Ray Harryhausen died today… do you remember your first stop motion movie on Saturday TV?

Ray Harryhausen died today.

When I think about the movies, I think of magic and great magicians.

My own love of the ‘illusion’ was what first drew to me filmmaking. Cinema history has enjoyed several landmark visual effects moments – ‘King Kong’ and Willis O’Brien, ‘The Thing’ and Rob Bottin, ‘Star War’s and that Star Destoyer passing overhead, ‘The Exorcist’ and Dick Smith, and of course Spielberg and ‘Jurassic Park’.

But I suspect for my generation of filmmaker, Ray Harryhausen is the grand daddy.

I can vividly remember watching Jason and the Argonauts on TV, simply astonished at what I was seeing.

And when I found out how it was done, I just wanted to do that myself. I was inspired to create my own imagination.

I couldn’t get enough of the Sinbad movies, ‘Valley of Of The Gwangi’ and the Hammer Dinosaur movies. My living room wall has a poster for ‘When Dinosaures Ruled The Earth’ (stop motion by one of Ray’s protégés Jim Danforth). And this photo is from a gathering of the skeletons I have on my writing desk at home, to remind me that cinema is (for me at least) first and foremost about the fantastical.

I hope that Ray knew how many filmmakers he had influenced, and through his work, invited us all into the imaginarium of our own minds.

A sad, sad day.
Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
My movies www.LivingSpiritGroup.com
My Facebook www.Facebook.com/ChrisJonesFilmmaker
My Twitter @LivingSpiritPix

3 Responses to Ray Harryhausen died today… do you remember your first stop motion movie on Saturday TV?

  1. Mark Morris May 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm #

    I was 15 when I got a eumig S807d projector for xmas. I had a small box that had what I thought was the whole 7th Voyage of Sinbad colour and sound film. The colours were beautiful and the film way ahead of its time. Compare that to say Blakes seven, Doctor Who or the tomorrow people from the seventies that we were used to.

    Mine was the third version of a series of four and had the two headed roc and the skeleton fight and a trip into the genies bottle by the princess. I still remember the words. In the end I collected all four and spliced them together on one big reel. Ray Harryhausen made many childhoods magical. Cheers Ray!

  2. Leilani May 8, 2013 at 2:55 am #

    I feel like his creatures were my childhood companions I watched those films so often and usually from only six inches away from the screen (I was a real TV baby, I loved that box!). I can’t remember which film I saw first but I watched and still watch them all whenever I get a chance to. The ones I remember best are of course his amazing dinosaurs, the skeleton fight and the Medusa. I think she’s my favourite of all.

    Those dinosaurs were pretty darn fantastic though. When I eventually made my own dinosaur film it was nothing like the art he created but I felt that I had achieved something so cool that if I did nothing further for the rest of my days my life would have been a success. His life, his work and his personality were an amazing success, he lived a full amount of years and left a legacy behind that will echo through film history. I am less sad at his death than I am inspired by his life and can only hope I will be lucky enough to live as long and as blessed a life as he had on this Earth.

    RIP

  3. Jim Mann May 8, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Really nice post, thank you.

    Talos coming to life in the scene from Jason and the Argonauts was magical to me as a seventies kid, even on a dial-tuned, black & white TV. Similarly scenes from Valley of Gwangi, Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and One Million Years B.C. It was only later on that I discovered these, and so many others were all done by the same guy.

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