Sunday, July 30, 2006

Ray Harryhausen Exhibition @ National Museum of Photography

Emma, Evie and I drove over to Bradford yesterday to visit the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television for the first time. I'd wanted to visit for ages as had heard so many good things about the place, with it being the largest archive of film, animation and television memorobilia in the UK. I wasn't disappointed.

There's a terrific Animation Gallery there, a whole floor dedicated to it complete with an Animator In Residence much like the Museum of Moving Image used to run in London. Didn't know until visiting but my old mate Chris Shepherd from Slinky Pictures, director of "Dad's Dead", was the resident animator there a while back. There are even some of my original Bob the Builder design sheets framed there, donated to the gallery by HOT Animation some time ago. Plus there's everything to do with British Animation from Dangermouse, Wind In The Willows, extensive Aardman features, Monkey Dust, Animal Farm, the list goes on.

Highlight for me was a wonderful extensive Harryhausen exhibition entitled Myths & Visions If you can I heartily recommend you check it out (I know RH fans like Justin P will be kicking their heels at this).

It's no secret that Mr H is "The Guv'nor" to me, indeed Jason & The Argonauts contains my favourite ever special effects scene, namely the skeleton attack. Can't think of anything that fired my imagination as a kid as much as that, not even the first appearance of the Star Destroyer in Star Wars. What differed about this exhibition to mostt other RH ones was the extensive amount of his original drawings, as well as Willis O'Brien ones too. Tons of good stuff including the skeleton sketches pictured here, from Jason as well as Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.

Go see!

Bada Bling!


Tidyfiguremaker said...

Sounds like a great place to visit over the summer hols with the kids. I had been planning to go there this year too and now that I know that there is a Ray Harryhausen exhibiton too, I'm there.

Mrs bling said...

All free too, which is rather marvellous. If you go by car, you can park round the back of it v.cheaply, and there's an indoor picnic area too.

The temptation to just break into display cases in the Harryhausen exhibition was unbelieveable :o)

paulhd said...

My auntie took me to see Jason and The Argonauts at Hartlepool when I was a kid. It's a shiny memory of wonder.
Wish I could get to this exhibition, lack of car, inability to drive one and no money hamper this wish somewhat:(

Jo Bling said...

I don't actually remember seeing Jason at the cinema as a kid. In fact, I would have been minus 9 years old when it came out so that would probably explain it! '63 or thereabouts. I do remember Sinbad & The Eye of the Tiger coming out at the cinema, and I know for a fact I saw Clash of the Titans on the big screen.

Can only reiterate recommendation that you get along. Ian (Tidy) the kids will love it as there's loads of interactive stuff too. Paul, hitch there man, but go see!

Off to ensure Mrs Bling ceases her klepto ways....

Anonymous said...

My good lady wife took me here a few years back when the Art of Star Wars was on there, a Valentines Day surprise, and a great day was had by all. Knowing her love of Jason and the Argonauts (Every Bank Holiday she insists it MUST be on one of the Sky movie channels, or Clash of the Titans at least). Still going to make the effort though, my eldest is monster crazy at the moment and what better way to terrify the little man than take him here, assuming that Medusa is in residence. She still gives me the creeps now.

It's the hook nose, witch stylee, gets me everytime!

Anonymous said...

Hey look, a whole sentence is missing from that post! It was in my head, yet somehow missed the keyboard. Must have fell down the back of my desk.

Jo Bling said...

:-D What was the sentence then?!?!?!

Medusa is indeed there, plus his original sculpted maquette of Gwangi. may I just say "Homonah homonah homonah!!!" *drool*

Andrew Glazebrook said...

My favourite Harryhausen creations are the 'Cyclops' from '7th Voyage of Sinbad' 'Kali' from 'Golden Voyage of Sinbad' I love his work on 'Mighty Joe Young' too !

justinpatrickparpan said...

This museum seems like a mighty swell place, Mr. Bling, and it sounds like you guys had a ball! And right you are about my excitement on the subject of Mr. Harryhausen. I actually just heard the man speak not more then a week ago at the Comic Con down here in San Diego. He chatted about King Kong for about an hour, and it was incredible. The man is in his seventies, yet he’s still full of so much passion and love for the art form.

Jo Bling said...

I first heard one of Uncle Ray's speeches years ago at an Animation Festival in Banbury, near Oxford. Weirdest venue for a festival, but there were workshops and all kinds going on.

The auditorium that me and my mate heard Ray speak in was criminally ill-attended, although sat behind me was Dr Graham Garden of the Goodies fame, with his kids. Ray gave a fascinating speech and rounded things off with signings. He had time and a word for everyone, and seemed genuinely pleased to hear that I knew the guys at Cosgrove Hall.

Having heard him speak more recently, I believe the years are catching up with him (he's no spring chicken, thought he must be well into his eighties)- how did you find him, Justin?

Although he's an LA native, he's a proper Anglophile, living most of his life in the UK I believe.

Anonymous said...

How sad to hear there was a low attendance at that talk, though he obviously has a great following. Apparently the League of Gentleman asked him to do the work on their movie as they are all huge fans, but unfortunately he has retired (understandably given the time he has to devote to a project)
Funny you should say he's an Anglophile, for some reason I always thought he was British till a few years ago when the Sinbad movies were released on DVD.
Also thought Frank Miller was British for a long time, probably because he looks so pale and interesting in that British way. Always reminded me of Andy Kershaw.

Jo Bling said...

Interesting you should mention League Of Gentlemen movie - they ended up getting my mates @ Mackinnon & Saunders to make the puppets for the stop motion sequences but for the life of me I don't recall who ended up animating them. Still haven't seen the film but should for the sake of being a completist... love the LOG.

As for Miller, it's the black leather jackets that make him look pastier and therefore more British :-)

Anonymous said...

Sure its in bargain bins everywhere at the moment, but LoG Apocalypse is currently in Tescos for about £3. Nearly picked it up, but just know I'll never get round to watching it at the moment. I love to buy a DVD and watch it same day while I'm still giddy about my shiny new preciousss, I mean purchase.

Really like the League, and the fact they're not happy to keep repeating the same formula. Now they've been off the radar for a little while can't wait to see what they come back with.

Was there ever a LoG range of figures? Would love a Papa Laz and his three legged dog.

paulhd said...

I know it got a bit of flak but I really like the LOG film (the animated bit was great!) Saw the panto they did last year and was fab, hope it get's DVD release.
Jason and the Argonauts must've been a... uh, what's cinema for repeat? as I'd've been minus 9 too.

mrs bling said...

The LOG are behind you was utterly hysterical. And I have the dubious honour of being the cackling witch in the audience who made Steve Pemberton corpse. Oh the shame.

It was the thing with the wooden spoon woman. I cackled, he laughed, and Reece almost lost it too.

I shouldn't be allowed out.

Jo Bling said...

's Dave there???

Papa Lazarus rocks my tiny world. Indeed, the stage show was great, just like the one they performed five years back which I utterly loved.

Shall have to see the film, THEN I can comment on the worthiness of Paul receiving flak!

justinpatrickparpan said...

Hey Mr. Bling,

I had a more personal encounter with Harryhausen about a year ago. I was taking a course on stop motion at Cal Arts, and Harryhausen, who was a friend of the instructor, dropped by to check out the facilities. He ended up staying the entire class, and chatting to us on a whole range of topics—mainly dinosaurs and Kong if I remember correctly. Anyhow, to make a long story short, the man was all there. He was energetic and telling jokes about the 1970’s remake of Kong. After the class period was over, Harryhausen and the teacher went out for pizza. It was a really interesting day.

Jo Bling said...

Great to hear that he was on good form. The last I'd heard was from a friend who reported that compared to previous occasions they'd met, Ray seemed a bit forgetful. Heck, even if he was, thats quite acceptable at his age.

70's Kong. Man in a monkey suit. How could it fail?

Anonymous said...

70's Kong, good lord! Watched that again at Christmas, and couldn't believe what I was seeing. Giant Snake? Get some Dinosaurs in.
Even the poster lied. Jet fighters? Afraid not, here's Doc Savages gyro copter, now take down that monkey!
My fave bit is when he breaks his chains and you get a long shot of the infamous life size Kong model. 'Stunning'!
Jeff 'Dude' Bridges is still a legend though, as is his beard in this movie.

Cassie said...

Are you local?
LOG Apocalypse was great.
Ray's movies still terrify me!

mrs bling said...

And today we got "Jason" and "7 Voyages" in Tesco for a bargainous £4 each.


Anonymous said...

My Tesco is rubbish! LoG has now gone, and Jason is not there! Boooo!

Dawn said...

How do teachers book workshops. Our school would like to book a workshop and arrange for Curtis to come in and demonstrate to a group of pupils in the school to improve their creative writing and also animation skills