May I call you Ray? After growing up watching your movies and dreaming about become an animator I consider you as a member of my family, my cool uncle Ray, my Godfather. It may sound presumptions but is part of the fantasy.
I have just received the news that you passed away, and I can’t avoid crying. That’s why I wrote you this letter. I know we are all humans and that death is the only certitude we have in life, but is only when it really comes that we are remembered of that tragical fate.
As I wrote to you once, my favorite of your movies is Clash of the Titans. I watched it so many times when I was a kid that I knew all the lines. There is something special about that movie, the greek mythology biding together the animated creatures and live-action. Later on I went to the Fine Arts School eager to learn animation and it was there that I was able to study you and know all your films. You became my master, my role model, my inspiration and the reason I discovered and love stop-motion animation.
Imagine my excitement when my Professor, Heitor Capuzzo, told me that he was going to interview you and asked us to send some questions that we would like to make to you. For a Brazilian student, it was more than I could possibly dream. But I didn’t have anything to ask you, instead I decided to write you a letter thanking you for making your films, and for making me dream through them. I didn’t thought my letter would find its way to you. It was so emotional and personal, like this one, that I thought my Professor would never deliver it to you.
Imagine my surprise when Professor Capuzzo cameback from the United States and he told me he had printed the letter and delivered it to you in person. I was in shock and glad at the same time. My english was much worse than today and I couldn’t believed that my written words have reached you. But more was yet to come.
Three months later, I was working in the lab at the University when I received a letter. The envelope was addressed like that:
Student of Cinema and Animation
at the Federal University of Minas
Gerais, Belo Horizonte
I couldn't imagine who could possibly send me a letter like that, without real address or zipcode. Somehow the letter arrived at the President’s office and they send it to the School of Fine Arts, where I received it. When I took the letter in my hands and turn the envelope to check the sender I saw the label Harryhausen. I start shaking, crying and laughing and I couldn’t open the letter right away. My colleagues didn’t understood what was happening until I show them the envelope.
It was a delightful letter from you, Mr. Ray Harryhausen, thanking me for my “enthusiastic and kind letter” delivered to you while in Los Angeles. I couldn’t believe. That letter is a precious treasure that I kept framed for so many years, like my dream of doing animation. Now, after I finally decided to take action and invest my future in animation by doing a PhD research on it, that letter travelled with me to remember me constantly why am I here. I am trying to live the dream inspired by your films, as you were once inspired by King Kong. That changed it all...
You certainly lived a great life and inspired so many generations. I just want to say that for me you didn’t died today you just went to Mount Olympus to take your place near the gods. I hope you will have fun watching was from above...
Thank you for everything, Ray!