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Cowboys, Dinosaurs & Evolution – A tribute to Ray Harryhausen

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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The Valley of Gwangi“* (1969) is considered one of the most notable prehistoric-monster-movies of all times – this fame is based on the unusual story (adapted from a script by special effects pioneer Willis “King-Kong” O’Brien) but more so on the stunning creature effects featured in the movie and produced by special effects legend Ray Harryhausen - who passed away today aged 92.

The movie combines the western-genre with the classic monster-movie of the sixties and seventies – however the movie was released at the end of the golden age of monster-movies and the public had almost lost interest in this genre. The particular storyline of “The Valley of Gwangi“  was intended to attract fans of monster-, but also adventure-, catastrophe- and western- movies.

Ray Harryhausen will be remembered for his many stop-motion creatures crawling, stomping and running through countless adventure, science-fiction and fantasy movies – in the years 1938 – 1940 Harryhausen worked even on a “science-movie” -  called “Evolution“, featuring -what else – prominently stop-motion dinosaurs

*This image is the cover of a videotape, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, etc. and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of the video or the studio which produced the video in question. It is believed that the use of low-resolution images of video covers qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

David Bressan About the Author: Freelance geologist dealing with quaternary outcrops interested in the history and the development of geological concepts through time. Follow on Twitter @David_Bressan.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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