GOJIRA Advertising Balloon from 1954 Discovered!

The original Ebay seller's photo.

Some days, you don't know exactly what you are looking at*.

That was me, earlier this week.  One of my myriad saved Ebay searches yielded the above washed-out photo, which I thought was cool.  The caption stated "Kodachrome Slide, Godzilla Balloon, Osaka, 1950's," which was all the information available.  

Right away I noticed a couple of easy things:  first, the red characters on the banner obviously said "Gojira."  Second, there was a giant Toho logo on top of the building at the left, so it must be a theater.  Therefore, I concluded that this was an advertising campaign for GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN, the 1955 sequel to the original film.  After all, that film has a lot to do with Osaka, so it all just made sense, right?

Nope!  I forwarded the link to Sean Linkenback, author of AN UNAUTHORIZED GUIDE TO GODZILLA COLLECTIBLES (among many others), and good friend to this blog.  He was able to quickly add more information to the investigation.  First, he found another photo of the same theater from the seller's other slides:

After I did a little contrast correction to it, we can see that the name of the theater is the "Umeda Koma Stadium," and it was quite large (this page says the theater is no longer there, having relocated in 2005).  Secondly, and back to the original slide, Sean immediately suspected that the figure in the lower-right was Audrey Hepburn (more on that in a moment).  Next, he was able to find out what the text on the hanging banner said:  "Great Toho proudly announces the science fiction movie of the century GODZILLA."  

Suddenly, we were in completely different territory.  

We know that Toho released GOJIRA, nationwide, in November of 1954...so, why Audrey Hepburn? Because of the hit film SABRINA, which a little research showed, was released in Japan in mid-September! What we were looking at was a hitherto-unknown promotion for the original GOJIRA, and one that as far as I can tell, had never been discussed anywhere! Heck, it's entirely possible that the film hadn't even premiered yet, and the balloon and banner were part of building up hype! And there it was, hidden in a cache of old travel slides, no doubt snapped quickly by a traveling American businessman who was taking in the sights of Osaka and photographing whatever caught his eye.

By the time we'd deduced all these things, the auction was gone (actually ended by the seller as "no longer in stock," so the slide's fate is unknown).  It would've been great to own this piece of history, and it would be equally exciting to know whatever became of the Godzilla balloon itself!  

One silver lining to the whole thing is that I was able to clean up the image quite a bit, remove the watermark, and adjust the contrast and color, restoring it to what it most likely would have looked like originally.  I can't do anything about the slight blur to the photo, but I improved it quite a bit:

It makes me feel a bit like a UFO researcher, blowing up grainy old photos:

Enhanced image of strange object seen flying over the skies of Osaka, Japan, 1954.


(*Apologies to English teachers of the past.  I ended a sentence with a preposition, there, but it was for dramatic effect, so it's okay.)


Journey to the Moon (Buddah, 1969)

Here is a fun record that I found this week, and transferred for your enjoyment.  On the (lunar) surface, it appears to be a moon landing documentary, of which there were several issued in 1969.  This is true, but it's the only one that I know of that presents the story interspersed with some interesting rock music, here credited to a group called "Sound of Genesis," (no, nothing to do with Genesis).  In reality, I'm sure this was a conglomerate of studio musicians, but being 1969, there is plenty of electric sitar and synthesizer action to keep you entertained.  

You could make the argument that this record has something of an identity crisis; there is narrative, audio clips, instrumental music, and, sometimes, everything all at once.  However, as someone who has sat through most all of these Moon Fever albums, I have to say this was the most enjoyable of them all.

A couple of trivial factoids for your enjoyment:  
1) The track entitled "Lunar Landing: Moon Plaque" is presented on the front cover as "Moon Plague"! That would have been an interesting direction, indeed!
2) The track "Nineteen Ninety-Nine" was co-written by a young Daryll Hall.
3) The opening track was released as a single, but was credited only to "Genesis" (The more famous Genesis did of course exist at this time, and issued their first album that same year.) Enjoy!


The Things That I See (continued)

 We haven't done one of these in quite a while, and, well, even in Virus World, I keep seeing things.  So, let's jump right in.

First off, here is a cool dollhouse-scale miniature of the vintage Ideal Godzilla board game, which I bought from an Ebay seller who crafts these things.  It's very well-detailed, down to the tiny playing pieces in the opening. [Note that, when you start buying the same collectibles that you already own in a different scale, you are then in need of two things:  1)more storage space, and 2)therapy.]

Some gold old thrift-store Engrish.  What strikes me about this photo now is the weird and slightly cool globe thingy in front of the, er, lamp.  Now I wish I'd picked it up and examined it further.

Here is a cool sticker that was actually on a Kingston Trio album that I saw somewhere.  The fortune teller amuses me. "Wait, I see...regret.  No--you'll actually hate this; save your money!"

While we are talking about thrift-store LPs, here is one of those Stereo demonstration records.  These were really popular in the early 1960's, when hi-fi systems were being pushed on the hipsters of the day.  The pseudo-art deco-ness of the cover caught me eye.  I figured it would be fun to experience jet planes and thunderstorms indoors in my own home.  It wasn't.  At all.  The record was completely fried, which, as it turns out, really interferes with your enjoyment of horses randomly neighing.  I was about to toss it, when I saw the listing for side two, which contained disappointing horrors:
Firstly, track one was pigeons.  "In A Hayloft," but whatever, it's pigeons.  That's your lead track. You can open a widow in any large city and hear that.
Now, let your eye drop to track #6.  What was wrong with people back then? "Hey, you know what would be fun for all the groovy hep hi-fi bachelor pad swingin' sound systems? Pigs being massacred." (If you're morbidly curious, like I was:  it's a short track, that sounds exactly like a barn full of pigs, with some voices calling out numbers, followed by one or two ear-piercing squealing shrieks.)

And, for the youth of America, Amazon wants to sell you a wig that commemorates President Ben Franklin.  I mean, he's on money, so that's how you get the title, right?

Here's a sign that was in the restroom at my own work.  Okay, fine, I made this...

This is a colorfully-labeled package of hardware from a furniture kit.  I should've give you some sense of scale, but it was about the size of a burrito.  It's not just that the label looked like it was yelling at me...it's just that I don't like being told what to do.

A photo from an Ebay auction for vintage Mego dolls.  So, it strikes me that this was a, I don't know, mischievous way to pose them, by the seller?  Maybe it's just the nature of my own depraved mind, but it certainly doesn't help Batman's image any. 

So, you know those cheap portable video game systems, that they sell in drugstores, that are made to look like smaller versions of an old Game Gear, or a Wii U gamepad? They advertise hundreds of full-color games, and show photos of delightful clones of early NES games on their packaging.
News flash: they are terrible.  I got so desperate and bored on a trip last year, that I bought one, and I figured hey, at the very least, it would be good for a laugh.  Turns out, the laughing was done at my expense, because everything included was mind-numbingly stupid.  
Nothing pictured was included, and, to give you a critical review:  the gameplay fell slightly short of "LED watch game," while game design was slightly worse than that of, oh, "Nokia phone." Most were really weak shooting-type or matching games, but there were one or two fake platformers, such as this gem:  MAGIC JONY (no, it's not "Magic Tony;" that's the guy in the alley behind the drugstore.)  JONY was a flawed, wonky not-quite-platformer...but, why am I trying to describe it to you, when you can just read its gripping story?
Really, though...still better than the Sequel Trilogy.
Really, though...still better than the Sequel Trilogy.

Finally, in this age of ubiquitous and unrelenting video-conferencing, I leave you with one that will resonate with many of us.  I present to you, Thanos' most embarrassing moment, where he didn't quite end the meeting in time:


GODZILLA'S GANG Hi-Res Logo (Mattel, 1978)


For a personal project, I scanned the backing card of an unopened GODZILLA'S GANG figure at high resolution, then meticulously cleaned it up and completely cropped it out in Photoshop. (It killed an evening, let me tell you.)

I figured, this might be useful to somebody around here, so why not add it to the blog? By the way, this is a PNG file with transparency, so it isn't rectangular. (I may or may not have a couple of cool T-Shirts on the way, but you didn't hear that from me.) Enjoy!


Vintage Kenner DAGOBAH ACTION PLAYSET box (1981)


Take a look at this Dagobah Playset box, which I acquired recently.  It has an original mailing label from Kenner, who sent it to the purchaser.  As cool as this is, this strikes me as a real Amazon sort of move.  Of course, today, it's even more important to disguise the item you are mailing, so it doesn't get stolen...which is what they make brown paper for.

The big takeaway here, though, is the postal label: $1.86! This would cost, what, like $25 to mail today?!