RODAN - Did You Know?

Trivia Compiled By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: IMDB / Wikipedia

Here is some trivia about one of my all-time favorite monster movies "Rodan":

The original Japanese film's climactic monster invasion was filmed around, and set in, Fukuoka, the largest city on Japan's southernmost island of Kyushu. However, the American version relocated the action in the dubbing to another city in Kyushu, Sasebo, perhaps concerned that their dubbing actors would sorely mispronounce the word "Fukuoka" at inappropriate moments.

Name of the monster in Japan was "Radon". However, because there was a soap by that name in the United States, when dubbed for the US market, they transposed letters and changed the monster's name to "Rodan".

Veteran writer Ken Kuronuma, who wrote the original story for this film, was inspired by an incident in Kentucky in 1948, when Captain Thomas F. Mantell, a pilot for the Kentucky Air National Guard, died in a crash while allegedly pursuing a UFO. (If you want to know more about that read "Classic UFO Case - UFO Shoots Down Air Force Fighter Over Kentucky?")

When Shigeru and Kashiwagi are in the helicopter searching for Rodan, Kashiwagi is wearing a tie and his head isn't bandaged, but when they go to see the planes bombard Rodan's lair Kashiwagi is no longer wearing a tie and the bandage mysteriously reappears. However, the scene of Kashiwagi and Shigeru in the helicopter was actually from later in the picture and was rearranged by the producers of the American version so that it would make it look as if they were starting the search.

In one scene in the control tower at the Japanese AF Base, background footage of planes on the ground can be seen to pause, then run in reverse.

Among the people doing the voice over work for this film are Paul Frees, Keye Luke and a young George Takei.

While shooting the scene in which Rodan flies over the bridge in Saikai Village in Kyushu, the pulley from which Haruo Nakajima (who played the monster) was suspended broke. He fell from a height of twenty-five feet, but the wings and the water, which was about one and a half feet deep, absorbed much of the impact.

Rodan's original Japanese name, Radon, is actually short for the Japanese word for Pteranodon ("Puteranodon").

The King Brothers' theatrical release of Rodan was quite successful in its first run in the United States. It was the first Japanese movie to receive general release on the West Coast to make a strong showing at the box-office. It later received the biggest TV advertising campaign given to a film to that date on New York's NBC flagship station WRCA-TV, where a series of commercials running 10 to 60 seconds were shown for a week before the film's opening.

It grossed an estimated $450,000 to $500,000 during its opening weekend at 79 theaters in the New York City metropolitan area. Several theatrical circuits, including RKO, announced that Rodan broke the records for a science-fiction film.

And now you know!

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