"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Salute To Robert Dunham

Here's a little salute to actor Robert Dunham. The photos are from Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973).

According to Wikipedia:

Robert Dunham (July 6, 1931 - August 6, 2001) was an American actor. He is probably best known for his role as Antonio, Emperor of Seatopia in Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973); Dunham's most famous role would be that of Mark Jackson in the Japanese film, Dogora (1964). Dunham was an American living in Japan during most of the country's "Golden Age" of cinema, and was cast in several films. He spoke fluent Japanese, and his lines were never dubbed over by a Japanese actor during his career, Dunham was also a stunt driver, and lended his talents to Godzilla vs. Megalon, where Dunham played the Seatopia agent on a motorcycle, who gave chase to the protagonist of the film.

Recently, I became a Facebook friend with Dunham's daughter Emiko.

On her current activities, Emiko told me, "I am currently studying Reiki, a Japanese form of energy healing and also, I am in school full time to become a licensed/certified massage therapist. So, once I am done with school next spring, I may take a Japanese class at the university where my oldest son goes."

She adds, "My father is buried on Cape Cod, MA at a national cemetery for veterans. He had been in the USMC, after the Korean War."

She is grateful that her father is fondly remembered by his fans:

A big "thank you" goes out to all of my Dad's fans...Thank you for adding links of his movies to my wall and for sharing your pics. It means a lot to me :)

How To Tell If A Woman Has The Hots For You

You can tell if a woman has the hots for you when you have a conversation that goes:

Her: "Are you going to Japan this year?"

Me: "Yes, most likely around November-December."

Her: "For how long?"

Me: "Three months."

Her: [Freaking out and nearly having a heart attack.]

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dollar Falls Against The Yen

I went to check the current foreign exchange rate of the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen and the rate is lousy.

According to the Universal Currency Converter website, the rate is:

1.00 USD = 86.3829 JPY

According to Financial Times today:

The dollar fell below Y86 for the first time in eight months on Friday as mounting concerns about the US economy led to broader weakness for the greenback.

The slightly weaker than expected data on second-quarter US growth were the trigger for the latest move downward, but traders were also looking ahead to manufacturing and employment data next week that are expected to point to further weakness in the world’s largest economy.

The greenback fell to a low of Y85.93 before recovering to Y86.63 later in the day, down 0.9 per cent against the Japanese currency on the week.

The U.S. GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth for the second quarter was an anemic 2.4%.

This does not bode well (at present) for Americans traveling to Japan.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Original Lois Lane Making Progress

Above, Noel Neill unveiling the statue of her as "Lois Lane" in Metropolis, Illinois last month. Photo by Bill Dillane.

Noel Neill's manager/biographer Larry Ward has sent out a progress report on Noel's condition, and it is encouraging:

I am happy to report that Noel is doing much better today.

For the first couple days after she was in the hospital with her broken hip, she was confused and in a lot of pain. That pain has now subsided and she has been transferred to a quiet, private physical rehab facility in an undisclosed location. Apparently her reputation arrived prior to her arrival, so the staff is treating her like royalty, and she's soaking it all up. She is not happy being there, though, because she knows she has a long and stressful road ahead of her. Because of the nature of her break, the fragility of her bones, and her age, she cannot put any weight on her hip for at least 6 weeks. It's going to be a long recovery process, and that frustrates her. It doesn't help that Noel isn't exactly the ideal patient, as she always prefers to do things her way, but they're trying to
work around her cantankerousness.

The good news is that Noel Neill is expected to make a full and complete recovery, with the entire process taking perhaps as long as three months.


New Keisei Line Opened July 17

A new train line went into service on July 17 called the Narita Sky Access. And, it shortens the ride from Narita Airport to Tokyo to 36 minutes!

According to the Keisei Co. website:

The new Skyliner connects Nippori station and Narita Airport Terminal 2 in a minimum of 36 minutes, zipping along a new access route at 160 km/h top speed. We shortened the travel time by 15 minutes compared to current the 51 minutes via the existing route, thus substantially improving access time.

The speed of 160 km/h is the fastest among Japan’s conventional trains. The new Skyliner will enable world-class international airport access comparable to North American or European airports.

This is excellent news for travelers who had spent long hours on a jet only to have to spend an hour more on a commuter train to get into Tokyo.

For more information, go here.

Maybe I'll give it a try when I go to Japan in a few months.

Superman Saves Family From Foreclosure

These kinds of stories I like to read.

A family facing forclosure on their home gets rescued at the last minute by the Man of Steel.

According to an article from Asylum.com:

In the nick of time, the Man of Steel saved a family's home ... for real. A couple facing foreclosure found the collateral they desperately needed with the discovery of an Action Comics #1 (aka, the Holy Grail of comic books) in their basement.

As any true fanboy knows, Action Comics #1 is the most significant comic of all time because it was Superman's debut. In fact, the issue birthed the entire genre of the superhero.

The fortuitous find occurred when the anonymous family began the painful process of packing up their home due to a bank's foreclosure proceedings. The house had been in the family's possession since the 1950s, which is probably when the wife's father stashed the issue in a box with some other, mere mortal titles. When they first realized what they had found, they contacted Stephen Fishler, co-owner of New York's ComicConnect and Metropolis Collectibles.

"They said they came across a box that had magazines in it and some old comic books," Fishler told Asylum. "And that they came across what appears to be an Action #1."

To read the full article, go here.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Club Tokyo: A Collectors' Database

Above, a porcelain Godzilla figure (owned by yours truly). Is it listed at Club Tokyo?

Fans of any subject, genre or person tend to collect items associated with that particular passion. Godzilla (and kaiju) fans are no exception.

Some collect movie memorabilia such as posters, lobby cards and theater giveaways. Others will collect toys, action figures, VHS tapes, DVDs and other items.

There is one place where all Godzilla and kaiju collectors can get information on virtually all collectibles: Club Tokyo.

Club Tokyo is a website database in which all items are catalogued with a history of each item, including variants, are presented. It is overseen by Richard Cox, Mike Johnson and Bob Schneider.

Club Tokyo has been around since July 28, 1998 and it is constantly updated by Cox, Johnson and Schneider with the help from fan contributors. I've contributed a few items.

The site is broken down into different categories, such as figures, candy/capsule toys, theater exclusives, kits, prototypes, articles, paperwork, miscellaneous and reviews.

If there's been an item produced concerning Godzilla, Gamera or other kaiju, chances are it has been catalogued at Club Tokyo. If not, and you have the item, feel free to contribute the information on it!

So, if you are a collector of Godzilla and kaiju items, you will want to take a look at Club Tokyo. It is very easy to lose track of time while perusing it.

Their website is http://www.clubtokyo.org/

Monsterland Toys Sale!

Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Christmas is less than five months away (incredible, isn't it?). Now's the time to start thinking about the kaijulogist on your Christmas gift list.

Monsterland Toys has a sale on Godzilla, Gamera, King Kong and other items to satisfy your inner child (or, for that matter, your outer child). Monsterland Toys is also an official retailer for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Since most items are imports, supplies are limited. So find the goodies you want while supplies last!

To see what Monsterland Toys has currently on sale, go here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wikileaks: Traitors Amongst Us

There's an article posted at the Big Hollywood blog by Greg Gutfield titled, "Wikileaks: Enemies of the State" that everyone should read.

Gutfield spells it out without mincing any words. In his article, Gutfield said:

So as you know, Wikileaks has posted a crapload of secret military reports about the Afghan war, including covert operations against Taliban figures. They claim their goal is to reveal “unethical behavior,” by the government and corporations.

On their website they write “All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people.”

This is pure bullpoop, to use the scientific term.

The fact is, their goal is to only “expose” people they don’t like – meaning the United States military – and get worldwide props for it.

There's no other way around it, there's simply traitors amongst us.

To read the full article, go here.

Superman Kills Anne Carson

"Superman Arraigned For Negligent Homicide!" screamed the newspaper headlines after the tragic death of Anne Carson (Judy Ann Nugent) as Superman (George Reeves) flew her unprotected around the world.

Well, this didn't actually occur in the television show Adventures of Superman, specifically, the cherished "Around The World With Superman" (1953). But it should have if the episode really took place in real life. It should be considered a major blooper.

For one thing, Superman flew the formerly-blind Anne Carson without any protection against the cold air (and, not to mention the high speeds they attained). In the Silver Age comic books, Superman would at least wrap his passenger in his cape for protection. Superman didn't wrap Anne with his cape. Since he flew her at high altitudes, she would have froze to death.

Next, there's a scene of Superman and Anne flying way above the Himalaya Mountains. Mount Everest, the highest peak in the Himalayas, has an elevation of 29,035 feet (8850m) (found to be 6' higher in 1999). Climbers of even shorter mountains have to wear protective clothing for the extreme cold conditions. And, they also have to carry oxygen as the air is so thin at high elevations.

Did Superman provide oxygen equipment or protective clothing for Anne? No, he didn't.

So, technically, Superman would have been guilty of negligent homicide in real life. So when Superman returned to the Daily Planet Building, he would have presented the reunited Mr. & Mrs. James Carson a frozen corpse.

Thankfully, it was only a television show.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Details On Noel Neill's Injury

Above, Noel Neill with Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich in July 2001. Photo courtesy L.A. County Board of Supervisors, Office of Michael D. Antonovich.

Jim Nolt, the founder of The Adventures Continue website was first notified of Noel Neill's injury by Noel's manager/biographer Larry Ward yesterday by this message:

[From Jim Nolt]

I received this new this evening from Larry...

Noel is not well. This past Friday, July 23rd, Noel somehow tripped as she was walking across her living room and hit the ground hard. An ambulance was called and she was rushed to the Tucson Medical Center Emergency Room (Noel permanently moved to Tucson in April). The resulting x-rays confirmed that Noel broke her hip, the same hip she badly bruised back in March. Surgery was performed yesterday morning. While it was a successful surgery, and she survived the ordeal well, the lingering pain from that surgery is overwhelming. She is on morphine and other pain medication. I am honestly not sure Noel will be able to survive the aftereffects of the surgery and the fall. The one good thing she has going for her is her determination - along with the fact she as been athletically sound all these years. The big thing she has against her is her age - 90 in November.

At this point all we can do is keep her comfortable and hope the pain subsides soon. If that occurs, she'll be transferred to a rehab facility for physical therapy, which might take months in order for her to recover. But at this point it is day to day.

On a lighter note, and talk about ironies, while I was in the emergency room with Noel on Friday, I was standing next to her bed chatting with her doctor when I suddenly collapsed and passed out. They plopped me into a bed close to Noel and hooked me up to a bunch of machines. Eight hous later I was released. Owe it to exhaustion, fatique and stress. Noel and I have shared a lot of things together over the years, but I never thought we'd ending up sharing the same floor at the ER.

If you have any questions, please contact me directly at my email address (since I don't check this one very often) which is:


Take care,

Jack Larson, Noel's co-star on the Adventures of Superman and longtime friend, has been notified of her injury and is distressed and concerned.

Here is a link to one news story: KOLD-TV.

UPDATE (7/28/10): Noel's manager/biographer Larry Ward gave the initial okay to post her address, but has since had second thoughts. Accordingly, it has been removed. Perhaps a P.O. box may be set up.

Noel Neill Breaks Hip

Above, Jack Larson and Noel Neil in November 2005. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Some distressing news arrived this morning.

Actress Noel Neil, the original Lois Lane, broke her hip in a fall.

Neill first played Lois Lane in the two Columbia Superman serials (1948 and 1950) starring Kirk Alyn and then in the Adventures of Superman television show (1953-57) starring George Reeves. She is 89.

UPDATE (7/28/10): Noel's manager/biographer Larry Ward gave the initial okay to post Noel's address, but he's since had second thoughts. Accordingly, I removed it. Perhaps a P.O. box number will be set up.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tales of Adventure In Malibu: A Pelican's Gift

One nice thing about working at the beach, one is able to enjoy excellent scenery. Also, one gets to see different birds and animals that live at the shore.

Last night, I was having my lunch break on a bluff overlooking Zuma Beach in Malibu. It was nice out with the sunset approaching. I had just finished eating lunch and was enjoying the view with a cup of coffee. Overhead, a flock of California brown pelicans flew by.

One of them decided to give me a gift. Right on my arm.

A few inches in a couple of directions, I would have had the "gift" either on top of my head or right smack into my coffee cup.

I heard somewhere that it means good luck to receive such a gift from a bird. "Thank-you" wasn't exactly what the first words that immediately came to mind.

Legendary's Godzilla News

The first image of Legendary Pictures' Godzilla project has been released (above). I wouldn't put too much weight into this as it's a stylized rendering, not unlike what Toho Pictures released to promote their G-films. Most often, what is shown on a poster bears little resemblance to what is actually shown on the screen.

This weekend, Legendary Pictures is giving away t-shirts at the San Diego Comic Con to help promote their Godzilla project that's set for release in 2012.

These shirts are rather unique. According to an article by News Talk 980-CJME:

To promote the movie, [Legendary Pictures] are giving away "Godzilla" t-shirts at Comic Con, a huge trade show in San Diego.

Rob Bryanton is the President of Talking Dog Studios, and says Legendary Pictures wants to incorporate augmented reality technology with the shirts.

"They had gone on the Internet and looked at all the different companies in the world using augmented reality, and ended up selecting Talking Dog Studios. We're flattered and excited to be part of such a huge company, and you know, it really is like getting a pat on the head from the big boys."

When wearing the t-shirts in front of a webcam, people will see Godzilla's "atomic breath" shooting out of its mouth.

The part about Godzilla's atomic breath is interesting. It looks like the new movie will include it. As you may recall, TriStar's 1998 Godzilla did not have atomic breath.

To see the full CJME news article, go here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nixon Foe Daniel Schorr Dies At 93

Above, Nixon nemesis Daniel Schorr.

Above, President Nixon leaving White House following resignation.

Former CBS News correspondent Daniel Schorr died early today at age 93. He was most famous during the Watergate period when he locked horns with President Richard Nixon.

I'm sure the media will play lots of snippets of the clashes Nixon and Schorr had, but I remember reading (either in Time or Newsweek) back in the 1980s that Nixon used to host invitation-only dinner parties to discuss topics of interest to him (usually foreign policy) and he invited Schorr to one of them. Schorr, understandably, was a little puzzled on why he was invited, given their past history.

At the dinner party, Schorr approached Nixon and said, "I don't know if you remember me, but I'm Daniel Schorr."

Nixon responded with a big grin and a hearty handshake with, "Dan Schorr?! Of course I remember you! Damn near hired you once!"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Brad Sherman's Lousy Month

July has not been a good month for Rep. Brad Sherman. We are only a little more than half way through with the month!

It started out at a town hall meeting at a Jewish temple in which Sherman had GOP candidate Mark Reed bullied out of the meeting by rent-a-cop thugs and some rogue officers of the L.A.P.D.

Then, a YouTube video surfaced showing Sherman losing his cool while being questioned by a constituent.

And, finally, Sherman exposed his ignorance at another town hall meeting when he said he wasn't aware of the New Black Panthers voter intimidation matter from 2008. This received national news exposure, despite the "state-controlled-media's" silence on it. This story prompted talk show king Rush Limbaugh to call Sherman "hapless."

Despite registration numbers in the 27th Congressional District that favor the Democrats, Sherman seems to be pretty nervous over the upcoming election. Well, he should. He voted for the stimulous/porkulous bills, Obamacare and other Leftist pieces of legislation. Additionally, he also supports cap 'n trade.

Small wonder Sherman refuses to debate Reed. What a wienie!

Sherman should have more months like this.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Birthday

Sometimes, when you least expect it, someone comes into your life who turns out to be someone special. It could be someone one meets professionally, at a party, at a club or even at the supermarket.

One such person came into my life while I was in Japan during G-TOUR in 2004. Her name is Kyoko. We met at a club in Roppongi, Tokyo one night. There was something about her that was very attractive besides her outer beauty.

We maintained contact over the next several years and met up whenever both of us were in Tokyo. She likes to travel, and she was in either Shanghai, China or Australia a couple of times I was in Japan.

The last time we met was in 2006 in Ginza. We went to a French restaurant located next door to the Wako department store after meeting up at the Mitsukoshi department store at Ginza Crossing. Afterwards, we strolled around Ginza and she took me to an interesting market that seemed to have everything but the kitchen sink (it may have had that, too, but I didn't see it). We also went to Becker's for coffee (located under the Shinkansen tracks separating Ginza and Hibiya) and just relaxed and talked.

Unfortunately, we drifted apart and lost contact. But there is not a day when I don't think about her. Today, especially.

Today's her birthday. So, Happy Birthday, Kyoko! Wherever you are.

Now They're After Your Gold

As if Obamacare weren't bad enough, it has now been revealed that a provision was snuck into healthcare legislation that would require buyers and sellers of gold to report transactions to the Internal Revenue Service.

ABC News is reporting:

Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will amend the Internal Revenue Code to expand the scope of Form 1099. Currently, 1099 forms are used to track and report the miscellaneous income associated with services rendered by independent contractors or self-employed individuals.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change.

Taking an early and vociferous role in opposing the measure is the precious metal and coin industry, according to Diane Piret, industry affairs director for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. The ICTA, based in Severna Park, Md., is a trade association representing an estimated 5,000 coin and bullion dealers in the United States.

"Coin dealers not only buy for their inventory from other dealers, but also with great frequency from the public," Piret said.

So every time a member of the public sells more than $600 worth of gold to a dealer, Piret said, the transaction will have to be reported to the government by the buyer.

To read the full ABC News article, go here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Most Important News Of The Day

(The information was current as of: 07/20/2010 18:04 PST)

Booking No.: 2409752

Last Name: LOHAN First Name: LINDSAY Middle Name:

Sex: F Race: W Date Of Birth: 07/02/1986 Age: 24

Hair:BLN Eyes: BLK Height: 506 Weight: 118

Charge Level: M (Misdemeanor)


Arrest Date: 07/20/2010 Arrest Time: 1002 Arrest Agency: 5700 Agency Description: LASD-CENTURY REGIONAL DETENTION FAC

Date Booked: 07/20/2010 Time Booked: 1011 Booking Location: CEN Location Description: STA - CENTURY STATION

Total Bail Amount: 0 Total Hold Bail Amount: 0.00 Grand Total: 0.00

Housing Location: CRDF

Permanent Housing Assigned Date: 07/20/2010 Assigned Time: 1305 Visitor Status: N


Toho Co., Ltd. - L.A. Moving

Toho Co., Ltd. - L.A. Moving

I just received a note from friends at Toho's Los Angeles office that they are moving as of July 24.

However, the move is not a big one (not unless you're doing the packing and unpacking) as they will remain in the same building, but in suite 433.

Mainstream Media Conspired To Kill Jeremiah Wright Story

You don't think that the mainstream media is in bed with Barack Obama and the Democrats? Guess again and read on.

The Daily Caller has unearthed documentation that journalists conspired to save Obama's campaign during the height of the Jeremiah Wright scandal in 2008.

The Daily Caller's article begins with:

It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.

The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”

Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”

Others went further. According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.

Part of the strategy was to tar a conservative critic with the "racist" lable to distract from the Wright story.

This only backs what many of us have always known, that the mainstream media is biased and are in the hip pockets of the Left. The are no journalists, these people are just propagandists for the Left.

To read the full article, go here.

Good July For Japan Monster Travel Guide

Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

We're over the halfway point in July (already?) and, so far, it's been a good month for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Sales for the guide at ComiXpress.com are still coming in (Thank you!) as are the mail order sales via the ol' Rancho blog (Thank you!). Plus, we sold some at G-FEST XVII (Thank you!).

Additionally, The Guide is now listed at TripAdvisor.com and the YouTube slideshow video had been picked up by Twitravel.com. Monsterland Toys.com will also be selling the guide through their online store.

I gave one to my friend Melissa a few weeks ago and she took it with her to Phoenix, Arizona for her monthly family visit. Her brother-in-law saw it and just had to borrow it from her. Seems that he's into anime, etc. from Japan. He has to give it back as it is autographed to her. Maybe he'll buy his own copy!

Further things are in store in promoting The Guide as an ongoing venture, including some promoting in Japan later this year. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life's Little Zingers

Last night was pretty routine in Malibu until about 10:30 PM when I received a call concerning the residents who were the subject of my "Channeling George Reeves" blog post of July 3. It appears that the nine-year-old was fighting with her mom again. So, I had to respond to the call (they were disturbing the condo complex's manager, who lives next door).

I got there quickly enough and the girl answered the door. I spoke with her for a while and then was let in. For the next hour, I ended up mediating the dispute between her and her mother. For a nine-year-old, the girl has a great grasp of the English language (her mother told me today that she reads about 400 pages a day) and she gave her arguments in a lucid fashion. Much of the problem between the two stems from a nasty divorce and custody battle (been there, done that).

Thanks to letting both give their sides and letting them work out a "truce," peace was again restored to Zuma Beach.

After this, her mother joined me over at the complex's clubhouse patio area (I had to check it anyway) and we sat and talked for a while. She and I have gotten close over the past few weeks, although I decided a week ago to back off a bit as she had enough on her plate and I didn't want to add any more to her current burdens. Both she and her daughter have become attached to me.

We discussed losing parents, life experiences and her current custody battle and financial situation (I hooked her up with an attorney friend today). She also told me that she was once a Playboy model. No wonder she looks good for 47 (I thought she was about 35 when we met).

I find myself more and more fortunate as I have met people with chronic illnesses recently, some pretty serious. One friend has stage 3 kidney disease (although looking at her one would think she's the picture of health), another has a daughter with one of the worst forms of childhood leukemia and this one from Zuma has lupus. (Lupus is an autoimmune disease, not an infectious disease like HIV. People with lupus have an overactive immune system. The body's defenses actually attack healthy tissues and organs.)

This only shows that no matter how bad one may feel things are going for them, someone else has serious matters far worse to deal with. The best the rest of us can do is to just be a friend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Latest On Nakajima Book

Above, Haruo Nakajima in 2008. Photo by Armand Vaquer

Sonoe Nakajima, daughter of Haruo "Godzilla" Nakajima, got back to me today and says there's no plans for an English edition by their publisher (however, that doesn't preclude a possible U.S. publisher from acquiring the U.S. rights to the book and publish it in English).

She says there may be an electronic version with text only, as there's a lot of photographs (I hope I understood her correctly) in the book.

She is meeting with the publisher on July 25 and may learn more, including arranging for autographed copies for U.S. fans.

Stay tuned!

George Washington Drove Here

Above, Barry Bostwick during his "Spin City" years.

Tonight, towards the end of my shift in Malibu, I was talking to one of our gated community guards when a familiar face drove up in a white s.u.v.

He was immediately recognizable as he has been in a lot of major televison shows over the years including Spin City, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, War and Remembrance and many others. But I remember him mainly in the title role in George Washington, a 1984 mini-series and its sequels.

Who was it?

Actor Barry Bostwick. He was dropping off some kids at one of the residences of a gated community I patrol. He just pulled up to the guardshack, explained what he was doing there (to get a pass to get in) and headed in. Before he did, he gave me a wave and a smile.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Endorsement List

Above, Armand in Clamper garb at the Godzilla plaque in Los Angeles. Photo by Glenn Thornhill.

The official Mark Reed for Congress website now has yours truly included in his list of endorsements, that also includes a June posting from this blog.

I was amused that the campaign used my blog profile tag line of "Armand Vaquer, A.A., B.A., ECV..." All of those are true. I received my Associate in Arts degree at El Camino College and my Bachelor's of Arts degree at California State University, Long Beach.

ECV? What degree is that, you may ask?

ECV is not a degree, although those initiated should be given one (well, they do; they receive a certificate of membership). ECV stands for the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus. I became a member in 1984 through the New Helvetia Chapter in Sacramento.

E Clampus Vitus is currently a men's fraternal organization of people interested in California and western history. It began as a fraternal organization in the mining camps of the California Gold Rush in the Mother Lode. ECV initially was a burlesque of fraternal orders such as the Oddfellows and the Masons. ECV is also based on humor and hi-jinks. And drink. It is often descibed as a "historical drinking society" or a "drinking historical society." You can take your pick. Members included some celebrities such as Walter Huston, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Gene Autry and President Ronald Reagan. ECV chapters are by county. For instance, my home chapter is Platrix No. 2 in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. You may have seen commemorative plaques througout California and neighboring states erected by the Clampers. One was erected a few years ago in Los Angeles marking where Raymond Burr's scenes for Godzilla, King of the Monsters! were shot, now the location of the Frank del Olmo Elementary School.

Mark Reed is the Republican nominee for congress in the 27th Congressional District in California. He is up against "the hapless Brad Sherman." (As described by talk show host Rush Limbaugh.)

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" At G-FEST XVII

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan was recently carried at G-FEST XVII in Rosemont, Illinois (near Chicago's O'Hare Airport) by Monsterland Toys.

Kevin Ratliff, the owner of Monsterland Toys took this shot of his display table at the convention. Centered is The Guide with my favorite photo of Yuu Asakura that I supplied Kevin for his table.

Stop by Monsterland Toys' website at www.monsterlandtoys.com!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rain and Heat In L.A.

It is around 12:40 here in Tarzana, California and I just finished breakfast and now kicking back for a spell with a cup of coffee.

Why the late breakfast?

I had to go 30 miles to Pasadena to statementize a claimant on an auto accident claim and photograph her vehicle. The claimant is Chinese (Cantonese) and speaks very limited English, so I had to enlist the services of an interpreting company to translate her statement.

What was interesting about the trek to Pasadena was that I was hit by a few rain squalls on the way. It is rare for Los Angeles to receive rain during July and August, but it appears to be a monsoon-type of system. It has been hot and humid for the past couple of days (feels like Kyoto, Japan in the summer). Huge storm clouds gathered over the San Gabriel Mountains yesterday, and eventually they moved over L.A.

When I left my apartment to go to Pasadena, the ground was wet from rain and it was very cloudy. At least that kept the temperature down into the upper 70s. It will go up as soon as the skies clear. An Acura dealer's temperature sign in Calabasas yesterday read 109 degrees at 4:00 PM.

To finish up the claim assignment, I have to listen to the tape and summarize it on a summary form and send it off to the boss along with my activity billing sheet. I should get that done in the next hour or so.

Then, after an hour or two of relaxing, it's off to Malibu!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Twitravel.com Picks Up Monster Japan Travel Guide Slideshow

Above, Yuu Asakura. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Twitravel.com has picked up the slideshow video on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

To see their posting, go here.

Peter Fernandez, Voice of Speed Racer, Dies At 83

Peter Fernandez, the voice of Speed Racer, has passed away today.

Anime News Network is reporting:

William Winckler has informed ANN that Peter Fernandez, the actor and voice director best known as the title character in the animated Speed Racer series, passed away this morning due to lung cancer. He was 83.

He was the voice of Ryota in the English version of Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966).

To read the full ANN article, go here.

Dusk At Zuma Beach

Above, sunset comes to Malibu.

Last night, I had my camera with me (I left in my car as I was using it on some insurance claims work) to take some photos of the sunset, dusk and the crescent moon over Malibu. Here's some of them.

Above, Zuma Beach and the Pacific Coast Highway.

Above, dusk at Zuma Beach.

Above, zoom shot of the crescent moon.

Above, Zuma Beach and the crescent moon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meanwhile, At The CHP

Spent some time at the Woodland Hills office of the California Highway Patrol today. I had a new insurance claim assignment to pick up an accident report face sheet (this is the page that tells who the parties are in an accident).

Generally, this usually doesn't take longer than a half hour to do, but today the woman at the CHP office where the report originates from (they fax it to Woodland Hills) who handles sending the reports, went to lunch. So, after waiting in the Woodland Hills office for an hour and fifteen minutes, they asked if it would okay for them to take my number so they could call me when the report comes in, instead of having me waiting there. I told them that it would be okay.

So I left and proceeded to refuel my car (for the trek to Malibu for tonight's shift) and a stop at Henry's Farmers Market for some fruit (and to check in with Heather).

I got good prices on organic Valencia oranges (3 for $1.00) and bananas (almost two pounds for $1.35) at Henry's. After chatting a bit with Heather, I headed out and while doing so, I received the call from the Woodland Hills CHP that the face sheet was there for me.

Some would complain about being kept waiting, but since I was on the clock, it was fine with me. I really didn't charge for the return trip to the CHP.

All in all, it worked out pretty good!

UPDATE: Just had one of the oranges. Verdict: Excellent!

Brad Sherman Exposed As An Ignorant Fool

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

Rep. Brad Sherman spoke and exposed himself a fool last Sunday in a townhall meeting in Reseda.

Fox News is reporting:

A California congressman who drew shouts of disbelief at a town hall meeting when he said he was unaware of the voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party explained that the reason he hadn't heard about the story was because his news sources didn't cover it.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., in a written statement released late Tuesday, accused Fox News of launching "attacks on me" for showing video of the meeting. He said he would soon send a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the incident and "the importance of allegations of voter intimidation," but said the "major sources of information which I rely upon most" did not mention the issue.

But he also offered an excuse for missing the news, saying none of the media he reads covered it.

Sherman listed the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Economist, Newsweek, Congressional Quarterly and National Journal and said he only found one mention of the Black Panther case.

It is Sherman's job to know what the issues are and the New Black Panther case is nearly two years old. It was widely covered in the media in the days following Obama's election. To blame his ignorance on media coverage is dishonest and makes him look like an idiot.

To see the full Fox News article and video, go here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reactions To "Channeling George Reeves"

Above, George Reeves in Phoenix, Arizona.*

My blog post "Channeling George Reeves" seemed to have touched a chord with many people, including family and friends.

Here are some examples of the responses I received:

Very interesting. Good job on your part. When one says George had an effect on his fans, this is a perfect example. Lets hope you won't ever have to make a call to this house again. That would mean you had an effect.

Thus far, no further problems.

And this one:

Another example came in 1953 when he tied to convince Ann Carson that there's really a Superman in "Around The World With Superman." Again, George used a soothing, friendly tone of voice in speaking to Ann.

AV -- I still remember the scene when he flew her over the Danube River and the Blue Danube Waltz was heard ... he rocked her back and forth as if they were doing that waltz. What an incredible job of writing, acting, and directing. More than half a century later and I practically recall every scene.

And this:

By the way, I was very impressed by the way you handled your good deed for the day. You do have a heart. And I promise not to tell anybody.

Naturally, some came in with a bit of humor:

Good job! Now, be careful with this channeling stuff. Don’t want you to start channeling Clint Eastwood and telling people things like, “I’d shoot the bastard, that’s my policy.”

And, finally, one from a cousin in Oregon:

Armand, we find your Malibu "adventures" interesting. Keep track and someday you can write a book on that part of your life too. I was impressed with how you handled the situation of the troubled mother and daughter -- cool head -- well done in their time of need. Also congratulations on the great reception to your book!

Thanks, all for the kind words!

*This one's for you, Melissa!

Discussion With Monsterland Toys

I got off the phone a little while ago with Kevin Ratliff of Monsterland Toys and we commiserated over a few things.

He gave me the G-FEST XVII sales figures for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan and told me of some particular people who bought a copy. I was both surprised and not-surprised at the same time. I understand some "interesting" photos will be posted in the days ahead. Regardless, thanks to all for buying a copy!

He was able to discuss the current state-of-affairs (for lack of a better term) between myself and J. D. Lees with J.D. at the convention. I told him my feelings on the matter. Frankly, I think the whole matter between J. D. and me could be resolved in a single phone call. Unfortunately, both J. D. and I can be pretty stubborn chaps (maybe we both have Swedish blood). But anything's possible.

I also learned that some folks who've been at odds patched things up. That's good to hear.

It is great that Akira Takarada was so warmly received. Japanese actors generally have no idea how appreciated their work is outside of Japan. They tend to be pleasantly shocked over how popular they are in the states.

We also discussed the problems of having the convention at the convention center. Although I have misgivings over the Crowne Plaza (particularly their food prices), their facilities are best-suited for the convention it would be a wise move to return there next year. I am glad that everyone had a great time.

I was surprised to hear that the dealers room didn't draw as many people in as in past years. More than one source told me that it was "dead" in comparison. Could the never-ending recession be part of the problem?

Finally, Monsterland Toys will continue to have The Guide available through their website. I guess you can call them "an official dealer for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan."

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Day In The Life of An Adjuster

Above, photographing accident damage is just part of the job.

Having two jobs doesn't really allow for one with "days off" in the traditional sense. Sometimes I have to do both jobs the same day, and sometimes I have to work weekends.

Today and tomorrow are my days off from the Malibu patrol job, but that doesn't mean that I just sat around home today.

A couple of claim assignments came in and I worked those today. I don't consider myself finished with insurance claim assignments until all reports and my billing documents are submitted to the boss. Fortunately, those assignments were fully completed and my reports and billing submitted. This is an incentive in getting the work done so that the paycheck comes in the mail at the earliest possible date.

The goal for diligent adjusters, whether they are independent field adjusters or insurer staff adjusters, is contact with all parties involved within 24 hours of receiving the assignment. Fast contact helps to get people in a better mood and it cuts down on complaints.

Having a scanner capable of creating .pdf files comes in handy, as does a digital camera and cell phone. Distractions are a minor problem while working from home. But once I jump into the car to take someone's statement, get a police or fire report, or do accident scene investigations, there's no distractions to be concerned about. If an assignment comes in that requires only a recorded telephone statement, I have the capability to record statements from my house phone. All statements have to be summarized on a form and submitted with the tape.

My time is completely covered as is mileage and expenses. It is kind of like being Jim Rockford from The Rockford Files.

Additionally, having two computers and printers are a necessity for today's claims handling. Both have all the templates (for letters and forms) that are needed. If one should go down, the other is available to use as a back-up. I may get another computer to replace the one I bought ten years ago with Windows 98 later this year.

Beside the patrol and claim work, in a way I've a third "job" with The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. Orders have to be filled and promoting is a continuous task to do. But it all pays off in the end.

My workday today ended at 5:33 PM when I sent my reports and billing documents. Tomorrow will be a free day with paying bills the only item of my agenda.

So far.

Autographed Copies of Nakajima's Book For U.S. Fans?

Over at the Monster Zero message board, a member asked if it could be arranged for U.S. fans to be able to get autographed copies of Haruo Nakajima's book.

Accordingly, I sent Sonoe Nakajima a query asking if this could be arranged and gave her a couple of ideas on how it can be done. I'll report what I find out.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Those Stinkin' Rats!

Above, Jack Larson with L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich in 2001 at the "Superman Week" ceremony.

Jack Larson, who portrayed Jimmy Olsen in the Adventures of Superman, was passed over for a primetime Emmy nomination for his guest role in Law and Order: Special Victims' Unit.

It would have been nice to see Jack nominated and win the Emmy.

As Nick Adams might say, "Those stinkin' rats!"

"Adventures of Superman" Cast

This is one of the nicest shots of the cast of the Adventures of Superman I've come across. I'd hazard a guess that it was circa 1954-1955.

From left to right, John Hamilton (Perry White), George Reeves (Clark Kent/Superman), Noel Neill (Lois Lane), Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen) and Robert Shayne (Inspector Bill Henderson).

Brad Sherman Loses Cool

A video of Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA, has turned up. It shows him losing his cool while being questioned by a constituent.

Haruo Nakajima Book Details


Above, Sonoe Nakajima in 2008. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Haruo Nakajima Book Details

by Armand Vaquer and Sonoe Nakajima

I received some details on the new book by our favorite Godzilla suit actor, Haruo Nakajima from his daughter Sonoe.

Sonoe's English is limited and instead of trying to correct what she wrote (and possibly mess it up in the process), I will post verbatim on what she said. You will get a pretty good idea on what the autobiography contains.

Report From Sonoe Nakajima:

July 17,2010 fathers' first books are put on the market.

The content of the book ・・・
「I ..".. meet Chapter 1 yen [tanieiji] - work of ..unexampled arrival.. actor ..'Godzilla' (54 years).. -

.Toho.. joining a company- work by Chapter 2 personal history, war, Toho joining a company-naval forces, and occupation troops

Chapter 3 From 'Counterattack of Godzilla Godzilla series-' to 'Godzilla vs. [gaigan]'.

I was left moving about from yen [tanieiji], and made up the base of Godzilla of 12 works.

Chapter 4 Toho monster
[Gaira] …… - radon, Balin, [matango], [baragon], and accident and injury performed a lot of popular monsters on the site of the everyday experience.

Chapter 5 Monster in television
- Gomez, [pagosu], [neronga], and [yu-tomu] ……

Acting of television monster different from movie shown by ultra series-

Chapter 6 Appearance works other than monster
Memories- ..great master and star actors.. Kiyoshi Kawazu Saburo …… - [inoshishishirou] Honda, Akira Kurosawa, and three [funetoshirou]

Chapter 7 Death, retirement death of yen [tanieiji] of - yen [tanieiji], and the monster actor's retirement.

Dismissal of Toho together.

Now and-"」
There are a lot of photographs.

July.25 . I schedule the autograph session.

Above, Haruo Nakajima and Armand in 2008.

The book sounds very interesting. Hopefully, an American publisher can be enlisted to publish an English language edition in the United States.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kaiju Life - The Original Godzilla Suit Actor Haruo Nakajima

A new book is coming out July 16 by the original Godzilla suit actor, Haruo Nakajima entitled, Kaiju Life - The Original Godzilla Suit Actor Haruo Nakajima.

It is in Japanese, but reportedly has photographs included.

I have sent Mr. Nakajima's daughter Sonoe a message requesting more information. As soon as I receive it, I'll post it here.


Publisher: 洋泉社 (2010/7/16)
Language: 日本語
ISBN-10: 4862485898
ISBN-13: 978-4862485892
Release Date: 2010/7/16

Price: ¥ 3,045

Here's the link for the book's listing at Amazon Japan.

Above, Armand with Haruo and Sonoe Nakajima in 2008.

I plan to be in Japan this Fall and I have invited Haruo and Sonoe Nakajima to lunch or dinner while there.

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