Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Godzilla: In Person!

Today's Monster Memories are of:
When I Met Godzilla: And Lived!

The King of the Monsters roars a challenge to the con-goers.

In the summer of 1979, Miamicon 2 was held in, naturally, Miami. I had missed the first one back in 1975, but managed to come up with a lie convincing enough to get me out of the house for a whole afternoon (if you read this blog much you'll know why I was forced to), and I tooled down from Ft. Lauderdale in my gold 1968 Cougar to join the fun.

One of the most outstanding memories I have of the events was a match between Godzilla and King Kong! The Godzilla suit was awesome, and I wish I knew where it had come from and who made it. A pre-recorded tape with Godzilla's music and sounds played over the sound system as the Big G stomped into the room to a roar of laughter and applause from the gathered fans. As he tromped around in a power display, cameras were flashing. But then, a challenger appeared! A guy in a gorilla suit.. er, I mean... King Kong himself, stormed in for a rematch!

And thus began the battle of the century as the two titans wrestled for the crown of King of the Monsters. A referree annouced the fight and made calls as the two pummeled each other and tossed one another around in what was the funniest sight I ever saw. Gales of laughter were coming from me and the rest of the crowd as they went at it whole-heartedly, in no less of a fight than in their last movie together.

Unfortunately, the photos of the fight came out blurred, so I don't have any to post. My camera wasn't that great and they just didn't turn out in the low light and when the subjects were in motion. How I wish I had video of it!

But, posted above are the photos I do have, so you can see what a great job somebody did on that Godzilla suit. Maybe someday I'll find out the story behind it and get more photos from others that were there.

8-13-2010 UPDATE: Cleve Hall, whom I found on Facebook, has been revealed as the the person responsible for the suit! Read his post in the comments section below and get "the rest of the story!" Then visit his Facebook page for more photos!

Below is a newspaper article about the con.


Anonymous said...

this suit was made by Cleve Hall who has made several monster suits for Film and TV and made the Godzilla suit in one of the Pee Wee movies.

Frederick said...


Thanks for the tip! If you know him and how to contact him, I'd love to find out more, and maybe get him to tell his story about the con. Was he in the suit? More pictures would be great.

August Ragone said...

You can contact Cleve Hall right on Facebook!

August Ragone
Author, Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters

Gothzilla said...

WOW! What a shock to see these pics from so long ago. That is the suit I wore in PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE. That will remain my greatest life achievement.. to have played Godzilla on film.. battling King Ghidorah.... AND Smashing into Dee Snyder's car! If you watch the film again you can see me in the 2 cuts before the Godzilla scene as an Xtra (Tim liked my look) I'm standing to the side with the Goth Hawk up.

Actually, at Miamican, (what did they have.. like, 3 movies they kept re-running.. think I saw Animal Farm 4 times) I was in the Kong suit. My closest friend and fellow artist, the Late Steve Sleap, was in the Godzilla suit (he was taller). Check out his IMDB... some amazing credits before he succumbed to AIDS many years ago.

The suit was made by our group IMAGIMATION Productions which was based in Jacksonville. Among the other talents from IP was Tim Lawrence and Marc Tyler. They too have had very successful careers in the FX industry after we moved to LA in 82-83. The 5th member, Richard Sykes, remained in Jax where he was a talented local actor and curator at the Museum of Arts and Sciences.

There are pics of us in my Facebook photos with some of our other creatures including Angurus and 15' wingspread Chernabog (from Fantasia) that took all 5 of us to operate!

Anyhoo.. thank you so much for posting the pics and bringing back such wonderful memories! 33 Years later and I'm still making Monsters... because a few years ago I came to the horrifying realization I don't know how to do Anything Else!

Cleve Hall

Frederick said...


So glad to have found you, and the get the whole story about that day! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and fill us in, and glad you enjoyed seeing the pictures! It was the highlight of the con for me. And now I'll have to get out Pee-Wee's Big Adventure again and watch the scene, knowing now it was the same suit! It was an amazing creation and the performances that day were great.

artandlogic said...

I was at there! I vaguely recall the battle. Do you have any other pictures of the con? I was 14 at the time and came in from Chicago. I was the person in the Spider-Man costume for the costume contest. I remember seeing Stan Lee speak, and later got a chance to talk C.C. Beck. I had the shirt that came from the conference for decades, it was yellow with red printing of an image of Spider-Man (drawn by John Byrne).

Frederick said...

John, It's so cool that we were there at the same time, and now connect! Wow. Those pics are all I have of the con, sadly. I was only there for a short while, as I had to sneak away from the home under false pretenses to attend at all, thanks to my intolerant and perpetually-angry stepdad. You came from a long way to get there, that is amazing to me, considering how young you were also!

artandlogic said...

Yes, it is cool to connect, I was so surprised to see your post on this! I am hoping that I'll find my pics of that event at some point. I don't know if they still exist or if they're in a box somewhere. I remember Stan talking to a packed room (but not that big compared to today) and Princess Leia and Chewbacca winning the costume contest, Leia had a little puppet that looked Wookie-ish, like it was their baby. And lots of comic books. Nowadays, it can be tough to find comics at a comic-con ;-)

artandlogic said...

Fredrick, do you remember Bob Kane being at the Miami Con II? I remember Kane being there but I didn't go up to the table because I thought it was Gil Kane (no offense to Gil). In fact oddly enough, I didn't take a picture of Lee or Beck (not to mention Kane).