Believe it or not, 50 years ago today, Japanese movie-goers were introduced to the longest lasting, if not the GREATEST, Giant Insect Monster, Mothra. American audiences would have to wait until the following May to meet Mothra and her diminutive handlers/priestesses, The Aelinas/Shobijin.
Talk about longevity and popularity? Mothra is the only Toho Kaiju, aside from Godzilla, to merit an updated solo movie (Mosura (1996)), as well as TWO sequels (Mosura 2 & 3 (’97 & ’98)). Rodan had to settle for an update as a supporting character in Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla (1993), and I rather doubt we’ll ever see an updated Baran or Dagora in their own features. Same goes for the Toho Frankenstein & the Gargantuas. Mothra even proved so popular, it’s been included in multiple Godzilla films in all three cycles, second only to Ghidrah, in various iterations (including two appearances in the ’90s Mothra movies).
So Happy 50th, Mothra. Remember to stay away from giant lightbulbs.