Willis O'Brian was born in Oakland California on March 2nd, 1886. This former cartoonist and sculptor is best known as the animator of the original King Kong movie. He innovated many of the techniques used in the movie to make the giant seem real. The models that he used to make the scene work when Kong climbed the Empire State Building were a marvel at the time. In addition to King Kong, O'Brian animated the dinosaurs in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Even though some footage is still around, the film Creation was abandoned and never finished. Although the film was disappointing, Son of Kong was a chance for O'Brian to outdo himself by making a baby ape. This ape was more cute than scary. He was also trained many of the people that went on to have major careers in stop motion animation
Ray Harryhausen was born on June 29th 1920 in Los Angeles. He starting working on the visual effects of Mighty Joe Young in 1949. He is best known as the stop-motion filmmaker of Jason and the Argonauts. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Earth vs. the Flying Saucers are both films that added to his fame. He pioneered a technique of combining live action film with stop action models that looked better and cost less then previous methods.
Art Clokey, who created Gumby and Pokey, was famous for his work with clay. He started working with clay on his grandfather's farm about 80 miles north of Detroit. In the 1930's he spent his summers there. The clay like mud he played with was called "gumbo." He used that word to come up with the name of Gumby. He made a pilot film of these characters in 1956. It was picked up for a series the following year and went for the next seven years. He became very efficient in his clay modeling techniques while working for television. There was a later series that tried to bring back these characters, but it didn't last for very long.