My visit to the Ray Harryhausen “Titan of Cinema” Exhibition!

As I’m suffering with Covid, I thought would be a perfect time to actually get something written and posted on this poor neglected website.
As I’m currently not going far from my bed, it’s given me time to reflect on interesting places visited the past year or so. Arcade Club in Bury Manchester was definitely up there, but for me, something that topped it slightly was our trip to the National Galleries of Scotland to see the “Titan of Cinema” exhibition, a showcasing of the works of Ray Harryhausen.

For some Ray Harryhausen’s name will be instantly recognisable. Others will probably be more familiar with his creations than him, and his creations were legendary. For a time, if you wanted to bring a monster or fantasy creature to life on screen, Harryhausen was your man. This was before the days of computer animation made the process much easier, for Harryhausen’s craft was the painstakingly slow art of stop-motion animation, and few could deny that the man was an absolute genius at it, bringing a level of detail of character and personality to his creations that absolutely shined. Retrospectively, stop-motion perhaps hasn’t held up as the most visually impressive special effect, but Harryhausen’s work will always be timeless, whether it be budget sci-fi of the ‘50s like It Came from Beneath the Sea and 20 Million Miles to Earth, or swashbuckling adventures like the Sinbad movies, Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, or even dinosaur-themed adventures like The Valley of Gwangi and One Million Years B.C. (the latter probably more famous for Raquel Welch in a furry bikini than Harryhausen’s stellar work).

I’ve probably mentioned on here before just how much I was blown away by Harryhausen’s work, with the skeletons rising from the ground and duelling the heroes in Jason and the Argonauts being one of the greatest things I’d ever seen as a kid (this was the 90s, where I was well used to CGI visual effects at that point). As an adult, I’m still blow away now that I have a greater understanding of the amount of complexity and time that would go into a stop-motion scene like that.
When I heard an exhibition showcasing Harryhausen’s work had been set up in Edinburgh in 2020, I desperately wanted to visit, but then Covid happened, lockdowns etc, and it was less feasible, but in September last year (2021) I finally made it there! Here’s some pics of the day!

The Gallery. It had been a while since I’d been in such a grandiose building.
Although Harryhausen didn’t work on King Kong, he cites it as his biggest inspiration to get into the world of stop-motion. This exhibition was a window with a clip from the movie of Kong looking in.
Some early puppets Harryhausen made in his youth.
Poster for the event
Remnants of a Mighty Joe Young armature.
Jade my girlfriend, getting titted up by a tentacle
A vintage Mattel Kraken figure. I wish this was sold in the gift shop!
Two different Kraken models. Not sure if both were used for the movie, or a proof of concept or what. Cool AF regardless

Bubo the owl!

Some of the original movie posters. Othet than the Mattel Kraken, I wished I could have taken these home.
Original movie posters! If I could have taken anything other that the Mattel Kraken, it’d be these!
A dinosaur, although dont remember which movie it was from. I think some models got reused at times.
A giant turtle from One Million Years B.C. I actually own a Marusan Japanese Soft Vinyl toy based on this creature!



The metallic giant Talos!
The swashbuckling skeletons!

So there we go! That was my day out at the Ray Harryhausen exhibition in Edinburgh. The exhibition ended in Feb 2022, and I’m so glad I got to see it before it finished. I love movie monsters, and they don’t get much more legendary than these!

I didn’t photograph every exhibit, but if this showcase appears somewhere else in the world, I wholeheartedly recommend you go and see it. Anyway, thanks for looking at this post. I’ll try and post again soon!


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