It’s very rare these days to have a horror host present a Japanese giant monster movie. How ironic considering that many of us were introduced to the these films via weekend Creature Features and late night hosts. For the past ten years, however, the opportunity to see these films on commercial television has become few and far between. TOHO (the Japanese studio that owns Godzilla) has made the films less accessible – their legal team hungry and eager to feed. To me this is a terrible error on the studio’s part. By making them harder to acquire, they are blocking many potential new fans from the genre.
Needless to say, I was happily surprised when Chicago’s Svengoolie obtained the rights to air the 1961 TOHO classic, MOTHRA. Not only had he managed to procure a movie featuring one of TOHO’s greatest monsters, but also one of the rarer titles in their vast library. At the time Svengoolie first aired MOTHRA , it had not seen official DVD release while long since “out of print” in it’s VHS form (and this was even before the medium became obsolete).
Boasting a larger scale Mothra costume than subsequent entries (40 feet long), this movie contains one of the most detailed miniature sets ever used by the studio. Many folks assume that all Japanese monsters contained men in suits. Tonight’s Svengoolie, however, features the only Mothra that actually had a man inside (or, in this case, several men). For great details on Mothra and her many designs over the years, check out issue #82 of G-FAN Magazine.
Although MOTHRA is now available on DVD, I urge any Chicago fan to tune in tonight and watch. There’s lots of great Svengoolie touches which include this hilarious parody of the Three Dog Night hit, “Mama told me not to come’…..
During it’s first airing, Svengoolie even showed a picture of my kids meeting Harou Nakajima (man who played in the Godzilla suit from 1954-1972) at the 2007 G-Fest. Since my boys are big kaiju fans, it was an amazing thrill for them to share television time with Mothra herself.
Although we’ve watched it together before, we plan on doing it again tonight. Hopefully I’ll be joined by my fellow Chicago fans as well. Anyone outside the viewing area that wants a copy can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I do NOT charge for copies or even the blank disc – just ask that you either handle the shipping or trade for something else.