Greetings from beyond The Veil, Effendi! It was 9 years ago today that Prince Sirki traveled to the Land of the Rising Sun, to call upon one of Toho’s most versatile character actors. His was a face you could recognize almost instantly, even if you didn’t know his name. In SPACE MONSTER DOGORA (1964), he was a sunglasses and derby wearing, dynamite hurling, jewel thief. In GODZILLA’S REVENGE (1969), he was the toy inventing next-door neighbor to our latch-key kid hero. But every kaiju fan knows him best as ‘that international Judas’ – as hero Carl Nelson called him- the villainous Dr. Hu (or Dr. Who) in KING KONG ESCAPES (1967). In non-kaiju circles, fans of Woody Allen should remember him as the wheezing, snake-handling (and loving) bartender in WHAT’S UP TIGER LILY? (1966). His name was Eisei Amamoto, though he was also credited as Hideyo Amamoto – as in his last film, Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidrah – All Monsters Attack! (2001), in which he was the ghostly Professor Isayama.
Personal note – back in 1982, when I was working in a comic shop, I first met two guys (who’d soon turn out to be my lifelong friends) who started talking about a show called DOCTOR WHO. I had NEVER heard of the show (the Tom Baker episodes were airing on local PBS channels at the time), and I asked “The villain from KING KONG ESCAPES? He has a show??” They shook their heads.