A podcast by geeks of all trades, for geeks of all trades. We will talk about comic books, movies, TV shows, and all things that make us geeks go tick. Power to the different!

In Memoriam: Ray Harryhausen

When we started United States of Geekdom, our original mascot was a small poodle named Remy. Sadly, tragedy struck with him and we were left without a proper mascot. That is, until we talked about the very man who this tribute is about.

Ray Harryhausen is one of those people so creative that you think that he had powers beyond supernatural. In many cases, I cannot argue this logic. Mr. Harryhausen made what can be considered as true movie magic in the sense that back in his day (which, to recall a running joke is truly Old Hollywood), there was no benefit of CG. There was instead stop motion and a lot of patience. Mr. Harryhausen was a master at both.  The skeleton fight scene in Jason and the Argonauts took a total three months to shoot the creatures doing their thing.

One of my first movie memories is going to see the original Clash of the Titans at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and marveling at Pegasus flying and being scared witless to the awesome Kraken. Both of which were brought to life by one man. Ray Harryhausen.  Clash of the Titans continues to be one of my favorite movies of all time; if nothing else, because of this scene right here...

I had no idea that the process that Harryhausen used was called Dynamation.  I found that out when my mom bought a VHS tape of classic monster movie trailers and a three minute long feature on the cinematic process was in there describing the work used in the 7th Voyage of Sindbad.  It also sparked the imagination of this geek and made me seek out all of Harryhausen's films.

I must say that while I never had the opportunity to meet the man himself. Our own JediCole however, did and he recounts his meeting with Mr. Harryhausen here. Ray Harryhausen influenced many, many filmmakers up to and including Groege Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, Guillermo Del Toro, Rick Baker, Peter Jackson, Nick Park, Edgar Wright, John Landis, James Cameron,and many, many more.  The guys at Pixar paid him an awesome tribute by naming a  restaurant after him in 2001's Monsters Inc.

Back in 2010, one of our first five episodes of the show, we talked about Mr. Harryhausen and while doing so, I was working on painting a little wooden dinosaur who would become the replacement mascot for the dog that I had tragically lost.  It was only appropriate that the dinosaur be names Ray, after the man who was the very topic of the episode.  This dinosaur, has been the faithful mascot of the show since that day and honestly, I can't think of a better tribute from us.  Ray Harryhausen's legacy will live on because of the creative minds his works has influenced and will continue to influence.  As will his indelibly unique work in the world of cinema.  Thank you Mr. Harryhausen.

Raymond Frederick (Ray) Harryhausen
June 29th 1920 - May 7th 2013

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