Godzilla 1954 | KAIJU PROFILE ~Redux~【wikizilla.org】


Greetings kaiju fans, Titano here. In commemoration of the King of
the Monsters’ 65th birthday, we’re presenting a revamped kaiju profile
on the original ゴジラ!! ギャオオーン Toho’s 1954 production “Godzilla” introduced to
the world what would become one of the most iconic and universally-recognizable
movie monsters of all time. Made by citizens of the only nation
to have experienced atomic warfare, the film presented a creature far mightier
than any ever shown on the screen, shrugging off modern weapons
as he laid waste to Tokyo. Subsequent versions of the character have
embodied a multitude of different themes, but the first Godzilla stands firmly as
a striking anti-war and anti-nuclear allegory. The Bomb was a heated issue in Japan even nine years
after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On March 1, 1954, the crew of a Japanese
fishing boat called the Lucky Dragon No. 5 was exposed to the fallout of the American
Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test, sparking international controversy. Shigeru Kayama’s initial story treatment
called the monster “Godzira” (ゴヂラ) (spelled with the uncommon kana “ヂ”) reflecting a tentative vision
for a gorilla-whale hybrid. This became “Gojira,” which more cleanly
combines the two animals’ names in Japanese, after Ishiro Honda and Takeo Murata
started writing the script. A prevalent rumor posits that “Gojira” was the nickname
of an imposing Toho employee at the time, but his identity has never been verified. The English name “Godzilla” was actually an invention
of Toho’s international sales department in 1955, not any American distributors. “Godzilla” happened because “In the Shadow of Glory,”
an Indonesian-Japanese co-production, didn’t. Supposed to be Toho’s biggest movie of 1954,
political tensions between the two countries led to the Indonesian government
denying the filmmakers’ visas. Producer Tomoyuki Tanaka had
to scramble for a new idea. Looking out the window of his plane
while flying back to Japan, he dreamed up a giant monster
awakened by hydrogen bomb testing. He knew he could count on the help of
special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, who had wanted to make a giant monster movie
ever since he first watched “King Kong.” Tsuburaya referred him to a treatment he had
submitted to Toho in 1951 about a mutant octopus, but it lacked much in the way of a human story. Tanaka wrote his own proposal, called
“The Giant Monster from 20,000 Miles Under the Sea”; an obvious reference to a 1953
American film with a similar premise. To refine it, he recruited Shigeru Kayama, an established horror novelist
with a penchant for monsters. Kayama produced a story about a marine creature with
massive ears mostly driven by the search for food. He discarded the title, but one moment,
the monster attacking a lighthouse, came straight out of “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.” Director Ishiro Honda, who wanted to emphasize
the anti-nuclear themes and the tragic Dr. Serizawa, worked with Takeo Murata to convert
Kayama’s story into a screenplay. Manga illustrator Wasuke Abe was put
in charge of designing the monster. His concept was nothing short of radical: a humanoid beast with a head
shaped like a mushroom cloud. Though these drawings would only be used as
loose reference for the modeling process, Abe was kept onboard to help prepare storyboards
for the film, aided by a team of fellow mangaka. Looking through a dinosaur book for kids
and a 1953 issue of “Life” magazine, art director Akira Watanabe and sculptor
Teizo Toshimitsu decided to combine characteristics of a Tyrannosaurus rex,
Iguanodon, and Stegosaurus. Toshimitsu modeled three clay concept
maquettes of Godzilla in total: the initial one featured scales like that of a fish, the second sported wart-like bumps, and the third sought to emulate crocodile
skin. Watanabe rejected the first two for lacking
the necessary power, approving the third. Whether intentional or coincidence, the texture also resembled the radiation burns
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors. Tsuburaya would have preferred to bring
Godzilla to life using stop-motion, but with the movie already scheduled for
the end of the year, he didn’t have the time. The solution: a man in a suit stomping through
the miniature sets that were among his specialties. Using the maquette as reference,
a team lead by Toshimitsu, Eizo Kaimai, and the Yagi brothers Kanju and Yasuei
started on the first suit for Godzilla. It turned out to be something of a disaster. Made primarily out of a white raw rubber which
had to be cut apart and kneaded like dough, it weighed over 100 kilograms (>220 lbs). Haruo Nakajima, a Toho contract player
with a reputation for dangerous stunts, struggled through a 10-meter test walk
inside the suit before he fell over, and veteran stuntman Katsumi Tezuka
gave up after a few steps. The modeling team tried again, taking
two weeks to produce a better costume. The interior of the second suit was
more actor-friendly, if only by degrees, and still extraordinarily heavy. The first suit would still see use however: its bottom half separated and used
for close-ups of Godzilla’s feet, and the upper half used for other
close-ups, according to Kaimai. At least one small puppet operated by hand
was additionally used for close-ups, providing audiences with their
first clear look at Godzilla. In the initial version of this scene,
the monster emerged with a cow in his jaws; a remnant of Kayama’s story. Test shots were taken, but in the end,
the effect was dropped. Toshimitsu sculpted an additional upper half suit
to depict the monster emerging from the sea. For Godzilla’s skeletal remains,
a 50 centimeter miniature was employed. Contradicting testimonies as to the O.G. suit’s color have been offered by different people
who either worked on or with it: gray, a dull brown, or even reddish black. “Colorized” merchandise, especially figures,
often present him as brown. To prepare for this unusual role, Nakajima
studied Tsuburaya’s 35mm print of “King Kong,” as well as the lions and bears at Ueno Zoo. Tezuka stepped through a weak point on the set
on the first day of filming and faceplanted, injuring his jaw. Depending on who you ask, Nakajima was inside the suit for most
or all of Godzilla’s scenes thereafter. He was filmed at 72 frames per second,
which made Godzilla appear more ponderous when the footage was played back at
the standard 24 frames per second. That approach called for an extremely bright lighting
setup, which only added to Nakajima’s suffering; he passed out on set several times and lost
20 pounds over the course of the production. As Ed Godziszewski noted in his landmark article
on the making of “Godzilla” for “Japanese Giants,” the unwieldiness of the suit ultimately
worked to the film’s advantage. When he first signed onto “Godzilla,” composer
Akira Ifukube thought that the monster, being a reptile, shouldn’t roar at all. Honda explained it as another
consequence of his mutation. Sound technicians tried modifying the cries
of lions, tigers, and night herons, but everything they produced was still too natural. It was Ifukube who hit upon the idea of using
a musical instrument: the contrabass. He unwound the E string and recorded his
assistant drawing his hands across it with gloves covered in pine tar. The results are now legendary. Toho has made two replicas of the original
Godzilla suit in the 21st century. The first, modelled by Shinichi Wakasa and his company
MONSTERS and consisting only of an upper body, was briefly seen through a flashback
in 2002’s “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.” The suit was donned by actor Tsutomu Kitagawa, who portrayed Godzilla in nearly all
of the films of the Millennium era. Having a smoother appearance
compared to the original, the suit was often mistaken for CGI by fans,
and even Gareth Edwards. The second, full-body replica debuted
at Godzilla Fest 2018 in Hibiya. Master kaiju modeler Yuji Sakai led
the team that worked on this suit, which has since appeared in a short film
made for the Eiji Tsuburaya Museum, as well as an advertisement for BOSS Coffee. Godzilla’s skeleton would also be recreated
for “GXMG,” again handled by MONSTERS. Conceptual sketches by Wakasa were prepared, followed by a small clay model
the team could work from. The skull was sculpted by Norihiro Honda and cast, with the rest of the bones carved
from polyethylene and weathered. The skeleton was laid across a large-scale set and filmed under blue lighting to better
sell the illusion of it submerged underwater. Following the mysterious sinking of the fishing
trawler Eiko-Maru and the rescue ship Bingo-Maru, journalists gathered at Odo Island just
offshore of the Japanese mainland, where survivors had washed ashore. Their accounts of the ocean boiling and exploding
caused an island elder to believe Godzilla, a legendary sea monster from
their folklore, was responsible. One night, as a powerful storm struck the island, several houses were crushed from
above by a tremendous force, with one witness reporting he saw a gigantic creature
stomp on his home, killing his mother and brother. The Japanese government dispatched a fact-finding
party led by paleontologist Kyohei Yamane to the island to investigate. They came upon a huge depression which
they realized was highly radioactive. Inside it Yamane found a perfectly-intact Trilobite, and concluded that the hole was actually
the footprint of a giant creature. Before long, warnings sounded on
the other side of the island. The research party rushed up a hillside
and came face to face with Godzilla himself. The creature shrieked at the onlookers
before walking back into the sea. In a special meeting at the Diet Building, Yamane set forth his theory that Godzilla
had been living in a deep underwater cavern, potentially since the Jurassic period. While this explained the trilobite found in
his footprint, the presence of strontium-90 in the sediment from the impression suggested that
Godzilla had been roused from his peaceful existence and his habitat destroyed by recent
hydrogen bomb testing in the area. Those assembled at the conference debated
whether to make this revelation public, though eventually warnings were issued should
Godzilla make his way to the Japanese mainland. While the government explored options
to destroy Godzilla, Yamane protested, believing that the monster’s ability to survive
direct exposure to an H-bomb detonation meant he should be preserved and studied. The Japanese Navy dropped depth charges into
the sea where Godzilla was believed to be located, but before the creature could be declared dead, he surfaced near a pleasure boat in Tokyo Bay. Godzilla soon came ashore in Shinagawa, smashing through the port area and dismantling
a train before slinking back into the sea. Desperate countermeasures were enacted
for Godzilla’s inevitable return. Most citizens within proximity
to Tokyo were evacuated, while a gigantic barrier of power lines carrying
50,000 volts of electricity was erected around the entire metropolitan area. The plan failed. He made his way
through the heart of Tokyo, setting the metropolis ablaze and smashing
through landmarks with his tremendous bulk. The monster’s rampage continued until he upturned
the Kachidoki Bridge and re-entered Tokyo Bay. Survivors of Godzilla’s raid found themselves poisoned
by the lethal radiation the beast left in his wake. After witnessing the devastation firsthand, Dr. Yamane’s daughter Emiko chose to break a promise
she made to her lifetime friend Daisuke Serizawa. She told her fiance Hideto Ogata that Serizawa
had invented a chemical compound which dissolved oxygen molecules in water,
liquefying all life caught within the reaction. With both believing this Oxygen Destroyer
to be the only way to stop Godzilla, they traveled to Serizawa’s laboratory and pleaded with him to let his
invention be used against the monster. Serizawa adamantly refused, fearing that politicians
would quickly turn the Oxygen Destroyer into something far worse than nuclear weapons
if they knew of its existence. However, he relented after seeing a televised “Prayer
for Peace” sung by a choir of schoolgirls from Tokyo. Touched by this message, Serizawa agreed
to use his device only once against Godzilla, and proceeded to burn his research notes. Serizawa, Emiko, Ogata, and Dr. Yamane among others traveled aboard a boat which located
Godzilla on the sea floor under Tokyo Bay. Serizawa was determined to detonate
the device himself, but Ogata, a trained diver,
insisted on accompanying him. The two men descended to the ocean depths,
where they came upon Godzilla resting. They carefully approached the monster before
Serizawa had Ogata pulled back to the surface and finally activated the Oxygen Destroyer. Before he could be pulled up as well, Serizawa
wished Emiko and Ogata happiness together and severed his line, ensuring the secret
of the Oxygen Destroyer would die with him. Unable to withstand the chemical weapon,
Godzilla’s remains were liquefied. As those aboard celebrated the monster’s demise
and honored Serizawa’s sacrifice, Dr. Yamane warned that as long
as nuclear testing continued, another Godzilla would almost
certainly awaken someday. The King of the Monsters’ most recognizable power
was his radioactive atomic breath, or incandescent light as it was initially named. This breath weapon took the form
of a white vapor-like smoke, achieving temperatures high enough to melt metal
and start raging fires which engulfed Tokyo. Though primarily a sea monster, Godzilla could
spend extended periods of time on land. Godzilla employed his tail, his fangs, and his
sheer brute force while tearing through Tokyo. The beast was impervious to tank and howitzer shells, while high-tension wires only
briefly stopped his advance. And as Dr. Yamane put it, his ability to
survive exposure to a hydrogen bomb explosion is the greatest testament to his resilience. The only weapon shown to have any real
effect on him was the Oxygen Destroyer. In the original, it was so overpowering that it
dissolved his body and left no trace of him behind. In the Kiryu Saga retcon,
it withered away all but his skeleton. Godzilla first reached the public
in the form of a live radio drama which aired on Nippon Broadcasting
from July 17th to September 25th. The movie also received five
different manga adaptations, three of which were reprinted together in 2014. Wasuke Abe, fittingly enough, wrote and illustrated
“Science Adventure Picture Story Godzilla,” published at least partially
before the flick hit theaters. Reimeisha published “Kaiju Gojira”
shortly after the movie’s release. Shigeru Sugiura offered a less-than-serious
take in March of 1955 for Shōnen Club. “Monster Picture Story Godzilla” was
put out that same month in Bokura, wherein the monster looked straight-up like the classic
outdated Charles Knight depiction of a T. rex… but with an over-the-top spherical body. Shigeru Fujita’s 1958 manga added an obnoxious
reporter, probably a dig at Steve Martin, the reporter character inserted into
the American version of the film. There’s another intriguing retelling in Tanaka’s
1984 book “Definitive Edition Godzilla Introduction,” which shows Godzilla’s family wiped out
by a hydrogen bomb test. What’s more, these two illustrations
depict him with smoother skin, indicating that he was scarred by the radiation. The original Big G has had a surprisingly
limited presence in video games. His appearances only include… “CinemaScope Adventure: Godzilla”
on the PC-88 and FM-7, “Godzilla Generations” on the Dreamcast, “Godzilla: Trading Battle” on the O.G. PlayStation, “Godzilla: Unleashed” (Wii version only), and the mobile games “Godzilla: Kaiju Collection”
and “Godzilla Defense Force.” He also popped up in the RPG-style
mobile games “Monster Strike” and “Kai-Ri-Sei Million Arthur”
back in 2013 and 2016, respectively. The first “Godziban” live show since the beginning
of its YouTube series introduced ShoGoji, a Gandalf-like figure whose design
resembles the first Godzilla. Using his telekinetic powers
and a second, larger puppet, he took on King Ghidorah to defend Mothra’s egg. Toho has returned to the 1954 film multiple
times in rebooting the series, sometimes retconning its events to better
serve the stories they want to tell. The Heisei series revolved around a second Godzilla
who first attacked Japan 30 years after the original, ignoring the 14 other entries in the Showa series. In the finale, “Godzilla vs. Destoroyah,”
he faced a colony of Precambrian crustaceans that were mutated by the Oxygen Destroyer. The original is also part of
“Godzilla 2000″‘s continuity, although it’s only mentioned in supplementary
materials and not the movie itself. “Godzilla vs. Megaguirus” presented
an alternate universe where Serizawa never used the
Oxygen Destroyer against Godzilla, digitally inserting the MireGoji suit into shots
from the original for the sake of consistency. In “GMK,” Serizawa deployed
the Oxygen Destroyer in secrecy, allowing the JSDF to take credit
for slaying Godzilla. Unfortunately, his sacrifice only delayed
the supernatural creature’s return. In “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla,” the Oxygen
Destroyer left the original Godzilla’s bones intact, allowing the JXSDF to use them as the framework
for the anti-Godzilla mech Kiryu. They incorporated DNA extracted from the bones into
Kiryu’s computer controls… with volatile results. That wraps up Wikizilla’s kaiju profile
on the original Gojira. Thanks for watching,
and long live the King.

100 thoughts on “Godzilla 1954 | KAIJU PROFILE ~Redux~【wikizilla.org】

  1. I wonder if the Goji Puppet or the cut off upper half of the first suit had the aerosol sprayer installed in its mouth for the shots of him shooting fire at buildings or at the camera, probably had another Goji puppet for that, Awesome Beautiful Video!!!

  2. I wonder if Kayama's monster ideas, especially the large ears and cow-eating, were eventually used for Baragon. Wouldn't be surprised.

  3. 𝘾𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙗𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙞𝙢 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣 𝙫𝙞𝙙𝙚𝙤 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙩𝙨 𝙤𝙣𝙡𝙮 𝙗𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙡𝙤𝙧…
    几ㄖ|匚乇

  4. This vid is just…😤👌
    I especially like the black and white aesthetic with the Serizawa Titanollante. Nice work guys!

  5. 1954 Dr Serizawa: Dies with Godzilla

    1954 Dr Serizawa (Alternate Universe): Probably didn't die, until years later, he died of aging

    Ken Watanabe's Dr Serizawa: Died for helping Godzilla

  6. Godzilla 1954 my favorite Godzilla design and Kajiu of the series so far and when I watch the showa Godzilla films I always used the original Godzilla roars for Godzilla

  7. 20,000 miles down the sea is impossible, the earth is 3,895 miles wide and tall but it depends on wether your measuring from Mount Everest to the other side or the Mariana Trench to the other side

  8. Excellent video.
    I still hear some fans dispute viciously and religiously that Godzilla wasn't at all inspired by Kong or the Rehdosaurus… yet it's the truth. It's history. It's fact.
    And what's the harm? It's great film history to see how one great story leads to the creation of another that can be just as great, if not more.

  9. It's a good thing our planet doesn't work like Godzilla's otherwise between Godzilla to Them we'd be in for a world of hurt.

  10. Great video. Wasn't Godzilla at one point meant to be an octopus? That's what the clips of the giant octopus showing up were for right?

  11. Pls TOHO for God's sake make the 1954 movie remastered version. Let the children of today know who was the one that started it all.

  12. Back in early 2017, when you made the original profile on this Godzilla, I didn’t think it could get any better.

    I was completely wrong.

  13. I've been following Wikizilla's videos for quite some time now and I have to say, everything is brilliantly done. The obscure knowledge that is presented in these videos is unparalleled.

    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

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