44 Monstrous Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Godzilla
It's good to be the King of the Monsters.
1. Gojira, Godzilla's Japanese name, is a portmanteau of the Japanese words for gorilla (gorira) and whale (kujira,) the original basis for his design.
2. Despite the Godzilla series' campy reputation, the first movie was a straightforward horror movie, as Godzilla was a clear metaphor for the atomic bomb.
3. The original 1954 Godzilla, Gojira, was released only nine years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
4. Godzilla's skin was intentionally reminiscent of the keloid scar tissue on many survivors of the bombings.
5. Godzilla's attack on a fishing boat at the beginning of the original 1954 movie was inspired by a real life event. Less than eight months before the movie's release, a tuna fishing boat drifted into fallout from an American atomic H-bomb test, subjecting the crew to severe radiation poisoning.
6. Godzilla's iconic roar was created by rubbing a resin-coated glove up and down the strings of a contrabass.
7. Special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya used a man in a suit instead of the same type of stop motion animation that was used in the original King Kong, because the technique was too expensive.
8. The first Godzilla suit weighed 220 pounds and was essentially impossible to move in, forcing the studio to craft a new, more mobile one.
9. Even with the new suit it was hot, strenuous work, and the crew would often drain up to a cup of suitmation actor Haruo Nakajima's sweat out of the suit after a take.
10. Godzilla was inspired by the earlier American film The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, and special effects legend Ray Harryhausen held a bit of a grudge for the ripping off of aspects of his design.
11. A reporter character named Steve Martin, played by Raymond Burr, was added to the American adaptation of Gojira. When the character reappeared in the American adaptation Godzilla in 1985, he was only referred to as "Steve" or "Mr. Martin," because of the popularity of the comedian.
12. At the time of its release, Gojira was the most expensive Japanese film ever made.
13. There have been 30 Godzilla movies — 28 Japanese ones and two American productions.
14. The 1954 Godzilla was 50 meters tall, making him just taller than Tokyo's tallest buildings at the time. His size would increase over the years as buildings got taller.
15. The tallest Godzilla was from the recent 2014 film, where he stood 350 feet tall.
16. Godzilla is more of a gray color — not green as many people and some old posters assume. (One exception is Godzilla 2000, where he has a greenish tint to him.
17. Contrary to popular belief, the American and Japanese versions of King Kong vs. Godzilla end the same way — with King Kong winning.
18. In order to be a worthwhile opponent to 50-meter-tall Godzilla, King Kong's size was drastically increased from his original height of 24 feet in the 1933 film.
20. Godzilla's little victory dance in Godzilla Vs. The Astro Monster was a reference to a pose a character in a very popular 1960s Japanese comic struck when he was surprised.
21. The American poster for Godzilla vs. Megalon depicts the two monsters duking it out on top of the World Trade Center towers. At no point in the movie does either monster go to New York.
22. In the German release of Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Mechagodzilla is referred to as "King Kong."
23. Godzilla stared in a series of Marvel comics and fought the Avengers at one point.
24. A joke in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah implies that Steven Spielberg's dad saw a UFO fly over an American battleship while serving in WWII, thus inspiring the director's hit movies.
25. In The Return of Godzilla, a Soviet soldier makes a heroic attempt to stop the accidental launch of a nuclear missile. The scene was recut in the American version to make the launch a deliberate act.
26. In Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster, which is possibly the weirdest film in the whole series, Godzilla flies.
27. According to the director of Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster in an interview with the Japanese Magazine Eiga Hi-Ho, the titular monster's eyes were modeled on vaginas.
28. Godzilla (1998) Director Roland Emmerich based Mayor Ebert and his aide Gene on the movie critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel after the duo gave his previous movies bad reviews.
29. The monster from the 1998 American Godzilla was so disliked by fans that it was nicknamed G.I.N.O. — Godzilla In Name Only.
30. Toho, the Japanese studio behind Godzilla, officially calls the American monster Zilla, and the real Godzilla defeats him in less than 20 seconds — the shortest monster fight in series history — in 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars.
31. That wasn't the first time that Toho dissed the American Godzilla. In 2001's Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: All-Out Monsters Attack, the Japanese military references a monster in New York that the Americans thought was Godzilla, but really wasn't. Sweet burn.
33. Godzilla is one of only 15 fictional characters to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
34. Godzilla won a lifetime achievement award at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards.
35. Godzilla played basketball against Charles Barkley in a 1992 Nike ad.
37. But he did not endorse Subway, and Toho sued the sandwich chain for unlicensed use of their character.
38. Godzilla's cameo in Pee Wee's Big Adventure was unlicensed, and Toho sued Warner Bros. for an undisclosed sum.
39. Kim Jong Il kidnapped a well-respected director and forced him to make North Korea's own version of Godzilla, Pulgasari.
40. Former Major League Baseball player Hideki Matsui's nickname was "Godzilla," and he even made a cameo in 2000's Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.
41. There was a a real dinosaur named after the King of the Monsters — Gojirasaurus.
42. The 2014 Godzilla's face was partially modeled on an eagle, as the designer thought there was "something noble" about birds of prey.
43. Many Japanese fans thought the 2014 Godzilla design was "too fat."
44. There are plans to make two sequels to the latest Godzilla, so it looks like the King of the Monsters isn't going anywhere soon.