Tuesday, May 7, 2013

“It doesn't matter what you do...so long as you change
something from the way it was before you touched
it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.”

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

As one gets older the deaths of many of the people
who formed the cultural landscape of your youth 
start to add up. I always watch the clip at the 
Academy Awards show of actors who have 
passed away with some interest and much sadness.

As the death of Ray Bradbury in June of 2012 the
death of the great stop motion animator Ray Harryhausen
today at 92 was a great loss from that landscape. The two men
were lifelong lifelong friends and as with Bradbury's stories
Harryhausen's films were a great joy to me and influenced 
my choice of the books and films I love today.

There are many tributes to Harryhausen on the web today so
I will not repeat the information here. 

Some years ago Ray Harryhausen spent some time at the
Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller Alberta upon learning
that he would be giving a talk and sign films Helen and I 
rented a car and went off to spend a weekend with friends in the
area, one of whom worked at the museum, thanks Tim, Laraine 
and of course Helen. Ray gave a talk, showed his figures of  
sword-fighting skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts 
the chess playing baboon from Sinbad and the Eye of the 
Tiger, and I think the Medusa form Clash of the Titans. He also 
patently signed VHS tapes, okay it was a while ago, the event
poster mine is framed and in the basement, and in my case 
he also signed the dedication page of Bradbury's A Graveyard 
for Lunatics which had a character based on Harryhausen and
was dedicated to, among others Ray Harryhausen.

So I have put together some photos of items fron my collection.

The Cyclops from The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and two of
my favorite of Ray's  films.

“I'll make a voice like all of time and all of the fog 
that ever was; I'll make a voice that is like an empty
bed beside you all night long, and like an empty
house when you open the door, and like trees in
autumn with no leaves. A sound like the birds flying
south, crying, and a sound like November wind and
the sea on the hard, cold shore. I'll make a sound that's
so alone that no one can miss it, that whoever hears it
will weep in their souls,
                                                             From the story The Foghorn by Bradbury
                           which became part of Ray’s film
                         The Beast from 20 Thousand Fathoms

Talos from Jason and the Argonauts.
The small figure is the Ymir from 20
Million Miles to Earth.

My signed copy of Graveyard. 

Goodbye Ray you brought myth  and magic
to life and gave pleasure to a lot of people.

"Once upon a time there were two cities within a city.
One was light and one was dark. One moved restlessly
all day while the other never stirred. One was warm
and filled with ever-changing lights. One was cold
and fixed in place by stones. And when the sun went
down each afternoon on Maximus Films, the city of
the living, it began to resemble Green Glades cemetery
just across the way, which was the city of the dead.

As the lights went out and the motions stopped and
the wind that blew around the corners of the studio
buildings cooled, an incredible melancholy seemed
to sweep from the front gate of the living all the way
along through twilight avenues toward that high brick
wall that separated the two cities within a city. And
suddenly the streets were filled with something one
could speak of only as remembrance. For while the
people had gone away, they left behind them
architectures that were haunted by the ghosts of
incredible happenings.

For indeed it was the most outrageous city in the
world, where anything could happen and always did.
Ten thousand deaths had happened here, and when
the deaths were done, the people got up, laughing,
and strolled away. Whole tenement blocks were set
afire and did not burn. Sirens shrieked and police cars
careened around corners, only to have the officers peel
 off their blues, cold-cream their orange pancake makeup,
 and walk home to small bungalow court apartments out
in that great and mostly boring world.

Dinosaurs prowled here, one moment in miniature,
and the next looming fifty feet tall above half-clad
virgins who screamed on key. From here various
Crusades departed to peg their armor and stash their
spears at Western Costume down the road. From here
Henry the Eighth let drop some heads. From here Dracula
wandered as flesh to return as dust. Here also were the
Stations of the Cross and a trail of ever-replenished blood
as screenwriters groaned by to Calvary carrying a
backbreaking load of revisions, pursued by directors
with scourges and film cutters with razor-sharp knives.
It was from these towers that the Muslim faithful were
called to worship each day at sunset as the limousines
whispered out with faceless powers behind each window,
and peasants averted their gaze, fearing to be struck blind."
  from A Graveyard for Lunatics
                                         Ray Bradbury


Kathie Brown said...

Guy, I had no idea these two "Rays" were friends! I have never heard of or read "Graveyard of Lunatics." What powerful imagery. It is mind-boggling! I DO remember the 7 Voyages of Sinbad and the Cyclops. How our world has changed since then. Special effects may have improved, but the story-telling has not in many instances. I still love a good story the best. How nice for you to have such wonderful memories and memorabilia!

Guy said...

Thanks Kathie

I don't know if it was my age when I first saw them, or the fact people were just beginning to add special effects but these movies really seized my attention when I was young and wrapped me up in the stories.