Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh, Ray. I Hardly Knew Ye.

It was 1981 and I was 7 years old.

As an impressionable child, there were certain aspects of the world that had privileged positions of my attention. In the world of film, I was certainly a fan of the Lucas/Spielberg vein of movies such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. But the movies that really got my juices churning were the movies that employed master animator Ray Harryhausen. 

Harryhausen's animated creatures had a jerky feel to them and they seemed to take a little too long to blink, which gave me an eerie feeling to watch them. But they were analog and organic in their construction and this is why I feel that they made a distinct stamp on my childhood. 

Harryhausen is famously known for  films like Mighty Joe Young, Jason and the Argonauts, and the Sinbad series. 

I really had no idea who he was in 1981, but I did know that I went to bed every night thinking about Clash of the Titans, which turned out to be his last feature film.

On a trip back to my mother's home in England, not far from here, at a community Bible study, I met a woman that I would never forget. She was beautiful, fifteen years older than me, and interested in taking me to meet the man who built all the puppets for Clash of the Titans,(probably because I had my Clash of the Titans filter on and was willing to talk about it to whoever would listen). She worked for him and had free access to him and all the models. Ray Harryhausen!!!

If, at the time,  I had to construct the way to spend a perfect day in England, it would probably be crafted exactly as she was proposing, to me and my mother. My mind was on fire. I felt that I truly was the Messiah after all. The Chosen One. Dreams do come true for everyone. 

However, it was not to be. My mother had other engagements and she was not about to let her seven-year old son be whisked away by some twenty-something strumpet with seductive promises of mythological puppetry. Of....course, I....... under......stand.......... 

I do believe I blacked out for the next two weeks at the crushing loss of opportunity that occurred. 

Harryhausen had crushed dreams as well. Here's the lost footage from War of the Worlds, a movie he was desperate to make that never came to fruition:

1 comment:

  1. Princess Leia will always make me feel like the chosen one.