Saturday, May 9, 2015

Creative Inspiration: Ray Harryhausen

Poster image via www.badazzmofo.com
 As a kid, I knew the name Ray Harryhausen and his body of work by heart. I could recognize one of his creatures and tell you what movie it was from before I knew multiplication in math class, or even why we fought the Revolutionary War in history class. It's true.

I can only explain why this was so recalling being hypnotized by his work at a very young age. When any giant monster movie came on TV, I'd look for his name in the opening credits, like some mark of quality and worth watching.

One "monster kid" weekend afternoon, just as The Valley of Gwangi came on TV. My mom called my name from the other room needing help with some chore. I yelled back...

"Pleeeeease Mooooom, can I do it later?
I'm watching a Ray Harryhausen movie!"

By then, she knew how I loved his movies and let me be. But I suspect she also knew, which I didn't realize then, how he inspired my creativity and she allowed me to fuel it.

When I was around 8 years old, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad was in theatres. It was Harryhausen's newest movie. I begged my parent's to take me to see it. It turned out to be the first movie I remember my Dad and I going to see alone together. During the drive there, I discovered he was a Jason and the Argonauts fan. He told me all about the night he saw it in a NYC movie theater and how the skeleton fight was his favorite part.

Suddenly, our trip was no longer just a father taking his son to a kid's movie. We were now two Harryhausen fans going to see the newest monsters! 

Goodbye Mr. Harryhausen. Your work was an essential ingredient in my youth to make who I am today.

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