Hi, boys and girls! This is the beginning of series of posts, which have gotten off to a rocky start. Called it “Notes from a Grumpy Old Man”. Meditations on the history and connections in science fiction, fantasy, and general geekery. Who am I? Well, I’ve known our Fearless Leader Mike since he lived somewhere other than the Southeast. What are my credentials? Other than being a SF fan since before I was in school, or having seen the original Star Wars in the theaters (10 times)? Ask Mike, he accepted me.
Today I come to you to note the 91st birthday (June 29) of one of the greatest artist in science fiction and fantasy film, stop-motion master Ray Harryhausen. Even if you’ve never seen one of his films – and if you *haven’t*, I strongly urge you to remedy that – you know who he is. The fighting skeletons in “Spy Kids” is a tribute to him, as is the restaurant “Harry Hausen’s” in “Monsters Inc.”. He was a life-long friend of the late great Ray Bradbury. I was lucky enough to see him speak at a film festival event here in Seattle (he was still sharp in his 80s, and as far as I know is still sharp at 91). He spoke about the dream-like quality he liked in his films, and they certainly look like no other films. Yes, to our eyes spoiled by near-perfect CGI, it may not look quite “right” today, but there’s an undeniable charm to his films. Continue reading