O parádivé Sally aka "Clock Man" (found Czech animated short film; 1976)
The "Clock Man" character from the short.
Date found: 10 Dec 2017 (Czech) / 11 Jan 2018 (English)
Found by: The Clock Man Search Team
O parádivé Sally (About Dressy Sally) is a 1976 paper cut-out animated short film that was released in communist Czechoslovakia. An English dub was made in the U.S. two years later by the educational film production company, Learning Corporation of America .
It allegedly aired as one of the animated inserts on Pinwheel, a puppet-driven show on 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"/"Clockman".
In 1976, AAA studio (or Art And Animation studio) produced an animated short for Krátký film. This short, titled O parádivé Sally was based upon the Jan Vladislav story of the same name. It was seen in his 1971 book, O kočičím králi a devět dalších hrůzostrašných pohádek. Jan Vladislav's version was heavily influenced by an old English folktale, titled "The Old Man at the White House", which was first featured in a book published in 1897.
The animation was photographed by Jasoň Šilhan and directed by female director Dagmar Doubkova. It 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 honourable mention at the Gottwaldov Film Festival in 1977.
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 in 1978. The English narration was credited to Pearl Peterson. It is speculated that it ended up on Pinwheel after being picked up by Coe Films, who then licensed the short to them.
The first elements of a search for "Clock Man" occurred on January 12th, 2012. User Commander Santa posted a thread on bungie.net's off-topic forum, The Flood, that talked about an unidentified animated cartoon he remembered watching from the 1980s. Said post would kick off a search that would last 5 years and gain much traction.
According to Commander Santa, the short involved a young boy laying in his bed, who gets snatched up by the "Clockman", a discoloured, 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.
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 is 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.
While the two descriptions provided differed in many ways, they were 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 heavily throughout the search.
In 2016, Dycaite contacted Michael Karp, a writer on Pinwheel, who gave him the contact information of Tippi Fortune, the Executive Producer for the show in the early 1980s.
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 catalogues and contacting old employees became the biggest lead in the search, as it was one of the two major ways to locate "Clock Man".
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 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 The 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.
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 has proven 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. One anonymous commenter described the short, recounting that the Wizard's name was "Benjamin," but they could have initially misheard a narrator saying his name was "Bonhomme," Lost Media Wiki members predicted. Pinwheel used the National Film Board of Canada's media and "Clock Man" was thought to have been among them.
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 a 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".
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 Lost Media Wiki user TOMYSSHADOW, but unfortunately, it did not match closely to any accepted description of "Clock Man".
On December 10th, 2017, Lost Media Wiki forums user NitrateNerd discovered a YouTube link to the infamous film after searching for the short on WorldCat (a worldwide library catalogue), while looking for a synopsis for an educational film titled The Wizard, as a possible lead. Instead, after several pages of results, a listing for Sally showed up, with a synopsis seeming to match Clock Man. After a quick google search, he found it was uploaded by the current owners, AAA studios on YouTube. 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.)
Some of Learning Corp. of America's films were acquired by Phoenix Learning Group, but they have confirmed that Sally is not one of these films.
On January 11th, 2018, almost exactly a month after the Czech version was found, the English dub resurfaced online following discussions between Lost Media Wiki user, TOMYSSHADOW, and A/V Geeks - an educational film preservation organization that had the dub in their collection. A full HD version was acquired from them one week later.
On February 16th, 2019 Lost Media Wiki user, TOMYSSHADOW and the help of A/V Geeks uploaded a 4K scan of the English dub to Sally to Archive.org.
This Archive that contains both versions of "Clock Man" have additional English-translated subtitles available to download from the main site.
Original Czech Dub
The original Czech dub was first uploaded to a file locker on the internet (now removed) in 2014. It was later uploaded again with a different watermark. On September 22nd, 2017, AAA Studios uploaded their improved color version on YouTube.
The short is titled O parádivé Sally (Stylish Sally or literally: About Dressy Sally).
The dub is currently available for viewing on Vimeo, Uloz.to, Dailymotion and VK 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, remixing the English dub audio with colour-corrected footage from the original Czech version.
Differences Between the English and Czech Dub
The English dub made several minor changes to 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 subtlety 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.
- French Wikipedia page on Bonhomme Sept-Heures.
- Lost Media Wiki Forums thread containing all 44 archived pages of the original "Clock Man" search effort thread.
- History of New World Entertainment @ Audiovisual Identity Database.
- History of New World Pictures @ Audiovisual Identity Database.
- Czech book database, featuring O kočičím králi a devět dalších hrůzostrašných pohádek. Retrieved 07 May '18
- Publications, Volume 40, by Folklore Society (Great Britain). Retrieved 18 Jan '18
- O parádivé Sally (1976) | Ve filmotéce | ČSFD.cz Retrieved 08 Jan '18
- Awards (ocenění) @ kratkyfilm.eu Retrieved 08 Jan '18
- Mid-Hudson Library System's results on Sally. Retrieved 02 Jan '18
- Commander Santa's initial search and recollection of "Clock Man". Retrieved 24 Jan '18
- The aforementioned 2002-2004 animationnation.com forum thread. Retrieved 15 Jan '14
- O Orangethorpe's comment made in April 2017 on YouTube. Retrieved 08 Nov '17
- One of Anonymous user #19's comments on this article (before the new comments system). Retrieved 08 Nov '17
- YouTube upload of "L'Hiver ou Le Bonhomme Sept Heurs. Retrieved 04 Dec '17