Godzilla. Big “G”. Kicking ass and taking names for over 50 years. Sure, some of those “names”, such as “Destoroyah” and “Ghidorah”, are easily mispronounced. I’m not sure where I was going was this. I really just needed something to start this piece off with. Hey, I’m not a very good writer. Just ask…. well, anyone.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released by Wonderland Records in 1977. This record features 2 short Godzilla adventures, 1 story to each side. If the cover art looks familiar, there is good reason. The record’s cover image, featuring artwork from Herb Trimpe, is the same as that found on the cover of the 1st issue of the Godzilla comic released by Marvel Comics in August of that same year.
Although the “Godzilla Vs The Alien Invasion” story gets top billing on the album’s cover art, it is actually featured on the B side of the record.
Side A: Godzilla VS Amphibion –
Our story begins in the fabled Bermuda Triangle. I think those are even some of the first words spoken on the recording.
See? Told ya!
The crew of a fishing vessel spots Godzilla rising up from the ocean’s depths. I’m assuming that it’s a fairly small vessel as there seems to be only a 2 man crew. Another large creature rises from the water soon after. Worried that they may get caught in a battle between the 2 creatures, the fishing boat makes a retreat back to the docks of Miami. The captain takes the first mate out for a few drinks to help calm their nerves, but the other man is now determined to inform the authorities of what they saw out at sea. Whether he actually does inform anyone is undisclosed, which really kinda makes this whole paragraph a waste of your valuable time. Sorry about that.
Around the same time, Naval pilot Capt. Rick Thompson is out for a flight with his young son. They also see Godzilla and the other creature emerging from the ocean, further negating the need for the previous paragraph. Instead of warning the general populace of possible wide-spread destruction, Rick and his son instead pay a visit to a paleontologist to show him pictures of the creatures. The paleontologist identifies Godzilla, thought killed by the Japanese years prior (presumably referencing the creature’s demise at the end of the original film). No mention is made of Amphibion’s origins and no one really cares.
Thompson is soon ordered to lead a mission to stop the creatures through use of nuclear warheads before they can reach the shores of Miami Beach. Because, you know, using nuclear weapons near a major metropolitan area is always a safe bet. The paleontologist returns long enough to warn Rick not to harm Godzilla, as it is actually trying to protect the citizens against the other creature. And as we all know, Godzilla’s way of “protecting” people is by accidentally stepping on their house.
The story then shifts focus to 2 surfers about to hit the waves. Despite their wicked heavy Boston accents, they comment on being used to these sized waves in Florida. As they prepare to board out, they see the creatures rising once again from the ocean surface just offshore. The beach goers flee in panic, but not before some of them are dragged under by the small tidal wave caused by the monsters.
The citizens of Miami are evacuated inland, but for whatever reason, Capt. Thompson’s son is allowed to hang around the militarized zone. The warheads fail to have much effect against Amphibion, but Godzilla manages to break the creature’s neck before it can cause much damage to the city. No comment is made about how much damage the warheads caused and, again, no one cares.
The battle over, Godzilla returns back to the ocean. I can’t help but wonder why Godzilla let Amphibion even get to land if it could have defeated this creature out at sea and saved everyone a lot of headaches. Hey, it’s a children’s record, so don’t make it something it ain’t.
Side B: Godzilla Vs The Alien Invasion
The record’s second feature also begins on a boat. In this case, a timber barge floating on the northern end of Lake Michigan. A salty old captain (the only acceptable kind) and his mate observe a large disturbance in the water off in the distance. The “disturbance” is Godzilla rising from the lake’s surface. Godzilla likes to travel.
The captain attempts to radio a warning inland, but radiation emanating from the giant lizard has destroyed the radio tubes. The two old men are in a panic, unaware that Godzilla means them, and the rest of mankind, no harm. Just like the previous story, the ancient mariners are never heard from again, thus making this paragraph really kinda pointless as well.
Meanwhile, far from the now inconsequential lumber barge, an alien spacecraft is hovering over the western shore of the lake. The ship lands in a wooded area and its alien occupants exit. In the hopes of making our planet their new “breeding grounds”, they prepare to “plant” their breeding pods in the waters of the lake’s shore. This will be the first step in their plan to conquer our world.
The listener is then introduced to Billy and Linda, a young couple traveling to the lake to investigate the recent UFO activity that they heard about from their professor. They arrive at the lake just in time to see the alien vessel flying off, but not in time to see the alien invader’s breeding pods. Only moments later, they also witness a large disturbance out on the water.
Unlike our 2 “now marginally more relevant to the story” sailors, neither of the 2 creatures seen rising from the watery depths are Godzilla. He, however, shows up mere seconds later and immediately sets to kickin’ some extraterrestrial ass.
The aliens aboard the spacecraft notice that their eggs have hatched. They attributed the shortened incubation period to it being an unusually warm season on our planet, a fact that can only be known if they had been here before. What they’ve somehow managed to miss is Godzilla, who is now bitch-slapping their newborns. Either way, they now prepare to incubate even more eggs in the hopes of ambushing the closest major city, in this case, Chicago. As this record was released in 1977, the Cubs still sucked.
The teens return to town and tell their professor about what they’ve witnessed. The professor then takes a moment to give the teens, as well as the listener, the abridged version of Godzilla’s origin. The “Godzilla” theme music is used to sell the moment.
Unaware of the alien presence, the military surround the lake in an attempt to take down Godzilla. It would seem that the military are just as unaware of the events of the previous story or they’d remember that Godzilla is now benevolent towards mankind. Oh, and he just kinda saved Miami.
The aliens have returned with an armada of ships, prepared for their invasion. The military forces can only spectate because, at the same oddly convenient time, Godzilla returns to beat the living shit out of every alien thing in sight with minimal effort. His mission complete, Godzilla walks off into the distance like David Banner at the end of every Incredible Hulk episode.
At only around 15 minutes per side, Godzilla: King of the Monsters may have provided some quick thrills upon its release. It still does so today, although the miasma of nostalgia that comes with 40 years of time slipping away since its initial release undoubtedly changes the way that we look at it today. Some may call it a collectible, but I think of it more as a small time capsule of an era long gone, but yet increasingly imitated.
I was able to find my copy for under $10 shipped on eBay. However, I have not seen many copies pop up online since I obtained mine. At $10, the record is totally worth the price.
I used to have He Man story books on record. I had no idea these even existed!
This takes me back to my room as a 4 year old boy while my mom is cooking in the kitchen in Potomac Maryland in 1977, an analog world, a world of real things and limitless imagination.
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