The Story of Godzilla’s Birth – Pt 37


The Story of Godzilla's Birth
「ゴジラ誕生語」The Story of Godzilla's Birth by Osamu Yamaguchi

P 83


Use adversity as a springboard


Tsuburaya is often said to be a man of ideas.


For example, when filming a scene of a volcanic eruption, he turned a miniature volcano upside down and submerge it in a tank of water.


Then he poured milk into the volcano. Then, a cloud of milk flows out of the crater and into the aquarium. When the camera was turned upside down to capture this scene, it looked like a real volcano was erupting.


He also came up with an idea for how to fly an airplane that exploits human blind spots.


Normally, when a miniature airplane is seen flying, the audience unconsciously looks up at the plane. This is because they think, “Maybe it’s tied up with some thread.” Tsuburaya did the opposite. He photographs airplanes hanging upside down and flips them upside down on screen. The audience never expects there to be a line under the plane, so even if a string (often a piano line) is faintly visible, they won’t notice.


However, Tsuburaya was not just a man of ideas. He knew all the facts and had the precision to give instructions after making thorough calculations.


One day, Sadamasa Arikawa, who was in charge of filming Godzilla, suddenly received a call from Tsuburaya.
“Do you know how many meters long that telephone pole is?”


He asked. It’s something he sees all the time, but it bothers him to hear that.

P 84


“It’s about 10 meters.”


“Well, that’s a good line.”


Saying that, he approaches the telephone pole.


“This telephone pole is 14 meters long. Many people think that all telephone poles are the same length, but there are roughly three types: 12 meters, 14 meters, and 16 meters.”


Then how did they know this telephone pole was 14 meters long? As Arikawa thought this, he said, “I may not have noticed, but all telephone poles have something like this on them.”


When he looked at the spot Tsuburaya was pointing at, he saw a white, round object about 5 centimeters in diameter, about 2 meters high.


“If you say so, I feel like something like this happened.”


This is the extent of human memory. However, Tsuburaya did not overlook “something of this level.” If you look closely, you can see fine letters written on it.

「えーと、1948、14、5・0、1・3t……何です? これって。」

“Um, 1948, 14, 5.0, 1.3t…what is this?”


Arikawa had no idea.


“It has the year of manufacture, overall length, strength, weight, etc. written on it.”


He did not know. But what is that?


Tsuburaya stared at Arikawa through his thick glasses.


“Listen, Arikawa-kun. First, I’ll show you a telephone pole. I’ll tell you the size of Godzilla from the ratio of the height of that telephone pole. In order to do that, you need to know the height of the telephone pole, right?”