DVR Alert: Twice Upon a Time, Once in a Lifetime

It started with this retweet:

Now, this is a HUGE deal for me, and might be for you as well. But considering how few people may even remember this film, let alone have seen it, a little backstory is likely still in order…

"Twice Upon a Time"Twice Upon a Time is an animated film released (barely) in 1983. It was directed by John Korty & Charles Swenson and produced by George Lucas, and it’s the one project in Lucas’s career that people probably know the least about. I’m pretty sure that more people have seen the Star Wars Holiday Special. But the love fans have for this one is far less ironic.

I’ve only seen the film once in my life, on HBO some three decades ago. So the details of the story are a little hazy. But I can tell you it takes place in the land where dreams and nightmares are manufactured and shipped off to the sleeping humans of the world. It goes without saying – so of course I’m saying it anyway – that there’s a Villain with a Mustache and an Evil Plot to flood the world with nightmares. It goes without saying – so of course I’m saying it anyway – that there’s a ragtag band of heroes who set out to stop him. And it goes without saying – yeah, you get the idea – that they’re not particularly good at being heroes.

Besides that, I also remember the film being weird and whimsical and really quite wonderful. Young as I was, it was like nothing I’d seen before, and if there were a public internet back then, I’m pretty sure I’d be proselytizing for this film everywhere I could.

(I didn’t know it then, but Twice Upon a Time was also my introduction to Bruce Hornsby, who co-wrote and sang the main title song “Heartbreak Town.” Look it up – it’s the kind of earworm that’ll put a smile on your face to last all day.)

(I didn’t know this then either, but it was also my introduction to Henry Selick, who animated some sequences for the film.)

(I repeat. HENRY SELICK.)

Twice Upon a Time exists in several different cuts. It hasn’t had an official home video release since 1991. And it’s almost NEVER screened publicly. So, TCM’s airing on Sunday morning might literally be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see it.

(And as a friendly reminder, the time given above is Eastern. If you’re in S.A., that works out to 1:15am on Sunday, February 1.)

So, set your DVRs. See this film. And hope it’s as magical as I remember it to be…

Thanks as always for following along. See you soon…

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