Back in late 2003, I was contacted about a studio company wanting to film a Godzilla collection in what would have been a documentary for American Movie Classics. I talked to the producer of Van Ness Films and he requested pictures of my collection. One interesting request was that his boss really liked Rodan and if I can send pictures of what figures I had of Rodan.
Impressed with the pictures I had sent, the producer gave me a review on what question he was going to ask me for the documentary over the phone and that him and his film crew would come to the house to film the footage. I had to rearrange the room to fit as many toys as possible. I removed the TV and electronic equipment from the room and asked fellow collector Marlo Alquiza if I could borrow some of his rare toys.
Popy Jumbosaurus Godzilla, Nitto Gamera, and Marusan Godzilla
From the collection of Marlo Alquiza
note* Popy Jumbosaurus did appear in Animal Planet's "It Came from Japan".
On the day of the filming, a two man crew, the producer, and his boss came to oversee the project. They were surpised on the amount of toys on display and half of the day was spent filming the Godzilla Room.
Film crew putting the spotlight on the Popy Giant Red Godzilla
note* The Popy Giant Red Godzilla was the first stand alone toy shown closeup during Animal Planet's "It Came from Japan"
The equipment used was state of the art making the toys on film look better than they did in real life.
Camera used to film the Godzilla Room
One interesting note, during the phone review, I was asked what was the rarest toy in my collection. At that time, I had just bought the Bullmark Sparking Godzilla, which is a rare toy, and mentioned that toy as the rarest. But during the actual interview, I decided to change the toy to the Bandai Great Monster Series Bronze Godzilla. While the Bronze Godzilla itself is a rare toy, I felt it was a more visual appealing figure than the Sparking Godzilla. The producer wasn't happy with the change, but now that the segment did appear in Animal Planet's "It Came from Japan" documentary, I feel I made the right choice.
The last thing that was done was filming the toys individually. A set up was made on the kitchen table with a colorful backgound. One interesting note, during filming in the Godzilla Room, I would tell the producer "check this out" and I would have a toy roar or move. The producer then would say "film that", so when it came to filming each toy individually, it process took longer cause of all the battery operated figures.
Filming of the Tokyo Mauri Godzilla 89
Another interesting note, While filming the Tokyo Mauri Godzilla, the figure just looked fantastic on the monitor and thought for sure footage of this toy would be used. I find it amazing that none of the footage was used for Animal Planet's "It Came from Japan" and the battery operated toy that did get a good amount of footage during the documentary was the DX Godzilla 2002.
The filming actually went an hour over schedule, but no one seemed to mind because we had so much fun. The film crew was great to work with and everyone was impressed that there were so many Godzilla toys. As fun as it was, it was alot of work, even for me, but it was a wonderful experience.
For unknown reasons, AMC never produced the documentary. I was later contacted that Animal Planet was doing a documentary and the same studio was doing the filming. Marlo Alquiza had a film crew at his house and was interviewed. When the documentry did appear on Animal Planet, I wasn't sure if I was even going on it or any of my toys. So it was a big surprised for me to see the footage that was filmed at my home. Some interesting notes of the documentary, the toys behind John Carpenter were actually from Marlo Alquiza's collection. Marlo hesitantly lent the toys to the film crew and worried if he would get them back which he did. The Bronze Godzilla used in the backgound for John Carpenter's interview is a customized Bootleg Large Scale Godzilla 64. The Mattel Shogun Rodan shown in the background of George Takei's interview is also from Marlo's collection. When I did my interview, the producer wanted a Godzilla in the background and my obvious choice was the M1 Godzilla 64 kit, which is my favorite Godzilla in my collection.
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