Monday, June 29, 2009


Today is Ray Harryhausen's 89th birthday. Ray is the stop motion/special effects guy behind some of the just-plain-fun movies ever made. Spanning from the 40's to the 80's, Ray's magic touched only 15 feature films (16, but "Animal World" was not released theatrically and the piece Ray worked on has only recently been available-as a special feature on "The Black Scorpion" DVD) but they were all the kind of films which made your head spin and your emotions soar with fantasy possibilities.

So many people better qualified than I have written volumes on Ray's philosophy, techniques, thoughts, etc., that I thought I'd just post some images and tickle your memories. Sometimes my job is not to editorialize, but just do my part to keep attention on cool stuff.

"Mighty Joe Young" 1949
...Usually compared with King Kong, but great all on it's own. Real personality animation. Ray was the assistant on this film to Willis O'Brien, his hero who had done Kong 16 years prior.

"The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" 1954

...tell me you didn't think this was cool!

"It Came from Beneath the Sea" 1955

...6 armed octopus? This is what happens when accountants judge the worth of something. 6 were cheaper to animate than 8. sigh.

"Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" 1956

...amazing work. Saucers smashing Washington D.C., even the rubble had to be hung from wire so it could be animated as it fell to the ground.

Yeah I know, this is a costume and probably had nothing to do with Ray...but it's BITCHIN' anyway.

"20 Million Miles to Earth" 1957

The Ymir! Beating up an elephant! Double bitchin'!

"The 7th Voyage of Sinbad" 1958

...I still think she's hot.

Cyclopes' and dragons...oh my!

The Roc. Don't mess with his nest!

The Cyclops again. Just cause he's cool!

Sword fightin' with a skeleton. Soooooooooooooo bitchin'!

"The 3 Worlds of Gulliver" 1950

Probably his most boring film. Probably because of budgeting (god I hate accountants) there wasn't much here in the way of stop-motion beasties, just a lot of forced perspective and other effects to show giants and Lilliputians. Or it could just be Ray's 7th film itch.

To be continued tomorrow...

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