This Don Knotts movie was the first ever to be screened underwater
This premiere was o-fish-ally unique!
The 1964 live action/animation hybrid film, The Incredible Mr. Limpet is still fondly remembered by generations. One of the most well-known Don Knotts movies, Knotts' hapless fish enthusiast who gets to fight Nazis while transformed into a fish himself is an unlikely hero, but a beloved one.
Where to hold the press screening for such a unique movie? The studio heads at Warner Bros. came up with a unique idea, fitting to the movie's aquatic setting: they'd hold it underwater!
An Omaha World-Herald article explains that after watching a mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs in Spring Hill, Florida, the executives thought that it was the perfect venue for the press premiere of Limpet. And not just a screening at the venue; no, they wanted the movie in the water, just like the mermaids.
However, while the mermaids at the attraction were able to swim around effortlessly with the aid of oxygen tubes, putting a whole movie theater under the water wouldn't be so easy. "There were a few bugs," the World-Herald says. "The pure spring water, although it did not distort the screen image, did filter out certain colors and this movie had been filmed in glorious Technicolor. There were certain problems in anchoring a heavy screen under water so it wouldn't float away. And occasionally a live fish in the springs would stop to rest, or think, right in front of the screen during the movie."
However, in the end, they made movie magic happen, and guests from the press, radio, and TV sat down to watch the film in the auditorium sixteen feet below the surface of the water.
"Was it worth all the cost and fuss?" The World-Herald asks. "Yep."
The Weeki Wachee Springs State Park Facebook page posted a picture of the grand event, so you can see what it was like to be there at this submerged screening.