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Ray Harryhausen Was Pioneer Of Stop Motion Animation

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Ray Harryhausen Was Pioneer Of Stop Motion Animation

Ray Harryhausen Was Pioneer Of Stop Motion Animation

Ray Harryhausen Was Pioneer Of Stop Motion Animation

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Raymond Frederick Harryhausen created one of the earliest successful forms of stop motion animation. He and pioneer Willis O'Brien won an Oscar for their work on the film Mighty Joe Young. Harryhausen also created one of the most famous screen swordfights ever between Jason and a group of skeletons in Jason and the Argonauts. Harryhausen died Tuesday at the age of 92.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A man who animated the imaginations of moviegoers has died. Ray Harryhausen was a visionary of stop motion animation. He helped create the sword-fighting skeletons of "Jason and the Argonauts" and the ferocious dinosaurs of "One Million Years B.C." Harryhausen died today in London at the age of 92. As NPR's Neda Ulaby reports, he developed a distinctive technique that still inspires filmmakers.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: Filmmakers like George Lucas, Peter Jackson and Wes Anderson, who grew up watching Ray Harryhausen films.

WES ANDERSON: I really loved them as a kid.

ULABY: The kind of kid transfixed by the swaggering goat-legged Cyclops in the 1958 movie "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad," as Anderson told WHYY's FRESH AIR three years ago.

ANDERSON: It's a difficult and painstaking, careful thing to do, stop motion, but you sense that somebody is doing this with their hands. You're a bit aware of how the illusion is being created.

RAY HARRYHAUSEN: Stop motion has a strange quality, like a dream, like a nightmare.

ULABY: Ray Harryhausen told NPR in 2004 that his life changed after seeing "King Kong." He started building dinosaurs in the garage of his Los Angeles home. As an adult, he got to work with the same special effects man from "King Kong" on another big ape film, "Mighty Joe Young."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "MIGHTY JOE YOUNG")

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