Art
Authors
Books
Games
Magazines
Movies
Radio Drama
Television
Theatre
Science Faction

Volume #1, Issue #3
"Stand By For Mars!"
March 2006
If the wealth hasn't been spread your way, find what you need on Ebay.

The Thunder Child: Museum Exhibits
The Ray Harryhausen Exhibit at Babelsberg (1995)
by Roy P. Webber

Roy P. Webber, author of The Dinosaur Films of Ray Harryhausen, has written several articles for The Thunder Child.

The Babelsberg Exhibition - 1995

Note: This article was written by Roy Webber in the late 1990s. Since then, the display has moved, and is on permanent exhibit in the �Artificial Worlds� section of the Filmmuseum Berlin, Sony Center, Berlin, Potsdamer Platz, with Rolf Giesen as curator.

  • Photographs of the Harryhausen permanent exhibit at the Filmmuseum Berlin.
  • Most fans will remember seeing part of the London exhibition in the video Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me (1993)as Eric Boardman interviews Ray at a number of places throughout the tour. For those who possess a laserdisc player and have this particular title, a great many more of his miniatures can be scrutinized through additional close-ups in a bonus section. But that doesn't hold a candle to viewing the entire exhibit in person. Clash of the Titans display from
    Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me


    A King Kong display from MOMI
    Aliens, Dragons, Monsters & Me
    The British presentation, at the Museum Of the Moving Image (MOMI), was called �Creatures of Fantasy: The World of Ray Harryhausen� and ran from October 19, 1989 to March 31, 1990. It moved from there to Germany, opening a short time later in Bottrop, a small town not far from D�orf. Although it was a continuation of the same show and even touted a life-size copy of the Dark Horse King Kong outdoors, poor lighting and unimaginative displays there gave an inferior tinge that it didn't deserve.

    Since then, the public showing has relocated to the grounds of the old UFA studios in Babelsberg, a district just outside of Berlin proper; talk of permanent quarters in the German capital will finally be realized by the year 2000, with the completion of a new museum there.

    Situated in custom-built glass cases and better arranged, this on-going exhibit is a big improvement over its previous incarnation. It is amazing when you realize what resides here would hardly constitute a preponderance of Ray Bradbury's stop-motion characters; many are kept back at his home in England because they have deteriorated to some degree or are too fragile to be moved around. A few of these at Berlin are thus not the articulated originals but rather reproductions that were cast from the same mold. Interspersed among the figures are certain other articles as well.

    The Allosaurus

    They include several of his magnificent bronzes, a few pieces and remnants of armatures and some miscellaneous artifacts accumulated over the course of time. Even though this exposition is quite superior to Bottrop's, some memorabilia that could be observed before is no longer incorporated within; the �Fairy Tales� material was apparently decided against inclusion, for reasons unknown. In spite of the omissions, Harryhausen is well served through the considerable collection here.


    Archelon
    Upon entering the Babelsberg StudioTour complex, the building containing Harryhausen's paraphernalia lies to the left and towards the rear. After meandering around some of the other highlights, you should arrive at the "Cinefantastic" Exhibition Hall. Inside, bear to the right to find these objets d'art.

    The first noticeable display is the 7-headed Hydra, posed before a translucent screen with a rear projector shining a live-action Jason and the Argonauts frame on it from behind, demonstrating the Dynamation process used to interpose his creatures.

    Nearby are some other cases. One has many King Kong-related relics which include the Kong-tyrannosaurus fight bronze, a fur-covered model of the gorilla chained to a wooden crossbar and an armature head of the ape from Bob Burns. Another metallic cranium in here is from the rhedosaurus of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms.

    Just a few paces away is Mysterious Island, featuring the authentic crab with a jointed chassis inserted in its carapace, the tiny Neb caught in one of the pincers and the nautiloid (or more correctly, ammonite) cephalopod sans the spiral shell. Right by this are some models in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and First Men in the Moon, comprised of spacecraft from both films as well as the caterpillar-like mooncalf and a figure resembling a Martian.


    Rhedosaurus bronze


    Gwangi model
    Moving on towards the back of the building, you will encounter two fairly large rooms. In the first, a case with many tiers should catch your attention immediately upon arriving there; this is where the dinosaur figures that were used in both One Million Years B.C. and The Valley of Gwangi are located. Representing One Million is a considerable array which includes the brontosaurus, archelon, both adult pterosaurs, a cast of the allosaurus, and casts of the dismantled triceratops and ceratosaurus. From Gwangi, the eohippus, smaller version of the ornithomimus, titular allosaurus, and a reproduction of the styracosaurus serve to designate that release. The bronze version of the rhedosaurus that is not climbing up the lighthouse dwells here also.

    Flanking these prehistoric monsters are a couple of other exhibits. One spotlights The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, offering up plenty of mementos depicting Ray's signature one-eyed creation: a nearly intact armature, a bust, the full-body bronze and a Rick Baker mask all signify the Cyclops. You can also see the internal, skeletal heads that are vestiges of both baby and mother two-headed rocs and the dragon. Opposite is a receptacle for several Jason and the Argonauts objects , consisting of a bronze cast of Talos and three of the seven skeletons seen in a climactic fight.

    Going in the other room will put you close to the miniatures of his later films. To the left, you will quickly notice a display running the length of the chamber. Behind the glass are models that predominantly came out of two Sinbad productions in the 1970s, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. Those detailing Golden Voyage are the Homunculus, a cast of the six-armed Kali, the cyclopean Centaur and the Gryphon, along with such props as the amulet in three sections and Grand Vizier's mask. Eye of the Tiger is symbolized by two of the ghouls, the larger baboon figure, a cast of the Minaton, the giant walrus, a cast of the disassembled troglodyte and the saber-tooth tiger.


    Troglodyte


    Ymir bronze
    Also to be found here is the crocodile in The 3 Worlds of Gulliver. In the facing wall are three small niches in which lodge the surviving head of the octopus equipped with six tentacles in It Came from Beneath the Sea and the bronze of 20 Million Miles to Earth�s Ymir; the smaller Kraken with the large Pegasus from Clash of the Titans; and the expanded Kraken torso for close-up shots. Across from the Sinbad articles, on the right, lie the remaining properties from Clash: the jointed reincarnations of Calibos and Perseus, Bubo the owl, the two-headed dog Dioskilos, a cast of the Medusa, and one of the scorpions.


    [Ed. Note: We provide directions below for anyone choosing to visit the exhibits at the old UFA studios, now called FilmPark Babelsberg. Note that the directions below are ten years old.]

    FilmPark Babelsberg

    This location is now called FilmPark Babelsberg.
    Their website, in German, is [http://www.filmpark.de/]

    For those contemplating a trip to Germany ...getting there from the airport is a bit of a commute but not impossible. If you speak German, it will be a monumental help in getting around town even though many people do know some English. After landing at Berlin-Tegel, connect by bus to the S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains that cover the greater metropolitan area. You will start out the subway (U-Bahn) and later change to the elevated trains (S-Bahn), transferring in order to ride on the line terminating in Potsdam (S-3), disembarking at Griebnitzee (the next stop, Babelsberg, is too far). From there you can either wait for the bus (693) or follow signs on a 20-minute walk to the main entrance of the StudioTour.

    Pterosaurs

    A pamphlet describing the points of interest, which is also available in English, is given out upon admission. Although photography is allowed, a profusely illustrated guidebook in German is for sale at the Exhibition Hall that should be considered for its Harryhausen section alone. To conclude, this superlative grouping of animation appurtenances may not be a cinch to see in person, but for the die-hard enthusiast it will certainly be worth all the effort and expense involved.

    All photos are copyright Roy Webber and reproduced with his permission.

    Recommended Reading


    Learn more or
    Buy Now


    Learn more or
    Buy Now


    Learn more or
    Buy Now


    Learn more or
    Buy Now


    Learn more or
    Buy Now


    Learn more or
    Buy Now

    [Home Page] [Contact Us] [Triskelion] [TechnoOcean] [Daily Space] [Store] [Site Map]

    To see our animated navigation bars, please download the Flash Player from Adobe.

    All text © 2006, 2007 The Thunder Child unless otherwise credited.
    All illustrations retain original copyright.
    Please contact us with any concerns as to correct attribution.
    Any questions, comments or concerns contact The Thunder Child.