Tuesday, May 7, 2013

R.I.P., Ray Harryhausen

I don’t usually post anything at the passing of a celeb, or even a legend. After all, there are dozens upon dozens of news outlets and fan sites to report the facts and figures, and friends and colleagues of the departed offering their personal .02.


I have .01, at best, to offer, but I do want to take a moment to pay my respects to Ray Harryhausen, who died today in London at the age of 92.

Like most fantasy-fueled kids of bygone eras, in the days before CGI and long before the advent of IMAX and the like, I saved up my lunch money to go to the movies on Saturdays. I must have caught revival matinees of Mighty Joe Young, The Valley of Gwangi and the Sinbad movies dozens of times, and was an established fan by the time Clash of the Titans was released in 1981. Though it’s not considered his best, I’ll never forget a single frame of that film. I still love Bebo, Pegasus, Calibos’s romantic, tragic riddles, Andromeda and Perseus… and of course, The Kraken. Pure fantasy, pure fun.

When I became the on-camera reporter and interviewer for the SyFy Channel (actually, I was there when they were still Sci-Fi!), I was lucky enough to interview Ray Harryhausen a number of times, and cover some rather spirited panels and Q&As featuring himself and “the other Ray” (Bradbury, who passed on last year). To be in the presence of such intelligent, down to earth, and truly legendary figures in the genre is to be humbled indeed.

Ray Harryhausen was one of the kindest, most accessible, well-spoken and brilliant people I ever interviewed. Respect.
-- Staci Layne Wilson
Ray Harryhausen and Staci Layne Wilson