persona non sequitur

a review of media by a slightly jaded baby boomer.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Mentioning Ray Bradbury in one of the previous entries reminded me of something. In one week, I read several items on him, and they all seemed to be about BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS. In Harry Knowles book AIN'T IT COOL, he recalls Bradbury being peeved at Toho Studios for "ripping off my movie" to make Godzilla. In the fannish memoir titled GODZILLA ON MY MIND (written by William Tsutsui), this is acknowledged. But Bradbury seems to have forgotten a few items or ignored a few facts: the BEAST was in production, already scripted when the rights to the story "The Foghorn" were acquired. This information is found in KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES volume 1, written by Bill Warren. So it seems rather silly for Bradbury to make an issue of it. But his vanity wouldn't let it go.

Both films have an a-bomb blast for an opening. in BEAST, they use the Arctic for a n A-Bomb test. Though no one with an ounce of brain would fire off an a-bomb in the arctic, even for testing. Why would you want all that ice to melt all at once? Someone without an ounce of brain wrote this screenplay. In BEAST One guy falls into a hole, lands on his back and breaks a leg (well, explain that one).

But It's hardly a rip off. Rhedosaurus has four legs. Godzilla walks upright. Dino critter is full of germs and Godzilla has atomic bad breath. GODZILLA spawned over two dozen sequels, a cottage industries of toys, games, actions figures and the now well known "bad dubbing" effect.

GODZILLA seems to be more of a horror film, while BEAST is action adventure with a giant creature.

BEAST : no sequels. Not even a small plastic figure marketed in toy stores. There is a magaine called G FAN about Godzilla and Toho studios.

Big PS: there was a Superman cartoon from the mid 1940's about a frozen dinosaur that was brought back from the Arctic and it thawed out and went on a rampage in Metropolis (aka New York). Ray Bradbury is a big fan of movies. Hmm. Hmm.

Mostly likely: Bradbury is friends with Ray Harryhausen. He added his name to the film in pre production so his name and "Saturday Evening Post" would be in the movie trailer. The trailer erroneously lists it as a "thriller".



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At 8:16 AM, Blogger Phil said...

The truth about BEAST FROM 20000 FATHOMS is that Bradbury was invited to look a dinosaur movie script with a view to improving it. Bradbury pointed out that it bore a striking resemblance to his short story (particularly a scene involving a lighthouse). The producer, embarrassed at having ripped off Bradbury, bought the rights to the story, and so Bradbury gained a "story" credit.

The full story is on my Bradburymedia website, here:

At 4:42 AM, Blogger Robert Whitaker Sirignano said...

Read your comment, but I note that as Bradbury has gotten older, his comments have gotten increasingly self centered and delusional. His whole weird rant over Micheal Moore's film FAHRENHEIT 9/11 is a good place to point out a bad example.

If Bradbury wants to take credit, then he has to be held responsible for the stupid opening.

Face it, the film was in production and they wanted his name on it. Ray Harryhausen was involved. Those stop motion critters take time and effort. How could he not have known?

And if you look at the shot of the Dino approaching the lighthous, it seems a lot like shots of any dino approaching a tree with a man in it from KING KONG.

I'm not convinced. "They ripped off my movie," he says of Godzilla. Hey, it was an improvement.


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