Monster master Ray Harryhausen offers life's work to Bradford museum

AMERICAN movie veteran Ray Harryhausen is offering his life's work to the National Media Museum in Bradford.

The special effects wizard was behind dozens of stop-motion creatures which featured in films such as the original Clash Of The Titans and Jason And The Argonauts. The museum will be able to display the collection if it can raise the funds to preserve it.

The collection contains most of the material connected with the conceptualisation and realisation of Harryhausen's films, such as drawings, paintings and storyboards, together with his animation models and the original moulds used to make them.

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Examples include the skeletons from Jason And The Argonauts and the Medusa and the Kraken from Clash Of The Titans.

The collection also includes rare work by the pioneer special effects designer Willis O'Brien, the creator of King Kong, with whom Harryhausen worked early in his career and who was a major influence.

Harryhausen said: "Now I have reached 90 it is important, certainly in my profession which does not have a reputation for looking after cinematic artefacts, to preserve my art in all its forms - models, drawings, equipment etc, and that this will be available for future generations."

Paul Goodman, head of collections and knowledge at the National Media Museum, said: "With our proven expertise in caring for, exhibiting and interpreting such a range of artefacts, the museum is an ideal place for this extensive and remarkable archive."

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Harryhausen, who is celebrating his 90th birthday, is seen as the father of special effects as his outlandish figures convinced audiences skeletons could walk or figures from Greek myths were flesh and blood.

Other films included One Million Years BC - which saw him create a 4in body double for Raquel Welch as she fled dinosaurs - as well as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Mighty Joe Young.

An exhibition entitled Ray Harryhausen - Myths and Legends is due to open at the London Film Museum.