With Aardman Animation's stop-motion animation feature “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” now in theaters, it's a good time to revisit the groundbreaking works and career of Ray Harryhausen, the godfather of stop-frame and special efforts cinema.
“Ray Harryhausen's Fantasy Scrapbook: Models, Artwork and Memories of 65 Years of Filmmaking” (Aurum Press, $55), which hit bookshelves this month, is a rich compendium of artifacts from one of the most innovative and influential film animators of all time.
Designed as a chockablock scrapbook filled with mementos of Harryhausen's works (including some never-before-seen artifacts recently discovered in the filmmaker's Los Angeles garage), the tome offers up a visual feast as well as a thorough autobiography of this legendary pioneer of stop-motion animation.
While there are already several thoroughly researched books on Harryhausen's films and his inventive techniques, the “Scrapbook” reportedly brings to light many new insights, personal recollections and relics.
Fortunately, it turns out that Harryhausen is a first-rate hoarder, and his garage was overflowing with a museum's worth of cinematic finds — concept art, scripts, maquettes and puppets, on-set photos and so on.