Monday, May 26, 2014
THE TRUTH BEHIND GODZILLA
THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF "GODZILLA" IN JAPAN IN THE 50S. HERE'S THE TRUTH:
My father (I called him Bio-Dad since my mother had four husbands), was an entertainment lawyer. In the 50s, one of his clients was TOHO Films in Japan. I vaguely remember hearing him talk about all his trips over there.
Then one Saturday, (it was his turn to have me on Saturdays) he took me to my uncle's office. He was a graphic designer. Both brothers held up a poster to me.
This is the original "Godzilla" poster that was designed by my uncle, who is the one who came up with the name, Godzilla. My father explained that when he was in Japan, his clients at TOHO showed him a monster movie all in Japanese and asked him if there was a way it could make money in the U.S. My father said, "Sure. You just hire an American actor, pay him next to nothing, and shoot scenes in English with him all in one day and then cut it into the movie." Well, the actor was Raymond Burr. I think he was paid under $10,000. I have a recollection somewhere in the back of my mind that the total cost was $18,000. I also think it was shot at the old ZIV-TV Studios on Melrose, which is now Raleigh. My father went to Hank Saperstein and Joe Levine to get the money. I don't know if Joe ever put up the money, but Hank Saperstein did. I know my father was paid his TOHO fee for the deal, but I'll never know if he had a cut of it. When he died, there were no relevant papers, even though he's the one responsible for it.