Chiller Theatre Report
by Tim Bean
3 Generations of GODZILLA scrape the sky where King Kong took a tumble. GODZILLA Suit Actors TOM KITAGAWA, HARUO NAKAJIMA, KENPACHIRO SATSUMA, and Illustrator SHINJI NISHIKAWA at the Empire State Building. Picture by Jonathan Peter Lee.
Around ten thousand horror and science fiction fans converged on New Jersey October 24th through the 26th at Chiller Theatre. What they found there was the first ever United States appearance of all three of the major Godzilla suit actors at one convention. Haruo Nakajima, Kenpachiro Satsusma and Tsutomu Kitagawa were on hand to sign autographs, meet with the fans, and have photo ops with them. Appearing with the suit actors was manga artist and kaiju concept designer Shinji Nishikawa. Shinji Nishikawa was the concept designer for many of the Godzilla monsters from GODZILLA VS BIOLLANTE all the way up to FINAL WARS.
After spending Thursday sight seeing around New York City, the stars settled in at Chiller Theatre where they were met by enthusiastic fans. Fans could either bring their own items to be signed or choose from many photos or small posters to have signed by the Godzilla suit actors. Shinji Nishikawa brought several drawings of various Godzillas or Godzilla monsters. He also took commissions where he would draw the characters of the customer’s choosing. And the fans used their imaginations when coming up with requests. Anything from the traditional to pairing Godzilla with the star ship Yamato to Super Godzilla Vs Bagan from the video game was requested.
Saturday was by far the busiest day as the Godzilla room at the convention spent much of the day at capacity. Fans patiently stood in line for hours to get their moment with each of the Godzillas. Many a Godzilla fan’s dream came true as they got to meet and have their photos taken with each of the actors.
On Sunday each actor got to look through a copy of Monster Attack Team #11. Nakajima-san was very pleased with the article on his appearance at Yokoska for the opening of Legendary’s Godzilla movie. His daughter Sonoe was particularly excited by it, showing it to the other Japanese guests. Satsuma-san focused immediately on the GODZILLA VS THE SMOG MONSTER article as it brought back memories of his first acting job in a Godzilla movie.
The guests left Monday morning to fly back to Japan, tired, but very happy. Will all three Godzilla actors ever return together to make another convention appearance? Only time will tell.