Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Harry Redmond, RIP

Special effects veteran Harry Redmond, dead at 101.

Harry Redmond Jr., a special effects artist and producer whose career reached back more than 80 years to the dawn of talking pictures, died May 23 in the Hollywood Hills home that he and his wife had designed and built more than six decades ago. ...

Starting in the prop department at First National Pictures, Redmond moved to RKO Radio Pictures, where he transitioned into the special effects field and worked on many of RKO’s fabled films of the late 1920s and ’30s, including King Kong (1933), The Last Days of Pompeii (1935), She (1935) and Top Hat (1935). ...

As Below the Line described Mr. Redmond:

... [S]pecial effects wiz Harry Redmond Jr. was ‘born to the biz’ by way of his father, Harry Sr., who worked effects on the first sound motion picture done in Hollywood (Don Juan, 1926). Literally growing up around the back-lots, by the time Harry Jr. was 22, he began to work as a self-described ‘go-fer’ for his Dad on films such as Chances (1931), RKO’s King Kong (with Fay Ray), Little Women, and the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers dance vehicles, Flying Down to Rio, The Gay Divorcee and Top Hat. Recalling those early days of effects on Saturday matinees like Hop Along Cassidy, Redmond told of explosions being done by “powder-men” from the railroad. “In those days,” he said, “when we needed to blow up a train for a Western, we used real dynamite.”

If Mr. Redmond wasn't the last surviving crew member from the iconic Kong, then the last person standing must be a screaming two-year-old extra playing the big ape's victim.


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