“IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA”–CELEBRATING THE MAGIC OF RAY HARRYHAUSEN

MrLoboGiantMonsterPosterLast time we talked about GODZILLA and MOTHRA for “day one” of GIANT MEGA MONSTER MOVIES WITH MR. LOBO…

However, this Sunday, July 28th, Mr. Lobo is proud to present at ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE WINCHESTER on the big screen, a special 2PM matintee with the Sci-Fi classic IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA! This film features the amazing special effects animation of RAY HARRYHAUSEN who passed away ealier this year on May 7th.SignedRayHarryhausenPortrait       

Monster fan and legendary genre artist in his own right, GEORGE “E-GOR” CHASTAIN who made the poster for this MR. LOBO GIANT MEGA MONSTER WEEKEND event and created E-GOR’S CHAMBER OF HORROR HOSTS–the first and best online resource on the subject, shares his reflections of  RAY HARRYHAUSEN and world of famous monsters and fantasy films! He also shares some of his amazing autographed treasures to illustrate this article.

That’s wonderful that you got to actually got to meet the man–Mr. Lobo is jealous.

I met Ray Harryhausen a number of times and got all sorts of things signed. I also designed a couple of posters for his single appearance at the 2nd Monster Bash.

bashposter98abashposter98b http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/portfolio/posters/bash1998.htm

How did get sucked into the world of Monsters?

I was born in 1948, in a world of kiddie media that seemed to be primarily devoted to cartoons (Disney, Warner Bros., early Hanna-Barber and Jay Ward) and westerns. I saw CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON at the Islander Drive-In in Key West when it came out in the early 50s, but most of the other monsters I remember until the late 50s were Disney creations (FANTASIA dinosaurs on TV, giant squid on the big screen in 20,000 LEAGUES).

Saw FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #4 on the newsstand and loved it but didn’t have 35 cents to buy it. Picked up the only 2 issues of MONSTERS & THINGS around that time, and was ready for the next issue of FM I saw, #6 with a KING KONG cover. Became a fan for life, more or less (a lapse of a number of years when I got to college, but I’m younger than that now).

When did you first see RAY HARRYHAUSEN’s work?

It’s hard to remember my first encounter with Ray Harryhausen’s work, but early issues of FM often had photos of his monster, and I definitely saw the 3-paforryrt article about Ray and his entire career (to date) called “Son of Kong” that appeared in FM issues 20, 21 & 23 in 1962 and 63. GREAT STUFF, with carefully chosen photos of Ray’s greatest creations to that time, and Forry’s reminiscences of a close friend, fellow fantasy fan, and creative collaborator he’d known since they were teenagers!

I haven’t checked, but I’m sure the other monsterzines I read in those days — CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN, FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS, HORROR MONSTERS, MAD MONSTERS, MONSTERS AND THINGS, etc. — at least ran photos from Harryhausen films, and some definitely had feature articles.

SignedHarryhausenRhedosaurus

And meanwhile I saw some of my all-time favorite Harryhausen films on TV, including “MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS, IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS, TWENTY MILLION MILES TO EARTH, and The 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD.

HarryhausenBeastLobbySignedGwangiLaserdisc

Eventually I became such a fan that I tried to catch all of his new films when they were first released, and followed them faithfully as long as they lasted, from JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS through ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., FIRST MEN IN THE MOON and THE VALLEY OF GWANGI through the later SINBAD films and Ray’s last commercial release, CLASH OF THE TITANS.

SignedHarryhausenDinoFight

Here are two signed lobby cards from IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA.

HarryhausenOctopusLobby HarryhausenOctopusLobby2http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/4MrLobo/IT%20Came%20from%20Beneath%20DC/

Do you have favorite resources for info and pictures?

In the early 70s, through the Movie Book Club, I got a copy of Ray’s own beautifully illustrated book about his career to date, FILM FANTASY SCRAPBOOK, and I kept up with the later editions incorporating his last few films. This book provided more details about Ray’s life and work than I had ever seen before, as well as many fantastic photos and concept drawings fFilmFantasyScrapbookrom his personal collection. Late in Ray’s life a number of big, lavishly-produced books provided even greater information and images covering all aspects of his career, including RAY HARRYHAUSEN: AN ANIMATED LIFE, THE ART OF RAY HARRYHAUSEN, RAY HARRYHAUSEN: A LIFE IN PICTURES and several others.

Is there a secret ingredient in Ray Harryhausen’s films that other films might not have?

One of the best things about Ray’s movies has always been the soundtrack music, perfectly underscoring his magical stop-motion animation, and composed by some of the finest composers in the industry, including Roy Webb, Mischa Bakaleinikoff, David Buttolph, the great BERNARD HERRMANN (who wrote magnificent scores for several of Ray’s greatest films, and many other classic movies from CITIZEN KANE to PSYCHO), Laurie Johnson, Mario Nascimbene, Jerome Moross, and Miklós Rózsa. Some of these scores were released as soundtrack albums on long-playing records and/or CDs, and I bought them whenever I could find them — it’s wonderfully inspiring to listen to such fantastic music while working on my own artwork.

MyBash98HarryhausenArt

Have you always been a hardcore Monsterologist?

My interest in fantasy/horror films was considerably interrupted by life experiences like college, 3 years in the U.S. Army overseas, and married life with two stepsons, but at length I took stock of myself and realized I needed to get back in touch with my deepest passions, including famous monsters!

Tell us about attending conventions and making art for Ray Harryhausen’s celebrity appearances.

I began to attend movie conventions, and had the privilege of meetiing Ray at a number of them, including FANEX 4 in Baltimore in 1990, the 1992 Chiller Theatre Convention in New Jersey, the 1993 Famous Monster convention in Arlington VA, and the second Monster Bash (which I helped to advertise with my artwork) near Pittsburgh PA in 1998. I found Ray to be friendly and receptive to his fans, despite the fact that I bugged him for manyautographs!SignedHarryhausenYmirPhotoSignedSci-FiBoysDVDcover

In Ray’s later years, I was privileged to do a number of graphic projects that paid tribute to his movie career and what it had meant to me, starting with the posters I did for his appearance at Monster Bash in 1998. Since he was so close to my childhood hero, FAMOUS MONSTER editor Forrest J Ackerman — and to their lifelong mutual friend Ray Bradbury — some of those art projects embraced all three, like the two versions I did of these three “Sci-Fi Boys” (as a wonderful documentary about them dubbed them) encountering their lifelong love, KING KONG, in an imaginary scene from the movie. I did the first version of the poster as a gift for Forry Ackerman when he was a guest at Monster Bash the last time, and Forry paid for the printing of a revised version of the poster so it could be used at the annual San Diego Comic Con about 6 weeks later, where Forry and both Rays were scheduled to do a panel discussion and a signing!

E-Gor’s tribute poster of Harryhausen and his “Bat Pack” buddies author Ray Bradbury and Famous Monsters editor Forry Ackerman–and their lifelong love of KING KONG that inspired them all. Autographed by all three monster mavens:

autographed forrays

Fangs, er, we mean”Thanks”, E-GOR for sharing your Monster Kid memories with us and for making an awesome poster for this event featuring IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA, GODZILLA and MOTHRA. We hope you can attend one or all of these amazing films…but if you ever have the chance, don’t miss RAY HARRYHAUSEN’S work on the big screen as it continues to inspire new fans!

One thought on ““IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA”–CELEBRATING THE MAGIC OF RAY HARRYHAUSEN

  1. A wonderful interview, George, complemented by some equally-wonderful photos of your Harryhausen souvenirs.

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