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Happy 91st Birthday, Ray Harryhausen

By Louis Trapani - Posted on 30 June 2011

I am little late in posting this (depending on where you are in the world at least). Today (Wednesday, June 29th) was the 91st birthday of legendary stop-motion animation pioneer, Ray Harryhausen. To celebrate, I was going to post a related photo I took many years ago to Instagram, but then decided to make it a blog entry instead. (I am including the photo I was going to post to Instagram here (see top left photo), although it was shot in 1983 using an analog SLR at the time, I had post processed it on the iPhone in prep to the intended posting to Instagram. Click on it for further details).

The following is lifted from a previous article I wrote here last year about Ray Harryhausen:


All the way back in 1983, I had an opportunity to meet Ray Harryhausen and see some of his work at a convention he was a guest at in New York. Having always been an admirer of his work, I knew then how special it was for me. What I didn't realize was just how rare it was, as I have not had that same opportunity since.

Long before CGI took over as the 'go-to method' of doing special effects in media today, a process known as stop-motion animation was the way to go. It and variations of it (Harrhausen created 'Dynamation' which allowed live-action integration) was one of the dominate methods of doing certain kind effects from the time of original King Kong (most famously) onwards until Jurassic Park changed everything (proving what CGI can do).

Medusa model from Clash of the Titans (1981)

In that time, pioneering stop-motion and visual effects was Ray Harryhausen with his work in films such as Mighty Joe Young (1949), It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), and what may be my first exposure to his work, Jason and the Argonauts (1963), (at least my first exposure on the 'big screen' - if my school auditorium counts as a 'big screen' - it was certainly bigger than any TV screen in my home then or now). More recently, which I did see in the theaters was the original Clash of the Titans film (1981).

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