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Friday, January 23, 2009

Charles H. Schneer 1920-2009

The longest running collaborator of sci-fi/fantasy/horror legend Ray Harryhausen has passed away at the age of 88. Charles Schneer acted as producer on every one of Harryhausen's pictures from 1955's It Came from Beneath the Sea, all the way up to 1981's Clash of the Titans--both he and Harryhausen's last film.

In addition to the giant monster classic It Came from Beneath the Sea, Schneer produced Harryhausen's other horror gems Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (1956) and 20 Million Miles to Earth (1957). He considered the beloved mythological epic Jason and the Argonauts (1963) to be he and Harryhausen's finest hour, and many a fan (including this one) would agree.

Schneer started out producing under the watchful eye of horror schlock luminary Sam Katzman, but later struck out on his own, eventually taking on Harryhausen himself as a production partner. He was literally the man we can thank for allowing Harryhausen's amazing visions to become reality. He was even the guy who convinced the special effects master to switch to color with The 7th Voyage of Sinbad in 1957.

Trivia note: Schneer also produced Hellcats of the Navy (1957), the only movie in which Ronald Reagan ever appeared with his future wife, Nancy Davis.

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