Once Upon a Time, There Were Some People Called the Rushers of Din...
September 21, 2007 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Animated via a cut-out stop-motion process creator/director John Korty dubbed lumage, the lewd and luminous Twice Upon a Time ran for two weeks in a single Westwood, CA theatre in August, 1983. Airing 12 times on HBO in 1984, the film wasn't seen again until a director-approved, bowdlerized VHS version was released in 1991.
Ward Jenkins discusses the film with writer Taylor Jenson, who commemorated TUaT's 20th anniversary in 2004, and presents a series of shorts Korty produced for Sesame Street in the 1970s.
posted by Alvy Ampersand (16 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Terrific! I've always wanted to see this.
posted by Iridic at 7:02 PM on September 21, 2007

I used to have a videotape of the original HBO broadcast. They really cut the heart out of it in the later version with the changes they made to the dialogue.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:26 PM on September 21, 2007

I saw it on HBO when it ran in the 80's and always wondered what happened to it until I rememberd and looked it up on the interwebs many moons later.

It needs an uncut DVD release.
posted by GavinR at 7:32 PM on September 21, 2007

Same, GavinR - one of my earliest memories is of watching TUaT and The Dark Crystal in The Pas, Manitoba, of all places.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:34 PM on September 21, 2007

I must have watched all twelve airings on HBO. I loved that movie, and a DVD would be awesome.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:36 PM on September 21, 2007

Whoo ho, what's this? Something's in my belly button. What is this here? Oh, ho ho ho - it's alive. Hmmm, nutty, crunchy, salty...mmm, ha, ha, ha - I have to
look in there more often.

That scene has been banging around in the back of my head for years, and I could never remember what it was from. Thanks!
posted by JaredSeth at 8:29 PM on September 21, 2007

Damn you, Alvy! Plans for my first-ever FPP were based upon this premise! ::Shakes fist, twirls dastardly mustache:

Seriously, I was just *moments ago* (really, minutes ago) reflecting upon how it was time to "finally get around to making that Twice Upon a Time FPP." Great post, thanks!

I agree with Steven CDB that the HBO version is the best. My family's still got a version kicking around somewhere on BETA.

BTW, I've got the LaserDisc release--and have never been able to watch it (not having, erm, a LaserDisc player...).
posted by retronic at 1:57 AM on September 22, 2007

Good gravy--watching that Google Video link is like settling into your warm, comfy bed after being away from home for a month.

"Foolish little figs! Happy as rats they are...they tap dance not neither do they fart!"

Gotta thank you again for digging this up, Alvy.
posted by retronic at 2:29 AM on September 22, 2007

Retronic, if it's the same Laserdisc I bought, it's the censored version. Waste of time.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:07 AM on September 22, 2007

I have the cut version of this on VHS. I knew it had been cut, though it didn't say anywhere on the box. A friend has a home recorded tape of the HBO version. This is one of my favorite animated films, and I've been waiting for it for years. Great post, though I'm a little surprised you didn't mention that George Lucas produced it (though it's in the tags).
posted by krinklyfig at 9:44 AM on September 22, 2007

Lucas' connection would've been a good hook, but I didn't think his involvement was all that central to the story - still, I threw him and David Fincher (Twice Upon a Time looks to be some of his earliest pro work, and the connection between he and Lucas would probably be worth learning more about) in the hopes that the next time there's a Star Wars-related FPP, someone browsing the tags will come across this crazy ol' cartoon.

Sorry, retronic! My TUaT Viewmaster reels are in a box at my folks', I gotta remember to snag them the next time I go home...
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:56 AM on September 22, 2007

Oh *help*! Damsel in distress currently on *fire*! Oh *help*!
This film is just chock-full of hilarious lines and set-ups. I can't believe that a fully restored version isn't available yet.

(Of course, come to think of it, since it's Lucasfilm, we'll probably never see the version with the "naughty words". Bastards.)

I always thought "Rudy and his Minions" would be a great name for a band.
posted by tzikeh at 10:22 AM on September 22, 2007

StevenCDB--sadly, I learned that the LaserDisc was the "official" release some years back--I don't think I've even opened the shrinkwrap on it. Still, nice to have.

Alvy, no apology necessary--great post, and a handy reminder that time is fleeting (when it comes to FPPs, especially!).
posted by retronic at 5:11 PM on September 22, 2007

I loved this movie growing up. We caught the unexpurgated version on HBO live, but when we popped in the video tape the next airing all the good bits were cut out.

A few years ago, I got it into my head that I had to get a copy. An internet search turned up a comment on one board from somebody who claimed to have one, so I sent him an email. For reasons that are unclear to me, he gladly dubbed it for me and popped it in the mail without asking for a dime.

It's a terrible umpteenth generation copy with tracking errors galore, but it's a prize.

"Welcome to the garbagerie. Just follow the happy feet!"
posted by rouftop at 9:37 PM on September 23, 2007

You can tell if you've got the censored version easily enough. The first scene of the film is the bad guy walking into the huge room where all the buzzards are sleeping, and he tries to give them a pep talk to get them up so they'll start delivering nightmare bombs. If you hear him say, "Well, just shit!" then you've got the good one. If he never says that, you got the shaft.

The violence they did to that first speech was enough for me to realize they'd cut the heart out of the movie. The original version was hilarious. The new version is a yawn.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:29 AM on September 24, 2007

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