The legendary Berwyn/Chicago monster/horror film host will showcase “Rodan” (1956, a.k.a. “Radon”), this Sat., Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central on Me-TV!
The 1956 Toho Studios kaiju creature entry was directed by veteran film director Ishiro Honda. Two years before “Rodan,” Honda directed the landmark Toho Studios kaiju creature monster epic, “Godzilla”/Gojira” (1954, released in the United States two years later under the title of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” in 1956 with additional sequences directed by Terry Morse for the North American cut, Morse’s sequences featured actor Raymond Burr of TV’s “Perry Mason” fame).
This will mark Sven’s second broadcast of “Rodan” (1956) on Me-TV. He previously showcased Honda’s 1956 kaiju creature feature back in April 2017*.
Who was in “Rodan” (1956)?
The actors who appeared in Ishiro Honda’s 1956 Toho Studios kaiju creature entry were Kenji Sahara (of “Godzilla”/”Gojira” fame as Shigeru Kawamura, Sahara was credited in the film as Kenji Sawara), Yumi Shirakawa (as Kiyo, this was one of Shirakawa’s earliest film roles), Akihiko Hirata (as biology Professor Kyuichiro Kashiwagi), veteran Toho Studios stunt performer Haruo Nakajima (of “Godzilla”/”Gojira” fame in the “Rodan”/”Radon” suit), Akio Kobori (as Officer Nishimura), Minosuke Yamada (as Osaki), Yoshifumi Tajima (as Izeki, reporter of Seibu Nippou), Yasuko Nakada (as a honeymooner), Kiyoharu Onaka (as a honeymooner, Onaka was credited as Kiyoharu Ohnaka in the film), a pre-“Star Trek” George Takei (in an uncredited role for the English dubbing of Akihiko Hirata’s character), veteran character actor Keye Luke (in an uncredited role for the English dubbing of Kenji Sahara’s character), veteran voice-over artist Paul Frees (in an uncredited role for the English dubbing of Akio Kobori’s character) and veteran voice-over artist Art Gilmore (in an uncredited role as the narrator).
The legendary Berwyn/Chicago-based horror/sci-fi film host will be presenting “Godzilla Raids Again” (1955, a.k.a. “Gigantis: the Fire Monster”) this Sat., Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central on Me-TV (as part of Sven’s Jan. festival of classic Toho Studios “Godzilla” kaiju creature features).
There will be two more “Godzilla” films in Sven’s showcase for Jan., with “Mothra vs. Godzilla” (1964, a.k.a. “Godzilla vs. The Thing”) on Jan. 20 and “Godzilla’s Revenge” (1969, a.k.a. “All Monsters Attack”) on Jan. 27.
The second Toho Studios “Godzilla” (“Gojira”) feature was directed by Motoyoshi Oda and was produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka. This was Oda’s only “Godzilla”/”Gojira” feature.
Ed. Note/Sidebar:Due to the recent Me-TV affiliation switch in the Frederick/Washington area (Me-TV moved from WJLA-TV 7 to Fox O&O WTTG-5’s sub-channel, along with unsuccessful attempts at receiving WTTG and WBAL’s over-the-air digital signals for Me-TV), the local cable provider near the home office of “Silver Screen Reflections” has still not added WTTG’s new Me-TV sub-channel.
After recent discussions with a rep from my local cable provider, they claimed that it would take a week for them to restore Me-TV to my cable lineup. I have also inquired the management of WTTG to see if they have worked out a deal with my local cable provider to restore Me-TV (as of this writing, I have not received any replies from the management of WTTG/Fox Television Stations).
I do not want to miss out on Sven’s premiere of “Rodan” this Saturday (unfortunately, I missed out on his recent showcase of “Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man”).
I definitely do not want to miss out on another fun live-tweeting session during Svengoolie’s showcase (w/ fellow fans of Sven throughout the country)!
Fingers crossed that Me-TV will be restored to my cable lineup soon (before Svengoolie and “Rodan” this Sat. night)! Now on to the article! –C.H.
Fans of “Svengoolie” and Toho Studios’ “kaiju” monster films will be excited when he will showcase another cult gem featuring another creature of Japanese cinema.
Svengoolie Presents: “Godzilla Raids Again” (1955, as part of Sven’s salute to Godzilla)
Still from “Godzilla Raids Again” (1955, released in the United States as “Gigantis, the FIre Monster” in 1959).
As part of Sven’s month-long salute to “Godzilla,” the legendary Chicago-based horror film host will be presenting the sequel to “Godzilla” (”Godzilla, King of the Monsters”), “Godzilla Raids Again” (originally filmed in 1955, released in the United States in 1959) on Sat., Feb. 11 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central on Me-TV Network.
Later this month, he will be showing two more vintage Godzilla features from Japan’s Toho Studios, including “Godzilla vs. Mothra” on Feb. 18 (released in 1964) and “Godzilla’s Revenge” on Feb. 25 (released in 1969 as “All Monsters Attack” in Japan).
Iconic horror/sci-fi movie host Svengoolie will present a special edition of his Saturday evening vintage horror/sci-fi film showcase on Me-TV Network. On Sept. 10, Sven will present the rarely seen pilot episode of “Star Trek,” titled “The Cage” at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central, right after first broadcast episode of “Star Trek,” “The Man Trap,” which will air in the program’s regular timeslot on Me-TV at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central (part of Me-TV’s “Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night” lineup, the original series premiered on NBC with “The Man Trap” on the evening of Sept. 8, 1966).
According to the official Me-TV press release, there were two pilots made for the original “Star Trek” series. The first Trek pilot, “The Cage” was filmed in 1965. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk is not in this pilot episode, as the Enterprise is led by Captain Christopher Pike, who is played by Jeffrey Hunter. Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock is in the first filmed pilot, along with Majel Barrett (who married series creator Gene Roddenberry in 1969), who played “Number One” in the first pilot of the series.
Scenes from “The Cage” were later recycled into “The Menagerie”
The first pilot was rejected by NBC, and the majority of footage from the “The Cage” was recycled into the two-part episode (episode 16), “The Menagerie,” which aired on the peacock network in Nov. 1966. Actor Sean Kenney was cast as an injured Captain Pike in the two-part episode.
According to the CBS Syndication logbook* (formerly known as the Paramount Syndication Bible), the first pilot was never seen until it aired for the first time in a syndicated special.
Rediscovery of “The Cage”
In 1988, Paramount Pictures produced (and syndicated) a retrospective series on the Star Trek franchise, titled “The Star Trek Saga: From One Generation to the Next.” The special was hosted by Patrick Stewart (who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the second Trek series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” from 1987-1994).
For the first time, “The Cage” aired in its entirety as part of the special (from the original color negatives).
Be sure to watch Svengoolie’s Salute to “Star Trek”
Svengoolie’s special presentation of the rare first “Star Trek” pilot, “The Cage,” is perfect for Trekkies, fans of science fiction and Sven’s program. You will not want to miss it, as it is one of many perfect opportunities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Star Trek.”
*CBS obtained the rights to the “Star Trek” franchise as part of then-parent Viacom’s corporate split in 2006. CBS inherited the broadcast television/syndication holdings of Paramount Pictures/Viacom that same year (excluding the post-48 Paramount feature films, which are still held by the studio).