Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Tatsuyoshi Ehara, Veteran Toho Actor who Appeared in Kurosawa Films, Passes Away at 84

Tatsuyoshi Ehara in June 2016. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Prolific Toho actor Tatsuyoshi Ehara passed away on May 1 at 11:26 a.m. at his home in Nagano Prefecture. He was 84.

Ehara-san was born on March 26, 1937, in Tokyo. He began acting in the late 1940s as a child actor and continued acting well into adulthood, appearing in about 120 films. At Toho, he regularly appeared in the long-running Young Guy series, alongside star Yuzo Kayama, as Eguchi, the friend of the titular character. He was often cast by director Kihachi Okamaoto in numerous movies, including: Desperado Outpost (1959), Samurai Assassin (1965), Japan's Longest Day (1967), and Epoch of Murder Madness (1967).

Internationally, his best known credits are the Akira Kurosawa films Sanjuro (1962) as the samurai Sekiguchi, and Red Beard (1965) as Genzo Tsugawa. He also guest-starred in episode 1 of Ultra Q (1966) as the reporter Nitta. He quit acting in the 1970s and pursued business, as well as writing and journalism. (His autobiography, Memories from the Heart, was released earlier this year.)

With Tatsuyoshi Ehara in June 2016.

I was privileged to interview Ehara-san (part one and part two of the interview) and visit him several times between 2014 and 2017. Over the years, however, when his health began declining, I wasn't able to see him anymore. I always enjoyed his company.

A private funeral was already held by his widow, Yoko. Rest in peace, Ehara-san.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

'Green Slime' actor Tom Korzeniowski Passes Away at Age 83

Tom Korzeniowski in more recent years. Photo © Tom Korzeniowski.

According to his obituary, Thomas Michael Korzeniowski, who appears as an extra in the cult classic The Green Slime (1968), passed away on February 12 of this year. He was 83. His obituary shares many details of his early life prior to his acting work in Japan:
Tom was born on March 31, 1937 in Detroit, MI to Frank and Catherine (Molenda) Korzeniowski. He was baptized in the Catholic faith, and after the untimely passing of his parents, spent his formative years with relatives and then at Boysville, after which he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1954. Deployed to Japan, he met and married Toshie Tanaka in 1956. While in the USAF, he worked in Cryptography, radio broadcasting for the Far East Network (FEN), became a Lifetime Pistol Marksman and achieved 2nd Degree Black Belt in Judo at the Kodokan in Tokyo.
On May 9, 1968, Mr. Korzeniowski was promoted to 2nd degree black belt by Kodokan Judo in Tokyo. Photo © Tom Korzeniowski.

Quoting more from his obituary:
Recognized as an Emmy Award winning Journalist (1980-1981 for coverage of the Reagan shooting), he worked for WJR radio in Detroit, WJBK, WBBM and WMAQ as a News Reporter/Anchor in Detroit and Chicago, after which he left news reporting for Communications positions for Baxter Travenol and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, was a 50 ton vessel Masters License holder from the US Coast Guard, and concluded with writing for WGN News in Chicago. An accomplished Aviator, he also loved sail boating, motorcycling, target shooting, firearms, archery, fencing, hunting, SCUBA diving, astronomy, photography, model trains, reading, watching movies, playing the alto saxophone and piano. He earned his Bachelor's degree at the University of Michigan, and his Master's degree at the University of Chicago, enjoyed Classical music and doted over his Portuguese Waterdog, Abby.
With Tom Korzeniowski in Chicago in July 2012. Photo © Brett Homenick.

I was privileged to interview Mr. Korzeniowski in 2010 about his memories of working in Japan, primarily on the The Green Slime. He not only acted in that film (under the name Tom Conrad), but he also appeared in Flight from Ashiya (1964) along with Yul Brynner, Richard Widmark, and George Chakiris. He also was a voice actor for William Ross on several movies.

I last spoke to Mr. Korzeniowski over the phone in August 2020. We caught up on a few things, and he reminisced about his work on The Green Slime. He was in great spirits, so it's hard to believe we lost him so shortly thereafter. 

Thank you for your friendship, Tom. Rest in peace.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Seeing 'Sea Monster' on the Big Screen!

With Teruyoshi Nakano.

Tonight, I was able to attend an event with former SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano. As part of the event, a 35mm print of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966) was screened. It was my first time seeing it in 35mm, and after the screening, I can see why it was the first time. Suffice it to say, the print was in awful shape. It was faded, scratchy, and there were tons of splices. All the go-go dancing toward the beginning of the movie was missing from this print. Still, I'm glad to have it seen it at all in 35mm, which is an increasingly rare event these days.

As usual, it was great to see Nakano-san again, who's still doing very well. Spring has certainly sprung in Japan!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Godzilla Bears the Torch for the Tokyo Olympics!

With the Tokyo Olympics due to begin this July, Scott Swan and the WTHR team came to Tokyo in the late summer of 2019 to cover the enduring popularity of the Godzilla franchise. This video contains a lot of exclusive content, including comments from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) star Masaaki Daimon and perhaps another familiar face or two. Check it out!

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Vantage Point Interviews Updates!

Steven Greene with actor Yuzo Kayama during the filming of Espy. Photo courtesy of Steven Greene. Espy © 1974, Toho Co., Ltd.

New content is available at Vantage Point Interviews, so let's take a look! First is an interview with actor Steven Greene from Toho's Espy (1974). He played the Baltonian prime minister in that film, but he's had so many adventures around the world that the bulk of the interview focuses on those. It's truly a fascinating story!

Photo © Steve Rosewell.

The second one is an interview with Steve Rosewell who worked on the SFX of Ultraman: Towards the Future (1992). Mr. Rosewell reveals that the SFX were originally done more or less Gerry Anderson-style but that everything switched to suitmation about halfway through production. And he has the photos to prove it! 

Vantage Point Interviews proves once again that content is king!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

'The Green Slime' Comes to Vantage Point Interviews!

Jack Morris (in the cast) mourns Richard Jaeckel. Photo courtesy of Jack Morris. The Green Slime © 1968, Toei Co., Ltd.

A brand-new interview has just been posted to Vantage Point Interviews, this time with Jack Morris, a veteran of the cult classic The Green Slime (1968). The interview features plenty of never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photos from Mr. Morris' personal collection!

Content is king at Vantage Point Interviews, and this interview is certainly no exception. Check it out today!

In the Presence of an SFX Master!

Eiichi Asada. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Wednesday, March 3, I was privileged to spend an afternoon with Eiichi Asada, a Toho SFX director who helmed Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004).

Naturally, Asada-san is a very friendly gentleman, and I had a splendid time. It's always wonderful to be able to spend time with such legends of the Godzilla series!