Documentary, originally airing on The Disney Channel, about pioneering special-effects master Ray Harryhausen. Included are clips from his films and interviews with such people as author Ray Bradbury, who has been a lifelong friend, and actor Kerwin Mathews, who has appeared in several of Harryhausen's films.Written by
This classic documentary is available in three versions: The original 1983 version (titled "The Fantasy Film World of Ray Harryhausen"), which aired on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in the US, and was also on VHS/LaserDisc in Japan; the 1986 reissued version (with a new title, "Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me"), which also aired on PBS as well as the Disney Channel; and a revised 1990 version (also titled "Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me"), but with new segments featuring Eric Boardman (interviewing Ray Harryhausen himself at the Museum of the Moving Image in London, which was holding an exhibit of Ray's work), and Gary Owens doing a more up-to-date version of his narration (while also appearing on camera in some scenes). The latter version also aired on PBS and other networks, and is available on VHS and LaserDisc in the US. See more »
Three versions of this classic documentary were made:
The first was from 1983, titled "The Fantasy Film World of Ray Harryhausen," produced by Cerberus Productions and distributed by Euramco International, Inc. This version aired on channels such as PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). The title card, which used Roger Stine's illustration of Ray Harryhausen magically conjuring up the Cyclops in his hands, was stationary. (This version became available on VHS and LaserDisc in Japan, under the title, "Legendary SFX Magician Ray Harryhausen," with Japanese subtitles.)
The second version, from 1986, was the same documentary, but reissued as "Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me," released by Midwich Entertainment. The new title card had the same illustration by Roger Stine, but with animated effects of the Cyclops (then the title, and "Narrated by Gary Owens") appearing in Harryhausen's hands. This version also aired on PBS, as well as the Disney Channel.
The third version (also released by Midwich Entertainment), from 1990, was a revised version, with Gary Owens providing a more up-to-date version of his narration, as well as appearing on camera as the host along with co-host Eric Boardman, who also appears in new footage interviewing Ray Harryhausen himself at a then-recent exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in London, displaying Ray's work. The opening uses the same animated title as the 1986 version, but replaces "Narrated by Gary Owens" with a video-generated "Hosted by Gary Owens with Eric Boardman." This version was not only presented on PBS and other networks, but was also available on VHS and LaserDisc in the US.
One of the first extensive documentaries to be made about stop-motion maestro Ray Harryhausen, this light-hearted look at his work is almost the video equivalent of Ray's "Fantasy Film Scrapbook." It's a shame that this video has been out of print for so long, and it is long overdue for a DVD release. While not as comprehensive as THE HARRYHAUSEN CHRONICLES (which has been released as a special edition DVD, as well as been included as an extra by Columbia on nearly every one of their Ray H. DVDs), it does give us an extended on screen look at Harryhausen, himself, discussing his films, plus on screen comments by Ray Bradbury about his life-long friendship with the animator. I don't know who currently holds the rights to this film, but there seems to be enough interest in it to warrant it being reissued in the digital format.
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