I’d like to watch one of my all-time favorite movies today–Jason and the Argonauts (1963), featuring two of the most extraordinary special effects scenes ever created: the skeletons’ attack, and the colossal statue of Talos coming to life. These were the work of the late Ray Harryhausen: and although most of our current special effects tools and techniques were not available to him in 1963… he didn’t need ’em!
So here is a bit of the skeletons’ attack. The whole movie’s available on YouTube, in case you want to join me in watching it. If you’ve never seen it before, you’ll be astounded by what could be done, back then, without computers.
Hey, you might even get a little bit scared, for a minute or two! But don’t worry: this kind of scare only lasts a few minutes, and then you can have a laugh about it. Really, it’s a form of sanity medicine.
Stop! I can’t stand any more news. The Smartest People in the World want to bring back communism, thus proving that they’re really The Dumbest People in the World. And I just can’t stomach any more today.
So let’s flee back to 1961, when Great Garloo by Marx was one of the top toys. You could sort of have your own monster movie right there in your bedroom, if you felt like setting up toy buildings and railroads for Garloo to destroy. Or he could carry your kid sister’s doll. Whatever.
Garloo’s remote control wasn’t wireless, as you can see. And he cost $17.98, which was rather a prodigious price for a toy in 1961. You’d have to put a gun to my mother’s head to get her to spend that kind of loot.
But the ad is endearing, isn’t it? In less than a minute, Great Garloo transforms from a rampaging monster to a meek domestic servant. If only you could’ve gotten him to do your homework for you…