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

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The Real Clockman.png

Screenshot of the real "Clock Man" from the official short.

Status: Found: Czech Version
Lost: English Version

Date found: 10 Dec. 2017

Found by: The Clock Man Search Team

Sally (colloquially known as Clockman or Clock Man) is a short animated film that allegedly aired on Pinwheel (former Nickelodeon) in the 1980s. The original version, called O Páradivé Sally, was produced in Communist Czechoslovakia in 1976. An English dub was made in the U.S. two years later.

People who saw the short as children began turning to the internet to find it again, recalling how scary it was to them - most notably, Commander Santa on Bungie.net's "The Flood" forum in 2012. [1] He explained how he remembered a story about a man coming out of a clock on the wall - hence the nickname "Clockman."

This caught the eye of LMW admin Dycaite, who became instrumental in spreading the word about the search.

Lost media searchers worked tirelessly to find the short beginning in 2012, looking through countless leads until the short was finally unearthed in 2017 by a LMW forums member called NitrateNerd. After he had searched for several hours on WorldCat, he realized the short's name was Sally, and found out that the film had been uploaded on YouTube.

Clockman is often cited as a landmark lost media search because it was found without a name and little to no details confirming its existence.

Production[edit | edit source]

In Czechoslovakia in 1976, the animation company KRÁTKÝ FILMS produced O Páradivé Sally, based upon the Jan Vladislav story of the same name. The animation was photographed by Jasoň Šilhan and directed by female director Dagmar Doubkova.[2] The film was exported around the world, yet nobody of the creators knew exactly where their films would end up, due to Czechoslovakia being a Communist nation at the time.

In Czechoslovakia, 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 media to them.

It may have aired several times over the years, scaring many young children who still remembered the short almost thirty years later, but could not remember the name.

Search[edit | edit source]

Original Descriptions[edit | edit source]

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.

Still renditions by Commander Santa.

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.[6]

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.

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

Timeline of Leads[edit | edit source]

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

Coe Films[edit | edit source]

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 Clockman.

Pinwheel Footage[edit | edit source]

The other, major way Clockman 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. After many users sitting through hours of these recordings, Clockman was never found on any of them.

The Red Shoes[edit | edit source]

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 Clockman, 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[edit | edit source]

There was a report that 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" does not appear to be present.

Le Bonhomme Sept-Heures[edit | edit source]

At the time, many shorts from Pinwheel came from Canada. The known Clockman plot was thought to have possibly been inspired by Quebec Folklore. In the story of "Bonhomme Sept-Heures," (7 O' Clock Man,) a man hides in a kid's room and steals them if they fail to go to sleep before their bedtimeref>O Orangethorpe's comment made in April 2017 on YouTube Retrieved 8 Nov '17.</ref> and/or after 7:00.[7] One anonymous commenter described the short, recounting that the Wizard's name was "Benjamin," but they could have initially misheard a narrator say his name was "Bonhomme," LMW members predicted.[8] Pinwheel used the National Film Board of Canada's media and Clockman may have been amongst 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. 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 Clockman.[9]

What was problematic is that the nothing in the archive on 7 O' Clock Man matched up with the 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 any description of Clockman.

Was Clockman really a part of Pinwheel?[edit | edit source]

It is generally accepted by the LMW community that Clockman was part of the Pinwheel production, but memories from decades ago often fall victim to false details.

Considering that so far all of the found Pinwheel content neither contains Clockman nor references it in any way, some people suspect that Clockman isn't in fact a part of the Pinwheel production. Arguably people who are looking for the English dub may have a hard time considering this idea.

Please note that this is not to state that Clockman was not part of the Pinwheel, but to highlight the possibility that Clockman was not a part of Pinwheel - and rather a part of a different show. Even if every episode of Pinwheel is found, Sally may not exist amongst them.

Discovery[edit | edit source]

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 short he'd seen many years ago.

Availability[edit | edit source]

Original Czech Version[edit | edit source]

The original Czech dub has been found. It 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 (commonly known as the "Clock Man")

LCA's English Dub[edit | edit source]

The version of the short that was seen on American Television in the 80s is currently lost. The company that produced the dub, The Learning Corp. of America, no longer exists today. Through a series of acquisitions, it was folded into New World Entertainment. New World later sold parts of its library off to various companies, including TriStar Television (for its TV shows); Trans Atlantic Entertainment (now part of Lakeshore Pictures) and Paramount/Viacom (for TV syndication of its older movies.)[10][11] Some of LCA's films were acquired by Pheonix Learning Group, but they have confirmed that Sally is not one of these films. Most of New World is now owned by 20th Century Fox. Sally is most likely a part of the Fox, and soon Disney, library.

References[edit | edit source]