Special effects wizard Harry Redmond Jr. recently passed away at 101 years old.
Unsurprisingly, the first credit that was mentioned in the news of his passing was the original 1933 King Kong. Redmond worked with his father, Harry Sr., who was head of the special effects department at RKO, and both are pioneers in the field.
Current special effects owes a lot to the big monkey. Modern technology has certainly come a long way since 1933, but it’s been said that Kong was the Star Wars of its time because the effects were state of the art during the early 20th century.
Kong showed the way to Peter Jackson, who can still recall the first time he saw the film on television in 1971 because it inspired him to become a filmmaker.
“I remember being totally swept away on this great adventure,” Jackson recalled in his autobiography.
“The ingredients of this film were everything that I loved.”
The state of the art effects also inspired stop motion animator master Ray Harryhausen his path in life as well.
As Harryhausen told me several years ago: ”I was thrilled by King Kong because, other than seeing The Lost World as a five-year old eight years earlier, I had never seen anything like it on the screen. And this film, King Kong, had sound effects and dialogue.
“I was only 12 or 13 at the time, so I had no idea how the special effects were done and very few reliable articles had been written about special effects because it was considered a studio secret. I didn’t really know how it was done except that I knew the dinosaurs and gorilla couldn’t be real. I found the film extremely interesting and exciting and wanted to know more about it and how it was done.”
Harryhausen continues, “The original Kong has a great story, which begins with the first line of dialogue, ‘Is this the motion picture ship?’ and continues for the next 100 minutes, pulling the audience through a wonderful, exciting romantic adventure. Nothing like it since has ever been done in quite the same way. Audiences today still love the characters and cheer at the same scenes I loved in 1933. How many films can say that?”