9/28/20

GODZILLA 1985 Ad Slick Set (American Screen Accessories, 1985)

 


Here is a 4-page set of ad slicks for GODZILLA 1985.  No doubt they were intended to accompany the GODZILLA 1985 Press Kit that we have looked at in the past.  Either way, they make a nice complement to it.



9/23/20

THE SHADOW (Original Radio Broadcasts, Mark 56, 1973)

 

How long has it been since we enjoyed some OTR around here? Too long.  Here is an LP I found recently with two vintage episodes of THE SHADOW, from 1946 and 1948 respectively. Enjoy!

"The Shadow knows..."

9/7/20

SON OF GODZILLA 1" Type C TV Station Library Master Tape

 


I was lucky enough to acquire a 1" master tape from a former TV station library, and get it converted to DVD.  As the film was not released in theaters in the US, the tape contained the 1969 American TV version of the film, meaning the beloved Titra dub (not available on DVD)!  There are also some other differences from the Japanese version, including:  no brief opening scene with Godzilla, a unique title card, textless opening credits, and a unique ending card.

What I haven't done is compare this to one of the gray-area VHS releases from the 1980's and 90's (of which there are only a scant few; see my page on Godzilla VHS for info).  I'm assuming companies like Video Treasures used a tape like mine as a source, but I haven't yet confirmed it.  The 1" tapes used by TV stations contained more lines of resolution than VHS did, so hopefully, even if this copy is identical, it's an improvement.  

And, for a short while, it is available here: SON OF GODZILLA (TV Master Tape).  This is the VIDEO TS folder straight from the DVD conversion, so drop it into the burning software of your choice. This will not be left up as a permanent part of the blog, so grab it while you can.

(Inlay artwork for transparent case)


8/21/20

GODZILLA in America: the 1960's (part three)

Today we wrap up the entire decade of the 1960's, showing the last third of official American Godzilla items produced!

"King Kong" Trading Cards (Donruss, 1965) [continued]

Here are the five remaining cards from the Donruss King Kong series, which include #32, 33, 38, 39, and 42. As I pointed out last time, #32 doesn't even have Kong in sight, so that was a very interesting choice (as well as a pre-supplied lobby card promotional photo that took no additional effort, so draw your own conclusions). Like many other monster cards of the era, this series had the blight of "goofy captions," which were a silly product of the times. (Don't get me wrong: I'd trade now for then.)

"Monster Cards" Trading Cards (Rosan, 1965)

Almost an honorable mention, because Godzilla doesn't appear in this strange, "lo-fi" series, but Rodan does, so it's included here (this photo gives me GIANT CLAW flashbacks, though).  There was debate whether this cheap-feeling series was really official or not for some years.  While all trading cards were cheap to produce, they were not all equally licensed!

"Godzilla's Go Kart All Plastic Assembly Kit" (Aurora, 1966)

While the first Aurora kit is the symbol of American Godzilla merchandise, this, then, is the "holy grail."  Take everything I said about the rising values of the first Aurora kit, and quintuple it.  Now, roll a 20-sided die, and multiply everything by the number you get.  Take the nostalgia recipe I mentioned before, and stir in the mid-60's "hot rod" craze, and now you have a deadly potion that will stop the most steadfast collectors in their tracks! 

I'd like to say you may even ever see one of these in your life, but I doubt it.  In the last 20+ years of collecting, I have seen one empty box on Ebay (sold for over $1,000 in 2012 or so), and one completed model as in the photo above, but not nearly as well-painted (and I don't remember it selling? It would today!).  

It was part of an entire series of "monster kart" kits (all equally ridiculous) that included Dracula, the Mummy, and King Kong, and if nothing else, it's an interesting early example of grouping Godzilla in with the American movie monster pantheon, which became a commonplace practice by the 1970's.  Over the years, the there has been a theory that Toho shut down production of this model, but that isn't true.  Still, it quickly disappeared.  In 2000, Polar Lights reissued the kit and removed Godzilla's name, and Toho did object to that one, so maybe this is where some of the confusion comes in.  The reissue has become an important placeholder for many collectors!

Does it go without saying that, if you have one of these for sale, I'd like you to contact me, so I can complete my entire 1960's Godzilla decade? ...No? ...Anyone?

"Godzilla Bicycle License Plate" (Marx, 1967)


This embossed beauty is as equally rare as some of the above pieces that we've discussed, but doesn't quite command the Aurora-level prices like black market organs do.  Made by the great Louis Marx company (another name that ensures love--and resale values--among collectors), it's said that distribution on these were quite low, and that they were more common in the north, toward Canada.  The rest of the line included characters from Marvel, DC, Jay Ward, Disney, and....Soupy Sales (huh?), and you know what would have been on my bicycle.  But, luckily, this one wasn't, or it wouldn't have survived nearly so well.

"Godzilla All Plastic Assembly Kit: Glow in the Dark" (Aurora, 1969)



Oh no, we are ending the decade with another Aurora model kit! The first Aurora kit was wisely reissued in 1969, and was pretty much identical, only this time, a sprue of interchangeable glow-in-the-dark parts were included, allowing you to switch out Godzilla's head, hands, fins, tail, and nameplate.  Before you give this a 21st-Century "meh," imagine going to sleep as a tyke in that era, and when the lights went out, there was Godzilla, glowing monstrously at your bedside! Now, that is cool.

It's not pertinent to these articles to mention that this version of the kit was reissued in 1972, but it is important to point out that the boxes are slightly different.  The 1969 kit comes in a "hard box," while the 1972 comes in a thinner one.  None of this helps you if you can't handle the item, or see enough of it (such as in an auction photo, or behind glass), so consult this post for the differences all the way around the two boxes.

Lastly, it probably goes without saying, but of the two glowing reissues, the 1969 kit is the more desirable.  While all vintage Godzilla kits are obviously valuable, the 1969 one is the one you want to track down, like yesterday.


We hope this journey through the 1960's has been educational.  I know that it was eye-opening to me, proving that although it was a comparatively small output, it was more than "a handful." (Maybe a small table-full.) There were a couple of unauthorized items I debated throwing in, but I wanted to keep the list as official as possible (besides, they are elsewhere on this blog).  The 1970's was when U.S. Godzilla merchandising really exploded--and,  come to think of it--when all merchandising really exploded.  That would be a long but interesting series of posts...the problem being, new stuff is still occasionally being discovered!



8/20/20

GODZILLA in America: the 1960's (part two)

Continuing from where we left off last time (which was 1963), things are about to get a lot more three-dimensional.

GODZILLA GAME (Ideal, 1963)

With regard to officially entering the American market, you could hardly have a more stunning official first item for your franchise than this game.  The beautiful and captivating artwork draws the purchaser right in, and has ensured that the game has continued to hold a high ranking among more than one type of collector for all these years.  There is a two-edged sword involved with "crossover" type items though--as we are about to illustrate with the next item in our list--in this particular case, both board game and Godzilla collectors want it, and the price for a nice specimen has continued to rise! While the game is pretty rare, especially in great shape, it is out there if you are searching, so don't give up.  

Godzilla - All-Plastic Assembly Kit (Aurora, 1964)

And speaking of continuously inflating prices, the Aurora Godzilla kit may as well be the symbolic figurehead of American Godzilla items.  This item is the perfect conflation of the era in which it appeared:  the explosion in popularity of model kits,  the beginnings of Godzilla as an icon (when movie monsters were at an all-time high), even the Baby Boomer do-it-yourself mentality comes into play here.  All of these things add up to a recipe for instant nostalgia, and in short, everybody wants this model kit.  It was mentioned above that items being desired by more than one type of collector drive up prices--and, for the record, vintage model collectors are voracious.  This kit has continued to shoot up in past years, with no signs of stopping. If you don't have it, get it quickly.  By the time the sting wears off from the price you paid, it will have gone up so much, you'll feel quite justified!

Rodan the Flying Monster (Ken Films #229 & #529, 1964-65)

And now, we move to the first Toho film that you could see in your own house! Another type of item that builds up a powerful nostalgia among collectors are the early 8mm (and later, Super 8) films that were sold to the public.  Ken Films was an early home movie company that wisely forged licensing deals with major studios, and as a result, played their part in the birth of home video.  For more than 15 years, they released an astounding amount of product (and for our purposes here, all of the Godzilla-related reels in America), eventually acquiring STAR WARS and lasting into the early 1980's.  Their first Toho film was RODAN, which came out in 1964.  
A future article will discuss this further, but it's important to point out that Ken Films were available in two lengths:  50-foot reels, lasting around 3&1/2 minutes, and 200-foot reels, lasting about 14 minutes.  From a front view (such as in a photo from an Internet auction, for example), if you have no other items to compare for scale, the box art alone will not tell you which reel you are seeing, unless you can see the item number on its spine.  The 50-foot reels' numbers always started with the digit 5, and the 200-foot reels always started with a 2.

These early Ken Films were all black and white, as well as silent (subtitles were added to the films to keep the story going).  You might think that the arrival of color and sound created more and more variants of each film, but this is not exactly the case (the above-referenced future article will detail exactly what Godzilla/Toho reels were produced).  In the case of RODAN, what did add another pair to the list was the arrival of Super 8.  The Super 8 format was invented in 1965, and quickly became the go-to format for amateur film-makers and home aficionados.  Ken Films was quick to add this format to its catalogs.  

If you are keeping track, that makes a total of four RODAN releases by Ken Films; two 8mm sizes and two Super 8.

Varan the Unbelievable (Ken Films #236 & #536, 1965)

The very next year after RODAN was brought into collectors' homes, Ken Films released VARAN THE UNBELIEVABLE, in black and white and silent with subtitles.  As above, there are also four different releases in all; two 8mm sizes and two Super 8.  

"King Kong" Trading Cards (Donruss, 1965)

We return to trading cards once again:  Donruss' King Kong set from 1965 included 11 images from KING KONG vs. GODZILLA, scattered throughout the set.  Honestly, they didn't have to include Godzilla six times (one Godzilla card doesn't even have Kong in it!), but they did, which was fortuitous on their part.  Here are the first six of those cards:  #3, 17, 19, 21, 20, and 31.  We will begin Part 3 next time with the remainder! 

8/19/20

GODZILLA in America: the 1960's (part one)

I've been planning this series of posts for months, and it all started from the offhand thought, "Man, there weren't too many American Godzilla items in the 1960's...you could count them on one hand!"  This isn't exactly true, but it's not too terribly far off, as we will see.  


"Horror Monsters" Trading Cards (Nu-Card, Green series, 1961)

As it turns out, the very first retail Godzilla items you could walk into a store and buy were trading cards...but since they were based on GIGANTIS THE FIRE MONSTER, they called him by that name, so the therefore 1963 Ideal board game still holds the undefeated title of "very first American Godzilla retail item." You could also throw the word licensed in there too, because who knows if Toho really had anything to do with these cards getting printed: wouldn't it have been Warner Bros., anyhow, in this case?  Also, since trading cards come in packs, you wouldn't exactly know which cards you were getting. The green Nu-Card series was also sold in packs of 2-panel cards you could separate.  I've yet to see an unopened example, but assuming those panels were sold on carded blister packs, a buyer could know what they were getting in that case!

But I digress. Rodan also gets a cool card in this green series, so I'm including it here.

"Horror Monsters" Trading Cards (Nu-Card, Orange series, 1961)

Continuing from the green set, the orange set contains no Godzilla (or Gigantis).  The only of Godzilla's buddies who showed up was Rodan, in a single card.  (For Toho Completeness' sake, I should mention that the orange series also included one MYSTERIANS card, #74, and one card for THE H-MAN, which is #110.)

"Terror Monsters" Trading Cards (Rosan, Purple series, 1963)

Some time passed, and the dearth of Godzilla merchandise was about to soon slowly reverse, as KING KONG vs. GODZILLA hit theaters the summer of 1963, and Godzilla became a household name.  The "Terror Monsters" set of purple-bordered trading cards featured Gigantis once again, but only credited him as "The Fire Monster," oddly crediting the image to American International Pictures. Rodan got two cards in this series, with one also being oddly credited to AI.

"Spook Stories" Trading Cards (Leaf, 1963)

KING KONG vs. GODZILLA did feature in one of the next series of trading cards that came out, the much-beloved "Spook Stories" from Leaf. On the back, the cards give "1961" as a date, but as you can guess, that's incorrect for the ones we are looking at.  The KK vs. G cards are later ones in the series, anyhow (#108, 113, and 126), so it may have taken a couple of years for the series to expand to those numbers, which explains the date.

In part 2, we will look at the first honest-to-goodness real American Godzilla toy, model madness, and more trading cards!

8/16/20

GHIDRAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER Notebook! (Toho, 1964/2012)

 A short post, but a very good one, in that I'm sharing this amazing artwork.  This is the cover of a notebook I recently purchased, and it has copyright dates of 1964/2012.  (This leads me to believe that the artwork was originally published at the time of GHIDRAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER.) I'd love to make a T-shirt of this great piece! I can't stop looking at it and finding new things to enjoy.


6/23/20

Godzilla American VHS Page (and PDF) Are Updated!



The side-page "Godzilla American VHS Chronology" has finally received a major update, with 6 newly-discovered tapes! The grand total of all tapes is now up to 174!

Check it out, and remember that there is a free PDF book to download, containing all the information of the entire page in an easier-to-follow guide:

sample pages

5/26/20

GODZILLA vs.COSMIC MONSTER Military Flyer (c. 1978)

Here's another military flyer from the same time period as the last one we looked at, this time for GODZILLA vs. THE COSMIC MONSTER.  This time around, what's interesting is the description...it's a mess.

I've seen some wacky translation-related errors in my time, but I swear this description was dictated over the phone.  I mean, "King SeeSaw" is bad enough, but how in the world else do you end up with "Mega-Godzilla"?

Also, this is yet another description that basically spoils the movie for you! At least leave out the last line for the kiddies!

5/11/20

GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND Military Flyer (c.1978)


Here's a cool flyer for a "return engagement" of the American version of GODZILLA vs. GIGAN, from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service! It features a creative spelling of "Ghidra" and a kids' on-base admission cost of only 50 cents! Click for full-page scan!

5/1/20

A Hitherto-Overlooked HB Godzilla Collectible (Morris Imports, 1979)

Front of album!
Last week, I discovered a vintage American (and other countries) Godzilla collectible that I had no idea existed, and Hanna-Barbera Godzilla, no less.  In 1979, you could buy a sticker album that held "Collectors' Stamps" of about 200 HB characters.  Each TV show got at least a half-page in the album, and the stickers filled in missing spaces that completed a mural for each show.  (Of course, these sorts of albums have been around forever, and still are.)

Back of album!
Here is the section for the HB Godzilla cartoon:

As you can see, they don't give him much text...here are the 3 stickers ("stamps") that belong in his section (#58-60).  The stamps themselves are smaller than a trading card, and I would think they were sold in packs, but I haven't found any photos of a wrapper in my research.
And now, brace yourselves...through the miracle of modern digital technology, scientists have been able to use computers to reconstruct what this completed page would have looked like.  As far as we know, no experiment of this type has ever been conducted before:

4/14/20

SMOG MONSTER Video Dealer Postcard (Orion Home Video, 1989)


Here's a great piece, a 1989 two-sided video retailer postcard (measuring 3 & 3/4 by 6 & 1/4 inches).  It showcases the fun artwork for this series of four videos (there was also a great dealer poster similar to this card), prominently featuring the movie poster art for GODZILLA vs. THE SMOG MONSTER.  Not only that, but this SP tape is still essential for any Godzilla fan, because it was the final (and only legitimate) time that the AIP dub was released (a laserdisc release was simultaneous), and those two releases continue to be the source of the dub for fan-made restorations!


Here is the back of the card.  The other three titles in the series were MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET (which we now know as GAPPA), YONGARY (A Korean kaiju clone), and THE X FROM OUTER SPACE (who we now know as Guilala). Good stuff!

4/7/20

GIGANTIS Original Theatre Flyer (1959)

From Baltimore, MD, here is a vintage flyer from 1959! That summer, you could see SHANE, or maybe THE SHAGGY DOG? Nah, hold out for GIGANTIS!



It always amazes me that somebody held onto these flyers, and even preserved them so well. I imagine somebody found this one in the pages of a large, heavy book, as well as away from acid, because it's pristine.  Here's a better look at the best part:


2/26/20

Godzilla - Aurora Model Kit (1969 version)

Aurora's first re-issue of their 1964 model kit (and the first with glow-in-the-dark extra parts) has become very highly sought-after these days.  Today we are going to compare artwork with the 1972 re-release, just in case you ever need to know the differences.


If you can get your hands on one, it's pretty easy to tell the difference, as the 1969 kit is the "hard box" version, and the 1972, while the same dimensions, comes in a flimsier box.  But, let's say you can't get close to one, or maybe you are looking at poor auction photos...? Well, it could happen.

The colors are a little washed out on the 1972 box, but the quickest way to differentiate is the bottom-left corner.  The 1972 has white text reading "For Ages 8 and Up, 1/600 Scale," while the bottom-left of the 1969 is blank.  Also, the 1972's copyright info in the top-left says "WESTON MDSE CORP" in a blue box, while the 1969 merely has white text reading "c) RKO GENERAL, INC."

Three side panels are unique:

A box on its side is more difficult.  The 1969 has an extra "-200" added to the kit number.

Now, if THIS is your view, in a glass case at a flea market, you have got it made. The years are printed on this one side only.  More fine print on the 1972 issue.

Also on this side, there is more print on the 1972 (note printing has been moved to Canada by 1972).  Also "CEMENT AND PAINT NOT INCLUDED."

If you want to see the contents, it's the same as was reissued in 1972, and again in 1978 by Monogram, so you can check out our articles on those!

For completeness, here are scans of the instructions! It goes without saying, but if you do ever run into one of these kits...buy it.



2/19/20

DRACULA'S GREATEST HITS (RCA, 1964)

I'm happy to say that yesterday, I added a long-time want to my collection, and that is the crazy LP called "Dracula's Greatest Hits."
Why, you ask? Here are a few reasons to love this kooky album:


1) Early 60's Monster Aesthetic.  First of all, this record takes you back to the time of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Aurora model kits, and bubble gum cards that featured stills of zombies, monsters, and ghouls with eyes gouged out...and nobody even questioned it.  Clearly it was a great time to be a kid.  Could we have had the Space Opera 70's without the Monster 60's?


2) The Artwork of Jack Davis, National Treasure.  I bet your house is full of other examples of Jack Davis art.  You might not have even known it, but the man did uncountable album covers, board game artworks, advertisements, and much more...and of course was a frequent contributor to MAD magazine, back when it was good.  He is missed.  Just get lost in the artwork above; I'll wait.


3) A Free Sheet of MONSTER FAN CARDS.  Now we get to my personal top reason for wanting this album forever--a full, unseparated sheet of Jack Davis monster trading cards! These were perforated, so sometimes it can be hard to find an unused sheet.  And, just look at what's on the bottom row!


Yes! A (totally unauthorized) Godzilla card! Now, before you scoff at his portrayal as my kids did, remember that this was right on the heels of KING KONG (who also gets a card here) vs. GODZILLA, which brought the big G into the American mainstream.  I think the portrayal is excellent.  I should point out---and I need to do a future post about this--that there are only even a handful of Godzilla items produced in the USA during the entire decade of the 1960's, which, from a modern standpoint, boggles the mind!

Back to the LP, before I forget.  The entire 28 minutes is up on YouTube, so "enjoy" if you will! It's very silly and fun!


BONUS:
Here are high resolution scans of the sheet of Monster Cards! I didn't even crop them, because I didn't want any software downgrading the files.  To make up for the narrow-ness of my scanner, I scanned all four corners of the sheet.  Enjoy: