Ray Harryhausen’s work is known to anyone who is a fan of monster movies. He created the stop motion animation for fantasy classics like Jason and the Argonauts, It Came from Beneath the Sea and Earth Vs the Flying Saucers. His amazing tiny army of sword-wielding skeletons influenced a number of animators today.
He set up The Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation in 1986 to preserve his legacy and catalog his extensive collection of sketches, images, molds and miniatures. The collection contains an estimated 50,000 pieces. There’s a lot of information about his work on his website, and the @Ray_Harryhausen twitter feed offers fans a rare look at sketches from Harryhausen’s films, like this one of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
As you can see, the original and the final beast (pictured below it) are quite different. Harryhausen’s sketch has more of a praying mantis look to it while the final version, is very reptilion. The later beast is dino-like and actually inspired one of the most popular monster franchises of all time.
From his website:
“This was the first film that used a split screen technique to insert models into the live-action. Later the technique became known as Dynamation.
Because he wanted to work on the project so badly, Ray’s woefully low budget for the effects meant that he made little or no profit from his work on the picture.
The film was a landmark in cinema history and launched not only a series of similar monster-on-the-rampage movies but also the Godzilla series.
The Beast, or the rhedosaurus as it was called, was a fictional dinosaur and some say the first two letters – rh – denote a bow to the man who created him. Ray denies this.”