Friday, June 2, 2017

FLASHBACK: Ray Harryhausen


Enjoying the start of summer, today I finally cracked open my DVD of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.  I love this movie and can still remember the first time I saw it - actually, it's among my earliest movie-watching memories...along with Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  It was a summer night and my family had just returned to the house at night.  Coming up from the garage, my dad and I stayed in the basement and when we turned on the TV "The Beast" had just begun.  I was instantly sucked in and stayed in the basement glued to that television set till the last minute of the movie.  It was such impactful film for me that I even referenced it and showed a clip during my initial interview/lecture at APSU.

So naturally, one of the more amazing moments I've had in my career was being able to meet Ray Harryhausen, the man responsible for animating the stop-motion Beast along with dozens and dozen of classic movie creatures.  Back in 2006 Heather's boss at the time was Craig Barron at Matte World Digital.  He was friends with Harry and hosted a night with him at the San Rafael Theater screening The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  Joining the two of them on stage was Phil Tippet, the also-legendary stop-motion animator from ILM and owner of Tippet Studios.  It was a great night - Ray brought one of the famous and original skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts and afterwards we got to meet him and get his autograph.

That's one of the biggest advantages of living in a big city where (at least at that time) a thriving vfx/animation industry is happening.  There's many opportunities to meet people who helped shape your history to the movies.  Being able to see them in person and shake their hand really brings the movies home.  You feel part of the history.