Gojira / Godzilla: King of the monsters (1954)(Toho)
GODZILLA IS DEAD!
City Saved By Scientist’s Secret Invention
Tokyo, Japan – Steve Martin – United World News – Chicago
(Fiction)Our tale begins dramatically amidst the smouldering ruins of what was once a great city. Twisted girders, cracked, blistering sidewalks and the skeletal frames of demolished buildings paint a grim portrait of this smouldering memorial to the unknown. Tokyo, once a proud metropolis of six million people, is now a graveyard.The mind is a curious thing. It takes so much for granted! Freedom, happiness, security….these are things we’ve lived with and accepted, but rarely appreciated. As I look across the crimson, still-smoking horizon, these ideals seem very far away, for what I see, and smell, and sense…is death. Perhaps I myself am dead, and this fiery, lifeless landscape is actually Hell! I don’t know..I don’t know anything anymore, except that I, as a man, as a member of the human race, have been dwarfed by a living nightmare. It has proven itself stronger, smarter…more powerful than the Earth itself! My world burns before me, and with it, my very soul.
My name was Steve Martin. I used to be a foreign correspondent for United World News. I was headed for a routine assignment in Cairo when I decided to stop off in Tokyo to see an old friend. But that was days ago…I was a man then.
Now I am part of the human wreckage, the rubble and blood and total destruction of last night. I am in a hospital, and all around me are the dead and the injured. Those who are alive are silent, thoughtless…they know it is only a matter of time before “It” strikes again.
People are walking by me very fast now. I can hardly see their faces. Perhaps it is just as well….what does the face of defeat look like, anyway? It couldn’t be more sickening that the cold, blank expressions of the lifeless. But ….wait. That girl coming toward me-I know her! Why, it’s…”Emiko, Emiko!”
“Steve, Steve Martin! Are you Badly hurt?”
“After last night I’m lucky to be alive. And your father….is he alright?”
“Yes! He’s meeting with the security officials now. Don’t move Steve, I’ll try to get a doctor for you.”
A doctor! Hah! What can a doctor do? Will he bring the city back? Will he bestow life upon upon those trampled and crushed and burned? What can anyone do now…now that Godzilla lives? Emiko means well, as do they all…but tonight he will return. Tonight we will not be as fortunate! Death stalks us all, in the furious, rampaging form of a behemoth such as modern man had never seen prior to last night. But wait – I am wrong? He had never been seen! But no one believed those sightings, those reports of a vengeful monster out of ancient myth and legend….it seems so long ago now, but I can still recall every horrifying moment as clear as crystal. A few days ago things were normal…
A small sailing vessel was drifting peacefully in calm water. Some of the men were on deck, staring into the infinite loneliness and wonder that was the ocean. How old the ocean was, they thought. And how mysterious. Suddenly a stark, glaring light flashed across the deck. The men rose instantly and looked about. Then their eardrums burst and their bodies crumpled before a sound like no other….a heavy, thundering roar like the wail of some unholy foghorn. Flames filled the air. The radio men tried to send for help but there wasn’t enough time. In an instant, the vessel had disappeared beneath the cruel, burning waves…
When I finally arrived at the airport the following morning, I was greeted by Shegarito, Dr. Serizawa’s trusted assistant. But before we could visit the good scientist, a Japanese officer interrupted our meeting and asked me to come to the security headquarters. Slightly annoyed at the curious request, I asked Shegarito to extend my apologies to Dr. Serizawa and reluctantly followed the officer into a small room. Although I could not understand all of it, I figured out that the reason for everyone’s strange behavior this curious morning involved the sinking of that small sailing vessel…
My part in the confusion was finally made clear to me. A friendly, English-speaking Japanese official named Tomo asked me several questions about my flight. He was seeking answers to the perplexing enigma of that ship disaster! What could have caused it? A mine, or a collision perhaps…but when the ship’s doomed radiomen sent a message through, it told only of a blinding flash of light.
It was a mystery, alright. The Japanese authorities were trying to solve that mystery by sending out a rescue ship to survey the disaster area.
That rescue ship was never heard from again.
While officials tried their best to control the panic elicited from these strange accidents, news of the disasters finally leaked out. A frightened public demanded an explanation! Scientists and government men were brought together to discuss courses of action and offer solutions. Among them was Dr. Yomane, Japan’s foremost paleontologist, whom I had met through my friend Serizawa several years ago. If there was an answer to these mysterious sea disasters, it would come from these men.
After much desperate conversation, Dr. Yomane suggested to the officials that they question the natives of Odo Island, a small bleak, spot of land that was close to the area where the tragedies had taken place. Confused, but receptive, the authorities quickly agreed. I was allowed to tag along.
Odo was an industrious little island in the Pacific populated by several hundred natives who were now paralyzed with fear. These people were the only ones to see some of the fires at sea, as well as locate one survivor of a sinking. His visit, unfortunately, was a short one! As the Japanese officials descended upon the island’s small community, the natives became even more frightened. One babbled what everyone considered to be a “ridiculous” story to Tomo. Nervously, he informed the official that a horrible monster was responsible for all the disasters.
Too much sake, I thought to myself.
That evening I had the unique opportunity to witness a rare ceremony. The islanders were apparently performing an ancient folk-dance, and wore rather frightening reptile-like face masks. Tomo enlightened me as to an old Odo legend, which stated that somewhere off shore there lived a massive creature of incredible strength. Although this sounded silly to me at first, I was curious about the monster’s name and asked Tomo if he knew it. A native answered for him. The thing was called Godzilla.
Much later that night, Tomo and I were sleeping in a tent we had set up at the far edge of the island. Restless, I awoke to notice a peculiar flickering in our lantern. The very ground beneath us appeared to be quivering! Tomo and I wedged ourselves around our tent pole for support as wind and rain began to pound against us. Staring into the furious blackness, we could hear huts falling a people shouting. For this was more than just the wind and rain and lightening. Much more. I wasn’t sure just what it was. No one was sure. No one except the natives, and they were positive. They said it was….Godzilla!
It was decided that a return trip to Odo was necessary if the mystery of these unusual occurrences would ever be solved. Dr. Yomane himself would visit the island to search for signs of unusual phenomena. On the morning of the sailing, Pier “J” swarmed with well-wishers for the doctor and his party. But there was still a feeling of anxiety among the passengers. For every ship that had taken this course had vanished from the face of the Earth. Yes, there was a feeling of anxiety, but perhaps the two exceptions were Emiko and a young marine officer named Ogata. When I had last seen Emiko she had just been engaged to Dr. Serizawa; it was the usual triangle, only this time it was to play an important part in the lives of millions of people.
When the troupe finally arrived the next day, they discovered various large, radioactive openings in the soil of Odo Island. Dr. Yomane was stunned….they were the footprints of a living creature! Suddenly, Emiko pointed out something in the crack of the imprint. It was a trilobite, a three-winged worm thought to be extinct.
The shrill sounds of a native gong rang out across the peaceful morning silence and everyone began running toward the top of a hill. I hastily asked Tomo what was going on, but he simply insisted that we follow. Soon we were swept along with the frenzied natives in that strange exodus toward that mountain peak. From our position in the crowd, we could see that Dr. Yomane and his party were fairly close to the top. Then it happened. At first it looked like the mountain was moving….but this was no mountain. Nor was it anything else I could possibly imagine. Several jagged, pointed spines rose like majestic warriors from behind the hill! The horrified people cried out in fear and melted into the side of the mountain for protection. For this was Godzilla….an incredibly large, unbelievably massive prehistoric beast, and the most frightening thing I had ever seen in my life! Staring at the tiny human beings before it, the creature roared and bellowed in terrifying defiance. It was challenging us, challenging mankind itself for mastery of our world.
At a scientific conference held a few days later, Dr. Yomane, one of the eyewitnesses, lead the discussion. Of course, the question we were all asking ourselves was how this animal could reappear after all these years, and so close to the coast of Japan? The doctor suggested that some rare phenomenon of nature allowed this breed of the Jurassic Age to reproduce itself and, for a long span of time, the beast had no reason to reappear to the world. But now that analysis of radioactivity in the creature’s footprints showed the existence of Strontium-90, a product of the H-Bomb, it was Yomane’s considered opinion that Godzilla was resurrected due to repeated experiments with nuclear bombs.
A short while later I phoned my boss, George Lawrence, in Chicago and eagerly gave him the following headline: SECURITY DECIDES TO USE DEPTH BOMBS AGAINST GODZILLA. It would be the first real test of man’s defenses against this prehistoric foe!
In the midst of all the excitement, I finally contacted my good friend, Dr. Serizawa, but declined to see him that evening when he mentioned that Emiko was visiting. The marriage between Emiko and Dr. Serizawa had been arranged when they were both children, and while the girl wasn’t in love with the great scientist, she had great respect and admiration for him. It proved difficult for her to tell him she was planning to marry the young sailor, Ogata.
But what was more important and, indeed, far more surprising lay in the doctor’s mysterious laboratory. Before Emiko could explain her true feelings, Serizawa insisted she observe his new discovery. A large beautiful fish tank stood in the center of his lab, and the girl seemed enchanted with it. Then, Serizawa placed a strange pellet into the water and pulled Emiko away. Bubbles arose furiously from the capsule, and Emiko screamed in revulsion!
Whatever it was she saw, the scientist made her promise to tell no one of it.
By the end of the day, it was generally assumed that the underwater demolitions had ended the short but terrible reign of Godzilla. There was a feeling of relief throughout Tokyo, even celebration, but both the hope and the celebration were short-lived.
For the massive creature was soon sighted rising from the ocean outside of Tokyo! Within moments the city was aware that Godzilla was inside the harbor, and panic began to spread and mount to uncontrollable proportions. The monster slashed at the ocean as the Japanese military began firing. Their bullets and rockets had no effect whatsoever. With the thunder of some monstrous demon, the creature climbed upon land! It was like the end of the world for the seaside citizens of Tokyo. Godzilla crushed automobiles and small houses beneath his massive feet. An oncoming train was savagely attacked, its steel cars crushed within the ferocious jaws of the prehistoric horror. The monster left a legacy of terror and destruction before it finally turned back toward the sea. But we knew that he would be back soon to destroy us all unless some means were found to combat him.
Tokyo was quick to ready its defenses. The city was surrounded by high-tension electrical towers, and to get to the heart of the area, Godzilla would have to break through 300,000 volts of electricity! The officials were fighting against the clock to have everything ready by nightfall, and a general evacuation of all non-essential personnel was ordered. It was a monumental job, but a job that had to be done. By the early evening hours everyone was off the street. The news office commanded a good view of Tokyo and received all reports directly from security headquarters. Everyone in the city was on a watch a wait basis. The wait….was not a long one.
Like some monstrous denizen of Hell, Godzilla emerged from the ocean depths and walked toward the shore. Here in Tokyo, time has been turned back two million years as the creature stalked defiantly across a well-guarded landscape. He was as tall as a thirty-story building, and we gasped with terror as he approached the city’s main line of defense: the 300,000 volts of electricity strung around Tokyo as a barrier against Godzilla! The monster cautiously neared the wires. Explosion after explosion of electrical power began! It seemed for a while as if, at long last, something had finally worked in stopping the prehistoric leviathan. But then our hopes died with the next fatal blow. From out of the monster’s massive mouth came a stream of radioactive vapor! Spewing fire upon the life-saving electrical towers, the strong, steel girders became soft and weak, and began to melt. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Now it seemed Tokyo had no defense!
The monster destroyed everything in its path. Nothing could withstand its other-worldly might! Buildings, bridges, aircraft, all were wiped from the face of the Earth by this incredible force of ancient nature. An entire tank battalion was sent out to point-blank firing range. The soldiers who commanded these defenses were incinerated in a matter of seconds! Death loomed over Tokyo. Godzilla roared and screamed his challenge into the fiery night sky, as if to alert man of his numbered days. And before I realized what was happening, the ceiling above me began to collapse, and I was soon buried under the wreckage.
Now, it’s a blurred memory as I lie here in the hospital.
“Hi Emiko”, I moan as the young girl’s vision comes into focus and wracks me from my tormented dreams. Her fiance is with her.
“Ogata!” I exclaim. “Anything new develop?”
Emiko answers before the sailor can even speak. “Nothing new will develop unless….I was shown a terrible secret, and was asked never to reveal it!”
I look the girl squarely in the face, and find my senses returning to me at long last. “Emiko”, I ask soberly, “If you can help, you must! Last night Tokyo was destroyed. Tomorrow it might be Osaka or Yokahama.”
“When I went to see Dr. Serizawa, I had intended to tell him of Ogata and me, but there was something he wanted to show me first…He had been experimenting with oxygen when he came upon a terrible chemical discovery: A way to destroy all oxygen in water, thereby disintegrating all living matter! An amount no larger than a baseball could turn Tokyo Bay into graveyard. Serizawa had found a terrible destructive power and until he could find a counteractive developed from his experiments, he didn’t want the world to know his secret. He swore me to silence!”
Ogata eyes his future wife nervously. “Emiko! We need Dr. Serizawa’s help. There is no other way!”
I nod in agreement, and then watch the young couple leave the hospital room.
I don’t know what went on when Emiko and Ogata went to see the great scientist. I only know that he finally did consent to let them use the weapon, after burning the formula for the deadly discovery in his fireplace. We all stand together now, united in our hope for the future.
The boat; finding the location of Godzilla; the oxygen destroyer; all these are ready. Serizawa is assisting Ogata in placing the weapon deep under water as an announcer aboard the ship eagerly asks the world to “please stand by”.
They’ve been under water for several minutes now. It seems like….wait! Serizawa seems to be having trouble! Ogata radioed that he refuses to come to the surface!
“Ogata, is it working!” Serizawa’s voice crackles over the speaker. He can see the horrendous creature approaching in the distance, already feeling the effects of the deadly weapon. As Ogata is pulled to the surface, he can see his comrade remove a knife and start cutting his own hose! “Live happily with Emiko.” He says.
The sea around us is erupting. We are motionless; still; waiting to see what happens next. Suddenly the monster appears! But he is not the terrifying sight that instilled fear and terror into our very souls as before. Godzilla is now bellowing his death throes. In an instant he disappears beneath the surface.
The menace is gone, and so is a great man. But now the whole world can wake up and live again, and perhaps now, with the example set by Dr. Serizawa, we can do so more wisely.