What Was It Like To Play Godzilla, King Kong, Rodan, Mothra ......?

Nakajima started out in the Japanese movie industry as a bit player in the early 1950's. The eager young actor was mostly cast as a background extra and often times found himself on the wrong end of a sword, that is, until one day Eiji Tsuburaya (known as the father of Japanese special effects) approached him about volunteering for a risky stunt. The film that would ultimately bring both Nakajima and Tsuburaya together was the WWII action film "Operation Kamikaze" in which a pilot was to emerge from a crashed aircraft completely engulfed in flames. A stunt where an actor was to be set on fire had never been attempted in Japan before and Tsuburaya was looking for someone brave enough to be the guinea pig. Nakajima was the only actor to step forward when called.

As fate would have it, a year later Tsuburaya would be looking for someone to once again do something never before attempted in a Japanese movie, this time however he needed an actor to wear a heavy monster costume made of melted car tires for a film called "Gojira" (Godzilla). As Nakajima explains Tsuburaya, and the film's director Ishiro Honda (who also directed Operation Kamikaze) knew exactly who to call, "The film makers were scratching their heads wondering who they could get to put on the suit, then the remembered my stunt. They thought, hey let's get that guy we set on fire last year."



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