The Wizard of Speed and Time is a 1989 low-budget feature film written, directed, and starring animator Mike Jittlov, as well as a 1979 16 mmshort film, also by Jittlov.
In the original short film, a young man in a green wizard costume runs throughout America at super speed, much like the superhero The Flash. Along the way, he gives a pretty girl a swift lift to another city, gives golden stars to other women who want a trip themselves. He then slips on a banana peel and comically crashes into a film stage, which he then brings to life in magical ways.
Jittlov is a special effects technician, and produced all of the special effects in the film himself, many through stop motion animation.
This short film originally was shown as a segment of an episode of The Wonderful World of Disney. The episode was called "Major Effects", and was aired to coincide with the release of Disney's The Black Hole in 1979.
The film segment then began to be shown at science fiction conventions around the country, gaining popularity, prompting Jittlov to eventually create a (semi-)fictionalized account of how this short film came to be, in the form of a feature film.
Years later, Jittlov was able to remake the short, as well as incorporate portions of some of his other short films (such as Time Tripper andAnimato), into a feature-length 35 mm film. The feature version recounts the exploits of a special effects "wizard" (played by Jittlov) trying to fulfill his dream of making a full-length movie. The tricks of movie magic are exposed; but so are the tribulations of the independent moviemaker working around the heavily-unionized Hollywood film industry.
Straeker: There are your film cans, but you can't move them.
Jittlov: Why? Are they stuck to the floor?
Straeker: No, to the system!
Many scenes in the movie turned out to be only too prophetic, according to Jittlov. In the film, a director, Lucky Straeker (Steve Brodie), and a producer, Harvey Bookman (Richard Kaye), bet over whether Jittlov can actually complete a major effects assignment, and Bookman does everything in his power to thwart Jittlov.
Richard Kaye not only produced this film but also starred as one of the main characters Harvey Bookman, coincidentally a producer. Richard was also the co-writer of this script. Richard Kaye's daughter Lauri Kaye, at the age of 16, was the production secretary of The Wizard Of Speed and Time and Lauri also performs in the film as a voice-over artist and a hand model.
The feature film is also filled with subliminal messages, many hidden in single frames during the "Wizard Run" sequence (which was remade and expanded from the original short film), or hidden in electrical sparks generated by various happenings in the film.
The feature film was filmed in 1983, released to theaters in 1989 (though it was never widely distributed), and was later released on VHS andlaserdisc. Although there is no official DVD release yet, Jittlov's fans have (with Jittlov's knowledge and at least tacit approval) created a DVD image file, and made it available for free on peer-to-peer networks until such time as an official release is realized.