G-FEST XIX is proud to announce that two of kaijudom's most iconic figures will headline this summer's convention, July 13-15 at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont, IL.
Making his triumphant return to G-FEST is AKIRA TAKARADA, who in 1954 starred in the original Godzilla as Hideto Ogata. Mr. Takarada also stars in Godzilla vs. the Thing (1964), Monster Zero (1965), Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), and co-stars in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) and Godzilla: Final Wars (2004). Mr. Takarada lent his acting talents to many of Toho's other tokusatsu eiga, including Half Human (1955), The Last War (1961), King Kong Escapes (1967), and Latitude Zero (1969). Mr. Takarada remains active in the entertainment business in Japan and, as he did in 2010, will miss rehearsals of a play he is working on to meet his American fans again.
Born in 1934, Mr. Takarada joined Toho in 1953 through the studio's New Face program. Fellow kaiju eiga alumni Momoko Kochi, Kenji Sahara, and Yu Fujiki were classmates of Mr. Takarada's in the program. Mr. Takarada's third film was his starring role in Godzilla (1954), which was recently released on DVD and Blu-ray by Criterion. G-fans in attendance can have their Criterion discs signed by Ogata himself!
Appearing for the first time in the United States is BIN FURUYA, best known for playing television's greatest superhero, Ultraman. As a suit actor, Mr. Furuya played Ultraman in all 39 episodes of groundbreaking 1966-67 Ultraman series. Following the success of the original Ultraman, he was cast as Ultra Garrison member Amagi in Ultra Seven (1967-68). Born in 1943, Mr. Furuya's acting career dates back to the early 1960s, during which time he had small (and mostly uncredited) background roles in many Toho features, such as Mothra (1961), The Last War (1961), Gorath (1962), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), Akira Kurosawa's High and Low (1963), Atragon (1963), Dogora the Space Monster (1964), Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster (1964), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), Monster Zero (1965), and War of the Gargantuas (1966). Before Ultraman, Mr. Furuya worked as a suit actor on Ultra Q (1966), playing Kemur in episode #19 and Ragon in episode #20. More recently, Mr. Furuya appeared alongside fellow genre legends Yosuke Natsuki and Susumu Kurobe in Minoru Kawasaki's Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit (2008). Mr. Furuya looks forward to meeting his American fans at his first U.S. convention appearance.
More updates will follow in the coming weeks. G-FEST XIX takes place on July 13-15. Make plans to attend this monstrous convention now!