The Ohio Sci-Fi and Horror Marathons

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 Post subject: GODZILLA ATTACKS '87!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:31 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:59 pm
Posts: 840
Location: Drexel North, circa 1993
For those of you who missed it over on our Facebook feed...or for those of you not on Facebook at all...or for those of you who still check this forum for news and updates (a number that seems to sadly be dwindling), we have new (and interesting) content up on the Official Marathon Archives! And content that's long been in the works!

Here's the link to the new pix: ... play_media

And here's the lowdown on all the Godzilla madness from my co-conspirator in these Marathons, Mr. Bartoo:

- July 4th, ’87

After the moderate success of the 1st Annual 24 Hour Ohio Science Fiction Marathon at the Drexel North in April, Jeff was enthused to keep running with something similar. He organized a Dinosaur Festival at both the Drexel and Drexel North, aimed at kids and their parents over the summer. We promoted it with the media, at the Columbus Arts Festival and distributed fliers all over town, which is what we did in those days, but there could always be something more.

Jeff wanted to do something bold for the Bexley 4th of July Parade and for the Doo Dah as well. Jeff and Kathy had done an Our Gang-themed parade entry and a few other movie-related things in recent years. Godzilla tied the Sci-Fi Marathon and the pending Dinosaur Festival together. I’ll claim the idea of using the three-wheeled bike. I’d just lost both of my mom’s parents that week. They had the three-wheelers down in Florida. The always resourceful Jeff soon had one sitting outside the Drexel, awaiting transformation.

I was saddled with the day-to-day operations of the Drexel North, so the actual construction fell to others. Drexel North staffer Soo Spencer put her CCAD education to good, but perhaps questionable use, and Drexel assistant manager Jeff Montgomery also stepped up. The two of them were largely responsible for the birth of the big G, with Jeff and Kathy Frank making sure that they had whatever they needed. That included the luxurious shelter of the Bexley Public Works Department garage, conveniently located next door to the theatre.

As the lumbering lizard began to take shape, it became obvious that getting him around town was going to be a challenge. Jeff found a guy with a Jeep and a trailer, if I remember correctly, just out in traffic. Pulled him over and convinced him to join our demented project.

Before the giant beast grew his tough skin, a video crew from Doo Dah Central stopped by to investigate for the official event video hosted by Dispatch film critic Frank Gabrenya. I got to take the bare bones beast for an on-camera spin around the parking lot.

Not sure who fabricated the Drexel popcorn box. I’ll guess that it was Kathy Frank. We were already working with Otani, at the time the best known Japanese restaurant in town, as the co-sponsor of a Japanese Festival. I went asking to borrow their giant Kirin Beer display bottle to quench our monster’s thirst. I also went in search of fire extinguisher tanks for the bad boy’s breath. Some suitable victims had to be lined up for his destructive rambles.

I put together an audio loop of the original U.S. trailer’s sound which we played through loudspeakers on the roof of the Jeep. “A cyclonic cavalcade of electrifying horror!” is the phrase that has stuck in my mind for three decades.
Those of us who went the distance of both parades heard this in our dreams for the next few nights.

On the morning of the 4th, I was the pedal pusher for Bexley’s Independence Day Parade loop. That’s why I don’t have any photos from that excursion. Soo Spencer guided the big G over the Doo Dah course. That’s Jeff Montgomery in the Okinawa Laboratories jacket and helmet wrangling much of Godzilla’s swath of destruction. The official route was lining up on Dennison on the west side of Goodale Park, moving forward onto Poplar when it was almost time to go. Then up Neil Ave to 2nd, east to High Street, and south down High through the as yet more or less un-boutiqued Short North. Many of the weary participants collected on what was then a big empty lot between Lincoln and Russell. Godzilla rode off into the sunset. Thanks to all who brought him to life - Jeff and Kathy, Soo, Jeff, the guy with the Jeep and trailer, Al Hartman and the army of little Godzilla’s and soldiers, and everyone else who chipped in.

The official Doo Dah VHS release features our favorite monster with a dramatic cut from the skinless frame to the rampaging parade giant. Godzilla’s coming! He’s hot! He’s thirsty! Lock your coolers and get away!

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