They say that without Ray Harryhausen, there never would have been "Star Wars."
That's how influential this special-effects artist was on impressionable young filmmakers, such as George Lucas.
In the late 1930s Harryhausen began experimenting with stop-motion model animation techniques for the fantasy-adventure and science-fiction stories that he so loved.
By the '50s he would combine live action with animated objects. Called "dynamation," it brought mythological figures, aliens and prehistoric creatures to life -- and brought young people to the theaters in droves.
Beginning in July, as part of the ongoing Sunday Night Series, the Regent Square Theater will host a tribute to the brilliant career of Harryhausen, who died last month in London at age 92. Suitable for the whole family, shows begin at 8 p.m.
July 7: "Earth vs. The Flying Saucers"
In this sci-fi classic scientists can't figure out why all the rockets they're shooting into space are disappearing. That is until a fleet of (Harryhausen's intricately crafted) flying saucers appear over the White House. (1956; director: Fred F. Sears)
July 14: "The 7th Voyage of Sinbad"
We follow the adventures of young Sinbad as he battles a phenomenal gallery of monsters -- including two-headed birds, a giant cyclops, dragons and the famous sword-fighting skeletons -- all to save a beautiful princess. (1958; director: Nathan Juran)
July 21: "Mysterious Island"
Jules Verne's classic adventure is the perfect match for Harryhausen's magic. When a hot-air balloon crash lands on an island, Captain Nemo and his cohorts must do battle with giant oysters, a giant chicken, a giant crab, bees and an undersea cephalopod. (1961; director: Cy Endfield)
July 28: "Jason and the Argonauts"
The legendary Greek hero leads a team of adventurers in a perilous quest to find the magical Golden Fleece. Along the way they encounter a 100-foot bronze god, bat-like harpies, a seven-headed reptile and an army of skeletons. (1963; director: Don Chaffey)
In 1992, Harryhausen was presented with an honorary Oscar for his "spectacular" contribution to the film industry. Many believe his effects are more thrilling than modern computer-generated ones.