Sirki’s Summons – January 25: The Kaiju Master

Greetings from beyond the veil, effendi.

There are innovators, and there are imitators. This particular innovator can be credited with the creation of an entire genre that has endured to this very day, from his humble beginnings in film back in the 1930s. Like so many aspiring film makers, this man was inspired by KING KONG (1933) and wanted to make advances like had never before seen in his homeland.

That homeland is Japan.

That film maker is the father of Japanese Special Effects, and subsequently Kaiju Eiga (Giant Monster Films), Eiji Tsuburaya. It was 42 years ago today, that Prince Sirki paid him a visit, and whisked him away to Planet X and beyond.

For the better part of 3 decades, he oversaw the special effects department for Toho, and is credited, along with Tomoyuki Tanaka and Ishiro Honda, with the creation that would define Toho around the world for half a century – GODZILLA.

He is also credited with the creation of TV Mainstay ULTRA-MAN, and all his various incarnations, produced by his own Tsuburaya Productions. Tsuburaya, or ‘The Old Man’ as his co-workers & employees respectfully called him, was a perfectionist and quite the taskmaster, but the quality of his work, when compared with the size of his budgets was brilliant, and served to inspire many film makers in both the East AND the West.

During WWII, he was pressed into service in the film/propaganda department and he recreated the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese point of view. Following the surrender, it’s said that Douglas MacArthur himself saw the film and thought it was  documentary footage, as opposed to a reconstruction, utilizing models and effects. THAT’S how good Eiji Tuburaya was.

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