Ray Harryhausen reported dead
We casually say about people that they “make movies” (when their contributions may be quite small), but it can be said accurately and enthusiastically about Ray Harryhausen.
Ray produced, wrote, directed, and was the cinematographer on movies.
More importantly than that, Ray actually made the characters.
Made them move.
Made us thrill to them!
Made us want to make characters like that ourselves.
Ray Harryhausen is first and foremost associated with his ground-breaking and immortal stop motion animation.
Create a character.
Take a frame of film.
Move it a tiny bit.
Take another frame.
Make it live, make it threaten, make it sad…give it emotions.
Have it interact with flesh and blood actors.
Give us things that couldn’t exist…change the concept of a cyclops from just a big one-eyed human giant to a monster with a horn.
Set the pattern for so many videogames with a horde of skeleton warriors relentlessly attacking Jason and the Argonauts!
For a geek like me, I can’t say enough about Ray Harryhausen. Fortunately, I won’t have to…his name will live on and people will be writing about his contributions a hundred years from now.
Here are some of those movies which will still amaze children in the future, regardless of how the technology may change:
- It Came from Beneath the Sea’
- 20 Million Miles to Earth
- The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
- The 3 Worlds of Gulliver
- Mysterious Island
- Jason and the Argonauts
- First Men in the Moon
- One Million Years B.C.
- The Valley of Gwangi
- The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
- Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
- Clash of the Titans
Pixar paid homage to Ray Harryhausen with an establishment named for the SFX master…you can see it prominently in the ride at Disney’s California Adventure.
Ray also voiced a polar bear in Elf, and had a cameo in the remake of Mighty Joe Young (he had worked on the original).
Good-bye, Ray Harryhausen…the world is less special without you.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.