Friday, March 2, 2018



Rated PG | Color | 95 minutes

As was very much the case with the previous entries in this column (i.e. BLOOD BEACH and MY DEMON LOVER), THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME was another film I discovered on VHS back in the '90s. I pulled it out of a heap of used rental tapes (going for the astoundingly low price of 5 for $20!), and threw it in with my other video treasures. That was at least twenty years ago, and it saddens me to realize that I no longer own a physical copy of animator Mike Jittlov's magnum opus.

Synopsis: A decade after having his 1979 short THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME showcased on an episode of The Magical World of Disney's Major Effects, Mike Jittlov ended up remaking it for a feature-length film bearing the same title. What's truly interesting about this movie is that it is more or less a biopic about the creation of Jittlov's original short, as well as his brief partnership with Disney, which obviously left him a little frustrated at a studio system that is fraught with red tape.

In THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME, Mike Jittlov plays himself: A talented, but eccentric animator and visual effects wiz who doesn't like to shake hands. As he attempts to show off his work and receive the recognition he desires, Mike becomes a pawn in a $25,000 wager between two Hollywood producers, portrayed by actual Producer Richard Kaye (THE TOMB, TURN OF THE BLADE) and actor Steve Brodie (THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION, FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND).

Despite some meddling from Kaye's Harvey Bookman, Mike's friends and family pull together to help him create a special effects masterpiece that will be broadcast nationwide on television! And as the film reaches its conclusion, we get to see Jittlov's brilliant work in the form of his new and improved THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME short!
He's powered by green energy!
This oft-forgotten movie is on the odd side, but it's full of heart, and every frame oozes Mike Jittlov's passion for telling stories and creating effects. It's a fun and (relatively) family friendly movie that never truly had a chance to find an audience (though it has certainly built up a cult following over the decades), and therefore deserves to be released on Blu-ray!

Availability: At this current time, THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME is out of print! If you simply must own a physical copy of the film, there are several VHS copies for sale on AMAZON and EBAY. For those that prefer digital, there's a really good copy of the film HERE on YouTube that was uploaded with Jittlov's permission.

Current Rights Holder: THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME (aka WOSAT) got a brief theatrical run in 1989 through Shapiro-Glickenhaus Entertainment (aka SGE), followed by a VHS release that same year. Image Entertainment handled the laserdisc release for Jittlov's film, which would end up getting a VHS re-release in 1992, courtesy of Starmaker Entertainment. But who currently owns the rights?

Option one: Synapse Films. I say this because Synapse has snapped up distribution for numerous SGE titles, including RED SCORPION, BASKET CASE 2, BASKET CASE 3: THE PROGENY, MANIAC COP, MCBAIN, and FRANKENHOOKER. Option two: Lionsgate. Starmaker Entertainment was engulfed by Anchor Bay decades ago, and as we all know, Lionsgate bought out Anchor Bay in late 2016.

 Option three.
As it turns out, neither Synapse or Lionsgate are involved here Vault Dwellers. Since the studio that distributed the film (SGE) disbanded in the mid-90s, the rights apparently reverted back to Mike Jittlov! This is one of those rare occasions where the creator has full control of their film! (Huzzah!)

Blu-ray Wishlist:
  • A fully remastered 2K transfer of the film. (4K is probably asking for too much.)
  • Original Mono audio and new 5.1 Surround Mix.
  • Audio commentary with Writer/Producer/Director/Star Mike Jittlov.
  • Interviews with Mike Jittlov, Producer/Star Richard Kaye, Actress Paige Moore, Composer John Massari (KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, SNAKE EATER, et al.), and director Frank LaLoggia (LADY IN WHITE, FEAR NO EVIL) who had a bit part in the film.
  • Original THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME short from 1979.
  • Mike Jittlov's other animation efforts: Animato, Swing Shift, and Time Tripper.
  • Gallery of posters & stills.
  • Original theatrical trailer.
I'm a big fan of THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME, and I think the time is right for it to find a much larger audience. If you agree that this movie has enough cult appeal to warrant a Blu-ray release, sound off below! Also to sate my own personal curiosity, I have contacted Mike Jittlov via e-mail to see if the man behind THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME can offer up any information on whether or not a Blu-ray disc of WOSAT is a remote possibility! Stay tuned for updates Vault Dwellers!


  1. This is one of those I remember being on the shelves but my mom never rented it. That cover always stuck out to me, lingering in the periphery of my mind, not remembering what the title was. I must thank you for filling in that blank.

    1. Hey, happy to help out Brian! Thanks for reading! :-D

  2. He seems to have disappeared. What is he up to these days?

    1. Bobb, I wish I knew! I reached out to Mike the day I posted this, and still have yet to hear back. If I make contact with Mr. Jittlov I'll definitely be updating this article!