Exhibition Ended

Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema virtual exhibition experience


From Sat 20 Feb 2021 - Sun 20 Feb 2022

This exhibition has now ended!


‘...mind blowing.’
The Metro

This specially curated Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema virtual exhibition experience was created to allow those who were unable to travel to the exhibition Ray Harryhausen | Titan of Cinema to enjoy an online version of the exhibion from the comfort of their own home.

Inside the experience

This amazing virtual exhibition experience included:

  • Five specially created films including newly created animation.
  • Over 150 items from the exhibition including drawings, storyboards, models, posters and behind the scenes photographs.
  • Archive films and objects from Ray’s Harryhausen’s life and work.
  • Three specially created 3D model videos.
  • Four exclusive interviews with guests including Ray's daughter Vanessa, special effects wizard Tom Woodruff Jr., actors Martine Beswick and Caroline Munro, and League of Gentlemen stars Jeremy Dyson and Mark Gatiss. 


The Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema virtual exhibition experience included an array of content options including five specially created films, images and texts from the exhibition as well as archive films and objects from Ray Harryhausen's life and work. 

The content was arranged around the thematic rooms of the exhibition and looked at Harryhausen’s career from his earliest experiments with animation through to his triumphant final film Clash of the Titans (1981). 

King Kong and the Early Years 

The experience kicked off with a film in which animator Barry Purves looked at the influence of King Kong (1933) and the profound effect that it had on the young Ray Harryhausen. Barry discussed Harryhausen’s work alongside that of his mentor Willis O’Brien and how both men brought the art to the technology of stop-motion animation. We also heard from Harryhausen himself in archive interviews in which he discussed the process of stop-motion and his love of King Kong

Various dinossaur models from Harryhausen's early films. The models clearly show the effect of time and latex is crumbling in places

This section of the experience also included a broad selection of images from the exhibition. These included objects from Harryhausen’s collection of King Kong memorabilia as well as models, sketches, photographs and films made by the young Ray Harryhausen. 

Imagination to Life

In the second film we joined stop-motion animators, and Harryhausen collaborators, Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero. Seamus and Mark discussed working with Harryhausen to complete his film The Tortoise and Hare, a project that he had started 50 years earlier. They looked at Harryhausen’s use of the replacement animation technique pioneered by George Pal as well as discussing Harryhausen’s model-making techniques.

A table in the exhibition displaying a array of creature models from across Ray Harryhausen's career

In addition to the film, this section looked at Harryhausen’s fairy tale films with clips, behind the scenes photographs and sketches from these early films. We also examined Harryhausen’s model-making process from early sketches, to armatures, moulds and finally to finished models. We then took a look at one of Harryhausen’s lost movies: a planned adaptation of H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds. Included were detailed sketches, models and the test footage that Harryhausen made for this unfinished project. In the process, we gained an insight into how Harryhausen took an idea from his imagination and gave it form. 


In the third film we were joined by Oscar-winning special visual effects artist Randy Cook. Randy looked at Harryhausen’s transition to feature films and in particular his first colour film, the hugely influential 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958). He explained Harryhausen’s famed Dynamation process, through which he was able to combine animation with live action to create some of the most iconic moments in fantasy film history.  

A diagram showing how the process of dynamation works

The remainder of this section looked at Harryhausen’s move into feature films with photographs of the models, beautifully realised key drawings, storyboards, behind the scenes photographs and posters from a range of films. Included in this section were artifacts from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Earth vs the Flying Saucers (1956), 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957), Mysterious Island (1961), The First Men in the Moon (1963), One Million Years B.C. (1966) and The Valley of Gwangi (1969). 

Creatures of Legend 

In this film we looked at the two cycles of films for which Harryhausen is perhaps best known. The Sinbad trilogy and the Greek Myths films Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and Clash of the Titans (1981). We were joined once again by Barry Purves who along with Harryhausen actors Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick, fans Marshall Julius and John Walsh, comic book writer and producer Mark Millar, animator Nina Gantz and Harryhausen’s daughter Vanessa looked at some of Harryhausen’s most iconic big screen moments. 

A table showing creature models from Harryhausen's Sinbad films

The film was supplemented by an array of key drawings, storyboards, sketches, posters, behind the scenes photographs, animation tests, posters and models from these iconic films.

A Life in Objects

In the last film Ray Harryhausen’s daughter Vanessa took a personal look at her father’s life in film. She reflected and the crucial role that Harryhausen’s parents played in his early success, his fruitful partnership with producer Charles Schneer, her father’s legacy and living with a special effects legend. 

Ray Harryhausen's Bafta award and a photograph showing him recieving his Oscar from the actor Tom Hanks

To supplement this film we also included an eclectic array objects from Harryhausen’s life including early artworks, books and ephemera and late career sculptures. We also looked at Harryhausen’s lifelong friendship with the author and fellow dinosaur enthusiast Ray Bradbury. 

Live Events

Throughout the year we will be added four exclusive live events in which guest speakers discussed Harryhausen’s work and its influence.  

3D model recreations

For the exhibition we worked closely with our partners Play Dead and the Ray and Diana Harryhausen foundation to make 3D scans of Harryhausen’s models. From these Play Dead created a number of recreations from these models. Included in the package were three of these 3D creations.

A 3D digital recreation on one of Harryhausen's skeleton models

Bonus content

In addition to the above we included exclusive access to interviews and exhibition footage created for the exhibition’s press launch.



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