The Wizard of Speed and Time

Back in a land long-forgotten, an era known as “the 80s,” my mother rented a VHS (think old school DVD) for the family called The Wizard of Speed and Time.  It quickly became my favorite movie of all-time and remains so to this day.

It was made by a special effects artist named Mike Jittlov who wrote the script, directed, played the lead role, did the special effects, and fulfilled all manner of other jobs.  He also spent his life savings to make the movie.  It is a comedic, touching film that follows an ever-upbeat filmmaker as he attempts to pursue his dream.  There is literally more magic in this one, humble film than in the sum of all other movies I’ve ever watched.

A poster for the movie is one of two wall decorations that I own (courtesy of mom at Christmas one year).

A decade ago I wrote Jittlov to tell him that I was studying performing, that I loved his movie, and to ask if he had any advice for me.  He actually wrote me back to encourage me.  So not only is he that awesome, but I was poking around his website and found this Craigslist ad.  In describing the woman he’s looking for, he says…

#3: A musical, artistic idealist who is romantic, cuddley, old-fashioned, but non-Religious, non-abusive, non-oral and non-smoker/drinker

Methinks we have an atheist on our hands!

Sadly, this movie never got the acclaim it deserves.  In writing this post I found that the movie, in its entirety, has now been uploaded to youtube.  Given Jittlov’s tacit endorsement of the fan-created laserdisc version of the movie, I can only assume he’s not filed a DMCA so everybody can see this movie almost 25 years later.

This movie always makes me happy.  I put it on while I’m writing at least once each month.  If you have the time, you should watch it.  :)

PERSONAL: The corrupting power of fame and my love for my commenters.
PERSONAL: Happy birthday, Hitch.
You guys are wonderful.
PERSONAL: Mid day lab pics from the wife.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Umlud

    Thanks for the sudden flashback. I also saw this film when I was a kid, and – although I didn’t understand it right away – I was completely tickled pink by the end.

    Thanks again for evoking those memories.

  • Rory

    Holy crap, JT…I LOVE this movie. I first found it on when I was in college, and the trailer was so off the wall that I ordered an old VHS copy from Ebay. It’s one of the few movies I can watch any time, no matter how lousy my mood is, and feel better. Jittlov used to have his phone number on his website and some friends and I called him once. He was very friendly and very gracious, and it’s good to see him getting a bit of publicity. Maybe this post will create a few new fans.

  • LeftWingFox

    Ah this is a classic. I remember watching Timothy Bottoms doing a a Wonderful World of Disney Special called “Major Effects”, which was all about the special effects work Disney was doing on their movies, as well as a plug for “The Black Hole”. They visited the various Hollywood “Wizards”, including the Wizard of Speed and Time.

    You can guess the short film that was used for that segment. I’ve always wondered just how much the making of the special influenced the events in the film.

  • LeftWingFox

    Joseph Bottoms… sorry. Have a clip.

  • Pat S

    I first came across Jittlov’s short animation back in 1980, then had the pleasure of meeting him at an SF convention. I still have the poster that he signed for me.

  • drax

    It sounds like an interesting movie, and I’ll likely check it out, but I have to wonder about the “non-oral” bit in the description of his ideal woman. Does he want a woman who can’t talk?

    • J*

      I wondered about that too. Maybe he hates head?

  • kyshwn

    I have this on VHS and ripped it to DVD so I could watch it every so often without having to go on a hunt for a VHS player. Such a fun movie.

  • The Schwa

    Wow. I remember watching the original short as a kid in the late 70s/early 80s. We usually watched “Hardware Wars” along with WoSaT.

  • David Johnson

    Most of his short films are on Youtube now too.

    I can remember back in the 70s/80s when a panel by Mike Jittlov at a SF con would be one of the most attended panels there. He’d lug in his 16mm projector and all his shorts and everyone would have a damn good time.

    Heck, most of the people in the theater at the end of WoSaT are from LASFS!