Wednesday, May 8

Farewell Ray Harryhausen




 
Yesterday was a sad day for monster fandom, as pioneering stop-motion animator and fan favorite Ray Harryhausen passed away at the age of 92. Ray was a true inspiration and his films inspired a legion of fans worldwide. His work had an undeniable charm to it, a "look" that is instantly recognizable and synonymous to the process of stop motion animation itself. Talk with anyone about animation in a film and you're likely to hear the term "Harryhausen type" effects. His films are that powerful, impactful and unforgettable - his name becomes almost an adjective.
 
Among the list of his movies are some true sci-fi and fantasy classics:
Mighty Joe Young, The Beast from 20 Fathoms, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers, Jason and the Argonauts, It Came from Beneath the Sea, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, Clash of the Titans and many more!

I have fond memories of seeing both Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and Clash of the Titans in the theater. They sparked my imagination and led me to read up on the Greek mythos and also to seek out more of Harryhausen's work. Years later it was my privilege to show these films to MY children, and watch the wonder in their eyes as these fantastic creatures played forth on the screen before them. There is a timeless quality to Harryhausen's work that stands the test of time - they'll never go out of style or look dated.
 
Below is a tribute my friend Dave Conover made for a Ray Harryhausen banquet at the Wonderfest convention a few years back when Ray was a guest. It is one of the most personal and touching tributes I've ever seen, a true love-letter from a fan to one of his heroes. Thanks Dave, for saying this so eloquently:


 
 

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