A quick light note to take us to the break:
I just have to offer a sincere Happy Birthday to someone who just turned 60 this week.
Yes, folks, Godzilla is now 60.
The first Godzilla film was released in Japan on November 3, 1954. The monster's name, and the title of the film, was "Gojira," which, as near as I can tell from a website for Japanese pronunciations, was pronounced "GO-ji-ra" or "GO-zhi-ra." The name was supposed to be a combination of "gorilla" and the Japanese word for "whale." Which strikes me as odd because I don't think he looks even a little like either a gorilla or a whale, but on the other hand he would make one whale of a gorilla so maybe it works out.
Godzilla became the name we know him by with the American release of an Americanized version featuring Raymond Burr in 1956 under the title "Godzilla, King of the Monsters."
An interesting note about the American release is that while it downplayed the social commentary and anti-nuclear weapons messages of the original, it was the first post-World War II major commercial release in the US to present Japanese in principal, heroic roles or as sympathetic victims.
Godzilla: 60 years old and still stompin'. Happy B-day, big guy.
Sources cited in links: