Original 1965 trailer for Toho Studios’ “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero,” which was released as “Invasion of Astro-Monster” in Japan.
“Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” was directed by Ishiro Honda and was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka. This 1965 entry in Toho’s kaiju film franchise contains a mix of science fiction and kaiju battle action, where Godzilla and Rodan fight against the three-headed nemesis on Planet X, King Ghidorah (King Ghidrah, “monster zero”). This was done after Toho Studios’ kaiju battle feature, “Ghidorah. the Three-Headed Monster” (1964)*.
Who was in “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero?”
The actors who appeared in “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” were Nick Adams (as Glenn Amer), Akira Takarada (as K. Fuji), Kumi Mizuno (as Miss Namikawa), Keiko Sawai (as Haruno Fuji), Jun Tazaki (Dr. Sakurai), Yoshio Tsuchiya (as the controller of “Planet X”) and Akira Kubo (as Tetsuo Teri).
Before he played the role of astronaut Glenn Amer in “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero,” Nick Adams was known for his role as Johnny Yuma in the 1959-61 ABC western, “The Rebel” (which was one of the few non-game show programs produced by Mark Goodson and Bill Todman’s production firm).
Akira Takarada had already appeared in the first Godzilla feature in 1954, “Gojira” (released in the United States as “Godzilla, King of the Monsters” in 1956)* and “Godzilla vs. Mothra” (1964, released as “Godzilla vs. The Thing”)*.
After his appearance as Tetsuro Turi in “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero,” Akira Kubo was also in the 1967 Godzilla entry, “Son of Godzilla” (as Goro Maki) and Honda’s 1968 kaiju creature battle feature, “Destroy All Monsters” (as Captain Katsuo Yamabe).
According to IMDB, actor Marvin Miller dubbed over Akira Takarada’s dialogue (K. Fuji) for the North American release of “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero.” Miller was best known for his narration work in TV and film, including his on-screen role of Michael Anthony in the 1955-60 CBS series “The Millionaire.”
Miller also did the opening narration for the 1959 North American dub of the Godzilla/Gojira sequel, “Godzilla Raids Again” (1955, released in the United States as “Gigantis, the Fire Monster” in 1959)*.
“Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” was not Nick Adams’ only film for Toho Studios
Around the same year that Adams appeared in “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero,” he played the role of Dr. James Bowen in Ishiro Honda’s horror/kaiju feature for Toho Studios, “Frankenstein Conquers the World” (which was released by American-International Pictures in the United States one year later, according to the American Film Institute’s database).
A “new” Godzilla suit
According to IMDB’s trivia portal on the film, an updated Godzilla suit was created for the film and was later altered for the monster Jirass in the cult Japanese live-action sci-fi TV series, “Ultraman” in 1966 (which was produced by Eiji Tsuburaya, who also served as Toho Studios’ visual effects supervisor before setting up his own production company).
The suit was worn by veteran stunt actor Hauro Nakajima, who appeared in numerous Godzilla films from the beginning of Toho’s kaiju film franchise (with the original Godzilla/Gojira suit) in 1954 to his final appearance in the modified suit in “Godzilla vs. Gigan” in 1972 (with a cameo stock footage appearance as the monster in “Godzilla vs. Megalon” in 1973).
“Godzilla vs. Monster Zero:” Originally released in Japan under the title of “Invasion of Astro-Monster” in Japan
Toho Studios released “Invasion of Astro-Monster” in theaters throughout Japan on Dec. 19, 1965; according to IMDB’s list of theatrical release dates.
“Godzilla vs. Monster Zero:” Released in the United States by UPA
1970 UPA trailer for the North American “double feature” release of Toho Studios’ “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” (released as “Monster Zero”) and “War of the Gargantuas.”
Five years after the release of “Invasion of Astro-Monster” in Japan, Henry G. Saperstein’s United Productions of America (UPA, in conjunction with Maron Films) licensed the North American releasing rights to the film from Toho Studios.
UPA retitled “Invasion of Astro-Monster” as “Monster Zero” and was placed on a “double feature” bill with another Toho kaiju feature from 1966, “War of the Gargantuas” (also directed by Honda).
One year later, UPA/Maron would release another Godzilla feature that was licensed from Toho Studios, “Godzilla’s Revenge” (originally released by Toho to cinema venues throughout Japan in 1969)*. UPA’s other aforementioned Godzilla film was presented as another “double feature” release with the 1967 British sci-fi thriller, “Island of the Burning Damned.”
Be sure to watch Svengoolie’s premiere of “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” this Sat. on Me-TV!
Be sure to watch Svengoolie’s premiere of “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” (1965) with Sven’s fun facts, skits, Kerwyn’s mail call and Doug Graves’ signature song (this Sat. on Me-TV)!
*Godzilla films that were previously shown by Sven during his salute to the iconic cinematic kaiju creature back in Feb. on Me-TV.
Sat., May 20 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV
In the Frederick, Maryland/Washington, D.C. area: WTTG-5.3 (over-the-air)/Comcast 196
In the Baltimore, Maryland area: WBAL-TV 11.2 (“Svengoolie” is time-delayed to 11 p.m. due to TV-11’s 10 p.m. newscast on their Me-TV sub-channel).
“Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” is also available to watch for free on Shout! Factory’s ad-supported platform, Shout! Factory TV (under the UPA-dubbed title of “Monster Zero,” under license from Toho Co., Ltd.)
Ed. Note: Sven’s premiere of “Godzilla vs. Monster Zero” will be shown on the same day that I will be graduating from Hood College (in Frederick, Maryland)! Thanks to all fellow friends of the matinee for the congratulatory greetings! I highly appreciate it! Congratulations to all fellow graduates near and far! -C.H.