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The Incredible Shrinking Man

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The Incredible Shrinking Man, starring Grant Williams, William Schallert, directed by Jack Arnold
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The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), starring Grant Williams, William Schallert, directed by Jack Arnold

The Incredible Shrinking Man is the classic science fiction story of an ordinary man. He finds himself starting to shrink, 1/7 of an inch daily. Can it be stopped? What happens when his shrinks below 1/7 of an inch?


  • Grant Williams (The Leech Woman) … Scott Carey. The Incredible Shrinking Man of the title. After an accident, he finds himself shrinking 1/7th of an inch daily.
  • Randy Stuart (I was a Male War Bride) … Louise Carey. Scott’s loving, supportive wife. She tries to be there for him, even as he takes his frustrations out on her. But, she tries to understand, and help him as best she can.
  • April Kent … Clarice Bruce
  • Paul Langton (It! The Terror from Beyond Space) … Charlie Carey. Scott’s brother. He tries to help his “widowed” sister-in-law, after the shrunken Scott is wrongly believed to have been eaten by their cat.
  • Raymond Bailey (The Beverly Hillbillies) … Doctor Thomas Silver
  • William Schallert (The Man From Planet X, The Patty Duke Show) … Doctor Arthur Bramson. The family doctor, who first diagnoses Scott’s bizarre shrinking condition. He knows that he’s out of his depth, and tells him so.
  • Frank J. Scannell (Hit Parade of 1947) … Barker
  • Helene Marshall (The Lieutenant Wore Skirts) … Nurse
  • Diana Darrin (The Bold and the Brave) … Nurse
  • Billy Curtis (April Showers) … Midget


Scott Carey: I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God’s silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man’s own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends is man’s conception, not nature’s. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!

Editorial review of The Incredible Shrinking Man, courtesy of

 The screen’s great existential science fiction film, The Incredible Shrinking Man stars Grant Williams in the title role. While catching some rays on his brother’s yacht, Williams is enveloped by a mysterious dark cloud. Soon after, he discovers that he’s getting thinner — and smaller. Despite the assuring attitude of his family doctor (the inevitable William Schallert), Williams is losing an inch’s worth of height with each passing day.

It is finally determined that he has developed an ‘anti-cancer,’ a byproduct of a new strain of insecticide. By the time he’s reached the size of a small boy, Williams has become world-famous. But the phenomenon has adversely affected his personality, turning him into a tyrant, lashing out at the world in general and his faithful wife in particular. An anti-toxin briefly halts the shrinking process, whereupon Williams joins a midget troupe, where he is briefly ‘accepted’ for what he has become. But before long he’s shrinking again, becoming so tiny that he is forced to live in a dollhouse. When Williams is attacked and by his pet cat, his wife assumes that he’s been killed: in fact, Williams, by now so minuscule that even a garden-variety spider poses a deadly threat to him, is hiding in his cellar.

By film’s end, Williams is no larger than an atom. Uncertain of what is in store for him, he steps out into the mists, summing up his new-found philosophy: ‘Smaller than smallest, I meant something too. To God there is no zero. I still exist!’ Adapted by Richard Matheson from his own novel, The Incredible Shrinking Man is enhanced by its superb special effects.

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