Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ray of Light

 Before there was CGI, in fact, before there were too many computers on the planet at all, creating special effects was a painstaking, exacting task.  The best in the business, hands down, was Ray Harryhausen, who inspired our current crop of filmmakers.

A light has gone out, Mr. Harryhausen has died.  He was 92, living in London, and i grew up believing he was a magician.

He didn't have the huge budgets films have today, and so would often do the incredibly detailed work by himself to save funds.  From what i gather, he never had more than two or three people helping him anyway.

My favorite of all his films was Clash of the Titans (it's Sweetie's favorite, too).  Once, during a class on ancient Greek history, we were studying the mythology of the Greeks as well, and the professor arranged a screening of that film, so we could compare what we knew of the actual myths to the Hollywood version.  It's a fond memory, popcorn and a Harryhausen film and i didn't have to spend a dime.  (Remember there weren't personal computers in the dinosaur ages, and no Netflix on demand, so you had to either wait for it to come on TV, or go to the movies.)

Rest in Peace, Mr. Harryhausen; you showed generations what is possible, and i thank you.

Today is

Blessing of the Sea -- Hastings, Sussex, England (traditional blessing on the day before Ascension Day, conducted by the Rectors of All Saints and St. Clement's churches)

Bonnie Blue Horse Show -- Virginia Horse Center, Lexington, VA, US (a major, A-rated, all-breed event of the American Horse Show Association)

Desert Folk Festival -- Homs and Palmyra Syria (keeping the culture of the desert peoples alive for the next generations; through Saturday)

Dog-Prodding Day -- Fairy Calendar (Gremlins)

Donate a Days Wages to Charity Day 2013 --

Fête de l'iris -- Belgium (Brussels Region Day)

Helston Furry Dance a/k/a The Flora -- Helston, Cornwall, England (the world-famous dance is each year on May 8, unless that day is Sunday or Monday, when it's held the Saturday before; dancing around the streets begins very early in the morning)

Iris  Day -- celebrate these beautiful spring flowers

Liberation Day -- Czech Republic; Slovakia

Miguel Hidalgo Day -- Mexico (birth anniversary of the father of Mexican independence)

National Coconut Cream Pie Day

National Empanada Day

National Nightshift Workers Day/Third Shift Workers Day -- US (remembering those intrepid souls who keep things running smoothly through the night)

National Receptionist Day -- US (because that first impression is important; National Receptionists Association)

National School Nurse Day -- US

National Student Nurses Day -- US

No Socks Day -- sponsored by Wellcat Holidays, who want you to let your toes go free, and cut down on your laundry a bit today

Occupational Safety and Health Professionals Day

Parents' Day -- South Korea

Royal Windsor Horse Show -- Windsor, England (through the 12th)

Stay Up All Night Day -- some teenager probably thought this one up, as an excuse to go ahead and convince the parents it was okay

St. Ida of Nivelles' Day (Patron of erysipelas patients, toothache sufferers; against erysipelas and toothache)

Thank Your School Librarian Day -- US (American Association of School Librarians)

Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War -- International

Truman Day -- Missouri, US

V-E Day -- some countries celebrate today, some celebrate tomorrow

World Red Cross Day / World Red Crescent Day

Birthdays Today:

Enrique Iglesias, 1975
Robert M. Hensel, 1969
Melissa Gilbert, 1964
Toni Tennille, 1943
Peter Benchley, 1940
Rick Nelson, 1940
Don Rickles, 1926
Robert Johnson, 1911
Bishop Fulton Sheen, 1895
Harry S Truman, 1884
Jean-Henri Dunant, 1828

Today in History:

Hernando de Soto  reaches the Mississippi River and names it Río de Espíritu Santo, 1541
Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, is tried and guillotined by the Reign of Terror, 1794
Future US president Zachary Taylor defeats a Mexican force north of the Rio Grande in the first major battle of the Mexican-American war, 1846
At Gilmore's Gardens in New York City, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opens, 1877
Pharmacist John Styth Pemberton first sells a carbonated beverage named "Coca-Cola" as a patent medicine, 1886
In Martinique, Mount Pelée erupts, destroying the town of Saint-Pierre and killing over 30,000 people, 1902
In Rheims, France, German forces agree to an unconditional surrender, ending the war in Europe, 1945
The rollercoaster Revolution, the first steel coaster with a vertical loop, opens at Six Flags Magic Mountain, 1976
Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler make the first ascent of Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen, 1978
The World Health Organization announces the eradication of smallpox, 1980
The new Canadian War Museum opens, in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of V-E Day, 2005


  1. Oh Mimi, what a beautiful post! We are big fans of Ray Harryhausen in this household. Our son grew up watching Clash of the Titans and it is a firm favorite!

  2. yes! and Clash of the Titians is one of our favorites too.

  3. I noticed Ray's passing yesterday and remembered the intense labor required to achieve his special effects. I grew up on Jason and the Argonauts and still watch it when I find it on the tube. Now computers can show us anything, but it just doesn't mean as much.

  4. Yeah, things sure were different before computers ruled everything. Ray was a real artist.
    And I'm laughing that it's iris day because ours are nowhere near blooming yet.

  5. You know, that's one I haven't seen. May have to look that up! And yes, pre computers, things were a lot more hands on, more craft and art than code...


  6. Well, i'm glad to know so many other fans! He was a one and only.


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