Wednesday, March 10, 2021

GOJIRA aka GODZILLA: Back Stories 1954 Through 2016

I first meet Godzilla, in 1956, with "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", and "Gojira", in 1959, with the original Japanese versions of both 1954's, "Gojira", and 1955's "Gojira no gyakushu"! 

What always got me are the Back Stories. You know, where did he come from? No two Back Stories seemed to match after the Showa Era and especially when the United States got into the act. This is a look, not at each individual movie of the Franchise, but those Back Stories that created a distinctive Gojira/Godzilla from the others

I'll start with what I call---


THE BACK-BACK STORY


PART ONE:

The building in the following photograph doesn't seem menacing in any way. In 1942, under President Franklyn Delano Roosevelt, it was the "New War Department Building" and today, it is either called, the "Harry S. Truman Building", or "The State Department Building".














However, back on August 16, 1942, the United States Army Chief of Engineers, Major General Eugene Reynolds, created the "Manhattan Engineering District (MED)", located at 270 Broadway, in the New York City borough of that name. Next, Reynolds assigned Lieutenant General Leslie Groves and Colonel James C. Marshall to what Groves would name, "The Manhattan Project". 

However, because of his need to interact with Washington, D.C. and the President. Groves moved his Headquarters to an office on the 5th floor of the above building. It was from that unobtrusive office, that General Groves coordinated the building of the World's First Atomic Bomb.















Above Lieutenant General Leslie Groves in his 5th floor office.


The date was July 16, 1945!

The site was the "Jornada del Murerto (Single Days Journey of the Dead Man) Desert" , located 35 miles southwest of the town of Socorro, New Mexico!

The time was 5:29 a.m.!





























"The Trinity Test"
was a complete success and President Harry S. Truman gave the "green-light". On August 6, 1945, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bomber Enola Gay, piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbets, dropped the Atomic Bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.






















On August 9, 1945, a second Atomic Bomb would be dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. Less than a month later, on September 2, 1945, the Japanese Government, on the "U.S.S. Missouri", would sign the official documents ending the Second World War.















However, a nuclear arms race had begun between the United States and our World War 2 Ally, the Soviet Union.


Starting on March 1, 1954, the United States began, "Operation Castle", a series of high yield (high-energy) nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. 

That first test, known as "Castle Bravo", exploded the first lithium deuteride fueled thermonuclear weapon. The American scientists predicted the yield might reach 6.0 megatons equivalency of TNT. They were wrong in their calculations, because of the unforeseen effect of "Lithium-7". The actual yield was 15 megatons equivalency of TNT, or 2.5 times GREATER than expected.






















There would be another UNEXPECTED result of "Castle Bravo".


PART TWO:

The Japanese tuna fishing boat was called "DAIGO FUKURYU MARU 5 (LUCKY DRAGON #5)", because of "Castle Bravo" the crews "Luck" ran out.


















Those same United States scientists and military geniuses, who predicted the yield of the "Castle Bravo" bomb. Also, set up a safety zone around Bikini Atoll and the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" was operating well beyond that safety zone's outer limits on March 1, 1945.

However, the bombs "Fallout", exceeded the predicted limits, and engulfed the "Lucky Dragon #5".

When the test took place, the sky to the west of the tuna boat, was described as "lighting up like a sunset". The crew might still have been safe, but, several hours after the test. Radioactive dust, made from radioactive coral and sand, fell upon the crew and the fishing boat. Apparently, the wind changed directions from what was predicted and carried the radioactive material out to the un-Lucky Dragon #5. 

Between, March 2nd and March 11, 1945, the crew started to develop symptoms of radiation  sickness. The crew, now, encountered rough weather on the 11th, the date they were to have returned to Japan, and as a result did not dock until March 14th.

The only upside, if you could call it that, of the incident was related to the catch of fish. Because of the time of day the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" returned to port, the fish could not be unloaded.  As a result of the discovery of the radiation that the crew had been exposed too. The fish never got out into the general Japanese population.






















One member of the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" crew, during the voyage back to Japan. Had kept some of the dust in a pouch to have it analyzed upon their return. Unfortunately, it was hanging beside the man's bedside exposing the crew, further, as they slept.






















The crewmen were suffering from nausea, headaches, pain in the eyes, bleeding gums and other symptoms of radiation poisoning. On March 15th, the "Elderly" members of the tuna boat's crew, engineer Yamamoto, deckhand Masuda and five others were sent to the "Tokyo University Hospital" for further treatment. Testing on Yamamoto's bone marrow, indicated his white blood cell count was reduced to the half the normal number. The Japanese doctor's sought information, from the "U.S. Atomic Energy Commission", about treatment and that was when the United States first became aware of the incident.

Like the "Hibakusha", normally translated to mean a "person affected by exposure to radiation", the name given to the survivors of both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombs. The survivors of the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" were also stigmatized by the general Japanese public, because of the belief that exposure to "radiation was contagious".
























Above is the exterior of the "Tokyo Metropolitan Diago Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall". established in 1972, containing the actual ship.






















ENTER TOMOYUKI TANANKA
























Tomoyuki Tanaka joined the forgotten "Taisho Motion Picture Studios" upon his 1940 graduation from "Kansai University", in Suita, Osaka, Japan. The following year they merged with "Toho Studios" in Chiyoda, Tokyo,Japan. After four years with Toho, Tanaka began producing his own feature films.

I now turn to my much-worn copy of J.D. Lees and Marc Cerasini's, 1998, "The Official GODZILLA Compendium", for the following story,

According to Tomoyuki Tanaka, he had put together a cast and crew to make a Japanese-Indonesia co-production entitled, "Eiko no Kanatani (Behind the Glory)". However, the Indonesian government decided not to grant the Japanese visa's and the producer was forced to fly home to Japan instead of having the actor's and technician's join him in Indonesia.

According to an interview Tanaka gave, in 1981, to the "Japanese Fantasy Film Journal", mentioning that failed Indonesian project. Tomoyuki Tanaka thought at the time that:
Now I had to come up with something big enough to replace it.
On the plane flight back to Japan, he started to wonder what might hide under those calm ocean waves he could see below him?



GOJIRA released October 27, 1954 in Nagoya, Japan





Like many Japanese movie goers, Tomoyuki Tanaka, had seen the 1952, the re-release, of the Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Willis O'Brien and Marcel Delgado, 1933, "King Kong". 

As the story continues, adding to his plane flight experience, remembering "King Kong", is credited with giving Tanaka the idea of doing his "Daikaiju (Giant Strange Beast)" motion picture. 

While also, according to the "Compendium", Warner Brothers released Ray Harryhausen's, 1953, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", that same year in Japan. Note: IMDb disagrees and has the Japanese release date as December 1954, as do other sources.

Tanaka, now went to Toho Studios Executive Producer Iawo Mori, with his idea, and the film was greenlighted.

The story treatment of Tomoyuki Tanaka's idea, initially came from Japanese Science Fiction writer, Shigeru Kayama, that he titled, "Project X".

However, when the screenplay was co-written by Takeo Murata and the picture's Director, Ishiro Honda. The working title of Tanaka's Daikaiju movie had become:
"KAITEI NIMAN MAIRU KARA KITA DAI KAIJU (THE BIG MONSTER FROM 20,000 MILES UNDERNEATH THE SEA)",
That would seem to indicate that somebody connected with the project was familiar with the Ray Harryhausen feature prior to the start of production.

The motion picture's theme was Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka's reminder of the Atomic Bombs dropped upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" incident.

In fact, the opening, as presented in his original film, is meant to be an allegorical representation of the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru". Which no Japanese member of the audience would miss!






























As was "Gojira's" destruction of Tokyo, representing the allegorical nuclear weapons used by the American's on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That reflected upon the anti-American sentiment, from those events, still felt by many Japanese. 
,



















Now that I have established how "Gojira" was created and why he was created. I turn to the actual purpose of this article. Which is to compare the Different Back Stories about where "Gojira-Godzilla" came from.


When most viewers think of this motion picture and the Americanized version that came 12 years later. It is the love triangle between "Emiko Yamane", the Salvage Ship Captain, "Hideto Ogata", and the distinguished scientist, "Dr. Daisuke Serizawa", that stands out beside the title character's actions.






















However, what is overlooked in the original motion picture, is the observer of all the events, the Newspaper Reporter, "Hagiwara". 

The sinking of the Japanese Freighter, "Eiko-maru", and the similar sinking of the rescue ship, the "Bingo-maru", both near "Odo Island". Where fishing boats are also being sunk and in the waters around the island, the fish, the islanders depend on as a livelihood, are disappearing. Now lead to several reporters, including "Hagiwara", arriving on the island to get their stories.


























Above, Reporter "Haiwara", interviews a man who survived from one of the attacked fishing boats, as his younger brother, "Shinkichi Yamada", looks on. "Shinkichi" is an important character in "Gojira", but will be almost eliminated in "Godzilla, King of the Monsters"

That night, watching the recreation of an ancient ceremony, "Hagiwara" is listening to the "Elder Fisherman of Odo Island".















"Hagiwara" learns that in ancient times the islanders sacrificed virgins to their fishing God. When asked what the God was called, the "Elder" replies, "Gojira"! Later, during the night, in a raging storm, something walks through the village, killing and destroying. The next day, 17 homes have been found destroyed, 9 villagers are dead and 20 animals. 

A group of villagers are sent to Tokyo to ask the government for disaster relief and testify about what took place. They claim that something gigantic walked through their village and "Hagiwara" backs them up with what he observed. After much debate, it is decided to send a scientific party to investigate and it will be headed by "Dr. Yamane".



















Above, "Hagiwara", "Dr. Yamane", "Professor Tanabe", behind the Professor is "Emiko" and next to him is "Shinkichi Yamada".

The scientific team finds a giant footprint in the mud, determines the area is radioactive, and "Dr. Yamane" also discovers a Trilobite. Which existed approximately 521 million years ago.


















After warning the villagers to stay away from the radioactive area. The village alarm bell sounds. and everyone starts running toward the hill that backs onto the Pacific Ocean. They're stopped, as "Gojira's" head rears above the hill.















Then, "Gojira", just turns back toward the ocean and disappears into it. On the beach sand are his footprints.

Back in Tokyo, "Dr. Yamane" presents his findings:






































According to "Dr. Yamane", the "God of Odo Island", is 50 meters or 164 feet, tall. He speculates that it evolved from an ancient sea creature to it present form of a terrestrial dinosaur. For the purposes of identification, "Dr. Yamane" uses the Odo Islander's name of "Gojira" for the creature. 

The paleontologist further speculates that "Gojira" was trapped in some underwater cavern near the island, in a form of hibernation, and was released by Hydrogen Bomb testing. Which is the reason its breath and body are radioactive. The original film's Back Story is complete.


















I will speak to the Japanese sequel, but I want now to speak to the Americanized version of the 1954 feature.


GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS premiered April 4, 1956 in New York City






This was the first motion picture 10 years old Lloyd saw about "Godzilla". I saw it at the forgotten Studio City Theater" near the old "Republic Studios", in North HollywoodLike the majority of American's in 1956, I had no idea that there was a 1954 Japanese original and that this was a re-edit of that feature. 

Before I go any further, note the color of "Godzilla" on the above poster. Although the motion picture was filmed in black and white. "Godzilla" is "GREEN", because everyone in 1950's America knew sea monsters were green. 

To prove this fact, below are four posters from black and white American giant monster movies. 

These films are, 1953's, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", even though the original release print was tinted red, 1954's, "The Monster from the Ocean Floor", 1955's, "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues", and 1955's, "It Came from Beneath the Sea".











































I've mentioned, the 1954, "Gojira", reflected the anti-American sentiment still in Japan. It was that fact that made a straight dubbing of the Toho film not possible in the United States. Although, in some major cities, unnoticed, with Asian movie theaters, the 1954 film was shown its original form. 

Another reason a straight English language dub was never made, was the reverse, as many American's still held anti-Japanese sentiment from World War 2.

An example of this can be illustrated by Toho Studio's excellent story of the Pearl Harbor attack and the Battle of Midway. Which was told from the Japanese point of view, entitled, "Hawaii-Midway Battle of the Sea and Sky: Storm in the Pacific Ocean". Outside of movie houses owned, in the United States, by Toho, the film was never shown as released for many years. The original, 1960, film runs one hour and fifty-eight minutes. It would be shorten, by twenty-minutes, and made to appeal to that anti-Japanese sentiment. This re-edited motion picture was released in the United States, for the 20th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, on November 21, 1961with the provocative title of, "I Bombed Pearl Harbor".



A group of five American Producers, Edward B. Barison, Richard Kay, Harry Rybrink, Terry Turner and Joseph E. Levin, who added the tag line to the title of "King of the Monsters", acquired the rights from Toho Studios to "Gojira". Next, they decided to re-edit the motion picture and add American sequences. The purpose was to be able to sell the re-edited Japanese feature as a totally American made giant monster film.


The writing credits went to Terry O'Morse, the Director of the American footage, and Al C. Ward. O'Morse also Supervised the Film Editing. His son, Terry O'Morse, Jr. did the actual editing of the new footage to the old. Which brings me to running times. 

"Gojira" runs one hour and thirty-eight minutes. While, including all the new American shot film footage with actor Raymond Burr, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", had a running time of only eighty-minutes. Which meant a lot of Director Ishiro Honda's film was missing.

One last point, "Gojira" had nuclear breath, "Godzilla" was fire breathing.


The American re-edit opens with:

Narration of a destroyed Tokyo by Raymond Burr as American Overseas Reporter, "Steve Martin". Next, the injured "Martin" is brought into the hallway of a Tokyo Hospital over flowing with other injured people and is blended with footage from the original film. 






 
















"Martin" spots, and calls for, "Emiko Yamane", and a body double, seen from the back, appears and we hear a voice actress speak to him. 

The story now changes to a flashback, as "Steve Martin" is seen inside an passenger airplane flying over the Pacific. In what might be considered a homage to Tomoyuki Tanaka's original plane ride. The audience hears "Martin" make reference to something that was taking place on the darken ocean below.

The film again cuts to original footage, as the audience sees a condensed version of the destruction of the freighter.

Because of a series of mysterious ship disasters, "Martin", as were other plane passengers, is brought to "Security Chief Tomo Iwanaga", played by Frank Iwanaga. Who questions him about what he might have seen from the airplane. "Steve Martin" identifies himself as an International Reporter and upon hearing of an investigation going to "Odo Island" asks to accompany the Security Chief.























The two and others arrive on "Odo Island" and "Tomo" starts questioning the villagers. Interview scenes, such as the one above with "Hagiwara", are recreated with actors in similar looking costumes. Attempting to match original scenes with new footage and substitute "Hagiwara" with "Steve Martin" 


That night the two attend the village ceremony and observe "Hagiwara" speaking to the "Village Elder". There is no mentioning of virgin sacrifices, in 1950's America, the word "Virgin", was a taboo in motion pictures. When "Hagiwara" asks the name of the "Island God", the name the "Elder" speaks is now, "Godzilla". 

Later, a storm comes up and the tent "Steve" and "Tomo" are using is blown away.



















"Steve Martin's" narration speaks to something moving through the village destroying it. That narration adds that the "Odo Island Villagers":
Believe it was GODZILLA!
Returning to Tokyo, the villagers go to the government and "Steve Martin" becomes an observer in the reporters section. It's decided to have "Dr. Yamane" lead a group to "Odo Island" to investigate. Using new footage and the back of an actor playing "Dr. Yamane". "Martin" approaches his friend and gets permission to go with the investigators back to the island and we have another condensing of the original footage to permit scenes with "Steve Martin".

The alarm bell rings and everyone, including the American reporter, head up the hill and now "Godzilla" is seen. Back in Tokyo, the explanation given by "Dr. Yamane" changes. "Godzilla" is a Jurassic age dinosaur that was in some undersea cavern exposed to the H-Bomb and is 122 meters , 400 feet tall. "Steve Martin" rushes to the phones set up for the reporters, calls and speaks to his editor in the United States, "George Lawrence". The revised Back Story is now complete.

Below is the poster for the Japanese release of "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", on May 29, 1957





Executive Producer Iawo Mori, as was Tomoyuki Tanaka, were surprised by the success of "Gojira" in Japan and Asia. Mori immediately instructed Tanaka to start production of a second motion picture.



GOJIRA NO GYAKUSHU (GODZILA STRIKES BACK aka GODZILLA'S COUNTERATTACK) released in Japan on April 24, 1955



The story treatment was again by Shigeru Kayama. The screenplay was again by Takeo Murata, but Shigeaki Hidaka contributed. 


The story revolved around two pilots for a fishing cannery company out of Osaka. One of the seaplanes develops engine trouble and the pilot, "Koji Kobayashi", lands on a small piece of land near "Iwato Island". His friend and the other pilot, "Shoichi Tsukioka", lands his sea plane to assist.






















Above are "Shoichi", on the left, and "Koji" on the right.

Suddenly, two Daikaiju appear in a fight with each other. The two pilots find shelter and can do nothing but watch. Shortly, the two Daikaiju fall into the ocean and disappear from sight.











































The two pilots report to the cannery owner and he, in turn, alerts the authority. The two Daikaiju are now fighting on Japan near Osaka and the authorities call in paleontologist, "Dr. Yamane", in a cameo visit, to explain what these creatures are and what can be done to stop them.
























"Dr. Yamane" tells the Osaka authorities that one appears to be of the same species as "Gojira" and the other a form of an Ankylosaurus, called "Angirasu".












































When asked how to kill them? "Yamane" replies the only way is with an oxygen destroyer, but with the tragic loss of "Dr. Serizawa". There is nobody who can make the device. End of the Back Story.

What is never asked, or mentioned, is where did these two "Daikaiju" come from? Nor, does the screenplay address the question, as there are two different creatures, could there be more?


Indirectly those questions were answered four years later in the American re-edit.



GIGANTIS, THE FIRE MONSTER released May 21, 1959





When this motion picture was released, I saw it at the forgotten, Reseda Theater, in Reseda. The film sparked a bit of a controversy and not what my reader might think. Many fans of 1956's, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters", myself included, wrote to "Famous Monsters of Filmland", to ask, if "Gigantis" was really "Godzilla"

The result, in the next issue, was the reveal of the 1954, "Gojira", and its original, 1955, sequel. I would go, later in 1959, to the Nurart Theater, in Santa Monica, to see both original Japanese films with subtitles.

The re-edit was Directed by Jack Bernard, Hal Roach and Hal Roach, Jr.. However, the only on-screen credit should have read Motoyoshi Oda, the original Japanese Director, but came out as Motoyoshi Qdq.

The Back Story for "Gigantis, the Fire Monster" is actually two. One for making the motion picture and one for the story of the two "Fire Monsters" in it.


Making the motion picture:

Warner Brother Studios had contracted with Ib Melchior, to film his screenplay "The Volcano Monsters". During World War 2, Melchior, was one of the original "Monument Men". After the war he worked in early science fiction television and wrote the screenplays for 1959's, "The Angry Red Planet" and 1961's, "Reptilicus", among others. My article, "Ib Melchior: Office of Strategic Service to 'The Angry Red Planet", can be read at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2016/06/ib-mechior-from-world-war-2-office-of.html


However, the "Bean Counters" at Warner Brothers thought the cost to make a Stop Motion Animated feature to expensive and looked for another way to make the screenplay. It just so happened, that an American television group was planning to create their own syndicated Horror and Science Fiction program to complete with the popular "Shock Theater". Which had access to all the Universal International Pictures from the 1930's and 1940's. This new group's idea was to use foreign Horror and Science Fiction films dubbed into English, but they couldn't get the further financing they needed.

The one motion picture the group had acquired was the 1955 sequel to "Gojira". Along comes Warner Brothers to purchase the film rights from them with Toho's permission. Next, Ib Melchior and Ed Watson, his only known motion picture work, were given the task of rewriting "The Volcano Monsters" into a new screenplay and making it fit the Toho production.

The screenplay ran 129 pages, with instructions as to where to insert the new planned footage, and was completed on May 7, 1957. It was submitted to Toho for approval, which it received, and Warner Brothers was shipped two of the suits used in the original motion picture to be used in the new footage.

Some of the new footage, using the "Gojira Suit", eliminated the original Japanese footage of "Gojira's" nuclear breath, and replaced it with him clawing at the attacking jet aircraft. 

The screenplay required actor George Takei to say the laughable phrase, "Banana Oil", to fit actor Hiorshi Koizumi, as "Shoichi", speaking the Japanese word, "Bakayaro (Foolish Person)".


The Two "Fire Monsters":


"Gigantis, the Fire Monster" opens with typical 1950's images of atomic bomb explosions and "Cold War" narration about the atomic age and fears of a nuclear attack.























Which was followed by the movies opening credits.

The new plot still has "Kobayashi's" seaplane develop engine problems and lands. Then the arrival of "Shoichi" and the fight of the two "Dinosaurs". A distinction in the American dialogue to the original Japanese.

The major change in the story, other than turning the tragic "Kobayshi" into the comic relief by film editing and dialogue, comes when "Dr. Yamane" meets with the Osaka authorities.

In that meeting, we get a Back Story for the "Fire Monsters", that we never had in the original 1955 Toho production.


























I direct my reader to the two lower corner photos in the above composite picture. The one on the left is  stock footage taken from 1948's, "Unknown Island", starring Richard Denning. For those interested, my article, "Richard Denning: His Science Fiction and Horror Films", will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2020/08/richard-denning-his-science-fiction-and.html

The photo on the lower right, is from newly made footage of the birth of the two "Fire Monsters". As a result of a volcano going back to  Ib Melchior's orginal screenplay. In short, they're "Fire Monsters", because of the fiery lava flows they bathed in. 

During the meeting between "Dr. Yamane" and the Osaka authorities. There is never any mention of "Gojira", or any previous attack on Tokyo. The dubbed dialogue, with the added footage referred to above, now establishes that both monsters are Jurassic dinosaurs of the "same species called Gigantis". "Dr. Yamane" explains that the two-legged dinosaur IS A FEMALE. While the other is a MALE and that's why they're fighting.

 
























The motion picture now continues as originally filmed. With the exception of inserting the new footage of the Female "Gigantis" clawing at the jet planes rather than using nuclear breath.

As to the question of the name change from "Godzilla" to "Gigantis". According to author, Steve Ryfle, in his 1998, "Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G", Producer Paul Schreibman took full credit for the change in names: 
We called it 'Gigantis' because we didn't want it to be confused with Godzilla (who had clearly been killed irreparably by the oxygenator)

Don't look for this version as I saw it in 1959. Although, it did come out on VHS Tapes. The motion picture rights reverted back to Toho during the early 1980's. At which point, Toho had released both a dubbed and subtitled version of the 1955 film under the title "Godzilla Raids Again". Some prints of "Gigantis" existed at the time and a few small companies changed the VHS tape title to "Godzilla Raids Again" and confusion and minor copyright battles ensued.



KINGU KONGU TAI GOJIRA released in Japan on August 11, 1962





I am not going into the story of Willis O'Brien's screenplay, "King Kong vs Frankenstein", and how it became the basis for "King Kong vs Godzilla". Once O'Brien made a deal with American Producer John Beck. 

For anyone interested in that story. My article, "George Worthing Yates: Screenplays from 1927's LIGHTING LARIATS to 1962's KING KONG VS GODZILLA" will be found at:

http://www.bewaretheblog.com/2021/01/george-worthing-yates-screenplays-from.html

Among Yates' other screenplays are, 1954's "THEM", both 1955's, "Conquest of Space" and "It Came from Beneath the Sea" and 1956's, the "Earth vs the Flying Saucers".


For "Kingu Kongu tai Gojira", Toho Studio completely put aside the screenplay by George Worthing Yates and assigned Shinichi Sekizawa to create an entirely new one. Sekizawa's screenplay was a parody of how the decades old "Japanese Business Model" was becoming a copy of the "American Business Model".

The set up for the screenplay:

In the closing sequence of 1955's, "Gojira no gyakushu", the Japanese Defense Force (JDF) jet planes brings down the ice shelf above "Gojira" and buries him. 

Shinichi Sekizawa's screenplay clearly established that his "Gojira" was the same one from seven years previously, in 1955, and would remain the same throughout the remaining Showa Era entries.



















The story opens with "Mr. Tako", the head of "Pacific Pharmaceuticals", frustrated with the low ratings of his company's television program and wanting to get some type of gimmick to increase them. "Tako" and his two employees, "Osamu Sakurai" and "Kinsaburo Furue", meet with a doctor. Who has found some Red Berries on a overlooked island in the Bougainville island chain called, "Faro". The doctor claims the berries have unbelievable health benefits and "Tako" sees both higher ratings and profits.



















The doctor claims the berries are guarded by a Daikaiju"God" and what a gimmick having his own Daikaiju would be in "Mr. Tako's" mind. "Tako" sends "Sakurai" and "Furue" to "Faro Island" to bring back the Red Berries and the Daikaiju for his new publicity campaign. The "Faro Island God" will turn out to be "Kingu Kongu", the Japanese version of the American "King Kong".


















Meanwhile, while the two employees are on the way to "Faro Island". The American nuclear submarine, "Seahawk", gets caught in the lower portion of an iceberg.
















A rescue message is out and a dye marker sent to the surface, but the ice now starts to break off from the upper portion of the iceberg. It is "Gojira", having been trapped in what became the iceberg since 1955. When it broke away from the ice he was buried in at the end of the previous motion picture.





















































"Gojira" is spotted by a rescue helicopter, in horror, the two-man-crew, watches as he uses his nuclear breath to destroy the "Seahawk's" and its crew.











 










"Gojira" is next seen destroying a military base, as the military and government make their plans to stop him. End of Back Story.

Eventually, both "Gojira" and "Kingu Kongu" will be brought together in battle the climax. The audience will have a deliberate Toho version of "King Kong" holding "Ann Darrow" on top of the Empire State building.









































KING KONG VS GODZILLA
 released June 26, 1963




The above poster for the English language version, once again, proves "Godzilla" was green! Even though in "Godzilla's" first color appearance, he was grey!




















Producer John Beck thought he was getting a typical giant monster movie and had no idea of the change in the screenplay. He understood, from Tomoyuki Tanaka, that Toho Studio would shoot the George Worthing Yates screenplay and make a typical 1950's style giant monster on the loose story. 


The English language version opens with the American International Reporter addressing the audience of a television broadcast. He is mentioning the "Faro Island" berries and has a jar of them on a table in front of him. 
















To communicate with other reporters around the World, the American reporter uses a communications satellite. Which is actually stock footage of the mother ship from Toho's, 1957, "Earth Defense Force" aka: 1959's, "The Mysterians". Whenever, the audience sees the satellite, they can still see the flying saucers coming and going in the footage.















The reporter now looks at a television screen with an image supposedly coming through the communications satellite that he identifies to his audience as the submarine "Seahawk". That is on a mission to investigate a strange light coming from an iceberg.

What follows is "Godzilla" breaking out of the iceberg and the "Seahawk" being destroyed! The footage of the helicopter crew is seen watching and one of the crewmen shouts out: 
GODZILLA!
Cut to the reporter who confirms that dinosaurs still exist today.

End of Back Story.


The problem with the English language version is simply, how did the man in the helicopter know the creature was "Godzilla"? This is never explained and unlike the Japanese original, "Kingu Kongu tai Gojira". There is no tie-in to a previous motion picture, or story line. As the English language version was made as a stand-alone feature film.

The ending of the original motion picture didn't have as much action as Beck wanted. So, he
added the footage of the village being destroyed in an Earthquake at the start of "Earth Defense Force" into the climactic battle between "Godzilla" and "King Kong".





MOSURA TAI GOJIRA released in Japan on April 29, 1964



Notice the English language title on the above poster is not "Mothra vs Godzilla", but "Godzilla Against Mothra". 

The actual English language title for the, September 17, 1964, American International Pictures release was, "Godzilla vs the Thing".  AIP thought nobody would know "Mothra" and the Howard Hawks, 1951 film, "The Thing from Another World", was making the rounds on the syndicated television program the "Million Dollar Movie". What AIP overlooked were the fans, like myself, who had seen Columbia Pictures, May 10, 1962, release of "Mothra". The critics even went after AIP for not researching the 1962 title.


What was also ridiculous, came from American International Picture's publicity departments ploy of using the word "Censored" to hide what "The Thing" looked like on the films posters. When the lobby cards, at the same theaters, showed "Mothra", giving away what "The Thing" was.






 


































The set up for the screenplay:

At the end of either the original Japanese, or English language version of "Kingu Kongu tai Gojira". Both Daikaiju fall into the Sea of Japan and the audience sees "King Kong" swimming away, but no sign of the "Gojira". Which has still led to many discussions of who won the battle.





























In either version of "Gojira tai Mosura", there is a storm reaching "Infant Island" and a giant egg falls into the Pacific Ocean. With the ocean currents, the egg makes it way to the Japanese coast line near the spot where "Kingu Kongu" and "Mosura" fell into the ocean. However, a very large area of water has been drained by a company planning to build seaside housing and at the end of the storm the giant egg has washed ashore.

















Among those interested in the egg are a reporter and a photographer sent by a Tokyo newspaper. The company building the housing project is, "Happy Enterprises", and its owner buys the egg from the local villagers that are claiming ownership. While people are observing the egg, further out, the drained sand starts to move up and down.

Next, some living creature that was buried in the sand starts to appear. Soon the people watching are terrified to see, "Gojira-The Thing-Godzilla", covered in sand. Apparently, he had been under the water regenerating from his wounds in his fight with both "King Kong" and the Japanese military.























End of Back Story, but the screenplay will lead to a battle between "Gojira" and both the adult and infant forms of "Mosura".


For the next eleven motion pictures, "Gojira-Godzilla", remained the same 1955 Daikaiju, but as already happened twice since that film. His features would change with almost each new appearance. Here are three such Showa examples:
















We now come to the first entry in the Hesei Era and one that wasn't planned to be what was released.

 Initially, Tomoyuki Tanaka, as Executive Producer, wanted to celebrate the "30th Anniversary of Gojira", with a remake of "Kingu Kongu tai Gojira", but the rights obtained from RKO Pictures for the use of the name and character of "King Kong" expired in 1983. So, a decision was made to reimagine the original "Gojira" and that would, of course, mean a new Back Story.


GOJIRA released in Japan December 15, 1984


Before I go any further, the film as originally released in Japan and Asia, was entitled "Gojira", as had been that 1954 original motion picture. However, as a result of the New World Pictures version, that I will discuss shortly, Toho had, "Toho International", make an English language dub of their 1984, "Gojira". When it was released as "The Return of Godzilla", title confusion set in. As there were now two English language motion pictures. 



The actual screenplay was written by Hideichi Nagahara, as Shuichi Nagahara, and Tomoyuki Tanaka.

However, the screenplay was based upon five articles written by six authors. Here is a list of the authors with the English language translations of the titles.

Akira Murao and Tomoyuki Tanaka wrote the story "The Resurrection of Godzilla".

Shinichi Sekizawa wrote "Godzilla Legend: The Asuka Fortress".

Hiroyasu Yamaura wrote "Super Godzilla: God's Angry Messenger". 

Ryuzo Nakanishi wrote "Tokyo S.O.S.: Godzilla's Suicide Strategy".

Reuben Bercovitch wrote "Godzilla vs Gargantua".


Until the release of the third Hesei Era motion picture, this screenplay made sense. I will get to that third film shortly.

My reader must understand that in this screenplay, the final events in 1954's "Gojira", NEVER TOOK PLACE. There was NO "Dr. Serizawa" and there was NO "Oxygen Destroyer".

The 1984 "Gojira's" Back Story, is a carefully crafted one, because of its purpose of disregarding the entire Showa Era. 


The story opens with the fishing vessel, "Yahata-Maru" getting caught in the strong currents off of "Daikoku Island". As the fishing vessel is pulled toward shore, a volcanic eruption takes place, and the crew, and the audience, see a Daikaiju released from apparent captivity.


The following day, reporter "Goro Maki", is sailing in the same area of the eruption, hears a radio report of the now missing "Yahata-Maru", and finds it. He goes on-board and discovers the crew are all dead and drained of blood by giant prehistoric lice. 






























One of the giant lice attacks "Maki", but out of one of the crews lockers comes "Hiroshi Okumura". Who kills the lice with a long knife.























The Coast Guard arrives and the injured "Okumura" is airlifted to a hospital in Tokyo. There he is shown photographs, by "Professor Makoto Hayashida", asking IF this is the Daikaiju he saw during the volcanic eruption?



"Professor Hayashida", now speaks of "Gojira" coming out of the Sea of Japan, 30 years ago, in 1954 and attacking Tokyo. He was a small boy and survived the attack, but his parents did not. At another point in the screenplay, the "Japanese Prime Minister" recalls his own experiences with "Gojira's" 1954 attack. Once it was completed, "Gojira" returned to the water and was never seen again until now. Other, characters, mention their own experience and how the military was useless against the Daikaiju. 

"Professor Hayashida" would describe "Gojira" to "Goro Maki", as a living, indestructible, nuclear weapon.




















It should be noted that the screenplay used the new theory that dinosaurs might be the ancestors of modern birds. This was five years before Michael Crichton wrote his novel "Jurassic Park". According to the screenplay, "Dr. Hayashida" had been working in this area of study. 
End of Back Story.

Later in the screenplay, "Gojira" will be seen reacting too and following a flock of birds. "Dr. Hayashida" will recreate the bird sounds to lure "Gojira" to the side of "Mt. Mihara" and the military will see off explosives that cause him to fall into the volcano. 

Another note, is that a sad, final goodbye-love song, heard at the end of the motion picture, as "Gojira" falls to his death. The song was made as a tribute to the Daikaiju 30 years of rule.



As I mentioned, New World Pictures acquired the rights to "Gojira". 


GODZILLA 1985 released August 23, 1985




I want to direct my reader to the orange-colored tag lines at the top of the above poster. This tag line clearly states that the idea of "Godzilla" having the nuclear breath of the Japanese originals did not exist in the United States. 
YOUR FAVORITE FIRE BREATHING MONSTER....LIKE YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HIM BEFORE!
New World Pictures wanted to make "Godzilla 1985" a DIRECT SEQUEL to 1956's, "Godzilla, King of the Monsters" and not do a straight dub as American International and Columbia Pictures had previously done with Toho films

Turing the 1984 feature into a sequel to the 1956 American re-edit. Implied the possible return of Raymond Burr as Reporter "Steve Martin"! However, there was a small problem the producers were concerned about with Burr's character. This was connected to the popular television comedy program, "Saturday Night Live". The show featured comedian Steve Martin and the producers were afraid this might cause name confusion with viewers unfamiliar with the 1956 feature. So, the answer, to them, was simple, Raymond Burr became "Steven Martin", 29 years after he reported on "Godzilla" destroying Tokyo















Above "Steve Martin" and below, "Steven Martin".

















The new screenplay was by Fred Dekker, Lisa Tomei and Straw Weisman.

The movie has extensive, "Dr. Pepper", product placement. Several television commercial spots with "Godzilla" and "Dr. Pepper" ran at the time. As of this writing, the following link will take my reader to those commercial's.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=godZilla+dr+pepper+spots&&view



















The movie starts out with the "Yahata-Maru" story line and the reappearance of "Godzilla" from the volcanic eruption, but then things change considerably.

Mainly, because the screenplay writers had to figure out a way to tie the New World Pictures re-edit into a sequel to 1956's "Godzilla, King of the Monsters".

To start, after "Godzilla" appears from the volcanic eruption, the film quick cuts to "Steven Martin" at a desk in his home feeling "Godzilla's" return.

At the Pentagon, "General Goodhue" and his aide, "Major McDonough", are watching, in a secured room, what is happening in Japan on a giant television screen. The two army officers are confused over what they're seeing and need somebody to explain what it all means? So, they send for the living expert, "Steven Martin", and between drinking "Dr. Pepper". The two have "Martin" explain to them "Godzilla's" 1956, Tokyo, Japan, attack.








On another big screen, in the secured room, outtakes from 1956's "Godzilla, King of the Monsters" are shown. As "Steven Martin" explains what happened 29 years ago. Thereby, completing the idea this is a sequel to it, BUT.....

There is the obvious problem of "Dr. Serizawa" and the "Oxygen Destroyer" that Toho didn't have to deal with. "Godzilla 1985's" solution as told by "Steven Martin":

"Emilko Yamane", her father "Dr. Koyhei Yamane" and "Martin" saw both "Hideto Ogata" and "Dr. Daisuke Serizawa" go under the water in their diving suits with "Serizawa" carrying the "Oxygen Destroyer" that he invented.

However, only "Ogata" returned to the surface and although, "Godzilla" broke the water once or twice. Neither the bodies of "Daisuke Serizawa", or "Godzilla" were ever found. So, it's obvious that "Godzilla" left the area and somehow made it into the undersea volcano that erupted near the " Yahata-Maru". End of the Back Story.






















 
My article, "RAYMOND BURR BEFORE PERRY MASON: Film-Noir's, "B" Westerns, a Certain Monster and the Queen of the Nile", will be found at:


For continuity:

The second Hesei "Gojira" entry was "Gojira tai Biorante (Godzilla vs Biollante)", released in Japan on December 16, 1989. The screenplay by Kazuki Omori, starts with the audience being told that cellular tissue from "Gojira", found in Tokyo after his battle with the "Super X" flying tank, was transported to the "Saradia Institute of Technology and Science" and genetically merged with plants, resulting in "Biorante". "Gojira" is awaken  from "Mount Mihara" with explosives set by agents of "Saraadia" competition, "Bio-Major". There was a battle between "Biorante" and in the end "Gojira" returns to the sea.




Now I switch to that Third Hesei Era motion picture that flipped the storyline for "Gojira", 1984, and has caused controversy since it first premiered.



GOJIRA TAI KINGU GIDORA (GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORAH) released in Japan on December 14, 1991



Kazuki Omori was both the screenplay writer and Director of the picture. What he created was a Double Back Story for "Gojira" involving Time Travel. 


Back Story #1

The year is 1992, and Science Fiction author, "Kenichiro Terasawa", is writing a Non-Fiction work, "The Birth of Godzilla"He has discovered clues to the possibility that a living dinosaur, later discovered to be a "Gojirazaurusu", on Lagos Island, located in the Marshall Island Group, helped a Japanese garrison survive an assault by American troops in February, 1944. "Terasawa" tracks down the commander of that garrison, "Yasuaki Shindo", now a wealthy business man, who confirms the story.





















The dinosaur was thought to have been killed as a result of the American attack. However, the "Gojirazaurusu" recovered from its wounds after the Japanese garrison left Lagos.

Now, writer "
Kenichiro Terasawa", theorizes that when the American's tested a hydrogen bomb on Lagos, in 1954, the dinosaur mutated into "Gojira". Then, still in 1954, "Gojira" attacked Tokyo, killing the parents of "Professor Hayashida" and others. End of Back Story #1.

This Hesei Era "Gojira's" height is 80 meters, or 262 feet. Which makes it 30 meters, or 98 feet taller than the Showa Era, 1954, "Gojira". The "Gojirazaurusu" had a height of 12 meters, or 39 feet.



 

 

 

 








Back Story #2


A Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) lands on Mount Fuji and the Japanese Army investigates. They discover "The Futurians", "Wilson", "Grenchiko" and "Emmy Kano". Along with their android, "M-11". The three humans tell government authorities that they're from the year 2004. Where "Gojira" has completely destroyed Japan.

















At this time, the "Futurians" state that their mission is first to meet three specific people. The first is author, "Kenichiro Terasawa", and they have an old copy, to them, of his published work on "Gojira".  The other two are psychic "Miki Saegusa" and "Professor Mazaki". These three are to accompany them into the past to stop "Gojira" from being created.

The group now returns to February, 1944, and Lagos Island in "The Furturians" time machine, the UFO. The Japanese garrison leaves the island, they locate the "Gojirazaurus", and "M-11", using a transport beam, moves the dinosaur to the Bering Strait. An area that separates Russia from the United States and is slightly south of the Arctic Circle.

When the time machine returns to present day Japan, "Gojira" doesn't exist, BUT, he has been replaced by a three-headed flying Daikaiju called "Kingu Gidora". That is destroying Toko and other Japanese cities. "Miki" realizes "Kingu Gidora" was created by the release of three "Dorats" on Lagos. The "Dorats" had to have been exposed to the same American hydrogen bomb in 1954 that originally created "Gojira".



















It's revealed that "Wilson" and "Grenchiko" wanted "Gojira's" birth prevented, because the Daikaiju became Japan's protector. However, by creating "Kingu Gidora", which they could control, the two can prevent Japan's dominance of the future World's economy by destroying present day Japan. 

A problem at this point in the screenplay, is that everyone, and not just the three passengers in the time machine, remembers the original "Gojira" that has disappeared.

Meanwhile, "Shindo", believes you can't stop "Gojira" from being created and orders his company's nuclear powered submarine to the Bering Strait. There it is destroyed by an even bigger and meaner "Gojira", but how was it created? 

"Terasawa" goes to the "Archives at Mu", don't ask, and finds a newspaper article from the 1970's, exact date not given. The article is about a Russian nuclear submarine that sank in the Bering Strait. He theorizes that the new "Gojira" was created when the "Gojiazaurusu" was exposed to leaking nuclear energy from the submarine's power plant. End of Back Story #2.

















Above, the new "Gojira" at a height of 100 meters, or 328 feet. Which is 66 feet taller than the first Hesei Era 'Gojira" he replaced in this feature.

Another problem with Back Story #2, is that Tokyo was still attacked by "Gojira" in 1954, and that attack is still apparently known by the Japanese. Even after the time machine returned to present day Japan and "Gojira" has disappeared from the country's history. Confused? 

For those interested in a possible explanation of the holes in the screenplay. Keith Aiken wrote an article entitled, "GODZILLA VS KING GHIDORAH: Time Travel and the Origins of Godzilla". It can be read on the website, "SCIFI JAPAN" at the following link:

https://www.scifijapan.com/articles/2007/08/16/godzilla-vs-king-ghidorah-time-travel-and-the-origins-of-godzilla/


Now I move to the final Hesei Era entry and more contradictions to both the Showa and previous Hesei Era films.

For continuity:

After, "Gojira tai Kingu Gidora", there were three other motion pictures, before the one I want to speak too. 

"Gojira tai Kingu Gidora"
 
was immediately followed by "Gojira tai Mosura (Godzilla vs Mothra)", released in Japan on December 12, 1992.  After battling "Gojira", "Mosura", carrying G-Cells on her body, flies toward the same black hole that spores from "Biorante" entered at the end of the second Hesei motion picture. 

Two features later, was, "Gojira tai Supesugojira (Godzilla vs Space Godzilla)", released in Japan on December 10, 1994. During this Franchise entry, "Gojira" battles "Supesugojira", created from "Biorante's" spores being mixed with G-Cells carried into the black hole by "Mosura". Also, this screenplay has "Gojira Jyunia (Godzilla Junior)", living on "Birth Island".


GOJIRA VS DESUTOROIA  (GODZILLA VS DESTROYAH) released in Japan on December 8, 1995.




The screenplay was written by Kazuki Omori, but he didn't Direct the motion picture. Toho had made the decision to KILL OFF 'GOJIRA"! 

IF
 my reader found Omori's previous screenplay problematic. This screenplay's Back Story was its equal!

Up until this final Hesei entry, the Second Back Story for "Gojira", from "Gojira tai Kingu Gidora", sufficed and there was no need for another. However, Kazuki Omori flipped things again with the return of both "Emiko Yamane" and 1954's, "Oxygen Destroyer".

Actress Momoko Kochi, the original "Emiko Yamane" in 1954, was 63 years old and still acting. 






















Above Momoko Kochi in 1954's, "Gojira", and below, in 1995's, "Gojira vs Desutoroia".




 


 



 



Kazuki Omori's screenplay referenced some of the events in the original, Showa Era, 1954, "Gojira", but removed one very major character. It also referenced a location from "Gojira tai Supesugojira", but seemed to ignore all the other Hesei Era films. 


The story begins in 1996, as "Miki Saegusa" returns to "Birth Island" to check on "Gojira" and ""Gojira Jyunia", but finds the island completely destroyed and both Daikaiju missing.


Next, "Gojira" appears in Hong Kong with his body covered by lava-like glowing rashes. 




















A twist, to the original 1954 "Gojira's" screenplay, begins with the "Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF)" hiring college student, "Kenkichi Yamane". He is the grandson of paleontologist, "Dr. Kyohei Yamane", and has a sister, television reporter, "Yukari Yamane". 

At the end of the first, "Gojira", I am certain that many viewers still believe that "Emiko Yamane" and Salvage Ship Captain, "Hideto Ogata", would be married. However, in "Emiko's" apartment in this entry, there are several pictures of "Dr. Daisuke Serizawa", but not one of "Ogata"From the screenplay, it becomes obvious that after "Serizawa" sacrificed himself destroying "Gojira" with his "Oxygen Destroyer", "Emiko" never married.

So who was "Kenkichi" and "Yukari Yamane's" father? The audience learns that "Dr. Yamane" adopted the "Odo Islander", 
"Shinkichi Yamada", who had come to live in his home, but who the brother and sister's mother was is not revealed.

What is happening then to "Gojira"? According to "Kenkichi Yamane", "Gojira's" heart, which functions as a nuclear reactor, is undergoing a nuclear meltdown. This was the result of exposure to a high dose of energy. That was released from uranium deposits, on "Birth Island" during a undersea volcanic eruption. 

One alternative "Kenkichi" is proposing to the JSDF, is to find someone who can make a new "Oxygen Destroyer". This would be a means of stopping "Gojira" from causing a atmospheric nuclear blast that could destroy the entire World. Otherwise, that must find a way to keep his temperature from rising to buy time. While they look for other options.

STOP!

 IF 
"Gojira" was destroyed with "Dr. Serizawa" using the "Oxygen Destroyer" back in 1954, as we learn from the screenplay? Where did this "Gojira" come from? 

I return to Kazuki Omori's own screenplay "Gojira tai Kingu Gidora" for problems with his new one. He eliminated the idea that the 1984 "Gojira" was the same one that destroyed Tokyo back in 1954. We could have gone with the assumption that "Dr. Serizawa" was killed, but somehow "Gojira" escaped. However, according to Omori, the 
"Gojirazaurusu" was moved in 1944 to the Bering Strait. Which ended the creation of the "Gojira" that attacked Tokyo using either the Showa Era, or Hesei Era Daikaiju. This occurred, because, as I previously mentioned, Kazuki Omori created a new "Gojira" during the 1970's. 

Could this be the return of 1955? Where "Gojira" actually came from is not really addressed by Omori.


Returning to this screenplay:

While the JSDF is considering options against "Gojira". At a local aquarium, the guard watches fish turn to bone in their tanks. This is the first incident in a series of strange events at a construction site in a drained area of Tokyo Bay. At the exact location that "Dr. Serizawa's" original "Oxygen Destroyer" was used to destroy "Gojira" in 1954 and permate the ocean bottom.

Now, having laid dormant in the underwater sand are "Precambrian" organisms. They have come to life and started to grow and will morph into crab-like creatures. Followed by their final merging into "Desutorioa", a living "Oxygen Destroyer".





















End of the Back Story and now I turn to the first original American motion picture.


GODZILLA released May 20, 1998






The picture came from the team of Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. Who had previously made two very good Science Fiction entries, 1994's "Stargate", and 1996's, "Independence Day", and expectations were high for this entry.

The motion picture is very controversial with fans evenly divided between liking and not liking the motion picture. It should be noted that this WAS NOT the originally authorized American version by Toho Studios.

American Producer, Henry G. Saperstein, who co-produced with Toho several movies including, 1965's, "Kaiju Daisenso (The Great Monster War)" aka: 1970's, "Invasion of the Astro-Monster", 1965's, "Furankenshutain tai Chitei Kaiju Baragon (Frankenstein vs. Underground Monster Baragon)" aka: 1966's, "Frankenstein Conquerors the World", and 1966's, "
Furankenshutain no Kaiju: Sanda tai Gaira", aka: 1970's, "War of the Gargantuas", had fought with Toho for ten years to make an American version of "Godzilla", but was turned down.

Saperstein still pressed on and met with Sony Films Producers, Cary Woods and Robert N. Fried. Both men were interested in an American "Godzilla" picture . The two producers went to Columbia Pictures, but were turned down. Next, they went to TriStar, but were turned down again. Then, Cary Woods' wife came up with the idea of pitching the film directly to Sony Pictures CEO Peter Gruber and they got the go-ahead. Gruber sent a Sony-TriStar representative to Toho Studio's to obtain the American rights to the character. This didn't happen until October 1992, or twenty years after Henry G. Saperstein first pitched the idea.

The production finally began in 1994 and Dutch Director Jan de Bont, 1988's "Die Hard" and 1994's "Speed", was assigned. His "Godzilla" would not have atomic breath, or be a living dinosaur. Instead, he would be a construct of "Atlanteans" to protect the World. "Godzilla" would battle a shape-shifting extraterrestrial monster called "The Gryphon". Stan Winston designed "Godzilla", seen below, but the entire project fell through and was shelved. 

Although, Daiei Studio, Toho's competitor, used the Atlantean construct idea for 1995's "Gamera: Guardian of the Universe". That was distributed by Toho.

 






















Three years later, Devlin and Emmerich wanted to resurrect the "Godzilla" project, because of their previous Science Fiction successes. The Executives at TriStar agreed to the film. What they got, wasn't the picture Toho had agreed upon with Sony-TriStar, Saperstein, Woods and Fried.


Roland Emmerich would Direct and the screenplay was by Dean Devlin and Emmerich. With other story ideas, without on-screen credit, by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. 


Over the opening credits a group of iguanas are seen in French Polynesia as a hydrogen bomb goes off. Immediately the scene switches to a Japanese fishing vessel in the South Pacific Ocean. It is attacked by some giant creature that is not seen on screen.

Note: 

There was an actual basis for the opening hydrogen bomb explosion. Between 1966 and 1996, France tested 193 nuclear weapons in French Polynesia on a small coral atoll called "Fangataufa", seen below. Their first thermo-nuclear bomb was detonated on August 24, 1968 in the air over the atoll.


























However, the footage used in 1998's, "Godzilla", was of the American, "Baker Test", seen below, on July 25, 1946. This was the first Atomic Bomb test on Bikini Atoll since "Trinity".


















Switch to the "Chernobyl Exclusion Zone" and "Dr. Niko 'Nick' Tatopoulos", aka: "The Worm Guy", collecting worms to check on the current levels of radiation. A helicopter arrives, men from the United States State Department exit, speak to "Nick", and he joins them. 

Switch again, to the lone survivor of the Japanese fishing vessel in the hospital, a Frenchman enters his room, and asks the other some questions. 

The survivor just keeps repeating:
GODZILLA!

What the screenplay never explains, is how the fisherman knew to call the monster "Godzilla". The entire Japanese fishing vessel sequence appears to be an updating of the "Daigo Fukuryu Maru" incident.

Returning to the name for the mutated iguana. Later on in the screenplay, and also never explained, is how could "Dr. Elsie Chapman", under her breath, be able to correct the name of "Godzilla" to "Gojira"?


"Nick" is sent to Panama and Jamaica to study the damage the mutated iguana is causing. In Panama, as he asks questions about what caused all the destruction? "Nick" realizes he's standing in a giant footprint, as a homage to the similar scene in 1954's "Gojira".

















"Godzilla" makes it to New York and the audience finally gets to see it. The purpose of "Nick" is that, as "The Worm Guy", he will deduce that "Godzilla", like a worm, has both sexes and means he/she will reproduce without sexual contact with another of its species. 
















End of Back Story.

In another lift, the screenplay turns "Madison Square Gardens" into the egg chamber from 1979's "Alien".













Above 1998's, "Godzilla", and below, 1979's, "Alien".















Speaking to Devlin and Emmerich's habit of lifting scenes from other movies. One could say that when "Nick" looks at "Godzilla" on the Brooklyn Bridge at the end. All that's missing is the line:

IT WAS BEAUTY THAT KILLED THE BEAST!











Above Matthew Broderick in 1998's "Godzilla" and below, Robert Armstrong in 1933's "King Kong".














The "Millennium Era" consisted of six motion pictures, but only the last two were related to each other.


GOJIRA NISEN: MIRENIAMU (GODZILLA 2000 MILLENIUM) released in Japan at the "Tokyo International Film Festival" on November 6, 1999




The film would come to the United States on August 18, 2000 as "Godzilla 2000", because of the pictures very low Box Office. TriStar didn't release any of the remaining five films and this feature became the last Toho production shown on United States motion picture screens for 18 years.



In this screenplay, "Gojira" is already a known "Force of Nature" to Japan and no Back Story is really given. At some unmentioned past date, the independent "Gojira Yochi Nettowaku (Godzilla Prediction Network" aka: "GPN", was established . The "GPN" was founded by "Yuji Shinoda" to monitor "Gojira's" activity.


















"Gojira" will fight an alien creature called "Oruga (Orga)".  "Oruga's" Back Story starts when a space craft carrying aliens known as the "Mirenian's (Millennian's)" crashes into the future Pacific Ocean off the future coast of Japan. Not being able to get sunlight, the aliens convert their bodies into biomass and go dormant for 60 million years. When, in the present, a submarine shines its front lights upon the space craft. The craft now comes alive and goes in search of genetic material to make its body stable and finds "Gojira".










End of Back Story.

A specific history for "Gojira" is shown in the second feature in a very novel way.


GOJIRA TAI MAGAGIRASU: JI SHOMETSU SAKUSEN ( GODZILLA X MEGAGUIRUS: THE G EXTERMINATION STRATEGY)" aka: "GODZILLA VS MEGAGUIRUS: THE G ANNIHILATION STRATEGY" released in Japan at the "Tokyo International Film Festival" on November 3, 2000





There is a prologue to the screenplay causing the makers of this entry to use the films "Gojira" to recreate some of the events of 1954, but with the exception that the "Oxygen Destroyer" was never used. However, in this new timeline, the capital of Japan had to be moved from Tokyo to Osaka, because of the destruction caused by "Gojira". 

In 1966, "Gojira" reappears and attacks the nuclear power plant at Tokai, in Ibaraki Prefecture. Japan looks for another source of energy and discovers "Plasma Energy" and orders all nuclear plants replaced. In 1996, "Gojra" reappears, being attracted to the new energy source and goes for the plant in Osaka. A team of the Japanese Defense Force (JDF) soldiers are deployed to stop "Gojira", but they're massacred except for one soldier. That survivor, "Major Kiriko Tsujimori", talks the JDF command into letting him form an elite group of soldiers that become known as "G-Graspers". Their only purpose is to defeat "Gojira". In 2001, plasma energy is banned in Japan, at which time, the G-Grapsers also developed the ultimate anti-Gojira weapon, or so they think. A device that can create a miniature Black Hole, they call "Dimension Tide".






For those of my readers, who have never seen "Sora no Daikaiju Radon (Giant Sky Monster, Radon)", released in Japan, on December 26, 1956, and only know the re-edited with additional American film footage, "Rodan",  a name made by transposing the "a" and the "o", released in the United States, on August 6, 1957. This is a little background for "Magagirasu". 

In the original 1956, Toho production, biology "Professor Kyuichiro Kashiwagi", examines the dead insects that killed coal miners in the village of Kitamatsu, on the island of Kyushu. 










"Professor Kashiwagi" identifies the insect as a species of "Meganyura", a dragon-fly larva from the "Late Carboniferous Period", approximately 300 million years ago. In the original Japanese film, the Professor goes into detail about them and explains what they might evolve into. This is shorten  in 1957's, "Rodan", but in the original 1956 film. The Professor's speech forms a Back Story for the events of this motion picture.

In it, "Dimension Tide" opens a wormhole and a prehistoric dragon fly comes through it. The dragon fly deposits a single egg and returns through the wormhole. That egg becomes multiple "Meganyura" and will become "Magagirasu". End of Back Story.




















Now the Toho Studio completely turned the established "Gojira" Franchise characters upside down. The next Millennium Era entry works best within Japan and Asian countries than Western.


GOJIRA, MOSURA, KINGU GIDORA: DAIKAIJU SOKOGEKI (GODZILLA, MOTHRA AND KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK) aka: "GMK" released in Japan on December 15, 2001





Director Shusuke Kaneko went through several ideas, which in actuality had been done before, until he came upon the "Guardian Monsters" concept. Initially the "Guardian's" were to have been "Angirasu (Anguirus)", "Baran (Varan)", and "Baragon", defending Japan against "Gojira".

Then the decision was made to drop "Angirasu" and "Baran" and replace them with "Mosura" and "Kingu Gidora". The new "Guardian Monsters" was now, "Mosura", "Kingu Gidora" and "Baragon". Next, another decision was made to change the look of each of the three Daikaiju in order to make "Gojira" larger, more menacing, and a bigger challenge for the "Guardian Monsters" to defeat. 

"Mosura's" size was reduced and her appearance was changed to look more like a butterfly.





















The "Shobijin of Infant Island" were eliminated, but the film has a few second homage to them. As they are turned into twin girls, portrayed by Aki and Ai Maeda, in the Yokohama sequence, when "Mosura" flying over the city. Which, indirectly, is as close as my reader, to date, can get to a cross over "Gojira" and "Gamera" entry
















Oh, that indirect "Gamera" connection? Ai Maeda, above right,  portrayed "Ayana Hirasaka", the girl that bonds with "Irisu", in "Gamera Suri: Irisu Kakusei (Gamera 3: Awakening of Iris)".


"Kingu Gidora", 
now, became a hero and his size was a lot smaller than even in the Showa Era and he appears more of a juvenile.




















"Baragon" had his heat ray removed, his roar changed, and his horn is no longer bioluminescent. 























Now came "Gojira" and he looked like no other "Gojira" before him. This was a pure evil "Gojira", and while still a mutation of the atom bomb There was now a mystical aspect to his character that replaced the radiation of all the previous Japanese versions. 

That mystical aspect is what played well in Japan and Asia, but was lost on most Westerners. "Gojira" was now a depositary of the souls of all the dead Japanese fighting men of World War 2 and those who were left to be die at the hands of their own "Japanese Imperial Army". "Gojira" is seeking revenge for their deaths.






















































During a meeting of the JDF, "Admiral Taizo Tachibana", is told about a missing American submarine off of Guam. A search and rescue team locates the destroyed submarine and are able to take footage of a giant creature's fins in the distance. Next, the first of a series of mild Earthquakes take place. Later, the Admiral's daughter, "Yuri", who shoots docudramas, is shooting footage on Mount Myoko and experiences another mild Earthquake. A third quake occurs and buries a biker gang except for one member. Who tells authorities he saw "Gojira", but the quakes were caused by the movement of the first of the "Monster Guardians" protecting Japan, "Baragon".

"Yuri" will be given a book about the "Monster Guardians". Next, she interviews "Professor Hirotoshi Isayama" about the legend of the "Guardian Monsters". "Yuri" begins to piece together the appearance of "Mosura" at Lake Ikeda, and the discovery of "Kingu Gidora" at the bottom of a frozen lake. All three "Guardians" will come together to fight "Gojira". Who now appears and attacks the Bonin Islands aka: the Ogasawara Islands leaving no survivors! End of Back Story.



GOJIRA TAI MEKAGOJIRA (GODZILLA X MECHAGODZILLA) released in Japan on December 14, 2002




"Gojira" is mentioned as being a member of the same "Species" that attacked Tokyo 45 years earlier in 1954.This screenplay starts in 1999, when maser-cannon technician "Lieutenant Akane Yashiro" is unable to stop "Gojira's" attack and accidently knocks another vehicle down a cliff, killing its occupants. For her actions, "Akane" is demoted.









 






Fast forward four years, to 2003, as plans to make "Mekagojira" are put into effect. The screenplay now explains why the term "Species" was used for "Gojira". What the scientists, including "Tokumitsu Yuhara", will use to make "Mekagojira" is the skeleton of the original 1954 "Gojira". 

















Yes, the "Oxygen Destroyer" had been used, but No, in this screenplay, it does not dissolve bone. "Mekagojira's" outer shell is built around the skeleton and when activated, "Kiryu", as it is called, will be part cyborg. There is a pilot's cockpit inside that controls both "Kiryu's" movements and armament. 

"Tokumitsu" is a single father with a precocious daughter named "Sara",  that interacts with "Akane" throughout the story.

"Akane" has been completely reinstated and assigned to the elite unit that controls "Kiryu".







 










 









When  "Mekagojira" encounters "Gojira", the unexpected happens. "Gojira" lets out a roar and "Kiryu" suddenly stops, starts seeing memories of the 1954 "Gojira", lets it opponent leave, and starts to attack the city. Is this being caused by the skeleton it was built around? End of Back Story.

There will be a final battle between the two and the discovery that "Kiryu" has all the memories of the original "Gojira". 






















In a post credits scene in the Japanese version, "Akane" goes out to dinner with "Tokumitsu" and his daughter. She also salutes "Kiryu" for a job well done.

The next motion picture really doesn't have a new "Gojira" Back Story, because "Gojira tai Mekagojira" is it.




GOJIRA X  MOSURA X MEKAGOJRA TOKYO ESU O ESU (GODZILLA VS MOTHRA VS MECHAGODZILLA: TOKYO S.O.S.) released in Japan on December 13, 2003





The story is set in 2004, and "Kiryu" is now undergoing modifications to prevent the 1954 "Gojira's" skeleton's memories to interfere with it anymore. However, the JDF, including "JXJDF First Lieutenant Akane Yahiro" are relaxed, because "Gojira" has not been seen in a year. The characters of "Tokumitsu Yuhara" and his daughter, "Sara", are not in this story. In fact, "Akane", is more a cameo appearance to further tie in the other picture and give a pep-talk to "JXJDF Lieutenant Azusa Kisaragi".

Now, the "Shobijin" appear to warn the Japanese government that "Gojira" is returning and offer to have "Mosura" take "Kiryu's" place of protecting the Japanese homeland until the modifications are completed. However, the Japanese Prime Minister remembers "Mosura's" attack on Japan, in 1961, and refuses the offer.

Now, a character from the original motion picture, "Mosura", released in Japan on July 30 1961, reappears and is met in his home by the "Shobijin". This is "Dr. Shinichi Chujo", played by the original actor, Hiroshi Koizumi.



















Above Hiroshi Koizumi in 1961's, "Mosura", and below in, "Gojira x Mosura x Mekagojira Tokyo Esu O Esu".

















The "Shobijin" explain the current situation and ask "Dr. Chujo" for help. He has one of the sacred stone tablets of Infant Island in his possession, For an detailed explanation of the tablets. my reader needs to see the original 1961, Toho production, "Mosura". The American re-edit, "Mothra", released May 10, 1962, from Columbia Pictures, edits out a large sequence with the Infant Islanders and the translations of a series of the tablets.

Meanwhile, "Gojira" attacks, and the Prime Minister needs "Mosura's" help. End of Back Story.



















































In another post credits sequence, only in the original Japanese version, an undisclosed laboratory is shown with cannisters filled with DNA samples of different Kaiju. As a voice states that the audience is looking at a "bio-formation" experiment. That involves an "extinct subject" and is about to take place. Also, in the original Japanese version, the audience sees the stunned "Gojira" and "Kiryu" reach the ocean floor. "Gojira" opens its eyes and roars. Fade Out!


Whatever plans Toho Studio's had for a second sequel.That was based upon the post credit sequence of the above motion picture was apparently dropped. When the last Millennium Era feature appeared in Japanese theaters. Toho had made a "Showa Era Homage".


GOJIRA: FAINARU WOZU (GODZILLA: FINAL WARS) released in the United States, first, on November 29, 2004, and in Japan, second, on December 4, 2004





There is an outdated American expression about throwing everything, but the kitchen sink at something. Well, Toho Studios, for this motion threw everything, but that "Daidokoro no nagashi (the Kitchen Sink)" into this screenplay.

The screenplay was an updating of "Kaiju Soshingeki (Monster All-Out Attack)", released in Japan on August 1, 1968 and known in the United States as, "Destroy All Monsters", released May 23, 1969.


The story opens in an unspecified past year, but as it involves the original "Gotengo". This had be after the events of  Toho Studio's,"Kaiten Gunkan (Undersea Warship)", from December 22, 1963, or even the English language re-edit by American International Pictures, "Atragon", released March 11, 1965. Pick your year!


























The original "Gotengo", under "Captain Douglas Gordon", has a battle with "Gojira" in Antarctica and buries the Daikaiju in an undersea ice cavern. Years pass, and by the "21st Century", the Earth's environment has been affected by multiple disasters and new Daikaiju appear. An updated "Gotengo", under "Captain Douglas"fights an updated, "Manda", as the first clue that this film is going to have almost every Showa Era Daikaiju. Next, aliens appear and take control of the Daikaiju and "Gojira" is released. End of Back Story.



















The screenplay brings in the Japanese version of Marvel's "X-Men", with mutant soldiers. They are part of the "Earth Defense Force (EDF)".















Then there is the "Planet X" type space invaders, the "Xiliens", with their own Ray-bans and generation gap issues.

















Above the "Planet X" aliens, and below the older leader of the aliens and the younger leader with a "Matrix Complex".





































Besides "Gojira" and "Manda", there are cameo's, some from stock footage.

Appearing without old stock footage are:

"Mosura", "Radon", "Angirasu", "Zilla" (A Toho ripoff of the 1998 "Godzilla"), "Kingu Shisa".
"Kamakirasu", "Kumonga", "Ebira", "Gaigan", "Minira (Minya)", "Hedora", and "Monsuta Ekkusu" aka: Kaiza Gidora"

Appearing by stock footage are:

"Baran", "Gaira", "Gezora", "Chitanozaurusu (Titanosaurus)", "Megagirasu", "Nise Gojira (the "Gojira" desguise of "Mekagojira" in 1974), and "Gojira Jyunia".



It would be another ten years before "Gojira" reappeared and, again, the feature film came from the United States.



GODZILLA had its World premiere at the Los Angles "Dolby Theatre", in "Real 3-D", on May 8, 2014





 According to Annalee Newitz, in a July 25, 2013, Director Gareth Edwards, is quoted as stating:
Godzilla is a metaphor for Hiroshima in the original movie. We tried to keep that, and there are a lot of themes from the '54 movie that we've kept.
The motion picture, behind the opening credits, is set in 1954, as a group of scientists on a nuclear submarine, which could only be one, the "U.S.N. Naultius", thank you Jules Verne, are luring a prehistoric alpha predator code name "Godzilla" to Bikini Atoll to be destroyed by the "Castle-Bravo" atomic test.














Cut to 1999 and two scientists from a government research group known as "Monarch" . They are, Ishiro Serizawa" and "Vivienne Graham", investigating a colossal skeleton that was revealed in a collapsed uranium mine in the Philippine Islands. The skeletal remains appear to be of the same species as the 1954, "Godzilla". The two scientists also discover two giant spores, one intact, and the other open with a trail leading out to the sea.













A nuclear disaster occurs at a nuclear power plant on the coast of Japan and "Joe Brody" looses his wife, "Sandra", in it. The disaster appears to be the result of an earthquake and "Brody" believes it was caused by some animal. End of Back Story as presented in the original motion picture.














Two related and unanswered questions raised by the "Godzilla" skeleton, are how many "Godzilla's" may there still be alive and were did they originate from? Because the movie just starts out with a living 1954, "Godzilla". While not making it clear, if the 1954 "Godzilla" was actually killed by the Castle-Bravo Test and we're dealing with a new "Godzilla", 60 years later after Bikini.

Another question, not answered by the screenplay, is the symbiotic relationship between the "Godzilla's" and the "MUTO'S (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism)" mentioned by Gareth Edwards in some of his interviews. Also, mentioned on the back of the boxes for the first run of some of the toy figures from Bandai, but not in the screenplay itself.

Those toy package backs also mentioned a meteorite that collided with Earth 250 million years ago and created the "Godzilla" species and "Muto's", which are actually the "Shinomura". However, although Gareth Edwards mentioned this Back Story in interviews. It was not included in the 2014 screenplay.

Another problem to the motion pictures Back Story, comes from "Dr. Serizawa's" father's watch. The implication, by the time on the watch, is that he was killed in Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945.  However, some of the minor dialogue associates him with the 1954 "Godzilla" and the Tokyo attack.

According to Gareth Edwards these questions was supposed to be answered in a tie-in graphic novel, published, May 13, 2014, entitled, "Godzilla: Awakening". However, although a Back Story based around "Dr. Serizawa's" father and the founding of "Monarch", which was by President Harry S. Truman in 1946, is included. It didn't really satisfy the screenplay's holes in my opinion and other readers.

For a better explanation I suggest my reader go to the following link to a "Wikizilla's" article on the "Shinomura". 

https://wikizilla.org/wiki/Shinomura



On December 7, 2014, "The Hollywood Reporter" ran an announcement from Toho Studios about a proposed 2016 release:

This is very good timing after the success of the American vision this year: if not now, then when? The licensing contract we have with Legendary places no restrictions on us making domestic versions.



SHIN GOJIRA had its Japanese premiere in Shinjuku, Tokyo, on July 25, 2016. 





On, September 23, 2015, on the website, "Crunchy Roll", Mikikazu Komatsu wrote about the opening of a Toho website to promote "Shin Gojira". In his article he mentioned that the word "Shin" was chosen, because of its different meanings. Such as "New", "True" and "God".

Because of the look of puppets and suitmation. Toho went modern and Mansai Nomura portrayed "Gojira" through CGI motion capture. 







 

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Like 2001's, "Gojira, Mosura, Kingu Gidora: Daikaiju Sokogeki", "Shin Gojira" was aimed at  Japanese and Asian audiences rather than Western. 

While, 1954's, "Gojira", was the allegorical atomic bombs dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For, 2016's, "Shin Gojira", inspiration came from two related incidents that were immediately recognized by Japanese audiences. One, was partly used for the Back Story in 2014's, "Godzilla".


On, March 11, 2011, was the Level 7 Nuclear Accident at the "Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant", in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Which equated to the same level as the Chernobyl, Ukraine, accident of April 26, 1986.






Above the four damaged nuclear reactor buildings.

The other event was the cause of the "Fukushima Daiichi incident". This was the undersea, "Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami", with an epicenter located 43 miles east of the Oshika Peninsula, in the eastern portion of Honshu, Japan's largest island, at a recorded magnitude of 9.1.



While, reviewers in both Japan and the United States zeroed in on the politics of "Shin Gojira". William Tsutsui, author of the popular book, "Godzilla On My Mind" wrote in the "Arkansas-Democratic Gazette", October 7, 2016:
Shin Godzilla leaves no doubt that the greatest threat to Japan comes not from without but from within, from a geriatric, fossilized government bureaucracy unable to act decisively or to stand up resolutely to foreign pressure.

While, Japanese Prime Minister Sihnzo Abe, speaking of "Shin Gojira's" pro-nationalist themes, told Anna Fifield of "The Washington Post", September 23, 2016, that:

I think that [Godzilla’s] popularity is rooted in the unwavering support that the public has for the Self-Defense Forces.


This "Gojira" was completely out of the norms of the past and the established "Gojira" character including in 2001.

 The Coast Guard investigates an abandoned yacht in Tokyo Bay. Suddenly, the Coast Guard Boat is destroyed by something and the "Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line", at an undersea juncture, is ruptured flooding the tunnel. Reviewing viral video footage, it is theorized, by "Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Rando Yaguchi", that some form of living creature caused both incidents. His theory proves true, when a tail is seen above water, and then the creature comes ashore.




















While, the creature starts destroying everything in its path. The Japanese government, following strict protocol based upon seniority and your position in the government, debate the situation. As the creature continues its destructive path the government just talks.












The creature now morphs into a bipedal red-skinned form, starts to overheat, and returns to Tokyo Bay.













The Japanese government is still debating what to do. End of Back Story.

Over the course of the film, "Shin Gojira" will morph into different forms.













































At the end when "Shin Gojira" has been frozen solid and it's discovered that his radioactive fall-out has a very short life span. The Japanese government realizes Tokyo can be rebuilt, but one thing remains a mystery for my reader to solve. What about the human figures on "Shin Gojira's" back? Is this the start of another, pun intended, "Back Story"?



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