Stop-motion through the years
This laborious animation process is painfully slow, but has nevertheless resulted in some classics. A sampling:
1 KING KONG (1933)
Director Merian C. Cooper asked special-effects wizard Willis O'Brien to create the fearsome gorilla after seeing O'Brien's "The Lost World" and "Creation." Cooper also was inspired by the techniques used in the jungle movies of cinema pioneer Georges Mélies.
2 GUMBY (1955)
Art Clokey created the green guy and his pony, Pokey, with a process that came to be known as claymation. Gumby was based on the Gingerbread Man; he had wide feet for practical purposes and a slanted head to mimic the rakish hairstyle of Clokey's father.
3 JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)
Willis O'Brien was mentor to Ray Harryhausen, the acknowledged master of stop-motion animation. The highlight of this film, Harryhausen's most memorable, is an extended battle between three human actors and seven skeletons.
4 RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER (1964)
The Arthur Rankin/Jules Bass TV favorite is the longest-running Christmas special in history. A scene showing Santa fulfilling his promise to the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys was added after the original airing because of viewer outcry.
5 WALLACE AND GROMIT (1989)
Nick Park's short films and subsequent feature-length 2005 movie about an eccentric inventor/cheese enthusiast and his canine companion are "some of the best-known and best-loved stars to come out of the UK," according to the BBC.
6 THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
Tim Burton and Harry Selick paid homage to "Rudolph," having Jack Skellington refer to the story to help explain Christmas to the residents of Halloween Town. Jack's character alone had about 400 heads, to represent every possible emotion.