Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 25, 2009 2:44:33 GMT -5
(yes, I've abandoned the idea of IHOP - This is now a blog without a theme)
Do you remember your first kiss? I mean a real kiss (not the grandma etc kind)
Mine? I don’t remember how old I was. Older than 1st grade (because I had a GF then, but we never kissed, just hung out) – but it was a time when life was new and wonderful.
My family was on vacation, visiting great grandma. Her next-door neighbor was divorced, but this was his week to have the kids, 3 girls. So we hung out, rode bikes, dinked around and one day one of the daughters I was dinking around with asked if I wanted to make out. I didn’t quite know the regulations and rules behind ‘making out’ –“what is… kiss?” - but I figured since she asked; she must have known the score so I said something along the lines of, “Damn skippy, sign me up!” or, “Gosh all fish hooks, why not!” or, “I don’t fink on soul brothers!”
She took me to this hilly place where we used to ride our bikes. Told me to lie down, and when she planted her lips on mine it was as if I were struck by kaleidoscope lightning! My brain went all fluffy and the sound of static buzzed through my ears. It was like the groovy to end all groovy's.
Whooo boy what a wonderful deal, the most wonderful deal of my life at that time… until her dad showed up. I gazed up and there he was, standing at the top of the hill, looking really pissed (and he wore a goatee, so he looked like a really pissed off devil)
His reaction probably screwed me up, how could something so amazing cause such consternation? It must be bad, what we did - but it felt so good? I never hung out with her again and he’d give me a scowl when he’d see me (Yeesh, all over a sweet, wonderful kiss)
Post by Mighty Jack on Sept 28, 2009 13:52:40 GMT -5
My crooked brain so desires the order of a theme, so the topic of the right now will be my youth and the swinging 60s (with a dash of the early 70s thrown in here and there). Here’s the first entry in this series…
The consequences of chewing your scenery too quickly?
Chapter 1: He’s dead, Jim!
I remember working a Star Trek convention in Eugene Oregon where they put together this video consisting of Dr. McCoy’s greatest hits, - clips of one variation on “he’s dead” and other Boneisms. The video brought the house down; we roared with laughter and shared an unspoken kinship. We laughed because we ‘got it’ and carried fond remembrances of each, “I’m a doctor Jim, not a…”
I’m not sure when I first saw that show “Star Track” – I know it was one of mom’s things. Many of my early TV memories was of my siblings and I hunkering down with mom to watch Dark Shadows or reruns of the Outer Limits. I had no idea what a Star Track was, and was just as clueless when I was corrected and told it was a “Trek”. What the heck is a trek? I didn’t know but it sounded futuristic to my young ears.
Mom liked Captain Kirk (he was très sexy! Mom also thought Tom Jones was a hottie and I might talk about Tom in a future blog) and I liked his clever nature - how he could outsmart a computer and worm his way out of any situation through guile. But the one crew member us kids dug the most was that pointy-eared fellow. He was so cool, so logical, so calm. I think I respected intelligence from the start and he had boatloads of brain. Plus he was strong and did all those neat things with his hands (flash Vulcan signs, mind melds, nerve pinches). Bones was always grumpy and picked on Spock so it took awhile to appreciate him. Now that I’ve grown into a grumpy old man too, he has become my hero.
And that was the key, those characters.
I was never that much into sci-fi or fantasy, but Star Trek was incredible and even at a young age what grabbed me most were the characters. This was a charismatic, likeable crew. I even enjoyed lesser figures like Rand or Riley (and he was seen in what, 2 shows). I also developed a fondness for Sulu. I liked his voice and I used to go around saying one of his lines -“How can someone be so beautiful, and yet, so deadly” (or something like that)- to my brother and sisters delight.
Scotty I liked a lot, but why the hell did he always have so many problems fixing the damned ship. I wouldn’t have bitten my nails down to the quick if Scotty were a better engineer. “I Can’nae dooo it Cap’n”, he’d cry and Kirk would yell at him and I’d get into it, “You tell him Kirk… come on Scotty, fix that bitch!” (I don’t think I actually said ‘bitch’, as that was probably a word I’d yet to discover, but the sentiment was the same)
The women were troublesome at the start. I wished Kirk would stop smoochin’ green skinned girls and just get to punching lizard people! As I grew into teenhood I suddenly took a liking to the gals. Rand, with her puffy hair, Spock’s fiancé… and there are more than a few MST3K connections – the bad girl in “High School Big Shot” had a bit part in a Trek ep and their was uber cutie Andrea Dromm (pictured bellow) who was only in for one episode, standing behind Kirk. When I was researching a riff from San Francisco International, I discovered it was Dromm who played the stewardess in the commercial Mike referenced in a riff. (You can read the “Riffs Explained” on my page for more details if you’re curious).
Though it might look cheesy to today’s audiences, I like the bright colors and popping lights. When they restored and updated some of the FX for DVD, I thought they did a marvelous job of making it slicker, without not losing that 60s vibe. And it was important to me - that they not lose that ‘vibe’ as it’s so much a part of the era and my memories.
Later on they made a movie. It wasn’t the best movie but I’ll never forget the line that snaked around the theater and the little charge I got when the film began. They were back; these wonderful characters I grew up with are back. When each popped up for the first time I got a big grin on my face (especially McCoy’s hilarious scene). That alone made the movie a joy.
Of course spins offs were to be had, though they never much appealed to me. They actors and stories didn’t have the same charisma or charm. As stated earlier, I was not a sci-fi buff. So while people might be correct in saying that the later shows were better science fiction and made more sense - none of them starred Shatner, Nimoy, Kelly, Doohan, Take, Nichols or Koeig. And for me, that made a universe of difference
When ever I happen to catch an episode and hear those opening notes and Kirk’s familiar voice declaring, “Space, the final frontier…” –one of the classic openings in TV history btw- there’s a part of me that is taken back and I can remember that wide eyed boy sitting cross legged on the floor, waiting in anticipation for the thrills and interplay that would entertain me for the next hour.
…and maybe even get a laugh when Bones would grouse, “I’m a Doctor, not a bricklayer!"
Because I'm waiting for Netflix to mail me my next Buster Keaton film and can't continue with that thread... here's another blog to bide my time.
Chapter 2: Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun in your hand?
I don’t know what has happened to G.I. Joe. You kids today with your shrimpy cheap plastic action figures and your noisy movie with ninja’s and gals in tight leather. They don’t look a thing like Joe! My G.I. Joes were big and they wore fatigues. Later on they were given fuzzy hair and beards and took on the appearance of those gay gentlemen on Jo[img src="[/img]"]nny Quest.
G.I. Joe was created in 1963 and distributed by Hasbro. It was basically a way for boys to play with their own version of the Barbie doll without the fear of being teased (to distinguish the difference: Barbie was considered a doll, Joe was an action figure). A Soldier, Sailor, Marine, and Pilot staffed the G.I. Joe corps… and there was a never-ending supply of new product to be had. Not a birthday or a Christmas went by without something Joe waiting to be unwrapped. One could have a jeep, a space capsule, deep-sea diver with a spear gun, shark and rubber raft. A footlocker; a command center, helicopter, various changes of clothing, hats, helmets weapons… we even had a G.I. Nurse. Her sales were near non-existent, and today she is one of the most sought after G.I. Joe collectibles.
G.I. Nurse looks pretty wiped out doesn't she? Collectors often point out that she wasn't the prettiest gal, but hey, how many dolls carry around their own pack of blood? That earns points in my book. I don’t believe I ever had much interest in the Nurse because there were so many cooler accessories to be had. I just couldn’t waste my allowance on her. Besides, one of my sisters Barbies could be the nurse if Joe wound up in a M*A*S*H* unit. -today I kick myself for making this choice - a G.I. Nurse sells from $1,000 to $6,000 depending on her condition
As protests of the Vietnam War increased, sales decreased and at the end of 60s he was given a discharge (You know Joe, a quick shot of penicillin will clear that discharge right up). The 70s saw an attempt to resurrect Joe. They gave him kung fu grip and bionic eyes but nothing really caught fire… until the comic, cartoon and the mini ninja and whatnot – Oh what a sad, sad state my old Joe was in. ‘tis a pity - still...
I will always have a fondness for the original G.I. Joe’s. What fun it was to splash in the pool with Joe in scuba gear, or to run around the back yard with a helicopter in my outstretched hand. Once I remember using my father’s razor & balm to shave one of my Joes (I think I had 2 red haired, red bearded Joe’s and thought I should have some variety). It didn’t work out so well, I couldn’t get the entire thing off and he was left with scattered patches of beard on his scared face. He wound up looking less like a soldier and more like he should be hanging around a back alley tavern with Mickey Rourke in "Barfly".
"I need a drink"
Ah Joe, you were the best toy (right up their with those great, clear plastic robots you could take apart and rebuild, that dads Navy pal Burton brought us from Japan!)
Well, if I were to offer an alternate perspective on the Joes of the 80's, what made them so cool were that they took professions from various militaristic or law enforcment teams and honored them with toys to play with for children. Sure they were kind of cheap (I used to break the rubber band in the middle for fun), but they were fun. And the Cobra villians were just designed so cool, too!
The cartoon that came with it was kind of similar, but mostly silly. It was good enough for a 6 year old to obssess with, though. I even had a Sgt. Slaughter action figure! I bet I could have gotten some cash for him today, but I bit both of his thumbs off.
As for the new movie...I kinda liked it. It was different than my Joes or your Joes (closer to mine, I admit), but it was way more fun than Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (or his original, for that matter). I can see why there'd be some hate for it, but it played out like a live action Saturday morning cartoon, and I felt like a kid watching it. That's something a movie hasn't done in a while for me.
Author of MST3K, Rifftrax, and Beyond! Latest MST3K Review: Demon Squad Latest Rifftrax Review: Zombie Nightmare Latest Beyond Review: Cinematic Titanic's War of the Insects
I've never seen the flick, I used it (all in jest and fun) as an example of how different the new Joes are from what I grew up with. I do want to watch it and plan on viewing it with an open mind, with hopes that I have a good time.
Plus, I like those chicks in tight leather garb - they look much, much hotter than G.I. Nurse.
Well, you described it very accuratly. Very loud with ninjas and leather. It's gonna depend on what you want from it, really. I got pretty much what I paid for, action and CGI, and found it to be a kick.
Author of MST3K, Rifftrax, and Beyond! Latest MST3K Review: Demon Squad Latest Rifftrax Review: Zombie Nightmare Latest Beyond Review: Cinematic Titanic's War of the Insects
^I never can tell sometimes why one ridiculous action flick will work (Shoot ‘Em Up) and another doesn’t, but I usually go into most of these types with an attitude of ‘sit back and relax’ and give it a chance. And heck it can’t be any worse than Dragon Ball Z (he says hopefully)
Continuing my Blog-Frenzy...
Chapter 3: WOO-HOO, PACKERS WON THE SUPERBOWL WOOO!
I jumped on the sports train late. I knew of certain teams as dad used to watch them on TV, but I neither played nor paid attention to sports until I was 9 or 10 years old. Therefore the Lombardi era in Green Bay passed by without having much impact on me.
One day, and for reasons unknown, the football bug bit me. I don’t recall the first games I watched but I remember my first Superbowl. I was in Portland, January 17th, 1971. My Uncle Warren was hosting a party and his house was filled with relatives and friends. I sat on the floor next to my father’s chair as the Dallas Cowboys prepared to play the Baltimore Colts. Because my dad hated Dallas, I did too and when I made my prediction –Colts 16, Cowboys 13- he chuckled and said, “I hope your right”.
History records it as one of the worst Superbowls ever (there were 11 combined turnovers and penalties a plenty), but I loved it, I thought it was the neatest thing I ever saw. When Jim O’Brien kicked a 32-yard field goal with 5 seconds left to give the Colts the 16 to 13 win… my amazed relatives laughed and said they should have listened to me and called their bookies.
I didn’t have a favorite team. The closest NFL club was in Denver and many locals adopted them. I hated their ugly orange uniforms and since I was an artist, color and design was important to me. Therefore, becoming a Bronco backer was not going to happen.
When did I first bleed green and gold? We were visiting friends in Seattle - fathers, sons and daughters gathered in the back yard to play some football. When you’re a kid you often take on the name of a favorite player and would play under a favorite team. I remember the son of my father’s friend suggesting we could be the Green Bay Packers… and everyone laughed. The name intrigued me, I’d never heard of them but I liked the sound of it. Green Bay sounded cool and the uniqueness of “Packer” grabbed me. Everything else was so standard, Broncos, Bears, Cowboys –yawn- and the cities all familiar. “Green Bay” wasn’t familiar or standard – And what was a “Packer?” My abstract brain loved it.
The laughter disturbed me though, and I asked my dad, “Are the Packer’s any good?”
“They used to be” he answered.
I guess loyalty was a big deal, even at age 10. That people would embrace you when you were up, then discard you when you were down, bothered me greatly. Curiosity struck, I wanted to know more about these Green Bay Packers, who they were and their history.
Vince & Bart: These 2 were part of what made the 60s so very fab
There was no Internet back then and the NFL wasn’t the monster it is today (Hell, they didn’t even broadcast every playoff game on TV believe it or not) so I had to scour the library for every book I could find on the team and my father was a great source. He loved telling stories and welcomed my questions. My parents found a poster that was illustrated with pictures of greats from Packer history. I’d point out a player and my dad would regale me with tales of that player. I sat with wide-eyed awe and learned about Paul Hornung (soon my favorite player), Ray Nitschke and Max McGee.
In 1973 there played a made for TV movie about Vince Lombardi. It was titled “Legend in Granite” and it starred Ernest Borgnine. I loved every minute of it and wish it were on DVD
1971 saw the Packers draft a fullback named John Brockington. I remember Wheaties hosted a ‘predict the rookie of the year’ contest – My dad thought the Patriots QB Jim Plunkett was the favorite, but I selected Brock… and lo and behold he won the award!
Brockington was huge, a big bruising type back. He combined speed and brute strength (Like Jim Taylor of the 60s – Brock would rather run over a defender than around him). He was also the first back in NFL history to run for 1,000 yards in his first 3 seasons.
He and RB MacAuthur Lane gave Green Bay one of the supreme backfield duos in the NFL and the two lead the team to a playoff appearance (where they lost to the Deadskins). Sadly, Brockington isn’t a household name, nor will he ever be elected to the HOF. The Packers didn’t have a decent QB so John was the main provider for yards and points (with superb kicker Chester Marcol) and after those 3 brilliant years they simply wore him out. After Lane left in 1974, the stats got worse and John Brockington was let go in 1977.
After this there were years of toil and heartbreak. We had great players, some wonderful guys who SHOULD be in the national HOF but won’t be because they didn’t win championships and played in a tiny market. But I remember them and any old school Packer Backer can tell you about guys like cornerback Willie Buchanon , safety Ken Ellis or center Larry McCarren (as for other guys who deserve to be in the hall. How about Lavvie Dilweg (who played on the Packers 1929, 30 and 31 threepeat champions) or Sterling Sharpe, whose brilliant career was cut short due to injury after 7 seasons)
Eventually I finally got to experience the joy of watching the Green and Gold win a Superbowl, and what a special team it was. Loaded with guys who had toiled for years with other teams, but never won a championship – guys near the end of their careers such as Sean Jones, Keith Jackson and Don Beebe – folks like Andre Rison who got to shine in the sun for a moment or Desmond Howard who had his best year as a pro and was the games MVP. The Gravedigger was never better, Freeman was amazing, there was Chewy, Santana and LeRoy. And no one but us seemed to know that our RB Dorsey Levins was a treasure. Of course there were the anchors, the great Brett Favre on O and Reggie White on D.
I can’t begin to describe the euphoria I felt during the game, or the season for that matter. But after that win, football started to become less and less important. The goal was achieved and I wasn’t one who needed to watch my team with 6 rings – I was happy with this one, now I could move on.
Never the less - I have a lot of wonderful -as well as frustrating- memories of this team (Thanksgiving: Walter Stanley returning a punt for the winning td, as time expired vs the Lions. Monday Night: A back and forth victory over the defending champion Redskins. Bears week: Chester Marcol’s FG attempt is blocked… and it bounces into his face! He grabs the ball and runs it in for the touchdown!)
“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.”- John Lennon
In the introduction to his book The Unreleased Beatles, author Richie Unterberger wrote about his friends wondering if he was sick of listening to Beatles songs day after day after day. He responded to the contrary. It was with great pleasure and enthusiasm that he approached each day, knowing he was going to spend it listening and writing about what he’d heard.
I understand where he’s coming from. For example, since 9/9/09 there’s been nothing but Beatles in my player. Different albums, different mixes from stereo or mono, from the Capitol to the EMI releases- records, CDs, movies, tapes, live, studio… “Yesterday” done on LP with the strings, without strings and with that delightful bass line during the concert in Japan and on and on.
I never tire of it. The Beatles are the one thing, the only thing that has never grown old. The music is as fresh and stirring as it was when I first heard it. It’s the only music I can listen to daily and still get that clean rush of happiness. The Beatles = Contentment, their songs fill my ear as if they were newly born at that moment.
The hunger for music -and it’s not hyperbole when I used that word- began before I hit my early teens. I remember scouring my parents LPs trying to find something to satiate that hunger. Mom had a Partridge family album that had a few good songs; she also had Tom Jones greatest hits that I liked quite a bit (“What’s New Pussycat” was da bomb!) Still, nothing I found, not even Elvis, clicked completely. It's as if I had subconscious (pre-ordained) knowlege that something specific was out there that I had to find.
I’m not sure where I was, but I was given or found a stack of singles that had been stored in a family members attic. One of those discs was a Vee-Jay release of the Beatles. I’d heard of these guys, they were ‘supposed’ to be the greatest band ever. Never one to follow the crowd I naturally balked, “I’ll see for myself whether these guys are great”.
On side A was “Please, Please Me”, side B had “From Me To You”. I wish I could go back in time and witness again the first time I place that needle against that vinyl disc. I wonder what expression I wore when those initial notes filled the air. I remember vividly the euphoria, the spine tingling buzz I experience as Please, Please Me ran its course along the groove. Each sound brought a new pleasure – that catchy harmonica, the perfect vocal blend. There was nothing superfluous, every note, instrument and voice added to the whole.
I would soon discover that nothing could match the way they constructed a song. Others would offer a standard -often bland- set up and then lift you up with a catchy chorus. But the Beatles gave you a candy-coated confection from the first verse and then topped it with a chorus that was made your body move involuntarily. And then when I thought they’d exhausted all creativity, they slip deftly into a bridge that took the song into new and exciting territory.
While other pop rockers would spin around the same major or minor chords, and make nice sounds, the Beatles turned –what could be considered a musical trifle- into an art form. The maturity and thought put into their chord progressions was something only a few, like Buddy Holly, could achieve. (And at this stage of their careers, would reach a state of perfection, IMHO, with “She Loves You”)
When the song was finished I imagine I sat there agape. Flush with the realization that I had just now, at that moment, found what I was looking for. I believe on some intuitive level I knew this was a monumental, life changing moment in my life. I simply didn’t find the greatest music of all time. I discovered who I was.
Some people who have struggled to find their niche in life have told me that I was lucky to know exactly who I was and what I was supposed to do. I suppose they are right, though knowing and achieving are 2 different things. I never did become rich from my music, I’ve never received national fame, but at least I found purpose. I knew I had to get a guitar and write. And when I’d listen to John sing about his life and struggles, it was like I was given permission to have a voice – to express myself. “I could do this too”, I thought.
All of that sprung from this simple, dusty single stored in an attic.
I played that single non-stop. I remember sitting impatiently at School, wishing I were hearing that song. When the final bell rang I was off to the races. I’d sprint that mile home, rush upstairs to my room, put the record on the turntable and either lay back in bed, or sit there on the floor and rock. I’d hit the automatic repeat button and for a half hour, Please, Please Me would play over and over. Then I’d turn it over and repeat the process with From Me To You before finally closing with another run through the A side.
My parents got so sick of these same songs rumbling through their house hour after hour, that one day my mom and aunt return from shopping with a gift. It was the Beatles Red Album (a collection of their early hits – and much changed today on CD). My eyes popped with appreciation. I couldn’t understand it (at the time) why they gave me this surprise. It wasn’t my Birthday or Christmas, nor had I done anything special to earn this bounty. None of the other kids got something – this was special, this was unheard of but I was grateful (as were my poor parents who would finally get a break from hours of “Please, Please Me”).
The Red Album was like manna from Heaven. I was no longer restricted to 2 brilliant songs, but had at my quick disposal, 2 full albums worth of Beatles music! You could have peeled me off the ceiling.
And what treasures awaited me. Love Me Do was kind of bland and I felt a twinge of worry (what if they can’t match the songs on my singles?). This fear was quickly squashed with masterpieces such as She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand among the tracks on the first side of the LP. Some of the later songs took a while to love as much but that was strength of the Beatles; as their audience grew up and matured, so did the Beatles music. Here I was thrust into the evolution in one gulp (imagine my shock when I made a big leap into Abbey Road later in the year). But it was a great album and I played it constantly and grew to love nearly every track (Apart from Love Me Do, And I Love Her never lit much of a fire under me. Even to this day it’s merely a decent song)
I’m likely going to continue with another chapter to this subject at a later date. I’ve been passionate about many things in the world of entertainment but nothing matched the Beatles, nothing changed me like they did. If you were to play an entertainment based ‘word association game’ with people who know me, there is no question that the first thing that would spring from all of their lips after hearing the name “Shawn”, would be “Beatles”.
Post by Mighty Jack on Dec 23, 2009 4:25:07 GMT -5
I have nothing to say of any significance.
I'd like to have something significant to blog about but inspiration eludes me.
I often use blogs to get things off my chest. But I have no desire to write about stuff, even though as we speak I am writing about stuff.
I recently gave up God. There’s a long story about why I did this and what has happened. It might make for a compelling Blog... and yet, my brain is too tired to entertain the thought of trying to collect those thoughts and put them on paper (so to speak)
I'm searching my brain pan even as I type this, searching deep into the cobwebbed corners within, in a vain attempt to find something to say.
And yet I'm a brick wall.
A blank slate
A chicken with no bone!!
Oh what a pickle.
Ah well - on this week where we celebrate the birth of Craig, I’ll leave you with these meager musings. Sweet nothings for the sweet.
Post by Mighty Jack on Sept 20, 2014 3:07:15 GMT -5
I recently watched all 30 Godzilla flicks, posted my thoughts at another board... thought I might as well save 'em here too.
Gojira 1954 Directed by Ishiro Honda Screenplay: Ishirō Honda, Takeo Murata Tomoatometer: 94% - 7.8 IMDB Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Summary: One of the longest-running series in film history began with Ishiro Honda's grim, black-and-white allegory for the devastation wrought on Japan by the atomic bomb. As his visual metaphor, Honda uses a 400-foot-tall mutant dinosaur called Gojira, awakened from the depths of the sea as a rampaging nuclear nightmare, complete with glowing dorsal fins and fiery, radioactive breath. Crushing ships, villages, and buildings in his wake, Gojira marches toward Tokyo, bringing all of the country's worst nightmares back until an evil more terrible bomb -- capable of sucking all the oxygen from the sea -- returns the monster to its watery grave
My thoughts: It means Gorilla-whale, which sounds pretty big and powerful, but whoever translated it as Godzilla was a certified genius. Having the word “God” in the name of your monster pretty much insures that he’s going to be the biggest, strongest, most unstoppable force known to man.
Director Ishiro Honda is a name well known to devotees of Akira Kurosawa. If you’ve seen the master’s “Stray Dog”, that’s Honda filming the long walking scenes through the streets of Japan, and those are Honda’s feet standing in for Mifune's.
The cast includes Takashi Shimura, one of the greatest actors of all time and one of Kurosawa’s regulars. Bringing him on board is equitable to Marlon Brando being cast in Superman - it immediately gave the production credibility. (Shimura was also doing method acting before Brando made it famous).
Gojira isn't the goof-fest we would see in later releases – it is a somber anti-war film. The tragic cost in human life is shown on screen, people die, tears are shed and there's a palpable sense of grief. Fear of the bomb was intense in Japan and a constant source of discussion between Honda and his film-maker friends. The terrifying true story of a fishing boat caught in the fallout of the H-Bomb test is drawn upon in Honda’s Godzilla and Kurosawa’s “I Live in Fear”. So don't think of this as simply a silly monster movie.
I love the opening credits because of the unvarnished Godzilla roar (a glove run down a string instrument) reverberates more starkly than it ever will again. It’s an eerie sound. Then there that ultra cool Godzilla march, one of many memorable musical ques from Akira Ifukube. While the monster costume –especially the head- isn't the series best looking, and there are visible strings seen on the planes -- there are FX highlights, such as the scene where Godzilla melts the electrical towers (which cleverly were made with wax)
Godzilla: King of the Monsters The Americanized version of the Japanese classic was the way I knew the story for years. It cuts out references to the US bombing of Japan, and adds Raymond Burr as a foreign correspondent.
Burr is a good actor but trying to slip his sequences in with the original footage is an awkward task (and at the end, it’s like he’s stuck in another dimension). Plus the dubs are laughable. While there are still scenes of loss and devastation, it’s not as personally felt and the anti-war message is lost. America’s Godzilla is mostly a standard monster movie.
Godzilla Raids Again 1955 Director: Motoyoshi Oda Writers: Shigeaki Hidaka, Shigeru Kayama,Takeo Murata IMDB Rating: 6.0 out of 10 Summary: Following an emergency landing on a deserted island in the Pacific, young pilots, Tsukioka and Kobayashi, stumble into an epic clash between Godzilla and the monster, Anguirus.
This one built a bad rep over the years, based mostly on the American cut. I don’t know that many in the U.S. even saw the Japanese original until the DVD release.
Raids was quickly put into production after the success of Gojira and it’s a strangely subdued for a creature feature. This is a new Godzilla (apparently Godzillas just pop up all over the place. Ha ha) and the film introduces his first monster foe, Anguirus. The fight between the two is fast and frantic but all too brief. In lieu of monsters we get a lot of exposition and a romantic sub-plot – and illogical things… like, what was Kobayashi hoping to accomplish by flying around Godzilla, other than becoming dead?
Takashi Shimura makes a cameo as Dr. Yamane and there are other Kurosawa vets to be seen (2 of the 7 Samurai and 1 of the farmers. And 1 of the bandits from that film was inside the Godzilla suit)
This Godzilla is more mobile; he is snaggle toothed and in the ice scene, has an added strange bandsaw growl (the poor slob needs a lozenge).
There are several memorable moments in the movie (the eerie blackout scene) and the human/relationship side of the story is often affecting. But the big finish feels a bit overlong, is repetitive and isn't a real nail bitter. GRA is not a terrible movie, in fact I rather liked it. But it is a significantly lesser animal when compared to Gojira.
Hugo Grimaldi (director of the B movie, Human Duplicators) edited the US version (briefly titled Gigantus, the Fire Monster), and he slaughters the original and turns a quiet movie into one that is hilarious. I mean, It’s bad, real bad - but also funny as hell. Key Luke (Kung Fu) and George Takai can be heard voicing dubs.
King Kong vs. Godzilla 1962 Directed by Ishirô Honda Written by Shin'ichi Sekizawa. From an idea by Willis O'Brien ("King Kong vs. Frankenstein") and a script by George Worthing Yates & John Beck ("King Kong vs. Prometheus"). American version written by Bruce Howard and Paul Mason IMDB Rating: 5.9 out of 10 Summary: Mr. Tako and the pharmaceutical company he works for, captures King Kong and brings him to Japan. Where he is eventually released in order to battle a rampaging Godzilla who has broken free from his icy prison.
With this movie, special effects director Eiji Tsuburay injected comedy into the action and made the push to make the series more kid friendly... something director Honda didn't care for, feeling that monsters shouldn't be funny. But Toho liked the idea and thus, Godzilla would take a tonal shift in the Shôwa Series from here on out.
Once again we get two versions. In the U.S. they added sequences with TV newscasters who fill us in and what’s going on in the story. These scenes interrupt the momentum and pacing. Thus, the Japanese version has a smoother narrative… and it's funnier. You still get laughs in the U.S. cut (the island scenes in particular – ala the line about the guys corns being able to tell when a monster was nearby). But the Japanese original is a hoot and a half, due to the fact that we get more with Mr. Tako and the theme of rampant commercialism gone mad.
BTW Tako's scenes were cut back because the U.S. producers felt he was too over the top for American audiences (because yeah, stateside comedy giants like Jerry Lewis were subdued and sophisticated by comparison. Lol
The American release also messed with the score, inserting music from “Creature From the Black Lagoon”. And in one baffling scripting switcharoo, they change the sinking boat, to a plane crash. Which makes no sense because the picture in the newspaper report shows a ship, not an airplane.
Making like the old guy from “Up”, Kong gets a balloon ride.
Both monsters were seen for the first time in color and while the crappy Kong costume is really crappy. It is a riot (especially the close up costume, when he drinks the berries). It definitely added more laughs to the production. Godzilla received a makeover, one that would become his definitive look. It’s a little leaner and reptilian in the head, tougher, angrier in appearance.
The fight at the end is funny and fast paced. G-Zilla levels Judo kicks and Kong stuffs a tree down his opponent’s throat. Kong is on the ropes when his special electricity power kicks in and he bounces back and is declared the winner… but we all know that’s a lie. Godzy would have mopped the floor with the big ape. But at the time Godzilla was still seen as the bad guy, and the bad guy couldn't win.
I thought this flick was a kick. Especially the Japanese version: It was comedic, but not childish as would come later.
Of note: It was cool to see two Bond girl's from the later released "You Only Live Twice" in this movie.
Last Edit: Sept 20, 2014 17:10:48 GMT -5 by Mighty Jack
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