Harryhausen - "ALIENS, DRAGONS, MONSTERS & ME" a DVD release
Join in the production of a special extended DVD release of this documentary that celebrates the creation of Ray's treasured films.
There's only a short time to go, and it looks like it would take a small miracle to reach the goal this time around. If we don't make it, we'll spend a few months coming up with a compelling video to show why this project deserves a second chance, some new rewards, and a plan to better spread the word to Harryhausen fans the world over.
Please pledge for even the lowest rewards to add your name to our backers list, so that you'll be notified when we re-launch in the Spring. Thanks for your support!
In 1981, production began on "The Fantasy Film World of Ray Harryhausen". It aired on KABC-TV in Los Angeles, and then was syndicated on some PBS stations. This original version has not been seen since the mid-80s, and was never released on home video. Along with Ray, interviews include:
Charles H. Schneer (producer of 12 Harryhausen films)
Ray Bradbury (author/long time friend of Ray's)
Kerwin Mathews (starred as Sinbad and Gulliver)
Forrest J. Ackerman (Famous Monsters publisher/long time friend) He appeared in the 1981 version, but not the later edition. This is a chance to see the Ackermonster showing off his collection of Harryhausen artifacts in the Ackermansion,
Mrs. Willis O'Brien ( widow of the man who brought King Kong to life) Ray stayed a loyal friend of her's for the rest of her life.
The program also featured the first in-depth look at Ray's early experimental footage and pre-production drawings.
In 1991 we released a revised version of the documentary, and renamed it "Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me". We had a successful series of children's dinosaur documentaries on The Disney Channel, and thought it would be great to introduce a young audience to Ray's fantastic films. So, Gary Owens, narrator of the original program, became an on-camera host, and co-host Eric Boardman jetted off to London to do a walk-and-talk interview through a beautifully mounted retrospective of Ray's work at The Museum of The Moving Image. This version of the program was released on VHS and laser disc, both now long out of print.
We are proud of the fact that this program helped spark the campaign that resulted in Ray receiving his Oscar, and were honored when the Motion Picture Academy asked permission to use a portion of our program's title treatment at the end of the clip montage that appeared on the Academy Awards broadcast.
Now, what we would like to do is take the best elements of both versions of the program, add a significant amount of previously unused interview material and create an ultimate fantasy film fan's DVD release.
The great thing is that length is not an issue now. In the past we had to make the program fit into an hour slot of commercial television. This time, we estimate the DVD's total running time to be more than double. The DVD will have at least 3 special features.
The most significant new addition, and one of the primary motivations for deciding to release this program, will be a special feature of a 20-25 minute conversation that Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury had in Bradbury's home office back in 1981. We just set up the camera and let the 2 Rays enjoy themselves as they discussed their teenage escapades, their love of movies, shared concerns about the direction of the industry, plenty of encouragement for the next generation of dream chasers, and even a mention of a project that they would have liked to work on together. The loss of Ray Bradbury last June, made launching this project even more meaningful to us.
We think it is important to preserve these first hand accounts of those responsible for creating these enduring flights of fantasy, and hope you will too by becoming part of this Kickstarter drive. Thank You!
Risks and challenges
Before launching this Kickstarter campaign, we dug deep into the vaults to make sure all the elements needed were accounted for and undamaged. Then, we made sure that Ray thought this was a good idea. He gave it a thumbs up...so here we go.
Once funded, the first big step will be to carefully prepare and transfer the 30 year old video tapes to a digital format for editing.The good thing is that the original interviews with Ray, Ray Bradbury, Forrest Ackerman, and Mrs. O'Brian were shot on 1" video tape reels, the highest quality video recording stock at the time. We are going to do the transfers in the special archival video tape facility at CBS Television City in Hollywood to get the optimal upgrade.
After all the material is transferred, we are going to go through everything and rebuild the program, making sure we include as much of the previously unseen interview footage as possible.
I think by the time we finish, for fans of Ray's career, getting a chance to hear more of the interesting and amusing insights and anecdotes about the making of these films will by far make up for the absence of feature films clips. This new version of "Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me" is about the process, and most importantly the people, who created those indelible images.
The amount of funding we are hoping to raise is our carefully budgeted estimate to produce a professional quality DVD release. If we are lucky enough to surpass our funding goal, it will allow us to include additional elements.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (43 days)