Godzilla is now more than six-and-a-half decades old! He redefined the concept of a movie monster and opened the doors for a whole new genre of entertainment and fandom. Prior to 1954, horror consisted of classic, iconic figures, such as Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein, and the Mummy. As terrifying as they were in their prime, they all had an aspect of them that was human -- and on the scale of being human.
1954. Enter a new source of nightmare material. A monster born of man's use of atomic weapons who towered over cities and spewed radioactive breath. A creature who killed by the hundreds, not individually. What wrath had man wrought?
Godzilla is the brainchild of Tomoyuki Tanaka. His goal was to portray and memorialize the terrors experienced by the Japanese people after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the original story, atomic bombs are tested over the Pacific, which awakens and irradiates a prehistoric monster. Godzilla's attacks represent the revenge and power of nature.
These bold statements are very difficult to appreciate in the West, as the orignal 1954 movie Gojira released by Toho studios in Japan is a very different version than the infamous edit starring Raymond Burr that Americans saw in 1956.
But there is further allegory. Notice that the Godzilla storyline also parallels relations between the United States and Japan. At first, Godzilla is a foe to the Japanese people, killing thousands and destroying cities. But, gradually, Godzilla becomes a friend and protector of Japan against many different enemies. Finally, in the 21st Century, the focus of Godzilla stories are more global in nature, without political boundaries or agendas.
Although initially a statement against the atrocities of nuclear war, Godzilla has gone from being a political statement, to a monster to be destroyed, to a protector of humanity, to a children's hero, and, finally, to being the defender of Earth. Godzilla has appeared in movies, TV shows, animated series, books, comic books, video games, and so much more. He has been the villain, the victim, and the hero; scary, comical, and heart-wrenching. But at all times he truly was, and remains, the "King of the Monsters."
Over the years Godzilla's appearance was gradually altered to fit the new roles he was given -- evil, friendly, childish, mighty, animalistic, and intelligent. And, as (real) buildings and cities grew larger, so did Godzilla's size. With the advent of CGI, the latest incantation is much more fluid, athletic, and intimidating.
Although the creature is called "Godzilla" in the West, his true name is actually a transliteration of the Japanese "Gojira," from the two words "gorira" ("gorilla") and "kujira" ("whale"). His look was inspired by three prehistoric dinosaurs: A Tyrannosaurus rex, for the overall body shape; a Stegosaurus, for his dorsal plates; and the Iguanodon, giving Godzilla longer arms than a T-rex (necessary for both story-telling fighting and for the early real-life need to have an actor in a heavy suit).
Both Curators Thomas and Desiree have been fans of the Godzilla franchise in all its versions since the 1970s. However, Desiree is truly more knowledgeable and loyal to the figure and its many forms, especially through the..."tough"...1980s and 1990s, where the character was constantly reinterpreted and revamped. Although, admittedly, even she rolls her eyes at the mention of the 1998 release of "Godzilla," or, as she likes to call it, the "Ferris Bueller Iguana-zilla!" Ugh.
Below are the Godzilla Collectibles acquired by us at Starlight Nights. Enjoy!
Godzilla (1954) Figure by Inoue Arts and Released by X-Plus,
Vintage 1977 Mattel Godzilla
19" Shogun Warriors, Toho Studios. Complete.
"Godzille: King of the Monsters" LP, featuring "Godzilla vs Amphibion" and Godzilla vs The Alien Invasion. Released by Wonderland Records, Prtoduced by Cinema Sound, and Featuring Artwork by Herb Trimpe.
Diamond Select Godzilla 1991 Gallery 65th Anniversary Diorama, Designed by Joe Allard and Sculpted by Jorge Santos Souza, 2019
Hanna-Barbera 1970s Animated Godzilla, from the American Saturday-morning series "The Godzilla Power Hour," now officially canonized by Toho Studios. Released through the Godzilla Museum and designed by Mondo Studios.
Vinyl Godzilla Figures
1960s Showa-Toho Studios Godzilla, distributed through Bandai, 2007. 6-inch.
1960s Showa-Toho Godzilla, Electronic, Trendmasters, 1994.
1956 Toho Godzilla Movie Poster Diorama, 65th Anniversary, distributed through NECA, 2021
Heisei-Toho Studios Godzilla, distributed through NECA, 2014.
distributed throug NECA, 2014.
6-inches tall and 13-inches long.
Jet Jaguar, distributed through Playmates Toys, 2021.
Godzilla Board Game. Complete with all parts and box. Mattel, 1978
Godzilla: Tokyo Clash Strategy Game. Funko, 2020
Classic Godzilla Books
Crestwood House Monster Series, Godzilla, by Ian Thorne. 1977. Very good condition. Rare.
Presents synopses of several monster films featuring such creatures as Godzilla, Hedorah, Mothra, and Ghidrah. Also briefly describes technical aspects of these films.
Famous Movie Monster Series, Meet Godzilla, by Robert Greenberger. 2005. Library binding. Very good condition.
This book introduces the reader to both the American and Japanese versions of Godzilla. From production to special effects, the movie and the international sensation it created are chronicled. The origin, rooted in atomic destruction, are also explored in great detail.
Complete Run of Marvel's Godzilla Comic Books, run of 24 from 1977-1979. Personally collected. Very good to pristine condition.
The artwork on the cover of issue #1 (right) is the same as on the Godzilla: King of the Monsters LP by Herb Trimpe.