Guy Mariner Tucker Memorial
Guy Mariner Tucker Memorial
Guy Mariner Tucker (Center) with producer Fumio Tanaka (Left) and special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano (Right)

The author of “Age of the Gods”
Author: August Ragone

I could hardly believe what I had just read when Anthony Romero at Toho Kingdom announced that my old friend, Guy Mariner Tucker, author of "Age of the Gods: The History of the Japanese Fantasy Film" (Daikaiju Publishing, 1996) passed away on November 17th from heart failure. This news was shocking, as I had just spoken to him about a week before he passed away. I wondered why I hadn't heard back from him. I knew that Guy was profoundly affected by watching his father being slowly eaten away by cancer, a tragic event that profoundly transformed his life, leading to Guy's alcoholism and his untimely passing. He is survived by his mother.

Above all, Guy was a great and unselfish compatriot, whom I knew for over twenty years. We met in the pages of Uchusen magazine, and struck up a pen-pal friendship. Guy was probably the most loyal and giving person among all of the Japanese cinemaphiles I have ever met (including myself). He was also a terrifically talented writer with an amazing insight on what made these films tick. I was taken aback by the first pieces he sent me – there were things I never considered until Guy pointed them out in his essays. All while he was still a teenager, no less. Guy made me look at these films differently than I ever had before.

Guy moved to Tokyo in the late 1980s and, sharing some of my modest contacts, he was one of the few Americans able to befriend a good number of the principals at Toho Studios during the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema. Above all, he developed close relationships with director Ishiro Honda and composer Akira Ifukube, who both were behind the making of the original GODZILLA. Then came director Jun Fukuda (SON OF GODZILLA), visual effects specialist Teruyoshi Nakano (SUBMERSION OF JAPAN), producer Fumio Tanaka (THE WAR IN SPACE), actors Yoshio Tsuchiya (SEVEN SAMURAI), Akira Kubo (SANJURO), including Godzilla suit actors Haruo Nakajima and Kenpachiro Satsuma. He conducted hours of interviews with them.

Guy helped to bring some of these people to the States for the early G-Cons (later G-Fest), and wrote "Age of the Gods: The History of the Japanese Fantasy Film." His knowledge and understanding of kaiju eiga and Japanese cinema history was profound – his insight and observations into these films were keen beyond description. He will be greatly missed by those who knew him – Fumio Tanaka even wrote about Guy in his biography of GODZILLA producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, published in 1993 (long before the current U.S. fandom existed).

Enthusiastic and always ready to write, Guy did just that all over the place – he was the Associate Editor for Markalite magazine in the early 1990s, adding immensely to its success. Guy also wrote for numerous publications, including G-Fan, Kaiju-Fan and Cult Movies, to name but a few. Guy also loved film scores and really understood the mechanics behind them. He reviewed film soundtracks for well-respected periodicals such as Film Score Monthly. Guy was also well acquainted with several film composers, such as Jerry Goldsmith (ALIEN), Akira Ifukube and others.

After his father passed away, things changed. Sometimes the death of a close friend or loved one, as with the case of Guy's father, can lead to self-destructive behavior. Eventually, through the prodding of several close friends, he hoped to revise his 1996 book, and I was honored that he asked me to partner with him on this project. Ironically, his last writing will see print in my forthcoming book on Eiji Tsuburaya (Chronicle Books). These last essays were about Guy's personal friendships with Ishiro Honda, Akira Ifukube, and Jun Fukuda. I hope that those interested will look forward to reading them because he truly loved these films and was always excited to talk about the entirety of Japanese Cinema.

I am privileged that Guy considered me one of his best and most trusted friends; he stuck up for me, and I for him – he even considered me the brother he never had. So, now I have lost another family member. Saying goodbye to Guy, reminds me that he would oftentimes end our lengthy phone conversations (he on the East Coast and I on the West) with a "I love ya, buddy."

I love ya, too, my brother.

Submitted Condolences

"My first introduction to Guy Tucker came about on June 7th, 2004. He wrote in to point out a careless mistake on my part in which I had incorrectly cited The Human Revolution when I meant Horror of the Wolf. It was a brief e-mail, mostly to the point with a quick closure relating to how he enjoyed seeing the site grow. At the time, I had no idea who this was, as Guy left no form of handle or any indication as to who might have sent the message beyond his e-mail address.

Guy Mariner Tucker Memorial
Guy Mariner Tucker (Left) with actor Kenji Sahara (Right)

However, I was still deeply interested to talk with this person, as it's not everyday you find someone fascinated in some of these more obscure films. To my delight, I was met with a lengthy response related to the two films and especially Akira Ifukube's work on The Human Revolution. This e-mail would end up being a spring board for dozens to follow, until we moved our conversations toward chats and other quicker means of communication. This would lead into almost nightly rituals of staying way into the next morning just to hear all of Guy's experiences in Japan and his impact in the fandom. He had much to say, and I was eager to listen. Each night I was left in awe as to his tales and revelations about those individuals who made these films possible. I was deeply humbled too when he accepted my invitation to join the staff here later that month, as we quickly bonded. To my amazement, my admiration for Guy only seemed to increase with each passing month as I learned more and more about his many contributions and his visions for the future.

It was with a very heavy heart too that I heard of his passing on November 17th, 2006; just a little under two and half years after he introduced himself and begin our quickly developing friendship. Words couldn't express my feelings, as I was left speechless and unable to even coordinate any kind of response to the tragic news for quite awhile. Like all sorrow, it hit me in stages, and what got me the most was the thought of his plans for the future which would now never be fulfilled. It was this heart wrenching thought, after hearing his enthusiasm for his impending projects, that quickly formed a lump in the back of my throat, while as I write this I fight back water from forming in my eyes.

Yet, as one of my friends said just that night, you want to think of the good times during this stage of sorrow, and to that point I'm incredibly thankful that I was given the opportunity and privilege to have been introduced to Guy and the conversations we had.

I won't pretend to have known Guy for a long time, as compared with the countless friends he has made in the fandom my introduction to him was very recent, yet I was still deeply touched by his passion for Japanese cinema and the joy he took in sharing both his findings and adventures. He was truly a remarkable man in every sense of the word, and his legacy will live on. Rest in peace Guy."

 - Anthony Romero

"I was shocked to read of Guy's passing. I didn't know him personally, but have had a great appreciation for his contributions to kaiju fandom over the years, especially his AGE OF THE GODS book. If possible, please pass my condolences on to those who were close to him."

 - Sam Scali

"I was deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Tucker's passing. I had always hoped to meet with him to thank him for his seminal work on the Toho fantasy films.

I am presently working on a book on Ishiro Honda, and Mr. Tucker's "Age of the Gods" has proved invaluable.

His contributions to the genre are still to be measured..."

 - Peter H. Brothers

"I just heard about Guy and wanted to send my condolences. I never met him, but we had several mutual friends and I was a big fan of Age of the Gods. I really enjoyed the love for the genre he expressed in his writing.

Between Aaron Smith and Guy, its been a rough year for the fandom."

 - Keith Aiken

Guy Mariner Tucker Memorial
2006 Tribute by Evan Sizemore

"I just wanted to express my sincere condolences and sympathizes to Mr. Tucker's family and friends.

Though I only knew as much of him as was shown on Toho Kingdom, it was clear that he was a great man in general and a wonderful source of kaiju information and fun specifically.

In both regards he will be greatly missed. Please, if you can, pass on my best wishes to his family."

 - Evan Sizemore

"I had brief correspondence with him in the 1990s while preparing my Gojira piece for Cult Movies. He was their resident guy on all things Toho. A fine writer, he was also very generous and kind to me. What a shame."

 - Ron Ford

"I have known Guy since he first wandered into my office in 1990 to chew the fat about film and music and anything else that came up. He was in the process of graduating from college at Vasser, if I recall correctly, which was the source of some amusement to him. He settled briefly in California during the early 90s, but the lifestyle didn't suit and he had difficulty finding outlets for his eclectic projects. A talented writer, with a very different take on things, he loved discourse and debate and his opinions were always challenging and
engaging. His first love was for all things Japanese, and his knowledge of that particular brand of fantasy filmmaking was unsurpassed.

In 1996, his book entitled "Age of the Gods - A History of the Japanese Fantasy Film" was published, and it will long remain a seminal work on the subject. Ideally, I believe, he would have made a permanent move to Japan, but the world that defined Guy's interest was past, and therein lay the problem that would dog him all his short life. Like so many creative and brilliant people, Guy was troubled, and he constantly sought relief from the demons that came savagely and often, clawing and tearing at his self-esteem and emotional well-being. After a stint in Florida, working a government job that left him further unfulfilled, he went home to Brooklyn to keep his mother company during his father's terminal illness. He remained there after his father died, and was still there a month or so ago when he last telephoned me. His lengthy phone conversations were always a bittersweet affair - lively as ever in his ideas and opinions on all current topics, he was unable to conceal the pain at his own perceived lack of accomplishment, and his despair at what the future might hold. This last chat ran nearly three hours, and it ended with Guy's resolve that he would keep the faith despite his innermost doubts that held dominion over him. He worried about turning forty which loomed on the near-future horizon, and made veiled references to his less than stellar physical health. I have spoken with Guy on the telephone countless times, and many were the moments that I thought I would never hear from him again, that he would just disappear into an ancient world of the imagination. Ironically, I didn't feel it after this one, hence my shock at an event which was probably, in retrospect, inevitable. Guy's is a peculiarly familiar story in modern America - a singular, gifted talent tries to go his own way and founders on the road, lost and alone, caught inexorably at the crossroads of the achievable and the unattainable. Guy's is the most tragic case I have ever witnessed firsthand, but yet, he left a mark, an indelible stamp, that will not be forgotten. No need to worry about that fortieth any longer--you can carry on, forever young, keeping intact all those possibilities--a deep well of yet-to-be-fulfilled promise."

 - Nick Redman

"I have been pondering what to say about Guy since I first received news of his passing. I still don't think the reality of the situation has quite sunken in, and I still don't think I can, or ever will, find the appropriate words.

I had heard of Guy, through his articles in magazines such as 'Markalite' and from various friends of his, before I ever met him. Eventually, we ended up exchanging a few emails concerning fan based matters ... and I met him in person for the first time at the first "official" G-Con in the early 90s.

Our acquaintance was only casual at this point. For some reason, why I don't remember, he agreed to read a script I had written for a short film called 'The Big Tip' - about a week later, my answering machine received a five minute message from an enthusiastic Mr. Tucker, full of praise and constructive criticism for my script, and an admonition that I needed to get it made as soon as possible. – This is when my respect for Guy Tucker really blossomed, I think. I did end up making that movie (probably not as well as I could have), and Guy quickly became one of the few confidents I would allow to read my future works of fiction – one of the few people whose opinion really mattered to me.

Guy was a fan of movies, all movies, not just the kind that involved people in rubber suits knocking over buildings. His knowledge of things outside the realm of tokusatsu was as extensive as that subject itself. I spent an entire fourth of July with him one summer in New York while visiting my relatives, and the day's conversation was filled more subjects than I'm prepared to recall. His opinions on some things inside the genre were, at times, unorthodox and, as far as I was concerned, completely welcome. Here was the first other 'fanboy' I'd met who not only liked 'Godzilla Vs.The Smog Monster', but could make a case for it more eloquent than any of that film's detractors have ever managed to tear down.

In many ways, I felt a kindred spirit with Guy. He had his enemies, as I had mine. There are negative things that could be said about him, just as there are about myself, but shouldn't - certainly not at a time such as this. Hopefully even those he rubbed the wrong way can admit the man's intelligence, his gift for prose, his enthusiasm and candor. I'm going to have leave my thoughts here, because god knows words are plentiful and ultimately meaningless now..."

 - Mike Keller

"Though I didn't know Guy personally, I did read his book. He is a fantastic author. Well, he's in the Heavenly Chorus now with Mr. Honda and Mr. Kurosawa. My best wishes to his family."

 - Nick Clark

"It is very sad to hear that Guy Tucker has passed away. I am glad that I was able to meet him. I remember him walking right up to me and telling me about Banno, with not much of an introduction. He is one of those nice fans who was really interested in the genre and those who promoted it. I cannot remember how Guy knew that I loved Hedorah, but he sought me out and I appreciated his friendly demeanor. I feel most of that feeling has dissipated from fandom."

 - Edward Holland

"I first met Guy at G-CON '96. I had "Age of the Gods" and I was already impressed with his knowledge of Japanese cinema and his style of conveying that knowledge. He explained how Japanese society affected parts of the original GODZILLA.

Over the years, as I read and re-read "Age of the Gods," articles he had written in G-Fan and Kaiju-Fan, his work influenced my understanding of Japanese cinema, especially the studio system, as I began visiting Japan and studying the genre. As I began to write for G-Fan and Cult Movies Magazine, I was always walking in his footsteps and in his shadow.

Earlier this year, Guy abruptly started calling me. We hit it off and, without really knowing much about me, he began confiding in me, more than I would expect someone to open up to a relative stranger. Through many long, late-night conversations, I discovered the details Guy's deep comprehension of how creative individuals worked within the changing structure of the Japanese studio system. He conveyed his friendship with many great people especially Akira Ifukube. Listening to Guy reminiscence enhanced the insightful passages of “Age of the Gods.” He filled in many gaps in my understanding of Japanese cinema and answered questions I had concerning a project I was working on.

I asked him when he thought he might be ready to try to kick the nicotine habit. He said he'd try to quit smoking after he finished and sold his dream screenplay. He said his screenplay was of young Ishiro Honda and young Akira Kurosawa, one night at the beginning of their careers telling each other about the movies they wanted to make and describing the concepts of all their great movies.

People who knew him better that I did tell me that the deaths of his father and a close friend troubled him and contributed to his problems that cut short his writing career and probably his life

After his friend Akira Ifukube passed away, Guy called and read his memorial to me. It was in first person; like a letter Guy wrote to the spirit of Mr. Ifukube summing up what the master meant to him. It turned out to be touching and easy listening. The sad part was this; I think that was the closest the piece would get to publication or even appearing on a web site as Guy had no Internet access at this point. He was reading to me, someone he barely knew, what he wanted to say to his old friend, now gone.

That was one of the last times I talked to Guy, and it's still sad."

 - Richard Pusateri

"Goodbye Brother Bear

Not many people can say they achieved their lifetime goals and met their heroes, even worked with them and befriended them. Guy Tucker was one of those few exceptions. Despite all his losses which contributed to his tragic disposition for the last year of his life affecting his physical and mental health and well being, my brother bear, my tugger; was a gifted and prolific writer who possessed the mind of a genius with the musical taste to match. I met him through a network of mutual friends for what seemed like a lifetime ago. We would spend hours talking with each other, sharing stories on life, our interests, our histories. No different than having a real blood brother always at my side. He had the uncanny ability to engender true brotherhood and make you feel warm and welcome within the first 5 minutes of talking.

He taught me alot in life and will continue to teach me in his passing. I was looking for a mentor and I found a brother who served as a mentor, to show what it meant to be a brother and teach me true friendship in living by example: loyalty, honesty and integrity.

There is an endless list of things we promised each other we would do together. One of the things was for me to travel with him to all the places he had been in his life. He wanted me to document his life and capture his experiences first hand from him directly, so I will honor him and move forward with that list. I wanted to tell him how much he meant to me and what a wonderful gift he gave by allowing me to be a part of his life. I wanted to say thank you Guy for being who you were, for being there and for the legacy you left behind.

He was an incredibly deep, loving and compassionate man who led an amazing life he lived with ferocious passion and blissfully innocent fearlessness. He accomplished in 30 years what many cannot accomplish even in 3 lifetimes. A man to be commended on what he brought to the world and all those he touched and a man to be admired by his energy, passion, sincere spirit and genuine heart of gold. The world has lost a precious gem, but heaven has gained a diamond in the rough. Loved having you as my older brother dude, proud to be your little brother.

Thank You Guy, goodbye for now, I love You"

 - Steve Crane

"My apologies to all on this board for such a late reply. I¹ve been inundated with projects in the last few months, and was as shocked as any to hear of Guy¹s passing. I don¹t write these kinds of things very well, and have waited till now after a bit of mourning to find my best words to remember him by.

It's no simple matter to describe Guy, or sum up a friendship that lasted since the early 90's when I first met him in Los Angeles. In a way, I have nothing really new to add -- everyone's comments are in keeping with my thoughts and feelings about him. Guy Tucker was someone whose depth and uniqueness were experienced by everyone in different ways. Sometimes he could be really funny, hilarious even. Other times he seemed tortured, with an intensity difficult to put into words. Yet he was not exactly what I would call moody, at least in a conventional sense. Perhaps he could not really handle his own innate genius or sensitivity.

I think many who met him simply considered him an eccentric. True, he was eccentric, but much more to those who knew him better. His knowledge and dedication to film and music was staggering, particularly Japanese films. He knew that world inside and out. The depth of his thinking when evaluating film was unique; many times he opened my eyes to see certain films in a different light that I'd already blown off. Just when you think you've heard it all and figured it out, Guy would throw in a different spin altogether and make you reevaluate. I don't have to elaborate any more than anyone else; reading his old reviews or a copy of his AGE OF THE GODS would suffice. It's really too bad none of his screenplays were produced. They were very idiosyncratic and different, yet very entertaining. In the last few years there was a glimmer of hope for one of them to be made, but it fell apart under circumstances I was never privy to.

Guy was a loyal friend. Most would know him by his film knowledge, but we talked about everything. He was always there for a good laugh and consolation, even philosophizing. Here he was a searcher, and there you would sense the pain. A kind of reaching out for something just beyond his grasp, whatever that would be, then withdrawing in pain. Pain is the only word that seems appropriate.

The last few months of his life were difficult. At one point, he expressed to me a very deep, almost desperate yearning that God would physically just come down and speak to him and comfort him. This was no raving of a madman (I've known and seen plenty of those in my life, and I knew Guy too well). Rather, it was a sincere expression of someone whose comfort zone within the physical things of this world had reached its edge. I spoke to him with regard to my own faith, and tried to encourage him as best I could (living 3,000 miles away didn't help much).

In the end, losing a close friend at such an early age has reminded me to appreciate who we have while we still have them, never to take them for granted, because you never really know when they will be gone.

A very sad goodbye, Guy. May your soul rest in peace. My sympathies to Guy's mother, if she's reading this."

 - Bob Badway