KING KONG Effects Wizard Harry Redmond, 101

Harry Redmond, the Hollywood special effects wizard whose three decade career spanned from the original 1933 King Kong to 1963’s Flipper, died at his Hollywood Hills home on May 23. He was 101.

Although he started working in Hollywood at the advent of talkies – his first job was in the prop department at First National Pictures – the movies were already a family business for Redmond. His father, Harry Redmond Sr., ran Metropolitan Studios on Long Island before moving the family to the west coast when the film industry transplanted itself there in 1926.

Redmond joined RKO and helped King Kong (1933) climb the Empire State Building, Pompeii get buried under volcanic lava in The Last Days Of Pompeii (1935) and Randolph Scott face-off against the mysterious She (1935) all for legendary producer Merian C Cooper. He also contributed effects work, often uncredited, to other early RKO classics such as  Little Women, Flying Down To Rio, The Son Of Kong, Of Human Bondage, Anne Of Green Gables and Top Hat.

At the end of his four-year-run at RKO, Redmond became an independent contractor, supplying his effects expertise to a number of films including The Prisoner Of Zenda, Lost Horizon (both 1937), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), The Outlaw (1943), The Woman In The Window (1944), A Night In Casablanca, The Stranger (both 1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) and A Song Is Born (1948). At the outbreak of World War Two, Redmond designed and built a studio for the Army Film Training Lab in Ft. Monmouth, NJ.

When writer-producer Ivan Tors hired Redmond to work on his 1952 film Storm Over Tibet, it marked the beginning of a long-term relationship between the two that would see them collaborate on The Magnetic Monster (1953) and Gog (1954) and Tors’ television series Science-Fiction Theater, Sea Hunt and Daktari. Redmond also served as an associate producer for Tors on Flipper (1963), Clarence, The Cross-Eyed Lion (1965) and Zebra In The Kitchen (1965).

Before retiring in the late 1960s, Redmond worked on a number of episodes of the science-fiction series The Outer Limits including its classic episode “The Zanti Misfits.”

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About Rich Drees 7205 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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