Heroic special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, whose influence nearly led me to a craft for which I probably would have had no patience, is 90 years old. Harryhausen’s films opened my head and rocked my world. Thanks to Harry Knowles for the birthday candle and pointer to the video below, a compendium of Harryhausen’s stop-motion animations.
Ray is easily one of the single most beloved figures in the behind the scenes arts. While primarily an effects master, Ray’s sense of wonder, personality, design and imagination was so clearly outputted to the screen that his films and him in particular… are cherished as though they were the beating heart of Jimmy Stewart himself. I’ve had the honor of getting to spend some really great quality time with Ray over my lifetime, and he’s like an additional grandfather to me. Not to mention one of the chief founders of my imagination. His creatures live in my brain – and I love them there.
My curiosity about how he did what he did, gave me the passion to pursue finding out more about film in general. How do you make a toy live? That’s what I always gathered, and nobody, but nobody’s toys moved like Harryhausen’s.