Thursday, October 11, 2012

NOTES ON NIISAN TAKAHASHI: The Gamera Scribe Discusses His Adopted Christian Name

On Monday, October 8, I ate lunch with Showa-era Gamera screenwriter Niisan Takahashi. The meeting was arranged by my friend Yasushi. Takahashi-san wrote all the scripts for the Gamera films between 1965 and 1980. At 86 years old, he's in good spirits and quite active!

The most fascinating thing I learned is that Mr. Takahashi has a middle Christian name. No, he wasn't born with it, but he took it on after a tragic event happened in his life. On December 31, 1982, his wife passed away after a lengthy illness. She was a Christian, so Takahashi-san researched notable Christians who also passed away on New Year's Eve. One he discovered was Pope Sylvester I, who died on December 31, 335. Takahashi-san decided to make Sylvester his adopted middle name in honor of his wife.

On a much lighter note, I asked Mr. Takahashi about the process of writing screenplays for the Gamera series. On average, they took about 10 days to write (which was the length of time it took him to write Gamera vs. Viras). The first draft was always the shooting script. Mr. Takahashi never rewrote a Gamera script. However, the director may, in some cases, have elected to change the script due to budgetary concerns. But those changes never came from Mr. Takahashi. 

The meeting lasted about three hours. Takahashi gladly signed autographs and answered every question posed to him. We'll likely be doing a formal interview sometime in the future. Stay tuned!

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