Saturday, August 5, 2017

BOOSKA GETS HIS DUE! Tsuburaya's Friendliest Kaiju Gets the Star Treatment!

Actor Osami Nabe (left) and director Kazujo Mitsuta (right). Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Today I attended a screening of a couple of Tsuburaya Productions TV programs. The first was episode 17 of Kaiju Booska (1966-67) and episode 5 of Dokushin no Scat (1970). Both programs were about as different as you can get!

Director Kazuho Mitsuta. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Like last week, director Kazuho Mitsuta was on hand for a Q&A and autograph signing. Mitsuta-san was a Tsuburaya Productions director and producer who has directed episodes of Ultra Q (1966), Ultraman (1966-67), Ultra Seven (1967-68), Kaiju Booska, Mighty Jack (1968), Fight! Mighty Jack (1968), Operation: Mystery! (1968-69), Mirrorman (1971-72), Ultraman Ace (1972-73), Horror Theater Unbalance (1973), Dinosaur War Izenborg (1977-78), and Ultraman 80 (1980-81), among many others.

Actor Osami Nabe. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Also in attendance was actor Osami Nabe. Nabe-san starred in the Tsuburaya Productions miniseries Dokushin no Scat, which ran for 11 episodes in early 1970. Dokushin no Scat was an interesting departure for Tsuburaya Productions, as it had nothing to do with monsters or special effects. Its story is similar to the Billy Wilder classic The Apartment (1960). Nabe-san plays a goofy salaryman who rents out his apartment at night to make some extra cash, and I think you can imagine what kind of hijinks ensue.

Nabe-san's acting career began in the 1960s, and he appeared in many comedies at Shochiku during that time. Later on, he acted in movies at Toho, Toei, and Nikkatsu, most notably (for readers of this blog, anyway) The Imperial Navy (1981).

In between Osami Nabe and Kazuho Mitsuta. 

I've only seen a couple of episodes of Kaiju Booska, and I have to admit that the show really isn't for me. Had I grown up with it, I'm sure I would have loved it, but I didn't, so I can't say I do. Still, I have to admit that today's episode (directed by Mitsuta-san) was a fun one. It featured a couple of familiar faces, such as Yasuhiko Saijo and Ren Yamamoto, and the action was so over the top that it was amusing. The same could be said for Dokushin no Scat, which didn't go for subtlety at all with its humor.

I enjoyed spending time with Mitsuta-san again, as moments with directors from the first three Ultra-series are particularly rare. I certainly hope to have another chance to see him in the future.

I had a great time with Osami Nabe, who was more than happy to share his memories of traveling in the U.S. He certainly had many interesting stories to share!

And that's all! I'm sure Booska was with us in spirit.

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