What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

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johnboy3434
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What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby johnboy3434 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:42 pm

An eleven-part radio drama based on the script of the original film started airing in July 1954. As such, it marks the actual first appearance of Godzilla. Despite its historic significance to the Godzilla brand, I've barely been able to find out anything beyond what I just told you. Who wrote it? What differences were there to the plot? Who played the character roles?

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:38 pm

I’m busy RN, so I don’t have time to look over this, but this is some info about the radio drama from the Japanese Wikipedia page:

『怪獣ゴジラ』(1954年7月17日 - 9月25日、全11回[71]、ニッポン放送ラジオ)

週1回、ゴールデンタイムに放送され、前宣伝を煽った。脚色・演出は堀江史朗。
声の出演は、尾形役に永井智雄、恵美子役に藤野節子、山根博士役に村上冬樹、語り手は田中明夫。
東宝が2001年に限定販売した「Gの衝撃 ゴジラ・プレミアム・コレクションズ・セット」の付属CDに、唯一現存する最終回の音声が収録されている.

So it ran from July 17th, to September 25th, 1954.
Last edited by LSD Jellyfish on Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby UltramanGoji » Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:52 pm

Here’s a small section on it from Japanese Giants issue #10:

https://imgur.com/a/CXlq3p0
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby johnboy3434 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:22 pm

Hmm, here's an interesting factoid: The radio drama might be in the public domain in Japan. When it was produced, the copyright term for works of corporate authorship (since Toho almost certainly produced it) was 50 years. As such, the term would have run out on 1 January 2005, since the term for non-cinematic works wasn't extended to 70 years until 2018,* and anything that fell into the public domain before then remained there.

Because of this, I wonder if there are any "bootleg" recordings of it available anywhere.

*The term for cinematic works was extended to 70 years in 2004, which is why the original movie itself is still copyrighted and will remain so until 1 January 2025.
Last edited by johnboy3434 on Tue Jul 23, 2019 9:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:14 am

It looks like there’s some sort of rerelease of a CD that contains the radio drama that was released in 2001. Next time in Tokyo I’ll try to search for it, but don’t expect too much.
_JNavs_ wrote:The MV is like cheap imitation crabmeat, it tastes good, but it isn't real, while Shin is kino peak Japanese performance.

Rodan95 wrote:The Shobijin are sat on by a fatass explorer and killed. Mothra is pissed and destroys Japan.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby Tamura » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:54 pm

johnboy3434 wrote:*The term for cinematic works was extended to 70 years in 2004, which is why the original movie itself is still copyrighted and will remain so until 1 January 2025.


Thank God for that. Toho doesn't deserve this film or this franchise. Give it to the people.
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby UltramanGoji » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:15 pm

Tamura wrote:
johnboy3434 wrote:*The term for cinematic works was extended to 70 years in 2004, which is why the original movie itself is still copyrighted and will remain so until 1 January 2025.


Thank God for that. Toho doesn't deserve this film or this franchise. Give it to the people.


Neither do the people, honestly.
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby Stump Feet » Sun Jul 28, 2019 1:24 pm

Hey, speak for yourself! :mad:
*Looks at GKOTM’s box office numbers*
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby johnboy3434 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:19 pm

UltramanGoji wrote:Neither do the people, honestly.


There's gotta be at least one person who deserves it. Like Larry. Larry's cool. Give it to Larry.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby tyrantgoji » Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:50 pm

okay i'm seriously asking about this as dumb as it might sound,but what's stopping companies like Toho,Disney and DC from just extending the copyright even further in to the future? Godzilla,Superman and Mickey are all set to be in the public domain sometime fourth,but i seriously don't think anythings stopping them from just extending it.
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby johnboy3434 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:57 pm

tyrantgoji wrote:okay i'm seriously asking about this as dumb as it might sound,but what's stopping companies like Toho,Disney and DC from just extending the copyright even further in to the future? Godzilla,Superman and Mickey are all set to be in the public domain sometime fourth,but i seriously don't think anythings stopping them from just extending it.


Companies can't unilaterally extend copyright periods. New laws have to be passed. In the United States, Disney has historically been the primary lobbyer behind copyright extension laws in order to prevent Mickey Mouse's first-released cartoon from falling into the public domain. However, this time around they've made no motions or insinuations toward extending the term further despite having only four years left, and this time there's a bunch of wealthy opposition to longer copyrights that didn't exist the last time they did it. The expert opinion is that they're going to make do with the current 95-year copyright terms and use trademark laws to try and maintain some level of control over IPs once they lapse.
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:53 pm

While I`m unfamiliar with the intricacies of copyright laws, I`d like to point out that most likely Japanese copy right laws are drastically different. Thigns get murky when you go international.
_JNavs_ wrote:The MV is like cheap imitation crabmeat, it tastes good, but it isn't real, while Shin is kino peak Japanese performance.

Rodan95 wrote:The Shobijin are sat on by a fatass explorer and killed. Mothra is pissed and destroys Japan.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby johnboy3434 » Sun Jul 28, 2019 6:00 pm

LSD Jellyfish wrote:While I`m unfamiliar with the intricacies of copyright laws, I`d like to point out that most likely Japanese copy right laws are drastically different. Thigns get murky when you go international.


Well, for one thing, in Japan works of corporate authorship are only covered for 70 years rather than 95 like in the US. So while the original Godzilla film will lapse in 2025 in Japan, it won't do so in the States until 2050.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby Pkmatrix » Tue Jul 30, 2019 6:29 pm

tyrantgoji wrote:okay i'm seriously asking about this as dumb as it might sound,but what's stopping companies like Toho,Disney and DC from just extending the copyright even further in to the future? Godzilla,Superman and Mickey are all set to be in the public domain sometime fourth,but i seriously don't think anythings stopping them from just extending it.


As johnboy3434 said, times have changed. The last couple times Disney and other big Hollywood media companies pushed to have copyright extended (in the 1970s and 1990s), there was no serious opposition - just a handful of academics who were unable to do more than pass around petitions and plead with the U.S. Congress not to do it. But, a LOT has changed since the late 1990s and there are now big powerful organizations willing to spend billions of dollars to oppose a campaign to extend copyrights. The biggest and most significant of them being Alphabet (the owners of Google and Youtube), who has FAR deeper pockets than Disney does.

For what it was worth, Disney and the other groups who favor extending copyrights further DID put out feelers in late 2016 and early 2017 to see if the White House and Congress would support passing an extension, but apparently found little to no interest and were flat-out told Google, the Wikimedia Foundation, and others were willing to go to war to prevent it. So they dropped it.

Disney, in particular, has in the last few years started to come around to the other side. In particular, the failure of Justice League in 2017 seems to have caused a shift in the thinking there. Remember how, in the aftermath of that, there were some people posting online that DC should just give up and let Disney do the DC movies a la Sony and Spiderman? People at Disney noticed, and have taken note that Superman and Batman start to enter the public domain in only 14 to 15 short years.

If there's another push by studios to extend copyright, expect Disney to join Google in opposing it.

Added in 50 seconds:
johnboy3434 wrote:Hmm, here's an interesting factoid: The radio drama might be in the public domain in Japan. When it was produced, the copyright term for works of corporate authorship (since Toho almost certainly produced it) was 50 years. As such, the term would have run out on 1 January 2005, since the term for non-cinematic works wasn't extended to 70 years until 2018,* and anything that fell into the public domain before then remained there.

Because of this, I wonder if there are any "bootleg" recordings of it available anywhere.

*The term for cinematic works was extended to 70 years in 2004, which is why the original movie itself is still copyrighted and will remain so until 1 January 2025.


Now THAT is interesting.

In the United States, the first copyrighted work counts as the originating work and everything that follows is the derivative, is that how it works in Japan?

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby johnboy3434 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:11 pm

Pkmatrix wrote:Now THAT is interesting.

In the United States, the first copyrighted work counts as the originating work and everything that follows is the derivative, is that how it works in Japan?


Probably, but it doesn't mean much for a couple reasons: First off, the work as a radio drama limits what exactly is public domain given the rather visual nature of the tokusatsu genre. Godzilla had no visual appearance for obvious reasons, and his iconic roar was not used because it hadn't been created at that point (the movie was filming at the time). The only things in the public domain would be the characters and story,* but that leads into the second point: Unlike with the King Kong mess, Toho has a clear, legal trademark on Godzilla's name and appearance, so using the character to create derivative works (like, say, publishing your own novel about Godzilla) will still violate their IP in that regard. So, theoretically, you could write a novel about Emiko and Hideo's love life after Dr. Serizawa's death... but you would have to tiptoe around any references to Godzilla himself.

*Okay, technically Godzilla's design from the illustration on the cover of the film's novelization (also released before the movie) is also public domain, because the novelization lapsed at the same time as the radio drama. It's a bit more T. rex-ish than the design we're used to, but I don't think Toho's lawyers would appreciate the subtle differences.
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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby Pkmatrix » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:08 am

johnboy3434 wrote:
Pkmatrix wrote:Now THAT is interesting.

In the United States, the first copyrighted work counts as the originating work and everything that follows is the derivative, is that how it works in Japan?


Probably, but it doesn't mean much for a couple reasons: First off, the work as a radio drama limits what exactly is public domain given the rather visual nature of the tokusatsu genre. Godzilla had no visual appearance for obvious reasons, and his iconic roar was not used because it hadn't been created at that point (the movie was filming at the time). The only things in the public domain would be the characters and story,* but that leads into the second point: Unlike with the King Kong mess, Toho has a clear, legal trademark on Godzilla's name and appearance, so using the character to create derivative works (like, say, publishing your own novel about Godzilla) will still violate their IP in that regard. So, theoretically, you could write a novel about Emiko and Hideo's love life after Dr. Serizawa's death... but you would have to tiptoe around any references to Godzilla himself.

*Okay, technically Godzilla's design from the illustration on the cover of the film's novelization (also released before the movie) is also public domain, because the novelization lapsed at the same time as the radio drama. It's a bit more T. rex-ish than the design we're used to, but I don't think Toho's lawyers would appreciate the subtle differences.


Yeah, I'd be very wary of trying to do ANYTHING with Godzilla. Trademark law isn't a be-all, end-all panacea some like to imagine when it comes to this stuff, as the Supreme Court has ruled time and again against allowing the use of trademark law to enforce copyright claims - Dastar v. Fox in 2003 is an example I've seen cited before. The purpose of a trademark, after all, is to prevent imitators from claiming that their product is affiliated with a more popular trademarked product - intellectual property makes this confusing, but ultimately it's meant for stuff like a rival soda company releasing a soda similar to Coca-Cola in a bottle that looks very similar and with a very similar logo. Toho has been very stalwart in enforcing their trademark over Godzilla, going after anyone they see as violating that trademark or infringing on the copyright by using a character that looks or sounds or is named too similarly to Godzilla. I've seen arguments made (and I'm sure Toho is watching very closely) that Disney may not be able to stop anyone from making or distributing a Mickey Mouse movie after January 1, 2024 via trademark law, only stop them from putting "Mickey Mouse" in the title.

It's fascinating stuff! :)

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby Great Hierophant » Sat Aug 03, 2019 3:35 pm

When 2024 rolls around, you and I and anyone else will be free to copy and distribute "Steamboat Willie", but if we try to make new cartoon shorts with the version of Mickey Mouse found in Steamboat Willie, then we will run into trouble from Disney's trademarks.

Added in 1 day 2 hours 49 minutes 1 second:
johnboy3434 wrote:
LSD Jellyfish wrote:While I`m unfamiliar with the intricacies of copyright laws, I`d like to point out that most likely Japanese copy right laws are drastically different. Thigns get murky when you go international.


Well, for one thing, in Japan works of corporate authorship are only covered for 70 years rather than 95 like in the US. So while the original Godzilla film will lapse in 2025 in Japan, it won't do so in the States until 2050.


That clearly applies for Japanese films made in 1970 and later, but for films made before the 1970s, there is an alternative copyright period, the director's life plus 38 years. If that rule applies, then Godzilla, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra v. Godzilla, Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Destroy all Monsters and All Monsters Attack fall out of copyright in Japan in 2031, 38 years after Ishiro Honda's death in 1993. That would also make Godzilla Raids Again public domain in Japan because its director, Motoyoshi Oda, died in 1973. Jun Fukuda's Godzilla vs. Ebirah and Son of Godzilla would pass in 2038. Then Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster would follow them in 2041 pursuant to the seventy-year rule.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby johnboy3434 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:32 pm

Great Hierophant wrote:That clearly applies for Japanese films made in 1970 and later, but for films made before the 1970s, there is an alternative copyright period, the director's life plus 38 years. If that rule applies, then Godzilla, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Mothra v. Godzilla, Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Invasion of Astro-Monster, Destroy all Monsters and All Monsters Attack fall out of copyright in Japan in 2031, 38 years after Ishiro Honda's death in 1993. That would also make Godzilla Raids Again public domain in Japan because its director, Motoyoshi Oda, died in 1973. Jun Fukuda's Godzilla vs. Ebirah and Son of Godzilla would pass in 2038. Then Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster would follow them in 2041 pursuant to the seventy-year rule.


Sorry, for the late response, but wow, you're right. Godzilla Raids Again has been public domain in Japan since 1 January 2012, whereas the original Godzilla won't be in the public domain until 1 January 2032. I wonder if some brave soul has been trying to sell unauthorized copies of GRA. As we all know, just because something is legal doesn't mean a big corporate asshole won't sue you for it.

Also, that means the character of Anguirus (the parts of him not covered under trademark) is public domain as well.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby mikelcho » Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:28 pm

What about all of the things that came about before Toho really started noticing things like this and clamping down on them (which, IIRC, was the 1990s)?

Example: In two episodes of Frankenstein Jr., there were two trios of enemies. One was a trio of giant monsters named Godzonka, Gorillus and Cyclaws and the other was a trio of giant robot birds named Vulturo, Rodantus and King Condor.

Admittedly, this was back in 1966-67, but still...
Last edited by mikelcho on Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: What do we know about the 1954 Godzilla radio drama?

Postby realinvaderdesign » Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:46 am

Cue oprah -
"YOU GET A GODZILLA! YOU GET A GODZILLA! Everyone gets a godzilla!"

But yeah its interesting the original movie could fall into public domain in a few years time, though like whats been mentioned not the character just the movie. It could also mean the g54 suit is fair game at that point and anyone can use it


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