Clock Man aka "O Parádivé Sally" (found Czech animated short; 1976)

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The Real Clockman.png

The titular "Clock Man"

Status: Found: Czech Version
Found: English Version

Date found: 10 Dec. 2017 (Czech) 11 Jan. 2018 (English)

Found by: The Clock Man Search Team


O Páradivé Sally (About Dressy Sally) is a short animated film that was produced in Communist Czechoslovakia in 1976. An English dub was made in the U.S. two years later.

It allegedly aired on Pinwheel (former Nickelodeon) in the 1980s, under the name Sally.

For a long time, the short's existence was a mystery, and was colloquially referred to as "Clock Man."

Production

In 1976 Czechoslovakia, animation company KRÁTKÝ FILMS produced O Páradivé Sally, based upon the Jan Vladislav story of the same name. Jan Vladislav's tale of O Páradivé Sally was heavily influenced by an old English folktale, titled "The Old Man at the White House."[1] The animation was photographed by Jasoň Šilhan and directed by female director Dagmar Doubkova.[2]

The film was exported around the world, yet none of the creators knew exactly where their films would end up, due to Czechoslovakia being a Communist nation at the time. The film received an honorable mention at the Gottwaldov Film Festival in 1977.[3]

It was then picked up by The Learning Corporation of America (or LCA for short) who dubbed it into English and retitled it Sally, for educational use.[4] The English narration was credited to Pearl Peterson.[5] It most likely ended up on Pinwheel after it was picked up by Coe Films, who then licensed that film to them.

Search

Original Descriptions

Artist's impression of "The Clock Man." Art by Gaucelm/Reynard.

According to Commander Santa, the short involved a young boy laying in his bed, who gets snatched up by the "Clockman," a discolored, unkempt entity that emerges from the wall clock above the child's bed at the stroke of midnight. The boy, after being taken on an eerie adventure, is subsequently returned to his room before sunrise.[6]

Still renditions by Commander Santa.
Sally sees the wizard "Mr. Kadabra" emerge from her wall clock. This specific moment - that imprinted itself in the memory of forum user "Commander Santa" who would bring it back to the spotlight - has led to the elusive short being nicknamed "Clockman."

Michael W. Howe's uncannily similar description of a scary Pinwheel short can be found within a 2002-2004 animationnation.com forum thread, involving a young girl making a deal with a wizard, after losing her red shoes; the deal being that the wizard would replace the shoes, so long as the child told her mother about the extraordinary event.

Incidentally, the girl decides not to tell her mother, to which the wizard responds by emerging out of her wall clock, snatching her up and demanding an explanation. She eventually agrees to make it up to the wizard by sewing stars to be placed in the night sky, before being returned to her mother, to whom she then recounts the entire experience.[7]

While the two descriptions provided differed in many ways, they were, in fact, referring to the same piece of animation, as it turns out the smaller details were misremembered.

Timeline of Leads

This is a chronological list of leads and theorized origins that were followed up on heavily over the span of the search.

Coe Films

In 2016, Dycaite contacted Michael Karp, a writer on Pinwheel, who gave him the contact information to Tippi Fortune, the Executive Producer for the show in the early 80s.

When Tippi responded, she said that most of the films featured on Pinwheel were acquired from Coe Films. After some research, It was discovered the founder and head of Coe Films, Bernice Coe, had passed away in 2001. Looking for Coe Film catalogs and contacting old employees became the biggest lead in the search, as it was one of the two major ways to locate "Clock Man."

Pinwheel Footage

The other, major way "Clock Man" was predicted most likely to be found was through recordings of Pinwheel episodes. Multiple users tried to track down home video recordings of the show from various sources, like home video recordings and bootleg DVD collections. Many users sifted through hours of these recordings; however, "Clock Man" was never found on any of them.

The Red Shoes

The given description of the short bore a strong resemblance to Hans Christian Andersen's The Red Shoes. To summarize the story: a poor orphaned girl is adopted and cared for by a rich woman; she soon becomes spoiled. One day, her caretaker decides to buy her a pair of new red shoes, and soon the girl becomes obsessed with them. The girl wears the shoes to church, but is scolded by an old woman (perhaps a nun) and is told to only wear black shoes to church.

Despite this, the girl decides to wear the shoes to church again, and this time, a red-bearded soldier talks to the shoes, saying "Oh, what beautiful shoes for dancing, never come off when you dance." After this, the girl's shoes begin to dance, and she can't stop the dancing and suffers misfortune. The girl later gets her feet amputated, but the shoes still dance anyway. The girl asks for forgiveness before she is finally exalted into heaven.

There are many strong themes that are shared in common with the accounts - namely the theme of not being spoiled, but also the theme of a bearded man, a mother, and red shoes. There are major differences; in the retellings of "Clock Man," the punishment involves the girl sewing stars for the night sky, whereas in Red Shoes, the punishment is misery or even death. It was thought possible these were altered, as it was a children's short.

This turned out to be a false lead. The Red Shoes has been parodied/homaged since the 1940s. It was previously speculated that the short originated in Denmark and was dubbed into other languages, including English, before being picked up by Nickelodeon.

Irish Origins

There was a report that the "Clockman" in the short had an Irish accent and was supposed to be a leprechaun, and did an "Irish Riverdance." While there are no exact matches that describe the short in Irish folklore, there are some running themes, such as a cobbler, or shoemaker.

The short also seems to loosely follow the tale of a changeling. Changelings were believed to be fairy children who were put in place of a real child; the child was kidnapped by the fairies for a variety of reasons, such as acting as a servant, out of pure love, or even malice or extortion.

This turned out to be a false lead as well. It was thought possible the short was animated in the Republic of Ireland or the United Kingdom, and could possibly be a hybrid of Irish folklore and the story of the Red Shoes. Now that the short has been found, the "Irish Riverdance" testimony seems to be unreliable.

Le Bonhomme Sept-Heures

At the time, many shorts from Pinwheel came from Canada. The known "Clock Man" plot was thought to have possibly been inspired by Quebec Folklore. In the story of "Bonhomme Sept-Heures," (The Seven O' Clock Man) a man hides in a child's room and steals them if they fail to go to sleep before their bedtime at/or after 7:00 PM.[8][9] One anonymous commenter described the short, recounting that the Wizard's name was "Benjamin," but they could have initially misheard a narrator says his name was "Bonhomme," LMW members predicted.[10] Pinwheel used the National Film Board of Canada's media and "Clock Man" was thought to have been among them.

Comparison between the 7 O' Clock Man and "Clock Man." Originally posted by RSTVideo on the LMW Discord server.

With this proposal, many things began to make sense. Both 7 O' Clock Man and "Clockman" have a very similar appearance and name. Both of them had the beard and wore a trench-coat. Furthermore, folkloric description of what the 7 O' Clock Man did seem to be similar to the plot of "Clock Man."[11]

What was problematic was that nothing in any archive or collection on 7 O' Clock Man matched up with Santa's description of its style. Nevertheless, according to Dycaite, "Commander Santa says 7 O' Clock Man seems to fit the bill."

Later, a short made in 1984 or 1985 was located on WorldCat called "L'Hiver, ou Le Bonhomme Sept Heurs" or "Winter, or The Seven O' Clock Man" as a part of a compilation of shorts based upon the Jiji and Pichou books. This too was a false lead. The short was recorded off of a VHS tape and uploaded by LMW user TOMYSSHADOW, but unfortunately, it did not match closely to any accepted description of "Clock Man."

Discovery

On December 10, 2017, LMW forums user NitrateNerd discovered a YouTube link to the infamous film after searching for the short on WorldCat (a worldwide library catalog), uploaded by the current owners, AAA studios. Eleven days after its discovery, Commander Santa confirmed it was the same short he'd seen many years ago.

English Dub Search and Discovery

During the search for the English dub, several people noted the company that produced the dub, The Learning Corp. of America, was shut down in 1990 following a series of acquisition by New World Entertainment. New World later sold parts of its library off to various companies, including TriStar Television (for its TV shows); TransAtlantic Entertainment (now part of Lakeshore Pictures) and Paramount/Viacom (for TV syndication of its older movies.)[12][13]

Some of Learning Corp. of America's films were acquired by Pheonix Learning Group, but they have confirmed that Sally is not one of these films.

On 11 January 2018, almost exactly a month after the Czech version was found, the English dub resurfaced online following discussions between LMW user, TOMYSSHADOW, and A/V Geeks - an educational film preservation organization who had the dub in their collection. An HD version was acquired from them one week later.

Availability

Original Czech Dub

The original Czech dub was first uploaded to a file locker on the internet in 2014. It was later uploaded again with a different watermark. On September 22, 2017, AAA Studios uploaded their improved color version on YouTube.

The short is titled O Parádivé Sally (Stylish Sally or literally: About Dressy Sally)

O Parádivé Sally (original Czech version of "Clock Man")

English Dub

The dub is currently available for viewing on Vimeo and Uloz.to in SD. The Full HD version of the English dub can be downloaded through Mega or viewed on Google Drive. AAA Studios has also uploaded the English dub to their YouTube account, remuxing the English dub audio with color-corrected footage from the original Czech version.

Sally (16mm transfer of English dub, courtesy of TOMYSSHADOW and Skip Elsheimer from A/V Geeks)
Sally (English audio synced up with video of the Czech version)


Differences Between The English And Czech Dub

The English dub made several minor changes to the the opening scene when Sally is in the window. The opening titles were translated, but the closing credits are still in Czech.

It stays somewhat true to the original; the most noticeable change is instead of a baritone male voice as narrator as in the Czech dub, the English dub employs a higher pitched older-sounding female voice.

Another change was The Wizard's name. In the Czech dub, he is only referred to as a "small, black sorcerer." In the English dub, he has the name "Mr. Kadabra."

The last major change made in the dub is the loss of subtly in the moral of the story and the dialogue. The English dub was made for an audience of young school children, so the creators of the dub tried to make the message as clear as possible.

References