Grick Speaks 4
Another question has come up, one I would like to address this time around. Some of you have asked how it was that I happened to come across Amos on that isolated beach in the first place. Was it pure chance or did something draw me to that particular spot at that specific time? This is something I have thought about, often asking myself that same question.
I have discussed it with Silag and he suggested that perhaps the forces in play to transport Amos to my world could have registered in my senses at a level beneath conscious awareness. Both Kerna and Arnal also agree that this is a distinct possibility. I have gone over that time interval in my memory, trying to remember anything out of the ordinary and I do not recall seeing, hearing, smelling or otherwise sensing unusual just prior to finding Amos. I know that happenings beneath my awareness do occur however, and I would not find it hard to believe that such events could cause responses that might seem unintentional. Maybe Amos’ violent entry into my world emitted energies that I unknowingly detected, signals that drew me to the beach nearest to their origin. I cannot say with certainty that this is what actually happened on that fateful early morning. I say only that it is possible.
Questions like this can are often discussed and speculated upon, delving into areas of philosophy and belief structure. Personally, I prefer to take things as they come. It matters very little to me WHY I was at that place at that time. It is important only that I WAS, both for me and my friend Amos. However it came about, I think our meeting and the friendship that came of it has greatly enriched both of our lives and that is what really matters.
That is enough for now. If you have not already done so, please read one of the “Man’s Best Friend” series books. I think you will enjoy it.
RJs Corner – Ray Harryhausen Films
The late Ray Harryhausen made some of the best science fiction films ever made in my opinion. His artistry was in bringing fantastic creatures to life (an artistry that has few peers). I would like to single out three great films from his career: The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, 7th Voyage of Sinbad, and Jason and the Argonauts. This is where dynamation, Ray’s technique for stop motion cinematography using articulated, intricately designed model/machines, became a special effects art form used throughout the motion picture industry. Right up to the classic 1981 Clash of the Titans, dynamation was used by a host of special effects wizards, but Harryhausen was the top master. Watch Clash and you will see dynamation at its pinnacle.
I began watching science fiction in the late 1950s where I discovered to my great joy the Friday night double feature and the soon to be added Saturday Afternoon Science Fiction/Horror Matinee! My parents were indulgent enough to let me take over the TV room and watch all the available science fiction and horror movies – actually this was a ploy to have some alone time from the kid. It was 1958 when I watched The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. It began a lifelong love of dinosaurs and science fiction.
Released in 1953, Beast was during the time atomic energy became the bogyman unleashing a swarm of deadly monsters, (some still around today). Nuclear detonation testing in some remote Artic Circle location – we’d test nukes anywhere – thaws out prehistoric creature; The Rhedosaurus! The reptile first surfaces in the artic and then makes its way down the Eastern Seaboard. It sinks a couple of fishing vessels, tears down a lighthouse (for an alternative to that scene read Ray Bradbury’s short story The Fog Horn), runs amok in Manhattan, terrorizes the populace (180 dead, 1500 injured, $300 million damages – newspaper headlines screamed), leaks radioactive blood all over the place and is finally killed in a grenade launching scene set on a roller coaster. In short, all the trappings of a first rate action film. The special effects for that film hold up today. I would love to see a pristine copy of the film in a theater and relive my youth spent at the afternoon SciFi/Horror double feature with a serial episode (Rocket Man) thrown in. Ah, the good ole days.
In 1958 The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was released to excellent reviews and breath taking special effects. The stop action technique was being marketed as DynaMation (later versions were coined Dynarama)! I’m not sure how long this name hung on but the effects of Harryhausen’s dynamation were superb. The Cyclops definitely steals the show.
In 1963 Jason and the Argonauts hit the theaters and was the first film of Harryhausen’s I would see as a first run movie in a great theater, the Cinerama in Seattle. It was spectacular. From the giant bronze statue of Talos coming alive to three men fighting seven animated skeletons, Jason and the Argonauts delivered a grade one theater experience.
All three of these films are on my Top 20 Science Fiction Films of All Times. In subsequent blogs I’ll print the list. As a matter of fact, feel free to list your own Top 20 as a reply to our blog. In future columns I will discuss more of Mr. Harryhausen’s work and his genius. There are so many great ones. I just might have to revise my list Top 20 list again. Until next time.