The late, great Ray Harryhausen was an animator and special effects creator, well known for his development of stop motion model animation (known as Dynamation). The largest body of his work was done during the 1950s-1970s. He retired after his efforts on the 1981 gem, Clash of the Titans.

Now in my, ahem, later years I’ve come to realize how much Mr. Harryhausen meant to me when I was a kid. I loved all of the films that had his touch, with dueling skeletons, menacing Cyclops, killer scorpions, giant gorillas, and all manner of fantasy wonders. When I had kids of my own, we watched many of those films, and they loved them too. We even had mock sword fights with various monsters, accompanied by some of the soundtracks composed by Bernard Herrmann.

The Cyclops.

I recently came across a Blu-ray disc titled, “Ray Harryhausen: The Ultimate Collection.” How could I resist that? Seven of his films, all of which I’d seen a gazillion times back then, and which I happily revisited in recent days. Chronologically: It Came From Beneath the Sea, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (my favorite), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver, Jason and the Argonauts, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Absolute pleasure!

My favorite!

I imagine the last few generations, raised as they were with CGI, would find the special effects in these films dated—and kind of corny. But for us Baby Boomers they were magical, and we have Ray Harryhausen to thank for that.

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