On November 3rd, 1954, Japanese audiences were exposed to Gojira for the first time! 63 years have past and there are still Godzilla movies being made! Making this franchise the longest running and biggest one yet!
For those of you who don't know the filmmakers of this movie were inspired by a tragedy only a few months earlier!
The Lucky Dragon No. 5 was a Japanese tuna fishing boat with a crew of 23 men which was contaminated by nuclear fallout from the United States Castle Bravo thermonuclear weapon test at Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954. The crew suffered acute radiation syndrome for a number of weeks after the Bravo test in March. All recovered except for Aikichi Kuboyama, the boat's chief radioman, who died.
After the vessel came on board some contaminated tuna reached markets and the whole country went into panic. This inspired Toho producer Tomoyuki Tanaka to give a base to a monster movie that he always wanted to make. Tanaka would bring together the talent and heart that would be the base for Japanese sci-fi films for the next 41 years! Tanaka the talent of director Ishiro Honda, Master and Father of Japanese Special FX director Eiji Tsuburaya, and music director Akira Ifukube. Together they would bring this monster to life! They and a small cast and crew would do something that has never been imagined in Japanese film before!
Although the next few mentions were publically released in theaters everywhere in Japan in the following month of December. These Godzilla flicks where released at the Tokyo International Film Festival held in the month of November and audiences were exposed to these Godzilla films of the new millennium!
Godzilla 2000 - Nov 6, 1999
Godzilla against Megaguirus , Nov 3, 2000
Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack - Nov 3, 2001
Godzilla against Mechagodzilla - Nov 2, 2002
Godzilla Tokyo SOS - Nov 3, 2003
Even though its a huge month for Godzilla fans to celebrate. There is another kaiju worth mentioning this month
Gamera was released in theaters on November 27, 1965! Considered a Godzilla imitator, Gamera still went on to have several sequels and had a very successful reboot in the 90's that even outclassed the Toho Godzilla films released at that time! Also appearing on several MST3K episodes and received a cult following! There is even a talk of a reboot possibly in the works in the wake of the recent monster boom from Toho and Legendary films featuring giant monsters.
So this month is one to celebrate for Godzilla and Giant monster movie fans everywhere!
Come celebrate with me!
Interesting you're using the festival dates for some of the Millennium releases. In any case, yes I have a few I'd also like to add:
NOV. 9 - Riichiro Manabe’s Birthday -
The late composer of Godzilla vs. Hedorah and Godzilla vs. Megalon would have been 92.
NOV. 11 - Takayuki Hattori’s Birthday -
The composer of Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, Godzilla 2000 and the upcoming Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters turns 52.
NOV. 16 - Jun Kunimura’s Birthday -
The prolific actor who played Tanaka in the Kill Bill movies also played Maj. Komuro in Godzilla: Final Wars and cabinet staff member Masao Zaizen in Shin Godzilla. He also played Kubal in the Attack on Titan movies. He turns 62 years young.
NOV. 17 - Hiroshi Sekita’s Birthday -
The actor played many small, featured extra parts throughout Toho's Sci-fi/Fantasy films. But he's probably best known for playing Sanda in War of the Gargantuas. He also played Gorosaurus in both King Kong Escapes and Destroy All Monsters as well as Mechani-Kong and Anguirus in those same films, respectively. Arguably his biggest part was playing all of Godzilla's land scenes in Son of Godzilla since the suit was too large for Nakajima. He turns 85.
NOV. 17 - Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo Theatrical Anniversary -
Though it was released to the public at an earlier date for the Tokusatsu Museum, Shin Godzilla's Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi's short film makes its theatrical debut with Evangelion 3.0.
NOV. 21 - Yumi Shirakawa’s Birthday -
The actress who passed away in June of last year stared in Rodan, The Mysterians, Gorath and The H-Man. She would have been 81. (You can read more on her in my report from last year here.)
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