This is just a smattering of the early “Godzilla” movies that thrilled me as a kid. They played on television in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s. Hot damn, was I happy when these came on. It was the next best thing to a holiday.
The first trailer that you see (and the photo below) is for the original “Godzilla” in 1954. That scene where he tears through the high-tension powerlines made a big impression on me as a little boy. I never forgot it. I should point out that I (like most of the world) saw the Americanized version of the movie, which was heavily re-edited and released in 1956. (That is indeed Raymond Burr that you see in the trailer.)
“Godzilla vs. Megalon” (1976) is another that I remember well — probably because I saw it as an older child.
Am I crazy, or does the “Son of Godzilla” trailer from 1969 mention “Frankenstein” for some reason? Something got lost in translation.
St. John. I’m not certain of the cover artist here; I believe it is Matt Baker.
I just need a Halloween horror playlist, though. I’ve already seen this year’s “Castle Rock” and (of course) the second season of “Mr. Mercedes.”
“Vampire” (1979) and “The Last Broadcast” (1998) both come highly recommended by some horror-fan friends that I truly trust. I also believe that I have never seen any of the classic Universal Studios monster movies in their entirety. I’ve watched bits and pieces of a couple of them on television when I was a young kid, including “Creature From the Black Lagoon” (1954) and “The Invisible Man” (1933). When I was a tot in the very late 70’s, the studio’s Gothic monsters were still very much a part of the zeitgeist … my older brother even had the Aurora model kits. I finally enjoyed F. W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” for the first time a couple of years ago, but of course the 1921 German film preceded the Universal movies, which re-imagined Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” entirely in 1931.
I’ll probably start first by trying to hunt down a copy of “The Wolf Man” (1941). That’s the one that other everyone always recommends.
This will probably be a pretty obscure Throwback Thursday post, but the segment below should be recognized by people who grew up in the New York metropolitan area in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It’s none other than the intro for WOR-TV Channel 9’s “Million Dollar Movie.” (That music you hear is a particularly brassy rendition of Max Steiner’s “Tara’s Theme” from 1939’s “Gone With the Wind.”)
If you were in the New York area at that time, it ought to bring back memories of the old days of broadcast television. (It’s actually surprising how much nostalgia people online report at seeing this 44-second clip. And it’s amazing what you can find on the Internet.) A few commenters note sardonically that the clip makes Manhattan look like a nighttime paradise — while The Big Apple in the 1970’s was not always an easy place to be. (The city if far cleaner and safer today.)
Some of the comments I read were befuddling. There is one blogger who wrote that he remembers this intro from as far back as the 1950’s. (Had they really used it for more than two decades?) And a populous minority of commenters remember being unsettled by the clip. (They describe it as ominous, and the music as creepy, which mystifies the rest of us who remember “Million Dollar Movie.”)
This intro had an indelible effect on me. While it recalls monster movies like “King Kong” (1939) and “Godzilla” (1954) for a lot of others, it will always remind me of my father watching war films and cowboy movies on his days off — along with the occasional Charles Bronson flick. “The Great Escape” (1963), “A Bridge Too Far” (1977) and “Shane” (1953) all spring to mind.
When I was in the first or second grade, I habitually enhanced my Dad’s enjoyment of the “Million Dollar Movie” by peppering him endlessly with questions about whatever was playing — even if I had only wandered into the room for a few minutes. “Why did they call it ‘a bridge too far?'” “Why did they fight World War II?” “The British and French were good guys in the war, right?” “Why did the cowboy drop his gun on purpose?” “Why did the guy fake his death?” (Bear in mind, folks, this was broadcast television — long before the days of Netflix and DVD’s.)
If any kid did that to me when I was watching my favorite movies, I’d go nuts — even if I had a pause button. My father was a saint.
“Song in the Thicket” by Manly Banister. Cover art by W. H. Silvey.
Yes, “Manly Banister” is indeed the author’s name. He appears to have had several, so it’s a good bet this was a nom de plume. (For comparison, his other names include “Gregg Powers” and, curiously, “Val Seanne.”)
Google him. He … actually published a hell of a lot between 1942 and 1980.