Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Peter Fernandez Interview Now Available at Vantage Point Interviews

Voice actor Peter Fernandez. Photo courtesy of Peter Fernandez.

I've been quite busy updating Vantage Point Interviews in the last couple of weeks. Lots of great interviews have been added, so by all means check them out!

Of particular interest is the latest interview I've posted, which was with voice actor Peter Fernandez. I hadn't read the interview in years, but upon re-reading it, I was amazed by one of his stories in particular, given its relevance in light of recent news.

In the interview, Peter recounts an unpleasant run-in he'd had with producer Harvey Weinstein. The interview was recorded in 2006, years before the shocking accusations against Weinstein became public. Given the recent context, Peter's story fits an unfortunate pattern of behavior.

I'd completely forgotten about Peter's anecdote until I re-read the interview before publishing it on VPI. So what did Peter say? Read the interview to find out!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

BACK IN CONCERT! Yanagisawa-san and His Swing All-Stars Have Come Back to Asakusa!

 Shinichi Yanagisawa, having a great time at the HUB in Asakusa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight, I had a great evening at the HIB in Asakusa, watching Shinichi Yanagisawa and His Swing All-Stars performing live jazz. Many of the numbers have become quite familiar to me, but I suppose that's natural after attending these shows for more than three years.

Yanagisawa-san played Miyamoto in The X from Outer Space (1967). His career encompasses much more than just that movie, however, and I'm lucky to have gotten to find that out directly. Many thanks to Yanagisawa-san for another wonderful evening!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN ULTRA! Meeting Toei Actor Hirohisa Nakata!

 Hirohisa Nakata. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Immediately after attending the Ultraman event. I made a beeline to my next one. The guest of honor for this event was Toei actor Hirohisa Nakata, perhaps best known for starring in the TV series Captain Ultra (1967), which aired on TBS after the original Ultraman ended its run.

His genre credits extend far beyond that. Beginning his career in 1960 as a Nikkatsu New Face, he switched to Toei in the mid-'60s where he would ultimately leave his mark. He appears in such films as The Golden Bat (1966), The Bullet Train (1975), Message from Space (1978), and Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989). Along the way, he's also made numerous appearances in various Kamen Rider and Super Sentai series.

I brought a Biollante mini-poster for Nakata-san to sign (which has already been signed by numerous cast and crew members). I found Nakata-san to be enormously kind, just what as you'd expect Captain Ultra to be.

AN ULTRA-COOL EVENT! Ultraman Flies with Showa Hero!

Ultra-alumni Susumu Kurobe, Mitsuko Hoshi, and Eizo Yamagiwa share the stage. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Today, I attended a great Showa Hero event featuring a trio of Ultra-guests. On hand for the event were Susumu Kurobe, Mitsuko Hoshi, and Eizo Yamagiwa. The event began with a Q&A. One anecdote of particular interest is that when the interview asked Kurobe-san which monster he liked, Kurobe-san immediately answered Dada. I found that quite fascinating.

 With Eizo Yamagiwa.

Early in his career, Yamagiwa-san worked as an assistant director with Teruo Ishii and went on to direct numerous episodes of Return of Ultraman (1971-72), Ultraman Ace (1972-73), Ultraman Taro (1973-74), and Ultraman Leo (1974-75) at Tsuburaya Productions. He also helmed episodes of Silver Kamen (1971-72) and the Submersion of Japan TV series (1974-75). I hadn't seen Yamagiwa-san in a while, and I was very happy to see that he's still doing well.

 With Susumu Kurobe.

We all Susumu Kurobe as Shin Hayata in the original Ultraman (1966-67), but I'm more familiar with his Toho work. With credits like Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Son of Godzilla (1967), King Kong Escapes (1967), Destroy All Monsters (1968), and Latitude Zero (1969), it shouldn't be hard to see why. I brought a DVD sleeve of Adventure in Kigan Castle (1966) for him to sign, which features him on the cover. He spent quite a bit of time looking at it and seemed surprised that he was on the cover. It was great to meet Kurobe-san again.

With Mitsuko Hoshi.

Last but certainly not least is Mitsuko Hoshi. She played TAC member Yuko Minami in Ultraman Ace (1972-73), one half of Ace's human alter ego, in episodes 1-28, 38, and 52. She can also be seen in episode 8 of Iron King (1972-73), episode 39 of Ultraman Taro (1973-74), episodes 39-52 of Denjin Zaborger (1974), and episode 44 of Ultraman Mebius (2006-07). She also appears in the movie Great Decisive Battle! The Super 8 Ultra Brothers (2008). Hoshi-san is a rare guest at events, so I was especially enthusiastic to meet her. She certainly did not disappoint and seemed just as enthusiastic as everyone else was to meet her.

Immediately after this event, I quickly made my way to the next one. More on that in the next blog post.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Raymond Burr on Godzilla King of the Monsters!

Raymond Burr (with Warren Kemmerling) in a publicity still from Godzilla 1985. Photo courtesy of Raymond Burr Vineyards.

While going through some of my old files, I came across a short memo I wrote in mid-2007 that I ultimately didn't know what to do with. I had contacted Raymond Burr's longtime companion, Robert Benevides of Raymond Burr Vineyards. I had phoned Mr. Benevides to ask if Mr. Burr had ever shared any stories about the making of his two Godzilla movies (Godzilla King of the Monsters and Godzilla 1985) with him.

It turned out that Mr. Burr indeed had, but given that Mr. Benevides' memories were brief, I couldn't turn them into an article. So what to do? Unfortunately, indecisiveness got the better of me, so I simply didn't do anything with Mr. Benevides' comments. But, having rediscovered them in my files, I quickly realized they'd make a rather intriguing blog post. My memo, as written in July 2007, is below:

Robert Benevides, Raymond Burr‘s longtime companion, remembered what Burr had told him about his working on the first Godzilla film: “He worked on it for two days in a telephone booth, basically, and they cut him into the film. He loved to tell that story about how, during that period, he was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood by the hour because he had gotten so much money for those two days, that if you (extrapolate) it over the time period, he would have been the highest-paid actor in Hollywood. That‘s what he used to tell me.”

“The first one, he always said that he worked two days to do all those shots in the phone booth.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cliff Harrington Interview on Vantage Point Interviews

Clifford V. Harrington. Photo © CliffEhnGee.

My 2006 interview with the late Cliff Harrington has been republished on Vantage Point Interviews with a bevy of never-before-seen photos that Cliff took during his life and career. There's a lot of great stuff to see, so head on over to Vantage Point Interviews for the low-down!

ONE DAY ONLY! Attending a Small Play in Japan!

Hiroyasu Yamaura. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Last Sunday, June 3, I attended a performance written by Hiroyasu Yamaura. The story was about an old woman with dementia who expected her lover to return home, even though he died a long time ago during the war. It was quite a sad and powerful tale.

Despite the grim subject matter, everyone was in a great mood. It's always fun to see Yamaura-san, and I'm glad to see he keeps writing. Bravo!