Special and Visual Effects : Ray Harryhausen's Flying Saucers

Ray Harryhausen's Flying Saucers

In the 1956 Columbia Pictures movie "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" , Ray Harryhausen utilized stop-motion animation to create the strobing effect of twirling flying saucers. The upper portion moved clockwise, while the lower portion moved counter-clockwise. Ray stated that when the top portion was moved, it would "click" into place one space and the bottom portion would AUTOMATICALLY do the same thing, for the same space, but in the other direction.

How was this done? What type of mechanism would do that? Are there any schematics, blueprints, drawings that show how the saucers actually worked for the top-motion animation? Thank you.

Re: Ray Harryhausen's Flying Saucers

I can't give you an exact plan of the mechanism but there are gear sets which would accomplish this effect. A engineer could give you the exact plan.

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