Ray Harryhausen, 1920-2013

When I was a kid, the Sunday Morning Movie was must-see TV. It was your delivery system for old horror and adventure movies. It’s where I first got scared of The Crawling Eye, Fiend Without a Face, Black Sabbath, and that thing with the people getting turned into underwater creatures. (I was an easily-scared kid; Crawling Eye and Fiend Without a Face were both razzed by Mystery Science Theater 3000.)

But it’s also where I saw Jason and the Argonauts, and that was an absolute must-see movie every time it came on. Non-stop action with all kinds of amazing scenes: Talos, the harpies, the hydra, and of course, the skeletons.

It all came to life through the skills of Ray Harryhausen, who was responsible for special effects in that movie and hundreds of others throughout his long career. His talent and imagination brought things to life that riveted us in our seats. Harryhausen died today at the age of 92, but he leaves behind not only an incredible body of work but all of the people he inspired through his career.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything in a movie that made me really wonder, “how did they do that?” I have to admit, when I used to watch Jason and the Argonauts, I also didn’t think that. What I thought was, “How is Jason going to defeat this thing?”

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