Henry soon finds out that the life of a fish isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be although this is a small price to pay for the new sense of importance that he has discovered. While swimming about with his new buddy Crusty, Henry discovers a freighter that holds documents that might just lead to his big chance to be the naval hero that Henry has always dreamed of being.
The Incredible Mr. Limpet is a film that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Mr. Limpet sends the timeless message that it is okay to be different and that heroes come in all shapes, sizes and yes, even species. I have watched The Incredible Mr. Limpet more than once since I dug it out of The Bargain Bin in The Christmas Tree Shop of Saugus, Mass. and each time I am reminded of how entertaining Don Knotts was as a human and a fish. Celebrate the life of Don Knotts by gathering the family around your TV and viewing The Incredible Mr. Limpet and you won’t regret it. With or without your family, you will enjoy watching pretty much any film starring the talented Don Knotts. I give The Incredible Mr. Limpet 2 out of 3 fish! See you next week with another review from The Bargain Bin!