When Godzilla First Invaded My World
To think it all started with a pair of pine tar-soaked gloves and a really big bass guitar.
There is no sound like it, really. As soon as you hear it you know exactly what it is….it’s the unmistakable roar of Godzilla. My ears first received that magnificent howl in the late 70s when I was about 7 years old and it’s been permanently stored in my mind ever since.
I only recently found out that the film’s composer, Akira Ifukube, removed a string from his contrabass and rubbed it with gloves soaked in pine tar to come up with the sound. Akira Ifukube probably had no idea what an iconic sound he would be creating.
But let’s not kid ourselves. Part of the love given to Godzilla movies is due to its comical aspect. Seeing what was clearly a guy in a big green rubber suit stepping on matchbox cars was anything but frightening to a kid in first grade. It was so bad it was good. And how about the American voices dubbed over the Japanese actors? Priceless.
Then again, it was just as funny to me and my roommate Mike when we were living in a dorm at Southern Connecticut State University back in 1993. It was about 2 a.m. on a weeknight and we were skimming through the stations. Sure enough, there was a Godzilla movie. It finally came to one of those classic scenes where Godzilla (a.k.a a guy in a rubber suit) starts crushing toy tanks. Underneath the tanks was supposed to be grass. It was clearly some cheap piece of green rug that was something you’d see on a mini-golf course. We laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe. Tears were rolling down our faces.
As much of a fan as I've been over the years, my older brother Chad was more into the Godzilla movies than I was. We were just talking about Godzilla last weekend at my nephew Sean's first communion party. He confessed a dirty truth to me and our oldest brother Marty that he's managed to keep secret all these years.
Marty was on the Southington High School soccer team when this event took place sometime in the early 80s. It turned out he had a big playoff game coming up and our mother wanted Chad and myself to be there to show our support. The game was scheduled for Friday afternoon. My brother Chad knew that Channel 8 was having a Godzilla marathon all that week after school so he panicked and immediately grabbed the TV Guide to see which Godzilla was coming up on Friday. Sure enough, it was the only Godzilla movie he hadn't seen yet: Godzilla vs The Smog Monster. He somehow managed to get out of the soccer game and watched the movie at Tom Scricca's house down the street. Folks, that's dedication.
So here we are again my fellow Godzilla-holics. Get ready to experience another all-out cinematic attack by the living legend himself - Godzilla. The 2014 re-boot opens this weekend nationwide and is predicted to finish at the top of the box office. Yes, Godzilla will be where he belongs....looking down at the competition!
Before you head to the theater to experience Godzilla yourself here are some cool facts I’ve dug up on the internet over the last few days for you to check out:
- The Godzilla franchise is one of the biggest of all time as it celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. All told there were 28 Godzilla films produced in Japan between 1954 and 2004 with another four released here in the U.S. including the latest. He still looks great after all these years doesn't he? He must have a great plastic surgeon.
- The name Godzilla is a transliteration of “Gojira”, a combination of two Japanese words: “gorira,” meaning gorilla; and “kujira,” meaning whale. Thank God they went with Godzilla for a name and not Gorilla-Whale. Yeesh!!!
- Before Godzilla suffered mutations spawned from atomic bomb testing at the island of Rongerik, he was just a plain old dinosaur – a Godzillasaurus, to be exact – that somehow managed to withstand what had killed off his prehistoric brothers. In other words, Godzilla is BAD ASS.
- At their widest point, Godzilla’s canine teeth are 1.73 feet in depth. That's a lot of toothpaste.
- The approximate distance of Godzilla’s roar reverberates up to three miles. Somebody get this guy a breath mint.
- Godzilla’s feet are 60 feet in length and 58 feet in width. Do they sell sneakers that size at Footlocker?
- Godzilla’s height stands at 355 feet in the latest 2014 version. His original height in 1954 was 164 feet. It has to be something in the water.
- In the 1960s, there was a planned Godzilla vs Batman film after the success of 1962’s King Kong vs Godzilla but production never made it to the starting gate. Adam West was set to play Batman. I say try it again in 2014.....with an 85-year old Adam West still playing the role of Batman.
The Official Godzilla 2014 Trailer