Ray visited New York many times, perhaps none more magically than when he escorted Kong’s leading lady, Fay Wray, back to the top of the Empire State Building (this time, by express elevator), in May 2004.
Harryhausen actually lived in the Tri-State area for what he said was six months, just after the last days of World War II, and made many visits to Manhattan. (Harryhausen served during the war in his native Los Angeles, for the Special Service Division, helping to create many films for the military. He noted that he gained invaluable experience working as an assistant cameraman to many renowned cinematographers, as well as on Frank Capra’s “Why We Fight” series. (Ray also spent some time in the cartoon department run by Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss!), who eventually asked Ray to make a sculpture of his famous drawn character, Private Snafu (“Situation Normal, All Fouled Up”) who was being featured in several shorts, for the Army. The model was used as a guide for the artists drawing the traditional cel-animation shorts. (Later, Harryhausen also created humorous Snafu models and dioramas for the cover of “Yank,” the military’s weekly magazine published for–and written BY–servicemen.)
When the war ended, and the Hollywood post closed, Harryhausen was transferred to Fort Monmouth, in New Jersey, where he and others waited for their final, honorable discharges.