Ishirō Honda, sometimes miscredited in foreign releases as "Inoshiro Honda", was a Japanese film director and screenwriter. He is best known for his kaiju and tokusatsu films, including several entries in the Godzilla series, but worked extensively in the documentary and war genres earlier in his career. Honda was a lifelong friend and collaborator of Akira Kurosawa, worked with Kurosawa extensively during the 1980s and 1990s. Honda was born in Asahi and was the fifth and youngest child of Hokan and Miho Honda, he had three brothers: Takamoto, Ryokichi and one sister: Tomi, who passed away during her childhood. Honda's father and grandfather were both Buddhist monks at Churen-ji, a temple in Mount Yudono, where the Hondas lived in a dwelling on the temple's property; the Hondas grew rice, daikon radishes, carrots. They made and sold Miso and soy sauce; the family received income from a silk moth farm managed by one of Honda's brothers. Honda's father earned income during the summers by selling devotions in Iwate Prefecture, Akita Prefecture, Hokkaido and would return home before the winter.
While Honda's brothers were given religious tutoring at sixteen, Honda was learning about science. Takamoto, who became a military doctor, encouraged Honda to study and sent him scientific magazines to help, which started Honda's love for reading and scientific curiosity. In 1912, the Hondas moved to Tokyo where they settled in the Takaido neighborhood of the Suginami ward and where Hokan became the chief priest at a Buddhist temple. Though he was an honors student back home, Honda's grades declined in middle school. After his father transferred to another temple, Honda enrolled in the Tachibana Elementary school in Kawasaki and in Kogyokusha Junior High where Honda studied kendo and athletic swimming but quit after tearing his Achilles tendon. Honda met Kimi Yamasaki in 1937 and proposed to her in 1939. Honda's parents and Kimi's mother were supportive, but Kimi's father was opposed to the sudden engagement. Though Kimi's father never approved of her marriage, he nonetheless sent her ¥1,000 upon learning of her pregnancy.
Rather than having a traditional wedding ceremony, the two signed papers at city hall, paid their respects at Meiji Shrine, went home. Honda became interested in films when he and his classmates were assembled to watch one of the Universal Bluebird photoplays. Honda would have sneaked to a movie theater without his parents' permission. For silent films in Japan at that time, onscreen texts were replaced with "benshi", narrators who stood beside the screen and provided live commentary, which Honda found more fascinating than the films themselves. Honda's brother, had hoped for Honda to become a dentist and join his clinic in Tokyo but instead, Honda applied at Nihon University for their art department's film major program and was accepted in 1931; the film department was a pilot program, which resulted in disorganized poor conditions for the class and cancelations from the teacher every so often. While this forced other students to quit, Honda instead used the cancelled periods to watch films at theaters, where he took personal notes.
Honda and four of his classmates rented a room in Shinbashi, a few kilometers from their university, where they would gather after school to discuss films. Honda had hoped for the group to collaborate on a screenplay but they just socialized and drank. Honda attended a salon of film critics and students but hardly participated, preferring rather to listen. While in school, Honda met Iwao Mori, an executive in charge of production for Photographic Chemical Laboratories. In August 1933, Mori offered entry level jobs at PCL including Honda. Honda completed his studies while working at the studio and became an assistant director, which required him to be a scripter in the editing department. Honda became a third assistant director on Sotoji Kimura's The Elderly Commoner's Life Study. However, Honda received a draft notice from the military. At 23 years old, Honda was drafted in the fall of 1934. Despite receiving a passing grade on his physical examination, he was not required to report for immediate duty.
While waiting for his call up, Honda continued working at PCL. Honda was called to duty in January 1935 and was enlisted into the First Division, First Infantry Regiment in Tokyo. At the time, Honda began his training at the entry-level rank of Ippeisotsu, the equivalent of Petty Officer First Class. In 1936, Honda's former commanding officer, Yasuhide Kurihara, launched a coup against the civilian government, what would be called the February 26 Incident. Though Honda had no involvement with the coup, everyone associated with Kurihara were considered dangerous and the brass wanted them gone and as a result and his regiment were sent to Manchukuo in 1936, under questionable pretense. Honda would have completed his 18 remaining months of service had it not been for the coup and would be recalled to service again and again for the remainder of the war. Honda was recalled to service in mid-December 1939, a week before his daughter, was due to be born. Having risen in rank, Honda was able to visit his wife and daughter in the hospital but had to leave afterwards to China.
Between 1940 and 1941, Honda was assigned to manage a "comfort station", a euphemism for brothels established in occupied areas. Honda would write an essay titled Reflections of an Officer in Charge of Comfort Women published in Movie Art Magazine in April 1966, detailing his experiences and other comfort
Human prehistory is the period between the use of the first stone tools c. 3.3 million years ago by hominins and the invention of writing systems. The earliest writing systems appeared c. 5,300 years ago, but it took thousands of years for writing to be adopted, it was not used in some human cultures until the 19th century or until the present. The end of prehistory therefore came at different dates in different places, the term is less used in discussing societies where prehistory ended recently. Sumer in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley civilization, ancient Egypt were the first civilizations to develop their own scripts and to keep historical records. Neighboring civilizations were the first to follow. Most other civilizations reached the end of prehistory during the Iron Age; the three-age system of division of prehistory into the Stone Age, followed by the Bronze Age and Iron Age, remains in use for much of Eurasia and North Africa, but is not used in those parts of the world where the working of hard metals arrived abruptly with contact with Eurasian cultures, such as the Americas, Oceania and much of Sub-Saharan Africa.
These areas with some exceptions in Pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, did not develop complex writing systems before the arrival of Eurasians, their prehistory reaches into recent periods. The period when a culture is written about by others, but has not developed its own writing is known as the protohistory of the culture. By definition, there are no written records from human prehistory, so dating of prehistoric materials is crucial. Clear techniques for dating were not well-developed until the 19th century; this article is concerned with human prehistory, the time since behaviorally and anatomically modern humans first appeared until the beginning of recorded history. Earlier periods are called "prehistoric". Beginning The term "prehistory" can refer to the vast span of time since the beginning of the Universe or the Earth, but more it refers to the period since life appeared on Earth, or more to the time since human-like beings appeared. End The date marking the end of prehistory is defined as the advent of the contemporary written historical record.
The date varies from region to region depending on the date when relevant records become a useful academic resource. For example, in Egypt it is accepted that prehistory ended around 3200 BCE, whereas in New Guinea the end of the prehistoric era is set much more at around 1900 common era. In Europe the well-documented classical cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome had neighbouring cultures, including the Celts and to a lesser extent the Etruscans, with little or no writing, historians must decide how much weight to give to the highly prejudiced accounts of these "prehistoric" cultures in Greek and Roman literature. Time periods In dividing up human prehistory in Eurasia, historians use the three-age system, whereas scholars of pre-human time periods use the well-defined geologic record and its internationally defined stratum base within the geologic time scale; the three-age system is the periodization of human prehistory into three consecutive time periods, named for their respective predominant tool-making technologies: Stone Age Bronze Age Iron Age The notion of "prehistory" began to surface during the Enlightenment in the work of antiquarians who used the word'primitive' to describe societies that existed before written records.
The first use of the word prehistory in English, occurred in the Foreign Quarterly Review in 1836. The use of the geologic time scale for pre-human time periods, of the three-age system for human prehistory, is a system that emerged during the late nineteenth century in the work of British and Scandinavian archeologists and anthropologists; the main source for prehistory is archaeology, but some scholars are beginning to make more use of evidence from the natural and social sciences. This view has been articulated by advocates of deep history; the primary researchers into human prehistory are archaeologists and physical anthropologists who use excavation and geographic surveys, other scientific analysis to reveal and interpret the nature and behavior of pre-literate and non-literate peoples. Human population geneticists and historical linguists are providing valuable insight for these questions. Cultural anthropologists help provide context for societal interactions, by which objects of human origin pass among people, allowing an analysis of any article that arises in a human prehistoric context.
Therefore, data about prehistory is provided by a wide variety of natural and social sciences, such as paleontology, archaeology, geology, comparative linguistics, molecular genetics and many others. Human prehistory differs from history not only in terms of its chronology but in the way it deals with the activities of archaeological cultures rather than named nations or individuals. Restricted to material processes and artifacts rather than written records, prehistory is anonymous; because of this, reference terms that prehistorians use, such as Neanderthal or Iron Age are modern labels with definitions sometimes subject to debate. The concept of a "Stone Age" is found useful in the archaeology of most of the world, though in the archaeology of the Americas it is called by different names and begins with a Lithic sta
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World is a 1963 American epic comedy film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Spencer Tracy with an all-star cast, about the madcap pursuit of $350,000 in stolen cash by a diverse and colorful group of strangers. The ensemble comedy premiered on November 7, 1963; the cast features Edie Adams, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters. The film marked the first time that Kramer had directed a comedy, though he had produced the comedy So This Is New York in 1948, he is best known for producing and directing drama films about social problems, such as The Defiant Ones, Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. His first attempt at directing a comedy film paid off immensely, as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World became a critical and commercial success in 1963 and went on to be nominated for 6 Academy Awards, winning for Best Sound Editing, 2 Golden Globe Awards. Despite this, the film suffered severe cuts by its distributor United Artists in order to give the film a shorter running time for its general release.
The footage was excised against Kramer's wishes. The lost footage deteriorated through the decades and was once thought impossible to restore. On October 15, 2013, however, it was announced that the Criterion Collection had collaborated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists, film restoration expert Robert A. Harris to reconstruct and restore It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World to be as close as possible to the original 197-minute version envisioned by Kramer, it was released in a five-disc "Dual Format" Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on January 21, 2014. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World featured at number 40 in the American Film Institute's list 100 Years...100 Laughs. "Smiler" Grogan, an ex-convict wanted by police in a tuna factory robbery fifteen years ago and on the run, careens his car off twisting, mountainous State Highway 74 near Palm Desert and crashes. Five motorists stop to help him: Melville Crump, a dentist. Just before he dies, Grogan tells the five men about $350,000 buried in Santa Rosita State Park near the Mexican border under "… a big W".
The motorists try to reason with one another to share the money, but it soon becomes an all-out race to get the money first. Unbeknownst to them all, Captain T. G. Culpeper, Chief of Detectives of the Santa Rosita Police Department, has been patiently working on the Smiler Grogan case for years, hoping to someday solve it and retire; when he learns of the fatal crash, he suspects that Grogan may have tipped off the passersby, so he has them tracked by various police units. His suspicions are confirmed by their behavior. Everyone experiences multiple setbacks on their way to the money. Crump and his wife Monica charter an old WWI-era biplane and make it to Santa Rosita, but are soon unknowingly locked in the basement of a hardware store by its owner, they free themselves with dynamite. Bell and Benjamin charter a modern plane at an aviation club, but when their wealthy alcoholic pilot knocks himself out drunk, the two are forced to fly and land the plane themselves. Finch, his wife Emmeline, his loud and obnoxious mother-in-law, Mrs. Marcus, are involved in a car accident with Pike's furniture van.
The three flag down British Army Officer Lt. Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne in his car and convince him to drive them to Santa Rosita. After many arguments, most caused by Mrs. Marcus and Emmeline refuse to go any farther, Finch and Hawthorne leave them by the side of the road in Yucca Valley. Pike tries to get motorist Otto Meyer to take him to Santa Rosita, but the greedy Meyer betrays him and races for the money on his own, leaving Pike stranded with only a little girl's bike from his furniture van. An enraged Pike catches up with Meyer at a gas station and assaults him as the gas station owners try to stop him. Meyer escapes in his car while Pike destroys the gas station, he steals the station's tow truck and takes off after Meyer. Pike picks them up. While in a town called Plaster City, Mrs. Marcus calls her devoted and powerfully built, but impulsive and dim-witted, son Sylvester, who lives on Silver Strand Beach near Santa Rosita, to get the money for them, but misunderstanding and believing his mother is in trouble, he instead races to her in his car.
Meyer experiences his own setbacks, including sinking his car while trying to cross the Kern River and nearly drowning. He manages to steal a car belonging to a passing motorist by telling him he's with the CIA and re-joins the hunt. All the while and the police department observe their activities from afar. Around this time, two taxi drivers get in on the chase in their Yellow Cabs. All of the characters arrive at Santa Rosita State Park at about the same time and search for the big W. Culpeper orders all policemen to leave the area and goes in solo to retrieve the money. Emmeline, who wants no part of the money and doesn't take part in the search, is the first one to spot the big W, composed of four palm trees growing in the shape of the letter "W". Pike informs everyone else. After everyone digs up the money, Culpeper identifies
The Ghost of Slumber Mountain
The Ghost of Slumber Mountain is a 1918 film written and directed by special effects pioneer Willis O'Brien, produced by Herbert M. Dawley, starring both men, it is the first movie to show live actors and stop-motion creatures together on the screen and is cited as a trial run for The Lost World. The Ghost of Slumber Mountain took up 3000 feet of film and three reels, equivalent to 40 minutes. However, after the film premiered at the Strand Theater, manager Walter Hayes ordered Dawley to cut the film down to about one reel because it was too long. A restored version runs 19 minutes; the rest of the footage is presumed to be lost. Most of the full plot is unknown. In the version available today, Holmes tells his nephews and children about an adventure he had in the woodlands around Slumber Mountain, near the Valley of Dreams, he finds the cabin belonging to the late hermit Mad Dick, who Holmes's friend Joe once saw carrying a strange telescope-like instrument. That night, Holmes finds the instrument.
Upon doing so, the ghost of Mad Dick instructs him to use it to look at the peak of Slumber Mountain. When he does, he looks back into the past, seeing a Tyrannosaurus and a Triceratops doing battle; the Tyrannosaurus proves triumphant, after killing the Triceratops, breaks the time barrier and begins chasing Holmes. It is revealed that Holmes dreamed everything; the children tackle him for thinking of a good tall tale. Brontosaurus Giant Bird Triceratops Tyrannosaurus The Ghost of Slumber Mountain was a box office hit, grossing over $100,000 on a $3,000 budget. List of incomplete or lost films The Ghost of Slumber Mountain on IMDb The Ghost of Slumber Mountain on YouTube
Panama–Pacific International Exposition
The Panama–Pacific International Exposition was a world's fair held in San Francisco, California, U. S. from February 20 to December 4, 1915. Its stated purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake; the fair was constructed on a 636 acre site along the northern shore, between the Presidio and Fort Mason, now known as the Marina District. Among the exhibits at the Exposition was the C. P. Huntington, the first steam locomotive purchased by Southern Pacific Railroad. A telephone line was established to New York City so people across the continent could hear the Pacific Ocean; the Liberty Bell traveled by train on a nationwide tour from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to attend the exposition. The 1915 American Grand Prize and Vanderbilt Cup auto races were held February 27 and March 6 on a 3.84-mile circuit set up around the Exposition grounds. The Smithsonian Institution had an exhibition at the Exposition.
Yumian, meaning fish-noodle in Chinese, is a noodle made with flour and fish from the Fu River in Yunmeng, China. Yunmeng Yumian was awarded silver medal of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition; the centerpiece was the Tower of Jewels, which rose to 435 feet and was covered with over 100,000 cut glass Novagems. The 3⁄4 to 2 inch colored "gems" sparkled in sunlight throughout the day and were illuminated by over 50 powerful electrical searchlights at night. In front of the Tower, the Fountain of Energy flowed at the center of the South Gardens, flanked by the Palace of Horticulture on the west and the Festival Hall to the east; the arch of the Tower served as the gateway to the Court of the Universe, leading to the Court of the Four Seasons to the west and the Court of Abundance to the east. These courts formed the primary exhibit area for the fair, which included the Food Products Palace, the Education and Social Economy Palace, the Agriculture Palace, the Liberal Arts Palace, the Transportation Palace, the Manufacturers Palace, the Mines and Metallurgy Palace, the Varied Industries Palace.
The Machinery Palace, the largest hall, dominated the east end of the central court. At the west end of central court group was the Palace of Fine Arts. Further west toward the bay down The Avenue of the Nations were national and states' buildings, displaying customs and products unique to the area represented. At the opposite end of the Fair, near Fort Mason was "The Zone", an avenue of popular amusements and concessions stands. Constructed from temporary materials all the fair's various buildings and attractions were pulled down in late 1915. Intended to fall into pieces at the close of the fair, the only surviving building on the Exposition grounds, Bernard Maybeck's Palace of Fine Arts, remained in place falling into disrepair; the Palace, including the colonnade with its signature weeping women and rotunda dome, was reconstructed in the 1960s and a seismic retrofit was completed in early 2009. The Exploratorium, an interactive science museum, occupied the northern 2/3 of the Palace from 1969 to 2013.
Buildings from the Exposition that still stand today include what is now called the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium at Civic Center Plaza and the Japanese Tea house, barged down the Bay to Belmont and operates as a restaurant. Surviving are the one-third scale steam locomotives of the Overfair Railroad that operated at the Exposition, they are maintained in working order at the Swanton Pacific Railroad Society located on Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's Swanton Ranch just north of Santa Cruz. The Legion of Honor Museum, in Lincoln Park, was the gift of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, wife of the sugar magnate and thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder Adolph B. Spreckels; the building is a full-scale replica of the French Pavilion from the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, which in turn was a three-quarter-scale version of the Palais de la Légion d'Honneur known as the Hôtel de Salm in Paris by George Applegarth and H. Guillaume. At the close of the exposition, the French government granted Spreckels permission to construct a permanent replica of the French Pavilion, but World War I delayed the groundbreaking until 1921.
The US Post Office issued a set of four postage stamps to commemorate the exposition, with designs depicting a profile of Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal, the Golden Gate, the discovery of San Francisco Bay. The stamps were first put on sale in 1913, to promote the coming event, perforated 12, reissued in 1914 and 1915, perforated 10, their prices today range widely. The United States Congress authorized the San Francisco Mint to issue a series of five commemorative coins. Said coins were four gold coins; the denominations of the gold coins were $1, $2 1⁄2 and $50. The Panama-Pacific coins have the distinction of being the first commemorative coins to bear the
Citizen Kane is a 1941 American mystery drama film by Orson Welles, its producer, co-screenwriter and star. The picture was Welles's first feature film. Nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories, it won an Academy Award for Best Writing by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Considered by many critics and fans to be the greatest film made, Citizen Kane was voted as such in five consecutive British Film Institute Sight & Sound polls of critics, it topped the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as its 2007 update. Citizen Kane is praised for Gregg Toland's cinematography, Robert Wise's editing, its music, its narrative structure, all of which have been considered innovative and precedent-setting; the quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character based in part upon the American newspaper magnates William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, aspects of the screenwriters' own lives.
Upon its release, Hearst prohibited mention of the film in any of his newspapers. Kane's career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Narrated principally through flashbacks, the story is told through the research of a newsreel reporter seeking to solve the mystery of the newspaper magnate's dying word: "Rosebud". After the Broadway successes of Welles's Mercury Theatre and the controversial 1938 radio broadcast "The War of the Worlds" on The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Welles was courted by Hollywood, he signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939. Unusually for an untried director, he was given the freedom to develop his own story, to use his own cast and crew, to have final cut privilege. Following two abortive attempts to get a project off the ground, he wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane, collaborating on the effort with Herman Mankiewicz. Principal photography took place in 1940 and the film received its American release in 1941.
While a critical success, Citizen Kane failed to recoup its costs at the box office. The film faded from view after its release, but was subsequently returned to the public's attention when it was praised by such French critics as André Bazin and given an American revival in 1956; the film was released on Blu-ray on September 2011, for a special 70th anniversary edition. In a mansion in Xanadu, a vast palatial estate in Florida, the elderly Charles Foster Kane is on his deathbed. Holding a snow globe, he utters a word, "Rosebud", dies. A newsreel obituary tells the life story of an enormously wealthy newspaper publisher. Kane's death becomes sensational news around the world, the newsreel's producer tasks reporter Jerry Thompson with discovering the meaning of "Rosebud". Thompson sets out to interview associates, he tries to approach Susan Alexander Kane, now an alcoholic who runs her own nightclub, but she refuses to talk to him. Thompson goes to the private archive of the late banker Walter Parks Thatcher.
Through Thatcher's written memoirs, Thompson learns that Kane's childhood began in poverty in Colorado. In 1871, after a gold mine is discovered on her property, Kane's mother Mary Kane sends Charles away to live with Thatcher so that he would be properly educated, it is implied that Kane's father could be violent towards his son and, another reason she wants to send him away. While Thatcher and Charles' parents discuss arrangements inside, the young Kane plays with a sled in the snow outside his parents' boarding-house and protests being sent to live with Thatcher. Furious at the prospect of exile from his own family to live with a man he does not know, the boy strikes Thatcher with his sled and attempts to run away. Years after gaining full control over his trust fund at the age of 25, Kane enters the newspaper business and embarks on a career of yellow journalism, he takes control of the New York Inquirer and starts publishing scandalous articles that attack Thatcher's business interests.
After the stock market crash in 1929, Kane is forced to sell controlling interest of his newspaper empire to Thatcher. Back in the present, Thompson interviews Mr. Bernstein. Bernstein recalls. Kane rose to power by manipulating public opinion regarding the Spanish–American War and marrying Emily Norton, the niece of a President of the United States. Thompson interviews Jedediah Leland, in a retirement home. Leland recalls how Kane's marriage to Emily disintegrates more and more over the years, he begins an affair with amateur singer Susan Alexander while he is running for Governor of New York. Both his wife and his political opponent discover the affair and the public scandal ends his political career. Leland asks to be transferred to a newspaper in Chicago. Kane marries Susan and forces her into a humiliating operatic career for which she has neither the talent nor the ambition building a large opera house for her. Leland begins to write a negative review of Susan's opera debut. Back in the present, Susan now consents to an interview with Thompson and recalls her failed opera career.
Kane allows her to abandon her singing career after she attempts suicide. After years spent dominated by Kane and living in isolation at Xanadu, Susan leaves Kane. Kane's butler Raymond recounts that, after Susan leaves him, Kane begins violently destroying the contents of her bedroom, he calms down when he sees a snow globe and says, "R
Raymond Frederick Harryhausen was an American-born British artist, visual effects creator and producer who created a form of stop-motion model animation known as "Dynamation". His most memorable works include: working with his mentor Willis H. O'Brien on the animation for Mighty Joe Young, which won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, his last film was Clash of the Titans. Harryhausen moved to the United Kingdom, became a dual US-UK citizen and lived in London from 1960 until his death in 2013. During his life, his innovative style of special effects in films inspired numerous filmmakers. In November 2016 the BFI compiled a list of those present-day filmmakers who claim to have been inspired by Harryhausen, including Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Joe Dante, Tim Burton, Nick Park, James Cameron, Guillermo del Toro. Others influenced by him include George Lucas, John Lasseter, John Landis, Henry Selick, J. J. Abrams, Wes Anderson. Harryhausen was born in Los Angeles, the son of Martha L. and Frederick W. Harryhausen.
Of German descent, the family surname was spelled "Herrenhausen". After having seen King Kong on its initial release for the first of many times, Harryhausen spent his early years experimenting in the production of animated shorts, inspired by the burgeoning science fiction literary genre of the period; the scenes utilising stop-motion animation, those featuring creatures on the island or Kong, were the work of pioneer model animator Willis O'Brien. His work in King Kong inspired Harryhausen, a friend arranged a meeting with O'Brien for him. O'Brien critiqued Harryhausen's early models and urged him to take classes in graphic arts and sculpture to hone his skills. Meanwhile, Harryhausen became friends with an aspiring writer, Ray Bradbury, with similar enthusiasms. Bradbury and Harryhausen joined the Los Angeles-area Science Fiction League formed by Forrest J. Ackerman in 1939, the three became lifelong friends. Harryhausen secured his first commercial model-animation job, on George Pal's Puppetoons shorts, based on viewing his first formal demo reel of fighting dinosaurs from a project called Evolution of the World, never finished.
During World War II, Harryhausen served in the United States Army Special Services Division under Colonel Frank Capra, as a loader, clapper boy and camera assistant, whilst working at home animating short films about the use and development of military equipment. During this time he worked with composer Dimitri Tiomkin and Ted Geisel. Following the war, he salvaged several rolls of discarded 16 mm surplus film from which he made a series of fairy tale-based shorts, which he called his "teething-rings". One of Harryhausen's most long-cherished dreams was to make H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds. After World War II, he shot a scene of an alien emerging from a Martian cylinder, showing the fearsome being from Mars fatally succumbing to an earthly illness, contracted from the air the natives breathe harmlessly, it was part of an unrealized project to adapt the story using Wells' original "octopus" concept for the Martians. In 1947 Harryhausen was hired as an assistant animator on what turned out to be his first major film, Mighty Joe Young.
O'Brien ended up concentrating on solving the various technical problems of the film, leaving most of the animation to Harryhausen and Pete Peterson. Their work won O'Brien the Academy Award for Best Special Effects that year; the first film with Ray Harryhausen in full charge of technical effects was The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms which began development under the working title Monster From the Sea. The filmmakers learned that a long-time friend of Harryhausen, writer Ray Bradbury, had sold a short story called "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" to The Saturday Evening Post, about a dinosaur drawn to a lone lighthouse by its foghorn; because the story for Harryhausen's film featured a similar scene, the film studio bought the rights to Bradbury's story to avoid any potential legal problems. The title was changed back to The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Under that title, it became Harryhausen's first solo feature film effort, a major international box-office hit for Warner Brothers, it was on The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms that Harryhausen first used a technique he created called "Dynamation" that split the background and foreground of pre-shot live action footage into two separate images into which he would animate a model or models so integrating the live-action with the models.
The background would be used as a miniature rear-screen with his models animated in front of it, re-photographed with an animation-capable camera to combine those two elements together, the foreground element matted out to leave a black space. The film was rewound, everything except the foreground element matted out so that the foreground element would now photograph in the blacked out area; this created the effect that the animated model was "sandwiched" in between the two live action elements, right into the final live action scene. In most of Harryhausen's films, model animated characters interact with, are a part of, the live action world, with the idea that they will cease to call attention to themselves as only "animation." Most of the effects shots in his earliest films were created via Harryhausen's careful frame-by-frame control of the lighting of both the set and the projector. This reduced much of degradation common in the use of back-projection or the creation of dupe neg