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"Of all the words of mice and men..."
The Wizard of Speed & Time
Mike Jittlov
...the saddest are "It might have been."

Having encountered a tall fellow in a green jacket at 2AM or so at the World SF Convention in Boston in -- ummm -- 1980? -- and greeted him with "You're Mike Jittlov -- and i'm not!", I stood and talked with him for some time about Things.

I got a crick in my neck -- he don't look it on film, but he's tall enough that six foot tall me had to look up while talking -- and he told me some of his plans.

First, though, i asked him how the *%*^& he made the stop-motion animated frisbees in "Mouse Mania" spin as they cruised by (when i point out or describe that effect [and the fact that it is not an optical; it's in-the-camera] to people who know/have done stop-motion, their jaws drop) and he told me.

And then he told me about the wonderful movie he had planned, spinning off from a segment of Disney's promo show for The Black Hole. (Which, incidentally, aside from the Barnstable twins, was the best part of the program -- oh, no -- i tell a lie -- Frank and Caroline Mouris [Frank Film] did a beauty of a kinestasis/cut-out animation sequence.)

It was going to be titled The Wizard of Speed and Time, and it was going to be the story of a man who gained the ability to use 100% of his brain instead of the roughly 10% we allegedly use in our normal lives.

He would be superintelligent, and superfast and generally superish, and the normal human authorities would feel threatened, and...

It sounded great. But it didn't happen -- instead we get this sad travesty.

Yes, it's funny. Yes, it recycles parts of some of Jittlov's previous work -- but, none of the shorts used are complete, and none have the proper original music cues.

Yes, he gets some revenge on a Large Hollywood Production Company which shall remain nameless but they did a teevee special (mostly pretty unspecial) about special effects that Jittlov worked on.

Yes, he lays some zingers on the Hollywood guild-and-union system.

Yes, there are some wonderful gags layered in here and there -- try freeze-framing the "Japanese Jumping Wall" segment as the Wizard scoots along the wall, and be sure to read all signs and placards and so on in the background.

Yes, he kicks against the pricks generally.

But "the system" managed to grind down even such a wild talent as Jittlov's, and, not only it ain't what "might have been," but i understand Mike got such a screwing from the producers/releasing company that, according to one report, he left film-making entirely...

Another good man done gone...