|Above, yours truly with Haruo Nakajima at G-FEST 2000. I later had him autograph the photo.|
The news that the original Godzilla, Haruo Nakajima has passed away today at age 88 is just devastating.
I first met him in 2000 at G-FEST 2000 in Hollywood. I got to see first hand how he enjoyed interacting with his fans. He enjoyed being with them as much as they enjoyed being with him.
A year later, at the premiere of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack at the 2001 Tokyo International Film Festival, I met up with him following the movie's screening. Richard Pusateri and I had a photo taken with him.
|Above, at the 2001 Tokyo International Film Festival with Richard Pusateri. Photo courtesy of Richard Pusateri.|
I next saw him at the 2008 G-FEST in Chicago. In fact, I went to O'Hare International Airport to pick him up. It was at this convention that Nakajima was awarded the Mangled Skyscraper Award for his movie work.
|Above, Armand with Haruo and Sonoe Nakajima in their suite at G-FEST in 2008.|
|Above, Sonoe and Haruo Nakajima at the 2008 G-FEST awards banquet. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Haruo Nakajima during his panel discussion at G-FEST. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Haruo Nakajima with his Mangled Skyscraper Award. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Haruo Nakajima and Armand.|
At the first Monsterpalooza in Burbank following the Great East Japan Earthquake, I ran into him with Miki Hayashi. The proceeds received for his autograph went to earthquake relief.
|Above, Haruo Nakajima with Miki Hayashi at the 2011 Monsterpalooza. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
In 2013, I served has his "wrangler" at the Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the show, we sat together in the dealers room where he signed autographs and I sold copies of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. I also moderated a discussion with him and "acted" in a spoof monster video where I was fleeing a giant monster attack and tried to tell him to also flee, but he was too interested in reading his newspaper.
The following photos are from the 2013 Mad Monster Party:
|Above, Nakajima signs a fan's poster. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Nakajima with a signed photo for Tony Isabella. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, yours truly "acting" with Haruo Nakajima.|
|Above, Nakajima with a costumed fan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Haruo Nakajima with actress Lea Thompson. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, Haruo Nakajima and I. Photo by Jeff Blanken.|
|Above, the panel discussion. Photo by Jeff Blanken.|
|Above, "Team Nakajima": Yoko Connelly, Sonoe and Haruo Nakajima, Jeff Blanken and Armand Vaquer.|