Aug 12, 2022

He Built A Snowman For Us



Raymond Briggs
1934 - 2022
The artist and author who taught generations of children about friendship, love, and loss in his 1978 picture book, The Snowman, has died.  He was 88 years old.


Although Mr. Briggs has been adamant in his insistence that The Snowman is not a Christmas story, he allowed his work to be turned into a short animated film that has become a Christmas tradition in homes across the world.  This is how I first became acquainted with his work, but in the years that followed, I've come to appreciate what he meant to share with the world with his book.



Thank you, Mr. Briggs.  

Aug 11, 2022

Save The Cute Little Robot Ball



Tetrisphere
Nintendo 64 (1997)
There have been a lot of variations of Tetris over the years.  One of the most unusual of these was released for the N64 25 years ago today.



Tetrisphere was originally designed as a game called Phear for the Atari Jaguar console.  After seeing the demo on display at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in 1995, Nintendo acquired the rights to the game.  Shortly thereafter, it was redesigned to a game with a techno soundtrack in which the player guides Tetris pieces toward a sphere in the center of the screen.  There are several different versions of the game that can be played.  My favorite of these is called Rescue, where you eliminate layers of blocks to rescue a robot that's trapped in the hollow center of the sphere.

Aug 10, 2022

Gone Fishin' At Arby's



Hushpuppy Breaded Fish Strips
Arby's (2022)
Since the Long John Silver's in my hometown closed earlier this year, there aren't too many fast food options for fish and seafood in the area.  I've been keeping an eye open for something that could serve as a supplement to our Christmas Eve dinner this year.  It's not going to be the Hushpuppy Breaded Fish Strips from Arby's, but that's not a knock on the quality of the product.  They're very tasty, and the price wasn't too bad (at least by 2022 standards), but they're advertised as being available for a limited time, so I'm guessing that they won't be available by the end of the year.



These photos make the fish strips look smaller than they are.  They aren't massive, but I'd guess that each one is about 80% of the size of a plank of fish from Long John's, and I believe the size of the actual fish inside of the breading may be even closer to being equal because the hush puppy breading on these isn't as "fluffy" (for lack of a better word) as the breading that Long John's used.

Speaking of the hush puppy breading, I thought it was very tasty.  It didn't really remind me of a hush puppy, but since my experience with hush puppies has been pretty much limited to Long John's and the shoes that my parents used to make me wear when I was a kid, I'm probably not the most qualified person to weigh in on what a real hush puppy tastes like.



We also tried their limited edition Orange Cream Shake, which was one of the tastiest fast food milkshakes I've ever had.  The Creamsicle-like flavor is perfect on a hot summer day - especially for a summer that has broken all kinds of records for heat without too much wind or rain to help cool us off.

Aug 9, 2022

No Dogs Allowed



Snoopy Come Home
National General Pictures (1972)
The second film based on the Peanuts comic strip was released to theaters nationwide 50 years ago today.  Snoopy Come Home was written by the great Charles Schulz and directed by Bill Melendez.  It was critically acclaimed at the time of its release and has gone on to be a beloved classic.  However, the film did poorly at the box office, earning less than a quarter of its estimated one million dollar budget.

There's a lot of Peanuts cartoons out there, so it's entirely possible that you might not remember if you've ever watched this before, but if you found yourself slowly singing the title of this post in the deep voice of Thurl Ravenscroft, it's a pretty safe bet that you've seen this movie.  If you want to see it on its 50th birthday, you can do so on Amazon Prime.

Aug 8, 2022

Drive-In Goonies Never Say Die


The Goonies
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
Last August, the Mahoning screened Jurassic Park as a community event with free admission to all who requested a ticket in advance.  It was an excellent night, and one that I'm sure introduced a lot of new folks to the drive-in.  Last night, they have done the same thing with one of my favorite movies of all time: The Goonies.



The poster for this show was designed by Tom Bifulco.  I've lost count of how many awesome posters he has designed since we started going to the Mahoning, but it's been quite a few.  Just out of the shows that we've been to this season alone, he created the posters for The Blair Witch Project, De Palma-Rama, The Night Of The Hunter, Enter The Dragon, The Sing-Along Weekend, and the Remake Double-Take double feature of The Fly.  I'm no artist, but that strikes me as a hell of a lot of work!



Mr. Bifulco also has designed a t-shirt for this event.  It was available in multiple colors, and one of those was a combination of baby blue on maroon that had a very retro Phillies vibe.  There is no way I could pass on Sloth wearing the Mahoning t-shirt with Chunk holding an overflowing Popper bucket!
 


There are few things that capture the feeling of being a kid in the 80's like The Goonies.  It's one of my favorite movies ever made, but my fandom pales in comparison to my wife.  She knows every word of this film.  She knows every piece of trivia about how it was made, and the deleted scenes, and the things discussed in the director and cast commentary from the DVD.  She is a walking Goonies encyclopedia.  There's rarely a day that goes by that one of us doesn't make a Goonies reference to the other in conversation.  Sometimes, she's giving me driving directions by quoting Ma Fratelli ("stay to the right").  Sometimes, it's me randomly finding excuses to say "lowest point nothin', Mikey" or referring to something as a "retropackum", or threatening to "commit Hare Krishna".  It happens so often that we barely even notice that we're doing it anymore.  




I realize that I use the expression "dream come true" to describe a lot of experiences that we've had at the Mahoning, but I don't think it's ever been as appropriate as now.  At the risk of sounding dramatic, if you told me I had 24 hours left to live and I could pick whatever I wanted to do on my last day, one of those things would be to watch The Goonies with my wife at a drive-in theater.  We've watched it at home countless times, but neither of us ever had the opportunity to see it on the big screen, let alone from a 35mm print at the drive-in.  It was absolutely perfect!


It's awesome that the Mahoning screened this for the community free of charge.  What's less awesome is the fact that the lot was only about half full despite the fact that all of the free tickets for the night had been claimed.  Unfortunately, the weather forecast predicted thunderstorms for Sunday night, and since the tickets were free, I think people took the attitude that they'd rather skip out on the show rather than risk coming to a show in the rain.  It's a pretty lousy thing to do in my opinion.  The Mahoning schedules staff for the night and order food and merchandise based on the number of tickets that have been sold.  It's one thing if you paid for the tickets to a show that isn't sold out and you just can't make it.  It happens.  But to be given free tickets and not show up is just plain selfish.  It hurts the drive-in, who are now stuck with a bunch of extra t-shirts that they're probably going to have a hard time selling to folks who weren't at the show, and it also hurts the fans who weren't able to reserve a ticket before they were all claimed, and who would have been happy to come out last night if they weren't blocked by people who ended up staying home anyway.  The folks at the Mahoning went out of their way to put together a nice night where people could come out to see a movie with their friends and family free of charge.  The least that folks can do to repay their kindness is to show up, or give their tickets to someone who will.  My apologies for the rant, but I had to get that out of my system.

For what it's worth, a night of rain at the drive-in isn't a bad night at all.  I'll be the first person to admit that I'd rather a nice warm night without any rain so that we can sit outside, but there's something cozy about seeing a movie in the pouring rain while you're warm and dry in the car.  Second, you can't always count on the forecast to be correct.  As it turned out, a light rain did start to fall at around quarter to 8, but it cleared up about a half hour before the movie began, and there wasn't a drop of rain during the trailer reel or the movie.  It was a beautiful night, and the folks who made it out to the drive-in had a great time.

Aug 7, 2022

I'll See You In Hell, William Munny



Unforgiven
Warner Bros (1992)
The Best Picture of 1992, and one of the greatest western films ever made, premiered in theaters across the United States 30 years ago today.  In addition to winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, Clint Eastwood won the award for Best Director, and Gene Hackman won for Best Supporting Actor.  Eastwood was also nominated for Best Actor, but he was robbed by Al Pacino's performance in Scent Of A Woman, which I feel pales in comparison.

Aug 6, 2022

Popcorn & Anime In The 80's



Tobor The 8th Man
New Age Video (1987)
A few years ago, I wrote about the first anime that I remember seeing.  It was called Tobar The 8th Man.  It's a black and white cartoon that aired in Japan in 1963, and it tells the story of a police agent who was murdered by criminals and brought back to life in the body of an android.  It's a concept that was used in many other movies and television shows, including RoboCop, The Six-Million Dollar Man, and even Star Wars, but there aren't very many works of fiction that draw from this concept that predate this anime, or the manga that it was based on.



When I was eight years old, my grandparents gave me a VCR as a Christmas present.  It was one of the best gifts I had ever received, before or since.  It may sound silly today, but in the days before the internet, having a VCR in my bedroom was a gateway to entertainment that I had no other way of experiencing.  I could set the timer to record movies, cartoons, ballgames, wrestling matches, and other shows that were broadcast when I couldn't be there to see them.  I could rent movies that weren't on television, and I could discover things that I had never heard of.



My maternal grandmother gave me three tapes for Christmas that same year.  One was a tape with four Daffy Duck cartoons, and another was Popeye Meets Sinbad The Sailor.  However, the one that stood out to me the most at the time, and the one I still remember best to this day, was Tobor The 8th Man.  The box was thicker than the other two because it came with a bag of microwave popcorn inside with the VHS tape.


After years of searching, I finally found a copy of the Tobor tape that I had when I was eight years old on eBay for just a couple of bucks.  There was no popcorn, but the box is in great shape and the tape plays perfectly.

Although I had a hard time finding this particular tape, there are quite a few VHS tapes from the New Age Video: Popcorn Classics series on eBay.  Some of them are unopened, which I could only assume means that there's a 34 year old bag of microwave popcorn sealed in the shrink wrapped box alongside the tape.  If you buy one of these, I strongly recommend that you do not attempt to pop or consume the popcorn, but if you do, make sure to take a video of the experience.  Even if it doesn't make you a YouTube celebrity, it may come in handy for the doctors who are pumping your stomach.


The tape includes the sixth episode of the series, which was called 黄金ギャング (The Gold Gang) in Japan, though the back of the box identifies it as Goldshrinker And The Numbers Gang.  This version of the cartoon was dubbed in English and was slightly edited for an American audience to tone down the violence and to remove the scenes of Tobor smoking energy cigarettes to rejuvenate his powers.  Click the video above to play the episode that is on this tape.  It was encoded by a YouTube channel called 8thManDVD.com™ Cartoon Channel.  They've got a ton of content of old public domain cartoons available to stream for free, including a playlist with all 56 episodes of the Tobor The 8th Man series.

Aug 5, 2022

The Voice Of The Ballpark



Dan Baker
Philadelphia Phillies
Tonight at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies celebrated the career of the longest tenured PA announcer in Major League Baseball, Mr. Dan Baker.  Anyone who has been to Veterans Stadium or Citizens Bank Park to see a game over the past 50 years has been welcomed to the ballpark by Mr. Baker.  Every player who has set foot in the batters box over the past half century has been announced to the plate by Mr. Baker.  He and his voice are as much of a part of this team as any player who has ever worn a Phillies uniform, and we are extremely fortunate to have him.


MLB.com has shared a video of the tribute (skip ahead to around the 1:50 mark after clicking to play).  Kyle Gibson followed it up with a tribute of his own by taking a perfect game into the 7th inning in a masterful performance against the Washington Nationals.

Aug 4, 2022

Do You Think It'd Be Alright If I Could Just Crash Here Tonight



New Miserable Experience
Gin Blossoms (1992)
If you had asked me when this album came out, I would have sworn that it was sometime in late 1993 or early 1994, but I would have been wrong.  New Miserable Experience from the Gin Blossoms was released on August 4th, 1992 and is turning 30 years old today.



I also would have said it was their debut album, but I would have been wrong again.  I've been listening to this CD since I was in the eighth grade and had no idea that it was their third record, and that their first one was released in 1989.


New Miserable Experience didn't hit big at first, but it went multi-platinum not long after Hey Jealousy was released as a single and started getting heavy radio play in late 1993.  This was soon followed by Until I Fall Away and Found Out About You.
I want to tell if I am or am not myself
It's hard to know
How far or if at all could go
I've waited far too long
For something I forgot was wrong 
 
I don't know all the answers
I think that I'll find
Or have it within the time
But it's all that I'll have in mind 
 
Until I fall away
I won't keep you waiting long
Until I fall away
I don't know what to do anymore
Until I fall away 
 
My fear pretend that I'll never be in love again
It's real to me but not like these fools
And not like this scene
I won't find or have it within the time 
 
If it's all rusted and fade
In the spot where we fell
Where I thought I'd left behind
It's loose now but we could try 
 
Until I fall away
I won't keep you waiting long
Until I fall away
I don't know what to do anymore
Until I fall away 
 
When there's no good answers
And no new questions
Another personal disaster
There's nowhere to go but down

Aug 3, 2022

The Arrival Of Thor and Captain Caveman


While the Phillies didn't make as big of a splash at the deadline as the San Diego Padres did, they made a handful of moves to significantly improve the areas on the team that needed to be improved.  The biggest additions came by way of the Los Angeles Angels in two separate trades that brought right handed pitcher Noah Syndergaard and center fielder Brandon Marsh to Philadelphia.



One of the biggest needs the Phillies had going into the trade deadline was the middle of the rotation due to yet another Zach Eflin injury, and Noah Syndergaard seems like he could be the right man at the right time and for the right price.  At the start of the season, Thor signed a one year contact with the Angels.  Like Eflin, Syndergaard has had his own history of injuries, the worst of which resulted in Tommy John surgery that kept him off of the field in 2020 and most of 2021.  So far, his return to baseball in 2022 has been highly encouraging.  He's 29 years old and in the second half of a season that will very likely determine the rest of his career.  A good second half, and a potential playoff run will probably result in a lucrative multi-year deal this winter, while a poor end to the season could see him singing another one year deal to prove that he's regained his form, so he has all of the motivation in the world.

My expectations are that Noah Syndergaard is a rental and that the Phillies don't see him as a part of the rotation after this season, but if given the choice between the team moving forward with he or Zach Eflin, I think I'd rather see them take a chance with Syndergaard.  Even if they don't, it wouldn't make me sad to see the Phillies decline the $15 million option they have on Zach Eflin for 2023.  Eflin has had flashes of brilliance in his career, but he's shown that he can't be relied on to stay healthy, and I'm not sure he's ever come close to living up to the hype when he was able to pitch.  Zach Eflin isn't a young prospect anymore, and I think it's time for the Phillies to move on.

With Eflin being moved to the 60 day IL and barring any other injuries, the Phillies will play out the rest of the season with a rotation of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Noah Syndergaard, Ranger Suarez and Kyle GibsonWheeler and Nola have been outstanding, and after a rough start to his season, Suarez seems to be recapturing some of the magic he had in 2021.  Gibson is a solid and dependable #5, so if Syndergaard can continue to impress in his comeback season, the Phillies could have one of the best rotations in the National League.



Brandon Marsh is the player that I'm the most excited about the Phillies receiving at the deadline.  The center fielder, who was affectionately known to Angels fans as Captain Caveman, is just 24 years old and playing in his second season in the big leagues.  The Phillies have been weak in center field for most of the past ten years.  The fact that Dave Dombrowski was able to fill this need with a young, dynamic player who will be under team control through the end of the 2027 season without giving up any of our top pitching prospects is nothing short of a stroke of genius.  Marsh is an excellent defensive center fielder, and the Phillies coaching staff see a lot of potential in his bat.  In a lot of ways, this reminds me of when Shane Victorino was brought to Philadelphia.  That turned out very well, and I have high hopes that this acquisition will as well.



My dad called me when I was driving home from work to tell me about Brandon Marsh trade and to remind me that we saw him play at the Angels vs Phillies game that he and I went to earlier this year.  The game was on June 5th, and Marsh made a couple of impressive plays that day and went 1-4 at the plate with an RBI single in the top of the 8th off of Jeurys Familia.  I remember that while we were watching the game, Dad actually mentioned to me that he thought Marsh would be a good player to try to pick up.  Little did we both know at the time that he'd be wearing a Phillies uniform less than two months later.
 


Thankfully, the Phillies made significant improvements to the team without having to give up top prospects Mick Abel, Andrew Painter or Griff McGarry.  They're the most solid trio of pitching prospects the Phillies have had in their organization for a long time.  However they did have to give up some legitimate talent to the Los Angeles Angels.

The Phillies traded Mickey Moniak and Jadiel Sanchez for Noah Syndergaard.  I'm not familiar with Sanchez, but Moniak was one of my favorite players to have come through our system in recent years.  He was off to a great start in Spring Training, but he was hit in the hand by a pitch in the last Spring game before the start of the 2022 season which took him off the field for a while.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to regain his momentum when he was healthy enough to return to the field.  I can definitely see why the Angels would want him.  Getting a 24 year old who is just six years removed from being the #1 Overall Pick in the draft is a pretty good return for a pitcher that they would have only had until the end of the season.

The other prospect that the Phillies traded away was even more highly regarded than Moniak.  Double A catcher Logan O'Hoppe is arguably the team's best non-pitching prospect and one of the best catching prospects in all of baseball.  Unfortunately for O'Hoppe, he was with a team that had very recently signed JT Realmuto to a seven year contract, and while Rafael Marchan might not be quite as highly regarded as a prospect, he's in Triple A and on the 40 man roster, so he would be the next logical call-up in case of injury.  I hate to lose a player with as much potential as O'Hoppe, but trading him for Brandon Marsh is a deal that makes sense for everyone.  The Angels have two catchers at the big league level: Max Stassi, who is serviceable, but not the kind of talent who is good enough to block a top prospect, and Kurt Suzuki, who is 38 years old and only signed through the end of this season.  Not only does this trade give O'Hoppe a clear path to the Major Leagues, but it allows the Phillies to trade a player from a position where they have a great deal of organizational depth for someone who plays a position that they've needed to lock down for quite some time.



Best of luck to all three of the prospects the Phillies traded to the Angels this week, and a special thank you to Logan O'Hoppe for the free drinks from Sheetz that we got from his homer against the Senators on April 24th.



A few days before the trade deadline, the Phillies acquired utility infielder Edmundo Sosa from the St. Louis Cardinals.  This move came as a bit of a surprise to me because the Phillies problem at the moment seems to be too many middle infielders, and it's only going to get more complicated when Jean Segura returns to the team in a few days.

Edmundo Sosa is another newcomer to Philadelphia that I got to see in person earlier this year.  He was the starting shortstop for the Cardinals against the Phillies for my birthday game this year.  He doesn't hit for much power, but he had a .271/.346/.389 slash line last season, and he's an above average defensive player at multiple infield positions.  The Phillies sent Johan Camargo down to Allentown after the trade was finalized, so I suppose they see Sosa as a defensive replacement upgrade off of the bench.  Unfortunately, they had to trade away another one of my favorite players to bring Sosa to town.


I've always appreciated the intensity of relief pitcher JoJo Romero.  He's been very effective coming out of the bullpen for both the Fightin' Phils and the Iron Pigs, but he's run into difficulty in his limited time in the big leagues since he was first called up during the Covid-shortened 2020 season.  Injuries derailed his career early last season, but he's recovered from Tommy John surgery and has been pitching in minor league rehab assignments.  We got to see him pitch for the Iron Pigs on the 4th of July this year, and he looked like he was back on track to return to the Major Leagues, but that return is now going to happen in St. Louis instead of Philadelphia.  I wish you the best of luck, Mr. Romero, but since you're now pitching for our wild card competition, I'm thinking that you might be getting bumped down to being my second favorite JoJo.



In addition to the two deals that they made with the Angels, the Phillies traded pitching prospect Ben Brown to the Chicago Cubs to bring closer David Robertson back to Philadelphia.

The Phillies originally signed Robertson to a two year contract before the start of the 2019 season.  At the time, he was one of the most dependable and accomplished relief pitchers in all of baseball.  We went to Opening Day that year, and Robertson was brought in to face the Braves in the top of the 8th.  It wasn't a typical situation for a team to debut their new closer.  The Phillies were up by 7 runs, so it would have been a no-save situation even if he were to remain in the game through the 9th, but Robertson had suspiciously few appearances during Spring Training games in 2019, so I figured they were just trying to get him some work in a low pressure situation.  He walked Josh Donaldson, then gave up a single to Freddie Freeman, followed by an RBI single off the bat of Ronald Acuna Jr before he was able to record his first out.  At the time, I wasn't too overly concerned.  After all, he had faced three of the best hitters in the Braves lineup, and he hadn't thrown much in the Spring.  What I didn't realize at the time is that that single inning would represent about 15% of his Phillies career.  His season ended on April 14th after pitching 6 ⅔ innings across 7 appearances.  He went in for Tommy John surgery and was not able to return in 2020, and that was it for David Robertson's time as a member of the Phillies... just another Danny Tartabull story to tell when we reminisce about the bad luck this franchise has faced over the years... or so I thought.

Robertson returned to the mound with the Tampa Bay Rays on September 1st of last season.  He hadn't appeared in a big league game in over 27 months, but he was effective across 12 innings in the final month of the 2021 season.  He signed a one year contract with the Cubs at the start of this season, and so far, the 37 year old has shown that he has more left in the tank.  In over 40 innings of work in Chicago, he has pitched to a 2.23 ERA with 54 strikeouts and a 1.041 WHIP.  He's also earned 14 saves, including one against the Phillies last month.  The Phillies have had a strong bullpen in 2022, and adding a resurgent David Robertson as the closer is going to make it that much better.
 


Finally, the Phillies picked up left handed reliever Andrew Vasquez off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.  He's currently on the injured list with an ankle sprain, but he's been added to the 40 man roster and will report to Allentown when he's healthy.  I'm not sure if we can expect to see him come up to the Phillies this season unless someone else gets hurt, but he has MLB experience in parts of four seasons with the Twins, Dodgers and Blue Jays.  His numbers at the major league level are pretty rough, but he's only 28 years old and he's got a 2.42 ERA with 13.5 strikeouts per 9 innings in his minor league career.  Also, he is said to have an elite breaking ball that's been compared to Rich Hill, so it's possible that the Phillies may have uncovered a diamond in the rough.



The addition of four players to the 40 man roster meant that a couple of players had to go, and it ended up being the two guys that I never wanted to see on the team in the first place.  I'm almost as happy to see them go as I am to see the new talent the Phillies brought in at the deadline.  Both Odubel Herrera and Jeurys Familia had been suspended during their careers for domestic violence, so I thought it was a horrible move for the Phillies to sign both of them this past winter.  In addition to their alleged behavior off of the field, both have been pretty terrible this season, so their removal is the very definition of addition by subtraction.



There are two months left in the season and the Phillies are in a better position to reach the playoffs than they have been in recent memory.  The team is sitting on a record of 55-48 entering today's game against the Braves and they've been in the hunt for the final NL Wild Card spot for most of the summer.  They've found ways to win despite the fact that they've been without Bryce Harper and Jean Segura for over a month.  With these new additions to the lineup, and with Segura and possibly even Harper returning to the team before the end of August, there is every reason to believe that the Phillies can finally break out of their playoff drought.  After that, anything can happen.

Aug 2, 2022

On Planet X... It Won't Be Long Now



Godzilla vs Monster Zero
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
This week's Tunnel Vision Tuesday is kind of an unofficial extension of the Schlock-O-Rama weekend with a screening of Godzilla vs Monster Zero.  It's the sixth film in the Godzilla franchise, and a direct sequel to Ghidora The Three-Headed Monster.  The Monster Zero referred to in the title is King Ghidorah, the three-headed space dragon that was introduced in the previous film.

left: original Japanese poster for Invasion Of The Astro-Monster Poster (1965)
right: The Tinker Take Off (Tinker Air Force Base newspaper) - Oklahoma City, OK (Mar 13, 1970)

Godzilla vs Monster Zero has gone under a few different names over the past 50+ years.  It was originally released in Japan on December 19th, 1965 as Invasion Of Astro-Monster.  It was first shown in the United States four years later in military base theaters where the film was billed as Invasion Of The Astros.

left: The Morning Call - Allentown, PA  (August 3, 1970)
right: Standard Speaker - Hazleton, PA (August 15, 1970)

The movie gained a wider release in North America during the Summer of 1970.  It was given its third name Monster Zero, and shown in a double feature with War Of The Gargantuas.  Finally, when it was released on VHS in the 80's, the movie was given the title Godzilla vs Monster Zero.



In professional wrestling, a match that is so good that everyone in the locker room stops what they're doing to watch the action in the ring is called a Curtain Sellout.  Godzilla vs Monster Zero seemed to be the drive-in equivalent of this at the Mahoning.  I spotted Rob (projectionist) and JT (production manager) in the crowd with their lawn chairs during the pre-show.  Although they were there to see the film and not to work, JT still busted out the Godzilla costume and marched around menacingly for photo ops.  Although I haven't talked with him too much, he seems to me like a genuinely good dude who goes completely out of his way to make everyone's experience at the drive-in more memorable.


The version of the film that was shown tonight was called Monster Zero on the title card, so I believe it was one of the 35mm prints that was shown across the country in Summer 1970.  This one of the few early Godzilla movies that wasn't heavily edited when it was brought over to the United States, so aside from the English dubbing, the version that we got to see has been said to be virtually identical to the original film that was released in Japan.
 


Even if you have never watched a Godzilla movie before, Godzilla vs Monster Zero is a movie that I strongly recommend.  The plot is ridiculous in all of the best ways, and it tells a story that you can enjoy even if you haven't seen any of the movies leading up to it.  All you really need to know is that the world is already aware of the existence of Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah before the start of this film.  The rest of what you need to know is self-contained.  This movie is a hell of a lot of fun all ages.  I don't care if you're 5 or 105, I defy anybody to watch Godzilla doing the happy dance on Planet X  without at least cracking a smile.