The new exhibition showcases the enduring work of the special effects pioneer ray harhhausen.
MICHEL MARTIN, host:
In the next few minutes, we will tell two extraordinary stories about the movie industry. Before CGI and digital animation, creatures like “battle of the titans” were animated by the world of stop-motion animation. One of the legends of the world is Ray Harryhausen. Now, for the first time since his death in 2013, he has exhibited his work in Oklahoma city. The report is Nomin Ujiyediin from member station KGOU.
NOMIN UJIYEDIIN, wired: Cyclops, sea monster, and three dogs guard Scott Henderson’s office.
SCOTT HENDERSON: when I opened the box there, it was like ten Christmas. This is amazing. I never tired of looking at them.
UJIYEDIIN: he is the gallery director of the science museum in Oklahoma. The exhibition, Ray Harryhausen, is his idea. He grew up loving Harryhausen’s film and sharing it with his 10-year-old daughter. Now, Harryhausen’s more than 100 models, prototypes, posters and designs are on display outside his office. His favorite was the 1963 movie “Jason and the gold digger”.
Henderson: they’re a skeleton that looks evil. They’re ready in battle. These are the actual models he used in the battle of the famous skeleton warriors.
UJIYEDIIN: in this scene, seven animated bones explode from the ground and attack three live actors. The skulls chase men around the sunny Greek ruins and react to each shield wielded by sword and wave. The skeletons themselves look a bit like toys, but their movements look real. Harry hausen spent four months in five minutes, stopping the action in the real scene. Sculptor Mike Hill says enthusiasm and attention to detail are the legacy of harry hausen in the special effects artists.
MIKE HILL: he’s part of the monster maker blueprint.
UJIYEDIIN: hill designed a protagonist in The upcoming film “The Shape Of Water,” a blue sea creature with flipper and human body. He said that the creature was not directly based on harry hausen’s creation, but you can see his influence on its broad shoulders and narrow waist.
Hill: that’s design. This is exercise. This is liquidity. Ray somehow put the soul there. You almost know what they’re thinking, what they’re doing, what their lives are, and no one’s giving us this show. This is encouraging.
UJIYEDIIN: Harryhausen has influenced several generations of filmmakers, including Guillermo del Toro, director of the shape of water. Maureen Furniss is the director of the experimental animation program at the California institute of art. She still sees animated students inspired by harry hausen’s skills and artistic ability.
MAUREEN FURNISS: he has a very creative, creative mind and an artist. He, you know, went to art school. He had a thorough understanding of anatomy and the way people moved. All of these are gathered in his movies.
UJIYEDIIN: these movies are not made by their actors or directors, but by their monsters, such as the battle of the titans in 1981, in Lawrence olivier and maggie Smith. But what you really remember is…
(the sound of the movie, “the fragments of TITANS”)
LAURENCE OLIVIER :(like Zeus) released cracon.
UJIYEDIIN: and that stupid mechanical owl, Bubo. Longtime fan Matt Hanke and his 8-year-old son came to see them.
Mark Hank: for me, it was almost like a religious experience. It’s tangible. Even if you watch these movies, you know it’s not true, but it ACTS like something that might be touched. When CGI makes a movie, you can’t have an exhibition like this.
UJIYEDIIN: visitors can see the same owls and Bubo as the medusa, the flying horse and other stars at the Oklahoma science museum until December 3. For NPR news, I’m Nomin Ujiyediin in Oklahoma city.