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.
As I explained last year, monster movies were simply a part of Thanksgiving if you lived in the Tri-State region around New York City between 1976 and 1985. This was due to WOR-9’s “Holiday Film Festival” broadcast, which actually also extended to the day following the holiday after the lineup’s first year. (People just called it the “Monster Movie Marathon.”)
As a kid, I was a hell of a lot more thrilled with the monster movies than anything being served for dinner. (Remember, video stores only began arriving the early 1980’s. Before that, you usually had to catch a movie on television if you wanted to see it at all. It’s why every house had a “TV Guide.”)
“King Kong vs. Godzilla” (1962) was one gem in the marathon. (Or, at least, it seemed like an amazing film to a gradeschool boy.) I was raised with the enduring myth that this Japanese film had two endings — an American version where King Kong prevailed, and a Japanese version where its native Godzilla was the victor.) My Dad told me that, and I remember being fascinated that a movie could have two different endings. I actually only learned just now, writing this blog entry, that it was a particularly widespread urban legend — stemming from an erroneous report in “Spacemen” magazine. The American version of the film had tons of alterations, but the outcome was essentially the same — King Kong won.
There were always a few more Godzilla movies on the day after Thanksgiving, too. “Son of Godzilla” (1967) was one of them; that was always hit with the kids. (I could swear at some point there was a cartoon adaptation in the early 80’s.) It was weird how 80’s kids apparently loved that ostensibly “cute” character; the adult in me today swears that “Son of Godzilla” looks like an upright, reptile-shaped poop. (Seriously, check out the second clip below.)
“Godzilla vs. Megalon” (1973) was another one I seem to remember being pretty thrilled with. I was even occasionally scared of the giant monsters in flicks like these. (Hey, I was a little kid.) Even as a first- or second-grader, though, I was smart enough to question why these movies were weirdly inconsistent. (Why was Godzilla a bad guy who destroyed Tokyo in one movie, but the “good monster” that the Japanese rooted for in another?)
I’m learning now that “Godzilla vs. Megalon” was the target of a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. I’m going to have to hunt that one down.