Movies – Dawn Age Beasts

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They come from steaming swamps and fern-laden prehistoric jungles. Roaring, squealing, and hissing, they pass glowing molten lavd beds and rumbling smokey volcanoes—until at last they tumble out onto the silver screen of the motion picture theatre in all their fighting fury. The Dawn Age Beasts have returned.

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The last dinosaur emitted a final bellow of loneliness and frustration that echoed and re-echoed throughout the steaming jungles of the world in which he lived. He toppled to earth like a gigantic prehistoric steam shovel and the crash of his massive body brought to a thundering climax the Great Era in which he existed. We will probably never really know exactly why he died, changes of climate, shortages of food. We can only guess. But we do know that the Tyrant King was dead, and the world was now safe for the Age of Mammals and the Age of Man. Today in the world’s many museums we can see models of nature’s experiments with living monsters, and detailed reconstructions of their bones. And, thanks to the laboring technicians in Hollywood. we’ve also seen these very same creatures live again.

The Brontosaurus was a tame, vegetarian friend; the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a flesh-eating fiend. However, all of the dinosaur clan have at one time or another been carefully recreated. Through Hollywood, we have been taken back a million years in time to the days and nights when the skyscraper-high beasts reigned. Although Hollywood frequently makes the mistake of placing dinosaurs in fictional environments, credit is due Universal-International Pictures for allowing the Elasmosaurus from Land Unknown to romp around in his correct element. In real life, the Elasmosaurus (meaning metal-plated lizard) swam through the inland seas of North America, near an area which is tooay known as Kansas. Huge and fearsome, very little escaped his swiftly-snapping jaws, propelled by his serpentine neck. The Lost Continent showed us the terrible Triceratops, curious creatures who might very well be the great-great-great grandfather of what is today referred to as the Western Horned Toad. Although the Triceratops would prefer eating radishes to readers, more than once did they battle each other for such delicacies as prehistoric potatoes. In The Lost Continent, these triple-horned terrors lunged and snapped at one another constantly with their beak-like snouts. Bullets bouncing off his saurian hide, one even ended up making like an African Rhino charging a man.

King Kong. the most menacing monster of them all, had his own share of Dawn Age Beasts to compete with. In one of the most spectacular animation sequences ever put on film, Kong pitted himself against the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Set in the steaming tropical jungles of Skull Island, ape and reptile snapped, punched, kicked and clouted. They toppled trees, shook the earth, roared, bellowed and hissed while stunned audiences sat breathlesw in their seats.

Hollywood’s biggest error has always been placing men and dinosaurs together. Whether yesterday or today, the towering reptiles and King of the Mammals have never co-existed. But the fable has been so full of thrills, no one could ever object to such loose history and great movies.

 

King Kong versus Godzilla

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The Toho Films locker room was a scene of confusion that one history-making morning. From every corner of the world came the reporters with their pencils; photographers clutching speed cameras, the greatest heroes of the sports world a a thousand tense and anxious people, huddled together, silently awaiting the Great Moment. The Japanese police force were on hand, forming a cordon around the mammoth Toho lot, on their toes keeping the restless crowds back, but even their own disciplined thoughts stealing back to the lockers. Then They came . . . first one, then the other, crashing through the crowds, passing inside studio gates, to where the press waited inside. Kong, the ape King of Skull Island, was the first to arrive, scarcely paying at tention to the many questions hurled up at him by the news-hungry reporters as he cleared the way for himself with a growl and checked in at the scales. The crowds fell back again, and the newsmen murmured, as Kong cocked a confident eye to the newcomer, Godzilla, tne prehistoric monster he was to war against in a few minutes. Godzilla stomped up to Kong at the scales, his 100 yard long scaled tall twitching anxiously. The matchmaker stepped out of a crowded doorway, making his way to the two mighty opponents. The newsmen grabbed for their notebooks, the sports heroes stood in awe.

They knew this was the battle of the century. and that there could only be one victor … Kong. who had been re-discovered by Toho on the distant Faro Island, was confident he could easily over-come that young upstart they called Godzilla, awakened from its eight year slumber in the frozen Arctic Ocean by the Toho matchmaker. special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, glanced at his opponent, the mighty ape Kong, grinning to him that the Old was about to be replaced by the Young. The two colossal champions lurched into the ring, roped off by only the stars. Kong smacked a giant fist into an open palm, readying himself for the sound of the gong. Godzilla twitched his tail, wiping out a Japanese suburb, then turned to his opponent, throwing him the silent challenge known only to the greatest of contenders. Matchmaker Tsuburaya reached out a hand to strike the gong, and the world was silent. The Great Moment loomed up on the horizon . . . If you’re one of those who haven’t yet seen the films of this titanic struggle, and haven’t heard the final outcome, you’d better make it a point to catch it when it plays in your town. This is a bout with clouts guaranteed world-shattering.

 

Varan the unbelievable

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With film stars Myron Healey as Commander James Bradley and beautiful Japanese actress Tsuruko Koba-yashi as Anna, his wife, the incredible beginnings of Varan the Unbelievable take place on one of the smaller is-lands of the Japanese Archipelago where Bradley is conducting experi-ments to change salt water into fresh. In his experiments, Bradley uses untested chemicals much to the cha-grin of the natives of the island. They tell him that legend says a giant pre-historic creature lies beneath the water of the lagoon and warn him that his experiments may disturb the feared monster. Bradley ignores the warning. And the dreaded sea beast, Varan. rises from the salty floor of his king-dom, its chaotic behavior resulting in total destruction of everything and everybody before and around it. Army units pour all their fire power into the reptile, to no avail. Then, sud-denly as it arose, Varan disappears be-neath the waves again. Bradley and his men wonder where it will strike next—and they don’t have long to wait to find out. The city of Onida becomes the play-ground of the legendary monster. All the inhabitants are evacuated, and hundreds of army units begin their all-out war on Varan. Every modern weapon is used—heavy artillery, rock-ets, planes—but again to no avail. Bradley arrives at the conclusion that if his chemicals were responsible for Varan leaving the lagoon, possibly a heavier concentration exploded di-rectly on him will destroy the monster. Bradley’s plan appears to succeed, but not until we see most of the Jam anese city destroyed. At least for the time being the monster is repulsed, having retreated back to its under-water home. But is it dead? Will it appear again? No one really knows…

 

The Giant Behemoth

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Mysterious deaths of a fisherman, Thomas Mac-Dougall (Henry Vidon), and thousands of fish which were washed ashore at a British village are traced by scientists Steven Karnes (Gene Evans) and James Bickford (Andre Morrell) to a highly radioactive behemoth which they find in fishing waters. The atomic particles with which it had come in contact has given the monster an almost unbelievable size which, by comparison, dwarfs pre-historic monsters of the deep. Shortly after the behemoth had been sighted by the scientists, it disappears into the sea and the two marine biologists are summoned home by a radio message which also advises them a steam-ship has been strangely beached with all aboard dead. When the scientists reach shore and report their find-ings, a heavy concentration of ships, including battle-ships and destroyers, is sent in search of the beast which soon is held responsible for destruction of a coastal farm, its buildings and all its occupants. Knowing that it is only a question of time until the atomic particles eventually will destroy the mam-moth animal, the scientists predict its death will come, in fresh water, possibly in the Thames River, where it will have a natural inclination to perish. When a ferry boat is upturned in England’s famed river and all its passengers drowned, the scientists have reason to believe their prediction has come true. While Lon-don is panicked by the nearness of the beast, Karnes and Bickford have a submarine torpedo especially made as the weapon with which to destroy the ani-mal. Meanwhile, the behemoth emerges from the river, killing persons by the hundreds and destroying buildings in its path with its atomic rays as it moves through London. After London Bridge crashes under its weight, the behemoth drops to the Thames and here Karnes, firing with deadly aim, sends the torpe-do to its mark to bring death to the great beast.

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