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Ray Harryhausen Classic: 20 Million Miles to Earth

by Kenny Hoeschen

With venerable special effects artist and filmmaker Ray Harryhausen’s recent death, we thought it appropriate to share this item from Monster Island News. They took a look back at one of Harryhausen’s classic films, 20 Million Miles to Earth, and unearthed the original trailer for the film (see above) along with some interesting trivia about the making of the film, courtesy of IMDB.

Here are a few of the more interesting items:

Ray Harryhausen’s original design for the monster was a giant cyclops, similar to the one he later used in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. He discarded the idea after making a clay model of it, and eventually settled on the reptilian Ymir. Though the creature is referred to as the Ymir in reviews and websites, the name is never mentioned in the movie. Harryhausen was concerned that audiences would mistake it for the Arabic title “Emir”.

Harryhausen asked the zoo to provide an elephant that was 15 feet tall for the film, but was only able to procure an eight-foot-tall one. In order to make the elephant look much bigger on film, a 4’6″ actor was cast to play the zookeeper.

The Ymir’s roars in the film are variations of elephant roars sped up and modulated in pitches at different rates.

It may be time to cue up 20 Million Miles to Earth for another viewing.

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