GODZILLA VS MEGALON Special Edition DVD “Extras” Detailed
A Brief Look at the Bonus Material Included on the Inadvertently-Released DVD
Author: Richard Pusateri
Special Thanks to Steve Ryfle, Ryan Clark and Allen Perkins
GODZILLA VS MEGALON has remained controversial since the 1970s. It is one of the most reviled Godzilla movies and at the same time, one of the most beloved because it was most accessible to many baby-boomers.
GODZILLA VS MEGALON was one of the least expensive in the Toho series but also one of the most successful in the United States, due to wide exposure after an effective marketing campaign in 1976. After that, in 1977, another media blitz introduced GODZILLA VS MEGALON to NBC’s primetime network TV broadcast and it was thoroughly ingrained in the consciousness of a generation of young people.
After its successful theatrical run, and network television premiere, GODZILLA VS MEGALON began to enter the home video market in 1985. According to the website Toho Kingdom, GoodTimes released one of the first VHS tapes for home video.
During the 1980s, GODZILLA VS MEGALON became widely available on a flurry of dubiously authorized tapes. For a decade, a multitude of VHS companies like Video Treasures, Viking, United American Video Corporation, Vision Film Distribution Company, Front Row Entertainment, Inc., Starmaker, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc., Filmax Home Video and Burbank Video produced dozens of copies of the film that the manufacturers claimed had fallen into public domain. Many appeared to be pirated copies of the original GoodTimes release. From the U.K., 4 Front Video also made a PAL videotape of GODZILLA VS MEGALON that was legitimately authorized by Toho.
In the late 1990s, Alpha Video began a DVD release and Passion Productions began a prodigious and “extra-legal” (or bootlegged) run of GODZILLA VS MEGALON DVDs. Australia’s Madman region 4 DVD was apparently the only Toho-authorized DVD release outside Japan. Rhino released MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000’s version without securing any rights or permission from Toho. That poor planning resulted in the disc being discontinued under legal duress from Toho and later replaced with MST3K’s version of THE GIANT GILA MONSTER.
As detailed in an earlier SciFi Japan article, Media Blasters released a “barebones” GODZILLA VS MEGALON DVD on August 14, 2012. In September a “Special Edition of the disc loaded with extras…” was sold by Amazon.com. Soon, more copies with the extras surfaced, purchased from online and “brick-and-mortar” retailers, setting off the search for the “Golden Tickets” as some fans called the unmarked Special Editions.
Original “Barebones” DVD
Media Blasters Tokyo Shock DVD TSDVD1222 has four titles and sixteen chapters in total. The Main Menu has three options:
Set Up: English 2.0, Japanese: 2.0 or 5.1 Subtitles: on or off
Scene Access: ten “chapter stops” to choose from
“Extras” DVD (Disc Inadvertently-released with commentary and bonus material)
Some of the SE DVDs also have the TSDVD1222 catalog number and some of the discs have TSDVD1227. The artwork and text on the “barebones” and the “Special Edition” cases are identical with catalog number TSDVD1222, making the DVDs indistinguishable from the outside. Here is a brief description of the extras included on the Special Edition DVD…
This disc has sixteen titles and fifty-three chapters.
The Main Menu has five options…
PLAY and SCENE ACCESS are the same as the “Barebones” release.
SET UP includes: English Japanese 2.0 or Japanese 5.1. The “Set Up” menu does not include a subtitles option, but English subtitles can be accessed through your DVD player’s menu.
Audio commentary with Authors Steve Ryfle, Stuart Galbraith IV & Film Distributor Mel Maron: The commentary is top notch with Ryfle and Galbraith professionally delivering a fast-paced, running commentary that objectively considers the movie’s production in context of its time rather than subjectively critiquing it. Ryfle and Galbraith bring much clarity to the pre-production work and the careers of the actors and creative team. This commentary moves along briskly and fluidly probably as a result of the friendship and working relationship of Ryfle and Galbraith going back decades.
Their research, revealing that all three original script titles mention Godzilla, seems to put to rest the oft-told tale that GODZILLA VS MEGALON was originally planned as a standalone Jet Jaguar feature. However, perhaps I should say, that story is almost retired, because Jet Jaguar is indeed the featured character overshadowing star Godzilla and tantalizingly the commentary quotes special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano saying there was an earlier, unnamed project that GODZILLA VS MEGALON replaced.
The interview with Mr. Maron is especially entertaining as he give a thorough first-hand account of the movie’s successful 1976 American marketing campaign in an honest, engaging style. Mr. Maron’s comments succinctly describe the elements of a comprehensive marketing campaign that explains this movie’s unlikely American success.
TRAILERS: Japanese DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, English DEATH KAPPA, Japanese HANSEL AND GRETEL, Japanese THE STORY OF RICKY, Japanese FRANKENSTEIN VS BARAGON with English text and subtitles. (These are all Media Blasters releases.)
Interview with Ted Thomas, Voice Dubbing actor and Narrator: Mr. Thomas provides a interesting and amusing autobiographical sketch of his colorful life as an British expatiate living in Hong Kong. Dubbing of Asian movies, notably Godzilla movies in Honk Kong presented many challenges amusingly elaborated upon by Mr. Thomas. Steve Ryfle does an excellent job of drawing out the details of dubbing Asian language films into English. Mr. Thomas clearly describes the mechanics of dubbing Shaw Brothers, Bruce Lee and other foreign language films into English. Mr. Thomas explains the development of his “Mid -Atlantic” accent that would not offend the ears of American or British ears.
This “Interview with Ted Thomas” was also intended as a bonus on the Blu-ray disc and would have used an elaborate slide show of images and clips. That slide show does not appear on this “Extras” DVD. According to Media Blasters, this had to do with the larger amount of space on the Blu-ray as opposed to the DVD.
TRAILERS AND TV SPOT: include Japanese GODZILLA VS MEGALON trailer, one-min 50-sec English trailer or featurette with “serious” narration (with Jet Jaguar referred to as “Robotman”), another 30-sec re-edit of the “serious” featurette (that appears to be a theatrical trailer with Motion Picture Code and Rating Administration “G” rating card) , a series of smaller thumbnail-size “serious” featurettes framed by a retro TV set inserted into production stills, a TV spot for theatrical triple bill of GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND, GODZILLA VS THE COSMIC MONSTER and GODZILLA VS MEGALON, another short “serious” featurette re-edit, a German spot (somehow with the title KING KONG-DÄ MONEN AUS DEM WELTALL or King Kong Demons from Outer Space), another one-minute “serious” featurette re-edit, and a few more a 30-sec “serious” featurette re-edits, English (often called “International”) print credits, U.S. theatrical print credits.
IMAGE GALLERY: Stills — (a collection of production stills, publicity stills, possibly intended to be used as lobby cards and snapshots from many international sources. Many stills are repeated; some with a Toho copyright notice, some identical without the copyright notice); Posters — (Many style from around the world); German Pressbook; U.S. Pressbook — Extensive U.S. press kit, includes much information relevant to the marketing campaign, mentioning the various TV trailers, “teasers” and “spots” and details of how the comic book was intended to generate excitement for the movie; Japanese Program Book Style A; Japanese Program Book Style B; French lobby cards; German Lobby Cards; Japanese Lobby Cards; Mexican Lobby Cards; Spanish Lobby Cards; Vinyl and CDs; Comic Book — scans of the famous but now scare comic book with references to “Robotman” instead of Jet Jaguar and “Borodan” instead of Gigan“ produced by Cinema Shares to publicize the movie directly to children.
EASTER EGG: The Easter Egg is revealed when a Jet Jaguar head icon appears when the cursor passes over Godzilla’s head on the “EXTRAS” menu. Clicking on that icon plays a clip of strikingly unfunny amateur dialogue over scenes from the movie. (This sounds like something from a North East Ohio TV.) That is followed by a trailer reel. The video quality of this material is less than what is found elsewhere on the “Extras” DVD.
A message posted by Ryan Clark on SciFi Japan’s “DVDs, CDs, VHS and more” forum quotes Allen Perkins’ list of the trailers on the rest of the “Easter Egg.” In a follow-up thread, Ed Godziszewski commented “Yep, absolutely that is my full trailer reel, all in the same sequence.”
I have taken the liberty to present the list posted by Ryan Clark here as follows:
-THE TERROR OF GODZILLA (TV spot, stretched to ‘scope)
-THE MYSTERIANS (‘scope)
-X FROM OUTER SPACE (textless international trailer, ‘scope)
-DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (French trailer, ‘scope)
-GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS!
-BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE (not sure whether a TV spot or a teaser trailer; it’s short, but in flat widescreen with a very tall aspect ratio)
-GODZILLA VS THE THING (flat, about 1.70:1)
-THE WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS and MONSTER ZERO (TV spot)
-KING KONG ESCAPES (two TV spots)
-THE LAST WAR (TV trailer)
-ATRAGON (flat, about 1.68:1)
-GHIDRAH THE THREE-HEADED MONSTER (flat, about 1.68:1)
-DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (flat, about 1.54:1)
-LATITUDE ZERO (flat, about 1.58:1)
-YOG – MONSTER FROM SPACE (flat, very tall AR)
-GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER (flat theatrical trailer with very tall AR and a TV spot)
-GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND (TV spot)
-GODZILLA VS. THE BIONIC MONSTER (TV spot)
-TIDAL WAVE (TV spot, flat, about 1.54:1)
-MESSAGE FROM SPACE (TV spot, 1.67:1 flat widescreen with fullscreen segments)
For more information on Media Blasters’ GODZILLA VS MEGALON and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS discs, please see the earlier coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- GODZILLA VS MEGALON Region 1 DVD/Blu-ray Rumors False
- Media Blasters Discusses DVD and Blu-ray Plans for DESTROY ALL MONSTERS and GODZILLA VS MEGALON
- Monster News Bites for June 21st
- DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Blu-ray and DVD Extras Announced!
- DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Blu-ray, DVD and CD Update
- Media Blasters DESTROY ALL MONSTERS Blu-ray, DVD and CD News
- Discussing GODZILLA VS MEGALON
- Media Blasters Announces New Release Date for GODZILLA VS MEGALON
- The Great GODZILLA VS MEGALON Mix-Up Mystery