Saturday, November 10, 2012

The "Mothra" Chronicles

One of my most popular films in Thrillville was the 1961 Toho classic Mothra. You may have heard of it. It's the one about a giant moth. People loves "the Peanuts" too (the two tiny singing gals that followed Mothra around, serenading him with his/her/its personal theme song.) Over the years I showed this cult classic four different times to packed houses. Three different prints. It took me that many times to get it right. The first time I booked it, for The Midnight Lounge, back in 1998 or so, the studio, Sony, sent me a pretty nice 35m print. In Japanese. With no subtitles. Since we served beer, and you could still follow the basic plot, it didn't matter that much, and the audience was inspired to provide their own drunken dialogue, like Mystery Science Theater 3000. Also odd: after we returned the print, they kept sending it back...

The second time I booked Mothra for a sold-out house in Thrillville, it was a beautiful print in English language, but with "sound slugs," so to speak, meaning certain scenes added to the print from the Japanese version weren't dubbed, so these short sequences contained were completely silent. Only subtiles for some of the dialogue, as I recall. Once again, the largely inebriated audience took it upon themselves to vocally fill in the gaps. It wasn't as annoying as that may seem. That was one of the great things about The Parkway: the collective spirit of shared fun. Eventually I booked an English language print of Mothra with sound all the way through. It just wasn't the same...Kampei. 

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