How Godzilla Got His Name

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How Godzilla Got His Name

I received this from William E. Modesitt, the creator of TimeSlice, project-based time management software for the Macintosh. Bill is sharing a conversation he had with Gabe Ireton, the person who named your friend and mine: Godzilla.

I know everyone is anxiously waiting for the next beta, but so you don't get bored waiting, I thought I'd send you some reading material. Did you know that one (or more) of you are in the legal profession, one is "owned by a cat," a lot of you are artists, and one beta tester created the name GODZILLA! Here's the story. I hope you enjoy it. I sure did.

Organization: Small Business Administration
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 95 23:38:01 -0400

!! (By the way, Bill, did I ever tell you how I gave 'Godzilla' its name?
! How?

Bill, you just made a B-I-G mistake!! ;)

Well, you see, it was this way . . .

I lived in Tokyo as a teenager with my father in the middle to late 1950s. He was editor and publisher of a motion-picture trade magazine called, "Movie/TV Marketing" which, incidentally, launched my 35-year career in journalism. The magazine was printed in Japan and mailed to people in motion pictures in 135 countries. Naturally, the magazine served as a major advertising mouthpiece for the Japanese movie industry to export its films. And, during the course of setting up English-language advertising, we also gave English titles to motion pictures as an extra "sweetener" in selling advertising.

One evening as we sat down on the tatame around the (very short) dinner table, my father produced an envelope of glossy photographs.

"Daiei is releasing a new monster movie, and they want a title for it," he said. "Actually, they want the name of the title character."

He passed around the photos of this new monster, and I looked at it.

"Monster? Looks more like a gorilla to me," I responded with typical teenage detachment.

"No-no -- this is supposed to be a great-big, god-like animal that terrorizes the Japanese countryside," Dad explained.

"Well, okay," I said. "How about God-rilla?"

My father's Japanese wife toned in.

"'Godrilla' is hard to pronounce in Japanese, and they want this name to be recognized in both languages," she said.

"Hmm," I said. "Well, then, how about, 'Godzilla,'"

Little did I know as I sat at the (very, very short) dinner table that quite evening that a monumental epoch in the history of the global motion picture business had started ...

... even if it turned out most of those Godzilla movies were absolute tripe! ;)

("Are you serious??" asks Bill. "Yup!" says I. It really happened.)

NOW, how would you like to hear my story of how I named "Rodan??" (Honest!)

Organization: Small Business Administration
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 95 12:31:24 -0400
Subject: RODAN

!! NOW, how would you like to hear my story of how I named "Rodan??"
! Yes!

Okay. Same basic scenario with Dad hauling out the glossies.

"Okay, this is a flying monster, but it's supposed to be very intelligent," he said.

"Hey," said I. "What's the name of the sculptor who did 'The Thinker??'"

"That was Rodon," he said.

"There you go," said I.

Then, to slightly disguise the name, we changed the spelling.

My father's wife, Kikuko, came up with a couple on her own, too.

But we didn't do "Mothra." It was a dumb name, anyway!

NOW, would you like to know how we named, "King Kong?"

[Just kidding!! ;) ]

Gabe Ireton
Beaver Falls, PA
07/26/95 @ 11:20AM

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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