I attended the opening of the CineSaurus! exhibition last Saturday at the Fullerton Museum Center. CineSaurus! is a spectacular traveling show that examines the history of dinosaurs in the movies, beginning with the dawn of silent cinema. The exhibition was assembled by Stephen and Sylvia Czerkas, two long time friends of mine. Both of them are outstanding sculptors.
I met Sylvia when she was Sylvia Massey, before I had begun my book The Dinosaurs–A Fantastic New View of a Lost Era. Sylvia was the founder and organizer of a loose group known as the Dinosaur Society of Los Angeles. Once a month or so, she would put together a meeting revolving around a paleontologist visiting L. A. or some other dignitary related in some way to dinosaurs (I think that may have been how I met and became friends with Ray Harryhausen).
My dinosaur book was begun at this time. Stephen and Sylvia were a constant source of encouragement as well as being good role models with their incredible work ethic. The three of the best words of advice I ever heard came from Sylvia: “Produce, produce, produce.”
Both Willis O’Brien and Ray Harryhausen are well represented in the exhibition — but the show goes much deeper than that. The goofier aspects of dinosaur movies are examined as well. I have a wall in the exhibition that features some of my work for Walt Disney’s Dinosaur! a The Land Before Time (which was “inspired” by my children’s book The Little Blue Brontosaurus).
The Fullerton Museum Center is a terrific museum. They hosted the J. C. Leyendecker show a while ago. I was also in their last exhibit, The 100 Worst Album Covers of All Time (they borrowed my notorious cover for BeatleSongs).
If you live in the Southern California area, don’t miss this fun show. I’ll be speaking there next year on March 6. See you there!