Thursday, May 21, 2009
A FORMATIVE MEMORY
It's funny what can bring up ages-old memories from out of nowhere.
This morning I was catching up on reading the recent reviews at Teleport City — one of my favorite pop culture cites, definitely in my top five — and they had one up for the Toho alien invasion flick THE MYSTERIANS (1957). The reason this struck me as funny was because that movie is the earliest film I have a clear memory of from my very early childhood, and the circumstances of my seeing it could only have happened to me. You see, during my formative days my parents would occasionally take trips to casinos to do grownup stuff like gambling and such, and it was during a trip to Reno that I remember very clearly being dropped off in a penned-in area where kids roughly from ages 3-6 were corralled. Once dropped off, I remember being very confused; who were these strange kids? Where were my parents going? But before my fears could escalate, my attention was caught by the wall-mounted TV screen upon which was running this oddball movie with spacemen trying to take over the world using a slow-moving giant robot that emitted disintegrator beams from its eyes.
The giant robot in question, which I later found out was designated "Mogera."
This awesome dinosaur-paced leviathan was unlike anything I'd seen before and my mind reeled at the concept of a huge, plated, armadillo-like juggernaut that decimated all that stood before it. That image stuck with me for life, as did the title, and I get a very warm feeling deep inside when I see it now. And little did I realize that seeing that robot would ignite a lifelong adoration of giant monsters, especially those hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun. In short order I discovered the Godzilla movies and Ultraman, so it was all over from there.
Doesn't it suddenly make sense that my earliest movie memory would be of a Japanese giant robot on a destructive rampage? Guess that means I'll have to review this one of these days...