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Ray Harryhausen heads off to that stop-motion studio in the sky

The master animator, responsible for sword-fighting skeletons and marauding crustaceans, for incredible and inventive visual effects in a slew of sci-fi and fantasy classics, passed away this week in London. Harryhausen was 92.

Raquel Welch in the clutches of a giant pteranodon. Jason, of Jason and the Argonauts, of course, sword-fighting a septet of skeletons. Cyclops and dinosaurs and centaurs, oh my!…. Ray Harryhausen, the genius animator who brought fantastical dinosaurs and demons, ancient gods and giant gorillas to life in some of the greatest fantasy films of the 1950s and 1960s, died Tuesday in London, age 92. A huge influence on several generations of filmmakers (Tim Burton, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, just about everybody at Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks Animation), Harryhausen apprenticed with King Kong animator  Willis O'Brien and then went on to develop his own sophisticated brand of stop-motion animation, placing his intricately detailed, hand-built models into otherworldly and exotic tableaus. One Million Years B.C., The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Mysterious Island, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms – Harryhausen didn't direct them, but his inventiveness and imagination defined these films.

Check out the Jason and the Argonauts skeleton battle below.