Friday, May 17, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #108 - Part 3

RIP: Ray Harryhausen, Joyce Brothers

We're going to go from the good news to the bad news. We have two RIPs this week.

The first is to Ray Harryhausen, the master of stop-motion animation, who died last week in London. He was 92.

You may not have heard his name, but you very likely know his work. Often working alone or with a small crew, he created and photographed many of the most memorable fantasy-adventure creatures in movie history: the dinosaur in “The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms,” shown in the picture shortly before it destroyed Palisades Amusement Park (which I note fore the benefit of anyone for who that may ring a bell), the skeleton warriors in “Jason and the Argonauts,” the pterodactyl in “One Million Years B.C.,” the alien beast in "20 Million Miles to Earth," and many more dating all the way back to "Mighty Joe Young." He developed a way, which he called Dynamation, for his models to appear to interact directly with the actors.

George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson - all cite his films as antecedents for their work. I just remember the fun of watching his movies.

RIP, Ray Harryhausen.

Our other RIP this week is for Dr. Joyce Brothers, "the mother of media psychology," who turned a victory on the television game show "The $64,000 Question" into a decades-long career popularizing psychology through radio, TV, and a syndicated newspaper column. She was 85.

I remember encountering Dr. Joyce through the TV when I was quite young. She had a 5-minute show that was tagged onto something or another and she would answer a mailed-in viewer question while sitting stiffly and properly behind a desk, square-shouldered and facing the camera directly. I thought she was a little creepy.

But I grew up and she thawed out and I came to respect what appeared to be her determination to remain open-minded.

And another part of my childhood slips away. RIP, Joyce Brothers.


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