Thanks for all the critters and the inspiration, Ray!

I once stood in line for nearly an hour in the pouring rain, without an umbrella, for a chance to hear Ray Harryhausen speak and watch a big screen presentation of Jason And The Argonauts at the Seattle International Film Festival.

My mother, being the sweetheart that she is about my geeky passions, also waited in the rain with me. We still remember sitting in the theater damp, cold, and clutching hot drinks (this would be May in Seattle, by the way).

Then Harryhausen took the stage and, for me, all the discomforts went away as he talked about a long career of creating creatures. Toward the end of that talk, he pulled out a shoebox from under his chair and displayed the tiny skeleton that his "magic" made a life-sized opponent for Jason.

I grew up in the era when Harryhausen's movies were the weird stuff you found in the early afternoons or late at night on television. I didn't get to see his amazing creatures the way that they should be seen -- full size on a big movie screen with a bucket of popcorn -- until years later when he was "rediscovered" by fans of the fantastic.

But as somebody who keeps finding walking skeletons popping up in her fiction, I guess Ray and his critters are stuck somewhere in my brain in the drawer marked: "fun, cool, and incredibly nifty."

If you haven't seen any of his movies, watch one soon. Enjoy!


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