Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Tura reprises her role as exotic, tassell-twirling Suzette Wong in a sequel to "Irma La Douce" directed by Billy Wilder —— "The World of Suzette Wong." Filmed in Parisian and Far East locations, this time Suzette's penchant for gambling and gamblers brings her afoul of the law and the local Yakuza-gumi in Japan's port city of Kobe. Havoc ensues when the sizzling Suzette catches the eye of the Big Boss (Shin Kishida) in a riotous dice-rolling rumble!
While filming on the Daiei Studio sets during "Suzette," Tura was introduced to studio chief Masaichi Nagata. An enterprising connoisseur of international cinema, Mr. Nagata praised Tura on her then-recent US blockbuster, "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kil!" Over many cups of green tea, a plan was made. Teamed with director Kenji Misumi (Zatoichi series, Nemuri Kyoshiro series, DaiMajin series), Tura would power up her dynamic Varla character for a voyage to another world! Shooting under the working title "Varla's Outer Space Adventure" (Varla no Uchuu Dai Boken) began in July of 1968. As work progressed the title was changed to "Violent Planet" and tested Tura's endurance to the summer heat and on-set pyrotechnics. A climactic battle with Varla wielding only a shoto (short sword) against twin Guillon monsters was planned and possibly filmed. Unfortunately no footage has survived and we can only yearn for this lost jewel through the film's poster art. Astromonster Fine Arts is the exclusive publisher of these rare treasures from the mod world of '60s cinema. Write to astromonster(at)sbcglobal(dot)net for details and ordering info.
The Kaiju Boom (roughly 1966—1975) penetrated every level of popular media in Japan; film and TV were ground zero but the shockwaves spread to include sofubi, games, puzzles, records, clothing and more. The demand for pure images was nowhere better expressed than in the multitude of collectable cards known in Japan as "bromides." An emulsion of silver bromide makes possible the printing of photographic images. In Japan, the loan word "bromide" (ブロマイド) had come to signify a vast array of pictorial reproductions, regardless of whether bromide paper was used. Since the early 1900s bromides were distributed to idolize celebrities— geisha and sports stars, singers, actors and actresses. In the latter half of the 20th century, the kaiju became the new celebrity of the post-Atomic Age. It was Yo Miyamoto who suggested to Kaiju and Ultraman super-collector Mark Nagata "an awesome idea" —— to put together a set of Kaiju Bromide cards to be included with a release of a MaxToy Battle Pack sofubi set for WonderFest 2008 in Japan. The concept would have Mark's Captain Maxx, Eyezon and Alien Xam mix it up with Target Earth's kaiju Gumos and Gameldon. Mark put out the call for entries to a select cadre of kaiju creators: Bob Conge, Ralph Cosentino, Steve Forde, Nawoki Karasawa, Naritada Shintani and myself. I'm honored to be a part of this crew. There are 15 cards, 11 originals and 4 doubles. Mark's own contributions include spot on, period-authentic "zukan" (cutaway anatomies) of the Target Earth kaiju. Courtesy of Target Earth's Miyamoto-san, here's what little we know about these new and terrifying kaiju: GUMOS — Capture animals and humans with his six arms and eat them from the heads. Tear up irons easily with his claws. Spit out green poison fluid. GAMELDON — Eat humans. Very brutal. Has very small brain. My entry, "Golden Gate Splashdown," is set in Mark's home base of San Francisco and shows Captain Maxx putting the hurt on Alien Xam while big Eyezon wades in for a stare fest. And damn--why didn't I do another card with the Target Earth kaiju as well? Well, time was of the essence to get this one in by the deadline. Maybe I'll get a chance to work with these characters again. But don't expect me to give them all up here! I urge you to mouse over to the Max Toy Company's store and order your set now!
December 3rd, 2008 Through Jan 2009 Kaiju Monster Invasion at South Florida Art Center Featured Artists Ron English Coop Glenn Barr Mark Nagata Carlos Enriquez Gonzalez (Venezuela) Gargamel (Japan; Koji Harmon and Kiyoka Ikeda) Mitch O'Connell Jim Woodring Anthony Ausgang Niagara ...and many more!
I've loaded a portfolio of my Estrus work here.