"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Original Godzilla: January 1, 1929

お誕生日おめでとう ゴジラさん、中島春雄!

Nakajima 1971 BW blog

Taking a break on the set of GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH (1971) ©Toho

This is the first photo I ever saw of the man who played Godzilla, Haruo Nakajima, in an early '70s issue of Greg Shoemaker's seminal Japanese Fantasy Film Journal (which subsequently appeared in the pages of Randall D. Larson's Cinefan and Forrest J. Ackerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland), and I consider it to be the definitive image of the man (thanks Greg!).

Mr. Nakajima turns a spry 81 today, and wants his fans to know that he is still going strong (check out my 2009 birthday notice for more information on Japan's dean of monster actors)! We cannot thank him enough for his myriad of kaiju roles which started in 1954 with the roar that was heard around the world in GODZILLA. Help us to wish Mr. Nakajima have one of the greatest years ever, by expressing your own personal greetings and sending them to Armand Vaquer, who will officially forward them to Godzilla himself!


Prof. Grewbeard said...

always nice to see this pic, thanx!

August Ragone said...

Right Prof,
Especially since it's the original photo seen in those magazines years ago, courtesy of Greg Shoemaker himself!


Evan Brehany said...

May I also wish him a happy B-Day.

Though with the mention of Gred Shoemacher, I read that "Japanese Fantasy Film Journal" was canceled because Greg lost interest. Was it that he lost interest in running the fanzine or did he loose interest in the genre?

August Ragone said...

This is the wrong place to ask that question, but JFFJ was a self-published magazine. So, Greg Shoemaker (not "Gred Shoemacher") could do the zine or not. There was no publisher involved, no "cancellation", just Greg. He eventually felt that the magazine had run its course when live action science fiction cinema gave way to animated science fiction in the 1980s — and he was really not into it (he explains this in his editorial in the last issue). So, he pulled the plug. That was his call and nobody else's.

Now, let's get back to the Haruo Nakajima Celebration!


Lee Merritt said...

Happy Birthday Mr. Nakajima and here's wishing you the best in health and happiness in 2010 and beyond!

Armand Vaquer said...

The Nakajimas received the birthday greetings that were posted at my blog and sent a thank-you note.


Dominic Condo said...

Interesting that the movie is about Godzilla battling a creature that was a spawn of pollution and smog, yet here's a photo of Godzilla holding a cigarette!

Very cool, nonetheless!

Anonymous said...

Nice Blogging. I like that very much. According to me Godzilla always remains as a heroic monster. I love collecting many Godzilla Toys. Its a fun playing with it.