The heavily truncated life of Harry “Harry” Hamlin

In Pat Black on April 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm


By Pat Black

When Harryhausen, the divine creator, first put Harry Hamlin together, he had some cause for pride. The strapping young lad might not have been as spectacular as Talos, the Cyclops or the skeleton army, but he was an especially fine human specimen. With strong, twisty wire for a skeleton, some moulding clay to flesh him out and an especially fine head of tousled black hair, the young Harry offered a striking aspect. The creator completed this image with a skirt and toga and a pair of Jesus sandals, as befit one of the ancient Greek heroes.

“My son,” the creator said, beaming. He gave Harry his first movement, a twitch of the fingers, then took a single-frame shot with the camera.

This went on for many months, with the creator carrying out a frame-by-frame animation of Harry as he executed some complex breakdancing manoeuvres.

“Father,” Harry said to the creator, “I’m pleased to be able to dance for you. But I wonder, when will I be able to make my own way in the world?”

“Ah,” said the creator. “You do have destiny to fulfil, don’t worry. But I have many tasks for you to carry out first. There is training in each task; you must learn to walk before you run, my son.”

“I can walk just fine, if you’d only stop making me do the caterpillar in stop-motion,” Harry protested.

“Ha! You have spirit. That’s great.” The creator dried his hands on a dishtowel. “Now, make sure you stay there. I need to go make a giant octopus eat an elephant, then have a fight with a griffin. I’ll be back soon.”

“No problem, father,” Harry said. He stayed perfectly still, staring straight ahead with his chocolatey brown eyes, until the door was closed. Then he leapt off the miniature stage, clambered over the walls of the set and buggered off.

With his ancient Greek attire and dark good looks, the theatre was a natural home for the young Harry. He took part in a number of student productions, was a big hit in the sometimes febrile atmosphere of frat house parties and supplemented his income by taking his clothes off for the boys at Costas’ Nut Hatch somewhere off sunset strip. But Harry Hamlin only truly understood his strange destiny after a chance meeting with Rocky’s Trainer during rehearsals for Oedipus Rex.


“Who are ya?” bellowed Rocky’s Trainer, clutching his cute little beanie in his hands.

“Harry Hamlin. And who are you?”

“I’m sort of a mentor figure,” Rocky’s Trainer said. “It’s a living at this stage in my career, and worth a few Best Supporting Actor nominations. Now gerrup, ya bum ya.”

“I’m standing up straight, sir,” said Harry.

“That’s doesn’t matter. Gerrup, ya bum ya.”

“…Okay. How’s this?” Harry said, posing provocatively.

“Not bad. Now,” Rocky’s Trainer intoned gravely, “I got the good news and the bad news, kid. Ya got a destiny in showbusiness, alright… but turning away from Harryhausen’s guiding hand has made your path that bit more difficult. Ya bum, ya.”


“You were on the path of leading roles in stop-motion monster movies; ya got to be the hero. Ya got to kiss the goils.”

“The what?”

Gooooooils. Ya deaf, ya bum ya?”

No, no. Carry on.”

Okay. Now ya can still make that path. Ya can be the big name on the marquee; but first, ya gotta pay ya dues.”

Harry gaped. “You mean… I have to work my way up to headline status through small roles in regional theatre and television staples, attracting the attention of powerful and influential players on the Hollywood scene?”

“No, ya bum, ya,” said Rocky’s Trainer. “Ya gotta appear in a big gay movie and french some guys.”

“I can’t do that,” Harry said. “I am straight. And think of the negative reaction at this point in the 20th century if I do ‘gay’.”

“That’s just it, kid! You’re all hurry, no hustle. Ya ain’t playin’ the long game! You’ll be ahead of your time… When they come to look back on it, you’ll have class!”

“But I’ll be frenching a guy!”

“It’ll be just the same as frenching goooils. I frenched plenty a’ guys in my day – ain’t nothin’ to it, ya bum ya.”

“You’re crazy,” Harry stated, and ran off in a swirling billow of Greek skirtage.

“Ya can run, but ya can’t hide from destiny, kid. Think it over. I gotta protector for ya – from your father. It’s clockwoik!” And with that, Rocky’s Trainer released Bubo, a little metal budgerigar with a penny whistle for an asshole, to fly overhead and to keep watch on the young Harry.

I just want to interject at this moment – I’m Ray Harryhausen, the divine creator, and I want to defend Bubo. Look at the detail, the eyes, the beak… it’s one of my best ever pieces of work, and all you retroactively whining fanboy fucks can lick that one and flick it. Thank you.

Harry continued to plough a lonely furrow in the worlds of fine arts theatre and all-male entertainment – with Bubo proving to be something of a disappointment once the rain began to interfere with his metal casing, coincident with a shortage of WD40 in Hollywood – until Medusa left him a calling card after one performance.

“It’s dark in here,” Harry said, bouncing into some pillars as she let him into her apartment. There was only a faint flickering light from some distant burning braziers to guide him, and Medusa was indistinct in the gloom.

“All the better for me to hide from you, toying with you, until I turn you to stone,” Medusa said.

“Your voice sounds funny,” Harry said. “Sibilant. Or are you just from Boston?”

“You’ll sound really funny… the instant I turn you to stone!” And with that, Medusa uncoiled herself from around a pillar in the centre of the room, turning the cold blue fury of her gaze on Harry’s fine features.

“Whoah,” Harry said. “Nice rack. And you’ve got… well, I’ve never seen hair like that before. Is that dreads? It’s working, though. Weird, but I like it.”

“You will like it even better… when you turn to stone!” she shrieked, and her eyes blazed again.

“Uh… Well.” Harry gulped. “Should I like… take my clothes off or something? I’ve got to level with you, I haven’t done much of this before…”

“Wait a second. By now, you should have turned to stone,” Medusa said. The serpents garlanding her head shook their heads at each other, nonplussed.

“Well… if you just give me a second… here…” He took off his toga.

“No man before you has looked into my eyes and failed to turn into stone!” she roared, drawing herself up to her full height.

“Look. I’m pretty tired,” Harry said. “I’ve had a couple of beers. Besides, we barely know each other. Um, do you mind if we just make out tonight?”

“Enough of this, limp-dick!” she bellowed, locking an arrow in her bow. “If I can’t turn you to stone, I’ll stick you like a pickled onion!”

And so Harry was forced to decapitate Medusa, which might have raised a few questions among the LAPD had he not been entirely diligent in hiding the body and cleaning up after himself. He did take a chance with snagging her head as a souvenir, but all was well that ended well, and he considered the matter closed.

“I guess the fact I didn’t turn to stone means only one thing,” Harry told himself in the car home. “I’ve got to start frenching some guys.”

And so Harry did just that, starring in a thought-provoking gay film that finally put him on the path of righteousness. This led to a starring role in Clash of the Titans under the aegis of his forgiving father – and the rest is history.

Things were good for Harry in the wake of Titans’ multi-Oscar-winning success; he managed to bag some big roles on Broadway before settling into a comfortable middle age as an attorney at law in the almost completely forgotten soap opera, LA Law.

Or so he thought. One day, as he sank a putt out on the 18th during another extended break from filming, Rocky’s Trainer showed up again.

“How ya doin, ya bum ya?”

“Not you again. I thought I’d fulfilled my destiny?”

“That was ya destiny in showbusiness. It wasn’t ya true destiny – to save the wooild!”

“The what?”

“The wooild! The woooild, ya bum ya! Now look, there ain’t no time to waste. We got a problem – there’s a Titan on the loose. A real one. He’s from Australia. He’s been in a lotta big movies, for some reason. I don’t know who his agent is, but I gots ta gets me a slice o’ that! Ya hear?”

“I… guess so.”

“Okay. Now his name is Sam Worthington. And… well, I don’t know how ta tell ya this, kid. He’s gonna star in a remake of Clash of the Titans.”

Harry shrugged. “Films get remade. That’s the business we’re in.”

“Yeah, but did you know… they ain’t gonna use stop-motion animation? They got this new computer stuff they can do now.”

“What? Computer stuff?” Harry cried. “They won’t follow the father?”

“That’s what I told ya.”

“The fuck they will!” And lightning crackled, and thunder crashed – completely ruining Harry’s round of golf.

“I’ve still got Medusa,” Harry said. “I’ll put a stop to this Worthington fool. Hang on and I’ll call the limo.”

“No time for limos, boy – here. I got one a’ them flying dragons from Avatar. They’ll get you to the coast quicker than a helicopter, and they’re less of a headache for insurance purposes.”

“The coast?” Harry walked over to the green and blue creature from Avatar as it crouched in a bunker, its intense yellow eyes blazing at the sight of his plus-fours.

“Yeah, the coast. That’s where Worthington comes outta the sea! What is ya, an idiot?”

“Okay… I’ll just, uh, swing back past the condo for Medusa, then we’ll sort this travesty out.” And with that, the dragon took off.

“What was wrong with Pegasus, incidentally?” Harry cried, as he rose through the clouds.

“These dragon guys were cheaper and quicker to animate. And we figure, fair’s fair.” Rocky’s Trainer shrugged.

The flying dragon helped Harry dig up Medusa’s head from underneath the Nasty Tile in the basement; Harry slipped the Gorgon straight into a red sack, making sure the dragon didn’t get an eyeful of her.

“You’ll still never get it up,” Medusa croaked at his side, as he took off for the coast.

Soon enough, our hero and his scaly steed came upon the awesome spectacle of Sam Worthington, giant sized, water cascading crazily off his anachronistic buzz-cut as hundreds of innocent people looked on in puzzlement at how such a nondescript actor could get so big.

“You dare to challenge me, mate?” Worthington said, stretching out to intercept the gnat-like irritation flying around its ears.

“I do. In fairness, I think you’ve been handed one or two dud movies, but I aim to take you down. And what’s more, I’ve got a weapon.”

“Do ya? That’s nice. I bet it’ll tickle all the way down after I scoff you like a gazimba on the barbie.”

A what?”

A gazimba, mate. A GAZIMBA.”

Harry smirked. “Well, okay…but you won’t be scoffing after I turn you… to stone!” And with that, he produced Medusa from the red sack.


Medusa’s eyes locked on Worthington’s, and blazed bright blue. And nothing happened.

“Another one. Jesus,” Medusa cried, the serpents on her head tutting at each other. “You goddamned actors. It’s not like I haven’t worked out! It’s not like I haven’t dressed well, put on skin cream, done fucking yoga! I looked good for you! You’re as bad as this clown, here.”

“Give me a break,” Harry said, head sinking in his hands.

Worthington smiled, and drew forward, teeth bared, to engulf Harry, dragon and Medusa with one single bite.

Then, a penny whistle sounded. Bubo the budgerigar landed on Harry’s shoulder.

“What the fuck is this? Do I look like I need an alarm call?”

“He’s telling you you’ve got it wrong,” Medusa said. “He’s telling you that you can’t turn Sam Worthington to stone… you have to rethink it. He’s made of wood. What do you do with wood?”

“Uh…make trees?”

“No, asshole! Burn it!”

And so Harry unclipped his Alpha Beta Streaker frat house Zippo lighter, a long forgotten relic from his college days, and unleashed a beacon of flame. Worthington, screaming for some tinnies to put out the fire, was consumed by the fire.

The day was won. Harry prevailed. Himself and Medusa did strike up an unlikely relationship, pledging to “work through” their many difficulties. The dragon from Avatar came to an unfortunate end when a computer virus swept through Weta Workshop in New Zealand; and Bubo…he found himself a job as a voiceover artist, providing the tones for liftshafts around the world. But still with a penny-whistle for an asshole.

  1. What the hell happened to Harry Hamlin anyway?

    It’s interesting, in that pic at the start of this, he looks kind of masculine-feminine…his muscles are tight, but his hair is loose, and there’s no hair on the chest or anything…and then you look at Sam Worthington, and he doesn’t look Greek at all. No loose hair, more like a marine. Why?

    And how did Worthington get so much sway in H-WOOD?

  2. People Magazine’s most beautiful person in 1987… He roosted in the hen house!

  3. 1987 was many moons ago, man.

  4. Very funny.

    Sam Worthington made of wood haha…it’s so true! How does he get in these movies? First Avatar, now Titans…why, Zeus, why?!!

  5. I’m getting a big kick out of all this literary harpooning of celebrities.

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