Sunday, May 15, 2016

YUKIKO KOBAYASHI RETURNS! The Toho Actress Attends a Space Amoeba Screening!

Yours truly posing with Toho actress Yukiko Kobayashi during a special event in Yokohama.

Today I attended a film event in Kanagawa Prefecture that focuses on Yog Monster from Space (a.k.a. Space Amoeba, 1970). In attendance for the screening was actress Yukiko Kobayashi, who played the island girl Saki in the film. She also was the female lead in Destroy All Monsters (1968) and essayed the title character in The Vampire Doll (1970). In Japan, however, she is best known for her guest appearance in episode 9 of Ultra Seven (1967-68) as Android Zero One. 

Yukiko Kobayashi during her heyday at Toho Studios. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Interestingly, the 35mm print of Space Amoeba started with some other film's Toho mark spliced in at the beginning. The music was some generic-sounding electric guitar riff, much different from Akira Ifukube's island music. After an abrupt cut, the movie ran without any other noticeable changes. (Given that the same thing happened with a print of Espy that ran a few months ago, I wonder how many other prints have their Toho marks lifted from other films. More importantly, I wonder what happened to these prints that necessitated such a change!)

Movie posters for Young Guy on Mt. Cook (1969) and Destroy All Monsters, both featuring Yukiko Kobayashi. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Watching the film on the big screen in 35mm, I noticed an extra in the beginning of the film who strongly resembled Cliff Harrington. He seems to be the American asleep on the airliner right behind Akira Kubo's character. I'm not sure it was him, but there certainly was a strong resemblance. I also spotted Shigeo Kato in the film, and his role turned out to be surprisingly large. He's the islander who says (in the Titra dub), "Gasoline, keep us warm!" He remains in the background for much of the rest of the movie.

After the movie, Kobayashi-san gave a Q&A about her career, and she signed autographs and posed for photos. Then we all gathered for dinner with her. Everybody had a great time, and I hope to have a chance to see Kobayashi-san again in the future.

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