Svengoolie presents: “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (1964, released in the United States as “Godzilla vs. The Thing”)
As part of the iconic Chicago-based horror host’s salute to Toho Studios’ Godzilla throughout the month of February, Sven will be showing the 1964 kaiju battle film, “Godzilla vs. Mothra.” Sven’s premiere of “Godzilla vs. Mothra” begins on Me-TV this Sat., Feb. 18 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central!
Sven will wrap up his salute to Godzilla on Feb. 25 with his premiere of “Godzilla’s Revenge” (1969, released by Toho in Japan as “All Monsters Attack”).
Directed by Ishiro Honda, this would be the third Godzilla feature that he directed after 1954’s “Godzilla” (or “Gojira,” which was released in the United States as “Godzilla, King of the Monsters” in 1956) and 1962’s “King Kong vs. Godzilla” (which Sven has shown before on Me-TV). Honda also directed “Mothra” for Toho Studios in 1961.
Who is in “Godzilla vs. Mothra?”
The actors appearing in “Godzilla vs. Mothra” include Akira Takarada (as Ichiro Sakai), Yuriko Hoshi (as Junko Nakanishi), Hiroshi Koizumi (as Professor Miura), and the popular Japanese twin sister pop singing duo The Peanuts, reprising their role of Mothra’s shobijin guardians, known as the “twin fairies.”
For the North American dub, the voice-over artists were Bernie Grant (for Akira Takarada), Paulette Rubenstien (doubling for Yuriko Hoshi and The Peanuts group), Terry Van Tell (who also dubbed The Peanuts’ lines in the film) and Kenneth Harvey (for Hiroshi Koizumi).
Emi and Yumi Ito: “The Peanuts”
The Peanuts were one of Japan’s popular singing duos, consisting of twin sisters Emi and Yumi Ito. According to The Japan Times, both sisters made their pop singing debut in 1959 with their rendition of Sidney Bechet’s “Petite Fleur,” known in Japan as “Kawaii Hana.”
Throughout the globe, the Itos were best known for the “Mothra” chant song, which was featured in the cult 1961 film. After the release of “Godzilla vs. Mothra,” The Peanuts reprised their role of the twin fairies in another Toho kaiju film, “Gihdorah, The Three-Headed Monster” (1964). They also made an appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1966. Both sisters retired from singing in 1975. Emi died in 2012 and Yumi died last year at the age of 75.
Released as “Godzilla vs. The Thing” in the United States
Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson’s American-International Pictures (AIP) acquired the North American distribution rights to “Godzilla vs. Mothra” from Toho. The film was released in the United States in the fall of 1964, under the title of “Godzilla vs. The Thing.”
According to Ian Jane’s DVDTalk article on the film, the missile attack sequence is a little longer in the AIP version of the film.
In the 1964 AIP trade ad (and trailer) for “Godzilla vs. The Thing,” there was no mention of Mothra (as Godzilla’s foe). The North American release had no connection to Howard Hawks’ 1951 thriller,“The Thing from Another World” (remade by John Carpenter in 1982 as “The Thing”).
Another “Godzilla vs. Mothra” film
28 years after Toho released “Godzilla vs. Mothra,” both monsters appeared in a modern kaiju film that the studio released in 1992, “Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth” (for Sony’s direct-to-video release in the United States, the 1992 film was also released under the title of “Godzilla vs. Mothra”).
Why you should watch Svengoolie’s premiere of “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (1964)
If you’ve enjoyed Svengoolie’s showcase of Godzilla films, then you will enjoy his premiere of “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (with Sven’s “fun facts” and much more, all the way from Berwyn)!
Sat., Feb. 18 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV Network
In the Frederick, Maryland metropolitan area: WJLA-TV 7.2/Comcast 204
In Baltimore: WBAL-TV 11.2/Comcast 208 (time-delayed to 11 p.m. due to TV-11’s special 10 p.m. newscast on their Me-TV subchannel)
Before Sven, be sure to watch “Star Trek” (The Original Series) on Me-TV this Saturday (as part of the network’s “Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night” lineup). The network will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of episode #22, “Space Seed” (which originally aired on Feb. 16, 1967)- featuring Ricardo Montalban as nemesis Khan Noonien Singh (Montalban would reprise his role of Khan in the 1982 film, “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”).
Happy Valentine’s from the writer of “Silver Screen Reflections.”