Godzilla – animated TV series, 1978 – 1981

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Godzilla is a 30-minute animated series co-produced between Hanna-Barbera Productions and Toho in 1978 and aired on NBC in the United States and TV Tokyo in Japan.

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The series is an animated adaptation of the Japanese Godzilla films produced by Toho. It continued to air until 1981.

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Derided by many aficionados of the Japanese movie series as a disgrace, this was is many respects very sympathetic to the mythology Toho had developed. There were, perhaps understandably, some differences in Godzilla himself; he was green, as opposed to the rather charcoal hues of the film incarnation and there were discrepancies in his size – the theme song’s declaration that he was ’30 stories high’  would have made him far larger than his apparent 50 metres. Godzilla also had the ability to breathe fire (as opposed to the atomic blasts of the films) and could shoot lasers from his eyes, even underwater. Though fighting on the side of the human characters, Godzilla did at least carry some menace, both in sound and appearance.

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The series revolved around a scientific research vessel named the calico, helmed by Captain Carl Majors. Also aboard were scientist Dr. Quinn Darien her research assistant Brock and her nephew Pete. Spoiling the fun for everyone was another member, Godzooky, an unclarified relative of the mighty Godzilla. Whilst often referred to as his nephew, this rather gives the impression of marriages and a cosy homelife, a far different and thankfully unmade series. Godzooky was a child-like character with pathetic membranous wings which allowed ungainly flight. He could not yet breathe fire and had to suffice with pathetic, coughed smoke-rings.

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As compensation for putting up with his useless relative, Godzilla protected the inhabitants of the ship whenever it came under attack…which was usually as a result of their experiments, you’d think he’d have had a quiet word. Godzilla could be summoned by a small device that was carried around by Captain Majors that emitted a long-range sonic frequency that Godzilla could easily hear, and which was activated by the simple pushing of a button on the device, or by Godzooky himself, via the little monster’s cry. Illogically, Godzilla always seemed to appear immediately whenever the distress signal was activated, no matter where in the world the Calico happened to be at the time!

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There were issues with the sound of Godzilla, the trademark roar of the films being exactly that – as such, whilst Japanese audiences were treated to his familiar tones, the rest of the world had the vocal talents of Ted Cassidy providing the appropriate sound effects. Cassidy had also performed a similar task for the first two series of the television series of The Incredible Hulk and Ben Grimm/The Thing in the animated series Fantastic Four. He is, however, most well-known as the gaunt giant butler Lurch, from TV’s The Addams Family.  Godzooky was voiced by vocal giant Don Messick, also famed for Scooby Doo and Little Gruesome from Wacky Races.

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For many children, certainly outside of Japan, it was their first introduction to Godzilla and his weekly foes opened up an entire world of monsters and flights of fantasy. None of the monstrous foes in the show had counterparts already appearing in films. Those he did face are listed below:

  • The Fire Bird (Episode 1)
  • The Earth Eater (Episode 2)
  • The Stone Creatures (AKA The Guardians of Ramal, Episode 3)
  • The Megavolt Monsters (Episode 4)
  • The Seaweed Monster (Episode 5)
  • The Energy Beast (Episode 6)
  • The Colossus of Atlantis (Episode 7)
  • The Cyclops Creature (Episode 8)
  • The Chimera (Episode 9)
  • The Minotaur (Episode 9)
  • The Sirens (Morphea is the only one named, Episode 9)
  • The Magnetic Monster (Episode 10)
  • The Breeder Beast (Episode 11)
  • The Watchuka (Episode 12)
  • Great Watchuka (Episode 12)
  • Diplodocus (Episode 13)
  • Carnivorous Plant (Episode 13)
  • Time Dragon (Episode 13)
  • Godzooky Clone (Episode 14)
  • Voltrang’s Clone Monster (AKA The Giant Squid, Episode 14)
  • Giant Fly (Episode 15)
  • Giant Octopus (Episode 16)
  • Axor (Episode 17)
  • The Power Dragon (Episode 18)
  • The Cyborg Whale (Episode 19)
  • Magma Lizards (Episode 20)
  • Moon Monster (AKA ‘Gravity Goliath’, Episode 21)
  • The Golden Guardians (Episode 22)
  • Flying Manta Ray (Episode 23)
  • Spider Crab (Episode 23)
  • Jellyfish (Episode 23)
  • Sea Turtle (Episode 23)
  • Tropical Fish (Episode 23)
  • Sharks (Episode 23)
  • Squids (Episode 23)
  • Electric Eels (Episode 23)
  • Giant Black Widow (Episode 24)
  • Venus Flytrap (Episode 24)
  • Ants (Episode 24)
  • Giant Beetle (Episode 24)
  • Giant Antlion (Episode 24)
  • Bees (Episode 24)
  • Dragonfly (Episode 24)
  • COBRA group (a fictional terrorist group armed with modern weapons technology, not to be confused with the group of the same name from the G.I. Joe franchise) (Episode 25)
  • The Ice People of Frios (Episode 26)

All together now…

Daz Lawrence, Horrorpedia

Related: Godzilla on Horrorpedia

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Related: Godzilla on Horrorpedia

2 Comments on “Godzilla – animated TV series, 1978 – 1981”

  1. At 7 years old, I was already the neighborhood Japanese Monster expert. Having seen Ultraman and every Godzilla film up to that point (except Gigantis the Fire Monster), the other kids looked to me as the one with the knowledge. They all saw how unhappy I was with this show. The changes were too much. He didn’t look like the Big G-Man, didn’t sound like him, didn’t act like him (actual fire breath, laser vision and getting dehydrated on land?), got punked out too easily, did not fight or team up with any of his Toho co-stars, was at the beck and call of humanity. And worst of all Godzooky! PUKE! Why pay for the name then not use any of the trademark qualities (see-Deviln, Dean. Emmerich, Roland)? Did HB have an idea, then license the rights of the Godzilla name to beef up a generic monster series that was in the pipeline? I always wondered about that one. This was the opening salvo in America’s disastrous attempts to adapt or redo Japanese properties.

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