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Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

This week, I did something I’ve never done in all the time I’ve lived in Los Angeles. I went to the unveiling of a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. There have been some great names who got their stars while I’ve lived here, but for whatever reason, I just never felt the urge to go and see one of the ceremonies. On Tuesday morning, though, I finally found myself motivated, and I don’t think I was the only one. Occasional contributor “Uncapie” sent in the following report. The pictures you see here were snapped by me and captioned by Harry Ignatius Knowles:

A long-awaited celebration took place today. Ray Harryhausen, the stop-motion animator extrordinaire who created adventures with skeletons, mythical beasts, undersea monsters, space creatures and a little help on a giant ape, received his star with all the trimmings in a well-deserved tribute with friends and fans alike.

Mayor Of Hollywood Johnny Grant hosted the ceremonies at this crowded event that took place almost right across the street from where Ray's imagination was sparked in 1933 with the feature, "King Kong," at Sid Grauman's Chinese Theater. On hand were Ray's dearest and best friend, the great Ray Bradbury, our hero Forest J. Ackerman, smiling, looking fit and happy as usual, for whom without his great magazines, he would have never opened a world of movie magic to children and adults. A special thank you went out to film maker Mr. Arnold Kunnert, for without his dedicated love of the same movies we all care about and his persistence to get Ray his star on the "Walk Of Fame," it wouldn't have happened. Frank Darabont talked about the inspiration that Ray had on him as a child which made him want to be a director. His anecdote about Tom Hanks seeing "Jason And the Argonauts" as a kid, made Hanks want the job of fighting skeletons when he grew up, but settled on an acting career instead.

Make up greats Stan Winston and Rick Baker were on hand as well as the creative Bob Burns and his beautiful, loving wife Kathy (A great cook! Now I know why Bob married her!) and the man with one of the smoothest voices in Hollywood, Gary Owens, celebrated the event. Producer Charles Scheer showed up and mingled with the crowd. He was the driving force behind many of Ray's pictures. A gracious, humble man, he said that Ray's creative spirit was the driving force, not him and that he was so happy that these films still hold up today. Uncapie

The American Cinematheque is also in the middle of a tribute to Harryhausen right now. They showed JASON & THE ARGONAUTS last night on a double-bill with CLASH OF THE TITANS, and today they’re showing VALLEY OF GWANGI, BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, and EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS. Tomorrow wraps things up with ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. and THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON. And, yes, Harryhausen is attending all of the screenings and doing Q&A sessions. Pretty freakin’ cool.

For me, the ceremony this week was just a chance to finally see in person one of the people who first sparked my dreams as a kid. STAR WARS might have been the lightning bolt to the forehead that made me realize what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but before that, I was taught to read by Jim Henson and I was taught to dream by Ray Harryhausen, 24 frames per second. The skeleton fight from JASON & THE ARGONAUTS is one of the first clear memories I have of a movie. When you see films at a certain age, they’re not stories. They’re not passive entertainment. They are virtual reality. And no special effect I’ve seen in the rest of my life as a viewer has ever come close to the impact of that skeleton fight. It was real. It was frightening and thrilling and so incredibly removed from the mundane details of the life around me that I was transported by it.

Thanks to Harryhausen and all of the artists he inspired with his work, I’ve never had to stop dreaming since. His impact on this industry cannot be overestimated, and this honor was well-deserved. It was a thrill to see Bradbury, Ackerman, and Harryhausen on the same stage together. These men, like all of us, are mortal and will one day not be available for an event like this. But on Tuesday morning, surrounded by fans and filmmakers, all of us inspired by them and their work, they seemed immortal, like their work.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • June 14, 2003, 5:23 p.m. CST


    by Fearsme

    Gotta show the love to guys like this... he earned it....

  • June 14, 2003, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Congrats to Ray...

    by Falcon-1

    It was only a matter of time before H'wood would honor the grandfather of today's best special effects. Like what most everyone has already said, I was inspired by Ray's creations as well. As a child, I couldn't think of anything more exciting than fighting a mulitude of skeletons and gigantic monsters. Sure, by today's CGI standards, they may not seem as realistic as the dinos in "Jurassic Park"; but to a ten year old kid, they were fantastic! This is even better than having a popular restaurant named after him.

  • June 14, 2003, 5:32 p.m. CST

    PJ, Lucas, Hanks, and Spielberg made this happen!

    by BilboFett

    Moriarty "asked" me to put this in the talkback. Check this out: the man's name is Arnold Kunert. He championed this cause (getting Harryhausen a star on the walk of fame) for 5 years! There were political reasons and this guy made it happen. I think that's great. "Tom Hanks, George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, James Cameron and Steven Spielberg were among the 100 Hollywood luminaries Kunert persuaded to write letters of recommendation or donate money. Hanks and director Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings") donated the most."

  • June 14, 2003, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Christ, Ray Bradbury's still alive!?!

    by Cash Bailey

    There's hope for humanity yet.

  • June 14, 2003, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Make Uncapie a full time contributor !

    by RobinP

    Put him on staff - he's one of your best contibutors. "Occasional" my ass !! He knows where and when to get the scoops !!

  • June 14, 2003, 6:32 p.m. CST

    About time, too.

    by tbrosz

    The number of effects people who were inspired by Harryhausen would fill a stadium. How many recent movies have we seen with skeleton fights that were proudly-admitted homages to Harryhausen? Heck, Spy Kids 2 was pretty much a solid Harryhausen festival.

  • June 14, 2003, 6:37 p.m. CST

    harry knowles is the bruce lee of photoshop

    by MiltonWaddams

    white text, black dropshadow or vice versa, it's not that hard.

  • June 14, 2003, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Perhaps Hollywood isn't as screwed up as I thought.

    by Wingnut1A

    Finally, some justice. Whoopie Goldberg got her star years ago. Now, a REAL legend in movie making finally gets the respect he has deserved for 40 years.

  • June 14, 2003, 6:56 p.m. CST

    If you're going to pick on someone for their illegible captions,

    by Lenny Nero

  • June 14, 2003, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Willis O'Brien

    by mtoast

    Does O'Brien have a star on the Walk? He should.

  • June 14, 2003, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Fav Harryhausen memory

    by GypsyTRobot

    the giant metal statue in Jason of the Argonauts (sorry, I forget its name). Whenever I see a bronze sculpture of a human figure, I hear that sound of grating metal in my mind and expect the figure to look over its shoulder at me.

  • June 14, 2003, 7:54 p.m. CST

    What are you people talking about? Those captions are perfectly

    by user id indeed!

    The third picture says: Stan "Hat I or Hockin Rick" Baker, Rick "I with this guy would get his face ass of the shit" Baker, and Ray "This jc arol" Harryhausen. See? Typical AICN wit.

  • June 14, 2003, 8:02 p.m. CST

    This should have happened years ago, I'm glad he lived to see it

    by TimBenzedrine

    I met Ray Harryhausen at the Troy Triple Fan Fair in Michigan back in 1977. He was promoting his movie Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. As fate would have it, much of the limelight was stolen that Memorial Day weekend by another fantasy film that 20th Century Fox had released in only about 100 theatres around the country. I got to talk him for about 20 minutes,and I spoke to him later while they were showing some of the films he made in his garage when he was a teenager. He pointed out to me how he did some of the water effects in his dinosaur footage. (salt and celophane) He must have been around sixty at the time but he talked about this movies as if he had just made them. He signed a few B&W stills I brought of some of my favorite monsters(the cyclops, Kala, and the skeletons- The cyclops photo hangs in my office over my drawing board) I've met a lot of other famous people in my career, but Harryhausen is the only one I'd consider a living legend. Congratulatulations Ray.

  • June 14, 2003, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Congratulations to Ray Harryhausen!

    by Manaqua

    ...and cheers to Arnold Kunert for his dedication. Hers teh link again posted above. Great story! M

  • June 14, 2003, 9:30 p.m. CST

    Harry "hausen" Knowles

    by Regis Travolta

    No sidewalk star for you until you get a better caption making program, they really are blurry and hard to read. But hats off to Ray Harryhausen for a lifetime of great and inspiring effects work.

  • June 14, 2003, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Some times right things happen

    by MrCere

    The walk is a sham but the class-level was significantly raised. Bradbury is another class guy. Heard him at Comic-Con last year and his brain is still sharp as razors even if his legs don't work.

  • June 14, 2003, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Thanks Rolling Stone

    by GypsyTRobot

    "Look to his ankle, brother."

  • June 15, 2003, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Thank you Ray.

    by ColonelAngus

    God I love Ray Harryhausen. Our English teacher showed us Clash of the Titans in 11th Grade. God she was hot. I wanted to nail her so bad, or even just watch someone else nail her. Which reminds me, I think she used to be a porn star. Her name was Sarah Spice. I shit you not.

  • June 15, 2003, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Finally, a deserved star...

    by Charlie & Tex

    It is no surprise that it has taken this long for Harryhausen to get a star on the Walk of Fame. He hasn't had a movie out for a great many years, and these days they only give them out to people who have a new movie opening. The Walk of Fame has just become another marketing tool in the ever-growing mechanisiation of Hollywood. "And XXXXX unviels his star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and with his much anticipated movie opening tommorrow, XXXXX is the hottest property around....". Depressing, isn't it?

  • June 15, 2003, 10:25 a.m. CST

    I've been wondering when you were finally gonna pay some lip ser

    by Dog Of Mystery

    Nice to see my buddy Uncapie could be there as well (you lucky bastards). The world, and particularly the geek community, owes a debt to Ray Harryhausen that will never be repaid. We've simply built up too much debt watching his marvelous imagination shine onscreen. Now, someone needs to fully fund a Forest Ackerman museum.

  • June 15, 2003, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Harryhausen's light touch

    by zinc_chameleon

    With all the CGI, I still would give more credit to Harryhausen's imagination: (1) the 'check-em over' scene in King Kong, after Kong's killed the T-Rex. Truly funny. (2) the editing/effects of the Medusa battle in 'Clash of the Titans'. Still the standard for hunt-and-seek combat. (3) the sabertooth tiger shakining off its ice coat, moving the way real cats do. CGI people still need to pay more attention to how animals move in the real world.

  • June 15, 2003, 4:36 p.m. CST

    But, of course, you know who could kick both Harryhausen's and B

    by film_editor17

    No one! Ha ha, you thought I was going to say "Gregory Peck" weren't you? Ha ha. Woo. Okay, I'll stop now.

  • June 15, 2003, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Turner Classic Movies is showing Ray's (almost?) entire filmogra

    by Syd Mead

    Excuse me if this has been posted. TCM June 27 to 29 is having an all Ray Harryhausen weekend, but check your local listings. Some rare stuff is going to be shown like his sample reel he showed Wills O'Brian. Not just Mighty Joe Young. Also things like his stop motion nursey rhyme children's films, Evolution film he made in the 1940's as well as his famous Jason and the Argonauts. I can't wait. Read on to know more... "The essence of fantasy [is] transforming reality into the imagination," explains legendary special effects man Ray Harryhausen in the The Harryhausen Chronicles (1998), a documentary that explores the craftsmanship and artistry of Harryhausen's career in stop motion animation. The film, written and directed by Richard Schickel, includes interviews with friends, such as longtime Harryhausen pal, author Ray Bradbury and some of today's filmmakers who have been influenced by Harryhausen's magic. In addition, The Harryhausen Chronicles is narrated by Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy. According to Schickel's documentary, Ray Harryhausen found his life's work early, when, in 1933 at the age of thirteen, he first saw King Kong at Grauman's Chinese Theater. From Harryhausen's own recollection, the movie left him awestruck and literally changed his life, sparking an inexplicable interest in stop motion effects. He went to work immediately, learning animation techniques and setting up a shop in the family garage. The Harryhausen Chronicles includes footage of some very early Harryhausen efforts, including some model dinosaurs the young filmmaker took with him to MGM and a meeting with King Kong special effects guru, Willis O'Brien. Around this time Harryhausen also met a man who would become a big influence in his life, fellow dinosaur lover Ray Bradbury. The two became friends just out of high school, and as Bradbury recalls in an interview, they promised "They'd build dinosaurs forever." And Ray Harryhausen got busy doing just that. The Harryhausen Chronicles features clips from a 16mm project called Evolution, an attempt by a young Harryhausen to "show the story of life's beginnings on earth." He soon became discouraged with the project, after viewing Fantasia (1940) which he felt he could never top. Evolution ended up as Harryhausen's sample reel. In the meantime, he went to work making training films for the Army (Clips from several of these are shown in the documentary). After the war, Harryhausen decided to make a series of nursery rhyme films for children. The Harryhausen Chronicles includes drawings, designs and film clips from these puppet films: Little Miss Muffett, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel and King Midas. The last in the series was supposed to be The Tortoise and the Hare, but destiny called, in the form of Willis O'Brien, with an offer for Ray to work with his mentor on Mighty Joe Young (1949). The Harryhausen Chronicles shows a still of Ray with the tiny ape model, as the creator describes how he animated 85% of Mighty Joe's scenes and worked to develop a character for the creature. Soon Ray Harryhausen's career took off. The documentary traces his work on films such as It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955), where costs forced him to build a six legged octopus (instead of eight legs) to attack the Golden Gate Bridge; Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), in which the extra-terrestrial destruction had to be animated frame by frame, as each brick fell; and of course The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), the first film to feature Harryhausen's trademark living skeleton. Interviews with Lucasfilm Special Effects Supervisor, and winner of 8 Oscars, Dennis Muren, who saw Seven Voyages eight times in the first week it came out, and with Henry Selick, director of James and the Giant Peach (1996), another Sinbad fan, are included in the documentary. Harryhausen calls Jason and the Argonauts (1963) the "best picture we did" and explains the tedious hours that went into creating the most famous sequence - the mass rising of the seven skeleton warriors. Because there were so many figures to animate, Harryhausen could only manage thirteen frames a day (which equals one second of film). So the skeleton scene alone took 4 months. "Skeletons are really my best friends," Harryhausen once admitted and his dedication to this scene alone bears this out. Perhaps some of the most interesting moments in The Harryhausen Chronicles are attempts to dispel a little bit of the magic by observing how animated and live action scenes were woven together. For example, in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), the documentary reveals how the battle with the six armed Kali was perfectly choreographed by strapping three stuntmen together with a belt so the actors could get their moves down. And we get a look at the Raquel Welch model used in One Million Years B.C. (1966) for the scene where Welch's character is picked up by a pterodactyl. In all, The Harryhausen Chronicles is an intriguing look at the skills of a master craftsman and a candid portrait of a man with a dream. As Harryhausen puts it, "I owe everything to this giant gorilla." Producer: Richard Schickel Director: Richard Schickel Screenplay: Richard Schickel Film Editing: Bryan McKenzie Cast: Leonard Nimoy (narrator), interviews with Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen. BW & C-58m.

  • June 15, 2003, 10:39 p.m. CST

    The Harryhausen Chronicles

    by Joey Stylez

    It's included on the SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINBAD DVD, which I own. It's a great documentary with a lot of info and cool footage never sen before. If you've never seen, go get it b/c it's worth it. Harryheausen is a legend. I loved watching his films as a kid and they still look good today. Nice to see Hollywood do something right.

  • June 16, 2003, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Fantastic reports, Mori and Uncapie!!

    by whytee

    It's great to see Harryhausen getting some mainstream recognition. Thanks for the great reports and photos!!!

  • June 16, 2003, 9:10 a.m. CST

    C'mon, own up...

    by trench404

    Whose idea was it to have 'witty' comments written on the pics in barely legible GREEN text? Well done to Ray though, an inspiration to generations of film makers.

  • June 16, 2003, 9:33 a.m. CST

    RobinP's right

    by Kirk's Toupee

    Give Uncapie the job damnit! Ya sons a bitches! Ray Harryhausen should have gotten this years ago. Hat's off to a guy who inspired many an artist including this FL illustrator.

  • June 16, 2003, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Sadly, the day looked to be a complete success until a strange p

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    I luv yer stuff - congratulations.

  • June 16, 2003, 11:39 a.m. CST

    I was gonna post something smart-ass.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Then I changed my mind. I fondly remember seeing "Clash of the Titans" in the theater. It was the first movie I ever saw without the presence of any parental units. I also had the "Clash" comic book and all of the action figures. Go Ray! sk

  • June 16, 2003, 12:43 p.m. CST

    Can barely read the green font on the photos

    by Hellpop

  • June 16, 2003, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the high quality photos

    by retrocrush

    Ugh...horrible! Can you repost with a nicer resolution? That font is just a blur.

  • June 16, 2003, 6:12 p.m. CST

    Ray Harryhausen

    by septimus_p

    There aren't enough accolades in the world to equal the joy and thrills that Ray Harryhausen has given to generations of moviegoers. He is an artist in an industry of accountants. Without him, countless childhoods would have been much the poorer. Congrats, Mr. Harryhausen!

  • June 16, 2003, 6:52 p.m. CST

    A Graveyard For Lunatics

    by whytee

    I agree, BladeRunnerUnit. Genius book. Harryhausen and Bradbury fans should definitely seek it out.

  • June 16, 2003, 8:31 p.m. CST

    and the next star goes to...

    by lupinelee

    Make-up legend Dick Smith, who is LONG overdue for his star. It's great to see Mr. Harryhausen finally get his due.

  • June 16, 2003, 9:16 p.m. CST

    Walk of Fame not enough!!!

    by EntDroppings

    Mr Harryhausen deserves SO much more. Any graboid can get a walk of fame star. How do we start a campaign to get him something more commensurate, like an AFI award or a Kennedy Center Honors. Ray Harryhausen is one of a kind - an American treasure.

  • June 17, 2003, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Darabont thinks we're all shmucks!!!

    by Batutta

    Go see his lecture at fox searchlab. He complains about test screenings being reviewed "shmucks who post on Harry Knowles".

  • June 21, 2003, 2:51 p.m. CST

    His name is Harryhausen...

    by KineticCard

    In death, everyone has a name...his name is Harryhausen