A Master and his Craft
The one thing that did kinda bother me about class on Monday was that I was the only person to know who Dick Smith was. Perhaps I'm more of a movie buff or a horror junkie than I like to admit, but I couldn't believe no one else knew about one of the originators of some of the best effects that laid the groundwork for future of the movie industry that always seeks to push the envelope. I spoke up and said that without Dick Smith they're wouldn't be any Rick Baker or Tom Savini. Carl, our instructor, started to rattle off some of Dick's more impressive credits and then the class began to remember the striking visuals that his work help create.
This aging make-up was recognized with an Oscar in 1984 for AMADEUS.
Here's a very short laundry list of Dick Smith's accomplishments:
Make-Up and Effects - THE EXORCIST
Aging Make-Up for Marlon Brando - THE GODFATHER
The Finale Sequence - SCANNERS
Effects & Make-Up - THE HUNGER
The Old Age Make-Up - AMADEUS
Consultant - DEATH BECOMES HER
Dick is always remembered as the one make-up artist in Hollywood who was not only approachable, but would willing share industry secrets. This open exchange of information led to a passing of the torch to younger artists eager to make it in show biz. This is truly heartwarming to realize that this is all pre-Internet where there were no sites to google "how to's" or even much available literature to research the methods of working with the materials. I guess that's one thing that rings true with me, is that despite my hours of toiling, convinced that I can teach myself through trial and error, that there are still good hearted people looking to help others for the sake of their passion.
You can click here to go to Dick Smith's website, which offers a course in Special Effects Make-up and other effects.
Watch this 20/20 segment to see how deep of an influence Dick's work has invoked and also to see how far the craft has journeyed since then.