THE National Galleries of Scotland have announced that tickets will go on sale tomorrow for the landmark exhibition marking the re-opening of Modern Two, the gallery within the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, on October 22.

It may seem a bit strange for an art gallery to be hosting an exhibition about a man who spent most of his career making models out of clay plasticine and other materials, but then Ray Harryhausen was no ordinary modelmaker. Indeed, as the title of the exhibition to mark the centenary of his birth suggests, he was a Titan of the Cinema, a man whose work influenced many of the greatest filmmakers of the past few decades.

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The National Galleries (NGS) have emphasised that safety will be paramount from all visitors so please visit their website for more information.


HE was quite simply the man who changed cinema. He took stop-motion filming to new heights, designing and making models which moved realistically, enabling the creation of everything from battling skeletons to giant mythical creatures.

His work pre-dated computer generated imagery by decades, and created a distinctive style of film-making that is instantly recognisable.

Raymond Frederick Harryhausen was born in 1920 in Los Angeles, California, to parents Martha L and Frederick W Harryhausen. As a young boy in 1933, Harryhausen attended a showing of King Kong at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, whose special effects supervisor was Willis O’Brien.

It was a seminal moment, changing the course of his life: “I’ve never forgotten it,” Harryhausen said in 2005. “The dinosaurs, and King Kong particularly … For its time it was unique”. Remarkably, a note in his diary in 1939 mentions he’d just spent another evening in the cinema, watching King Kong for the thirty-third time.

He would go on to work for O’Brien on the hit film Mighty Joe Young, and then his career took off with science fiction and fantasy films including the Sinbad series.


HIS movies inspired a generation of the world’s greatest living filmmakers, among them Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Sir Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro, who have all acknowledged their debt to him. A single viewing of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad made a young John Landis commit to becoming a filmmaker. Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger did the same for Sir Peter Jackson.

Oscar-winning Harryhausen was responsible for some of cinema’s most magical moments from the 1950s to the 1980s, and he was a talented painter and sculptor as well.

The sheer breadth of his imagination and technical skill was unique and his legions of fans will be delighted to know that the exhibition, being hosted in conjunction with the Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation and sponsored by the People’s Postcode Lottery, will contain a plethora of rarely-seen memorabilia and personal effects.


TITAN of Cinema will showcase the original models that were miraculously brought to life on screen by Harryhausen’s mastery of stop-frame animation, such as the iconic skeletons from Jason and the Argonauts (1963), the Cyclops from his highly-influential Sinbad series, and his trademark UFOs from 1956’s Earth vs the Flying Saucers. The models shown will include those which would later inspire movies such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Pan’s Labyrinth and Mars Attacks!

Also on display will be the young Harryhausen’s very first models, including a marionette inspired by the gorilla from King Kong, conceived by O’Brien, and artwork from Mighty Joe Young, the first film that Harryhausen and O’Brien worked on together, and the movie which effectively launched Harryhausen’s career.


HE was a regular visitor to here after marrying his wife Diana who was the great-great granddaughter of the explorer David Livingstone, and both she and her husband developed a strong affinity for Scotland. One of Harryhausen’s final projects before his death in 2013 was to design the statue of the legendary missionary which now stands in Blantyre.

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THE exhibition was originally scheduled for May this year and was delayed due to the current pandemic, but it will now lead the reopening of Modern Two with an extended run from October 22 until September 2021. Visitors can secure their tickets via the NGS’s new online booking system, available from tomorrow on its website. Visitors can book tickets up to three months in advance and we strongly suspect that it would be a good idea to book early.

Titan of Cinema will be accompanied by a new publication especially commissioned for the exhibition, written by Harryhausen’s daughter Vanessa, that provides a very personal insight into her father’s ground-breaking career, collection and life. This book, part-biography and part-exhibition catalogue, marks the first ever time Vanessa has spoken about her father’s work in such detail, and includes a personal biography of her father from the beginnings in the 1930s through to projects he was working on throughout his “retirement”, less than 10 years ago.

Vanessa Harryhausen said: “ It’s wonderful that we are able to display so much of dad’s collection. The space at the Galleries gives us great scope to display as many of his models and artworks as possible, as well as personal items which have never been exhibited before.”