Thursday, May 09, 2013
Tales of Hollywood - Ray Harryhausen Lunch
In 1983, I was working "Ghostbusters" and "2010," for Boss Film, and the stop-motion guys were fun to lunch with. They had done some of the best stop-motion anywhere. Phil Tippett, Jon Berg, Randall William Cook, Jim Aupperle, and some others.
They were very funny guys, and I was was very pleased to be in their company. I was fresh off an animated clay movie in Portland, and my 35mm Seattle feature, now I was building 65mm camera equipment in Hollywood.
My friend Jerry Jeffress had told me Ray Harryhausen had a unique way of speaking, and Jerry could imitate it perfectly. He was great at it. So, I could mimic Jerry imitating Ray, which I did to the amusement of the stop-motion guys at lunchtime.
To my surprise, they ALL could imitate Ray's speaking voice! It was clear they loved him. He was their hero, the reason they got started animating. That was fun!
In the next couple of days, some amazing things happened. A magazine writer asked if I could do a favor. Ray Harryhausen was in town, and could I take him to lunch? And then bring him to Showscan, where the writer also worked, to see the Showscan demo presentation?
(Showscan was a 65mm 60fps system, at Doug Trumbull's company near Boss Film).
Then Mr. Harryhausen would be interviewed for the magazine. Did I say yes? Yes, indeed!
I picked up Mr. Harryhausen, and we chatted a bit. I took him to the restaurant, where the stop-motion guys were. I asked if we could surprise someone, and he grinned yes. As he waited outside for a minute, I went in.
"Guys, our last lunchtime, my Ray Harryhausen imitation wasn't very good. I've been working on it, and it's better. I want to show it to you. I just need a moment to prepare." What a setup. Such eager, expectant faces.
I went outside, and sent Ray back in. Hubbub! Tumult! Somebody yelled "Sam, that's a fantastic imitation!" And that was a fantastic lunch.
Tales of Hollywood