He's back! Akira Takarada takes the stage once again in Nakatsugawa, Gifu, Japan.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Director R. J. Kizer reads a copy of G-FAN magazine in 2007. Photo courtesy R. J. Kizer.
June 8, 1985 - Breakfast meeting with Tony Randel. Set to meet at Nick's Restaurant at corner of Westwood and National. Nick's was closed. Didn't open until 11:30. We go to Hamburger Hamlet at National and Sepulveda. Tony offers me the "chance for immortality."
June 28, 1985 - My last day as film editor on "A Dollar a Day," later released as "Planet Rage."
July 1, 1985 - I watch "Godzilla, King of the Monsters"
July 2, 1985 - I watch "The Philadelphia Experiment" (Tony has some extra footage from that film that he wants to use in "Godzilla, 1985")
[[July 2 -- ADR programming of Japanese sequences begun]]
July 8, 1985 - I officially start work on "Godzilla, 1985" Casting starts; casting director = Danny (Goldman)
July 24, 1985 - Pre-light Stage One, Raleigh Studios; 6:30 pm Dinner meeting with Raymond Burr at Le Mondrian Hotel, Sunset Blvd
July 25, 1985 - 1st day of shooting -- all shots involving Raymond Burr
July 26, 1985 - 2nd day of shooting -- rest of the shots
July 27, 1985 - 3rd day of shooting -- Dune Creek Ranch, 6238 Bonsall Drive, Malibu (camera truck gets lost, we don't start shooting until close to sunset)
July 29-30 -- ADR at Ryder Sound, Vine Street, Hollywood
Aug 8-9, 1985 -- Final Sound mix -- Ryder Sound, Vine Street, Hollywood
August 23, 1985 -- Theatrical release
"Professor Hiyashida" Yosuke Natsuki (English voice = Paul Wilson)
"Goro Maki" Ken Tanaka (English voice = Tony Plana)
"Naoko Okumura" Yasuko Sawaguchi (English voice = Lara Cody)
"Hiroshi Okumura" Shin Takuma (English voice = Andy Goldberg)
English dialogue for Japanese sequences = Lisa Tomei and Tony Randel
American scene script = Straw (Weisman)
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Teruyoshi Nakano and yours truly. Nakano-san directed the SFX for Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), the first Godzilla movie I ever saw.
While most fans know Kenpachiro Satsuma as the Godzilla suit actor from 1984 through 1995, it's his portrayal of Gigan in Godzilla vs. Megalon that is of most interest to me.
With my good friend Ulf Otsuki. His most notable role to tokusatsu fans in the West is that of the bearded Seatopian agent in Godzilla vs. Megalon.
With Yutaka Hayashi (a.k.a. Hiroshi Jinkawa) in Roppongi, Tokyo. He was one of my first heroes!
I understand there's a lot of controversy concerning the film back in the U.S. I'll let others worry about that. Me, I'm just going to sit back and cherish the wonderful memories I got from this past weekend.
Happy Halloween from Ultraman Town in Setagaya, Tokyo!
On Monday, October 8, I ate lunch with Showa-era Gamera screenwriter Niisan Takahashi. The meeting was arranged by my friend Yasushi. Takahashi-san wrote all the scripts for the Gamera films between 1965 and 1980. At 86 years old, he's in good spirits and quite active!
The most fascinating thing I learned is that Mr. Takahashi has a middle Christian name. No, he wasn't born with it, but he took it on after a tragic event happened in his life. On December 31, 1982, his wife passed away after a lengthy illness. She was a Christian, so Takahashi-san researched notable Christians who also passed away on New Year's Eve. One he discovered was Pope Sylvester I, who died on December 31, 335. Takahashi-san decided to make Sylvester his adopted middle name in honor of his wife.
On a much lighter note, I asked Mr. Takahashi about the process of writing screenplays for the Gamera series. On average, they took about 10 days to write (which was the length of time it took him to write Gamera vs. Viras). The first draft was always the shooting script. Mr. Takahashi never rewrote a Gamera script. However, the director may, in some cases, have elected to change the script due to budgetary concerns. But those changes never came from Mr. Takahashi.
The meeting lasted about three hours. Takahashi gladly signed autographs and answered every question posed to him. We'll likely be doing a formal interview sometime in the future. Stay tuned!
Nakano-san tries on his new birthday present at the Grissom Gang's movie theater in Kawasaki, Kanagawa.
The event began with a series of trailers, including the coming attractions for Godzilla 1985 (yes, the American version), Godzilla '98 (no "GINO" references, please), and Godzilla 2000 (the American version again). Following that, Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster played to an appreciative audience.
My friend Yasushi gets an autograph from Nakano-san.
After the interview wrapped, it was off to a nearby sauna, which has become a tradition for Nakano-san's birthday events at the Grissom Gang. There each attendee gets to wash the back of Mr. Nakano before he enters the water. To say the least, it was an interesting experience! I've been to more than one onsen in Japan, so I'm familiar with the routine, and the initial "shock" has all but worn off.
At the time, I asked Mr. Nakano if he had ever had his back washed by a foreigner, which he hadn't. During dinner, he revealed that he actually felt quite honored that I, a foreigner from a different culture, would show him such respect. He said it would be a memory he'd take with him to heaven. I didn't know what to say. I was speechless.
Meeting Jim Ballard and J.R. Lipartito of Gaijin Channel.
Teruyoshi Nakano recounts one of many stories during dinner.
This was only the beginning of an eventful weekend, but it was a tremendous kickoff. My sincerest thanks to Teruyoshi Nakano and the Grissom Gang for their generosity and hospitality!
Yours truly and Nakano-san at Shimo-Kitazawa Station.
Toys, toys, and more toys! Super Festival offers kaiju toy collectors an array of figures to choose from.
It's Ultraman Zero to the rescue at Super Festival!
The three Godzillas in a more thoughtful state: Tsutomu Kitagawa, Kenpachiro Satsuma, and Haruo Nakajima describe the differences between their approaches to Godzilla.
Destroy all monsters! The Men Who Played Godzilla pose for the paparazzi.
Nakajima-san was first. Of course, Mr. Nakajima is getting on in years, so he didn't recognize me until I sat down next to him. When he saw me, well, the above photo speaks for itself! (Yes, this pose was his idea!)
Kenpachiro Satsuma was next. It was actually my first time meeting him. I found him to be personable and gregarious. Wish I could have spent more time in his company, but that will have to wait for next time!
Who says Japanese fans are all shy and reserved? I think the above photo explodes that myth!
The Millennium series suit actor Tsutomu Kitagawa was last, but like Messrs. Satsuma and Nakajima, he proved to be a friendly and classy gentleman.
I also met Koichi Kawakita again and purchased a couple of items from his table. Even on a budget, I was able to purchase a few mementos!
And there's my shikishi board with the signatures of the Godzilla series' three main principal suit actors. Too cool for words, so the picture will have to do.
Below is some video I shot of the suit actors' talk show. Enjoy!