The 114th birthday of the late Eiji Tsuburaya, the special effects pioneer and Godzilla co-creator, is being honoured by Google with an interactive Google Doodle game on their homepage.The doodle has the user help in creating one of Tsuburaya's monster movies, assisting actors in putting on their cumbersome costumes, using giant monster tails to crush houses, and suspending superheroes on wires to help them defeat alien creatures.
People not familiar with Japanese science fiction will easily recognise the legacy of Tsuburaya's work - classic film and TV images of actors fighting in rubber monster suits are the direct result of Tsuburaya's work, which used innovative lighting and camera techniques to add realism to his shots.
Although they may look dated now, many of the effects that Tsuburaya created in early Japanese science fictions films were revolutionary. The effects he used in the first Godzilla film in 1954 went on to inspire countless other monster films that have been wildly popular ever since.
To this day, he is still regarded as the 'Godfather' of Japanese special effects - an area of the film industry in which Japan led the way for decades.
During his extensive 50-year career, Tsuburaya worked on around 250 films, including the original Godzilla film in 1954, its multiple sequels, and the hugely popular Ultraman series, which has been exported around the world and remains a hugely important piece of popular culture in Japan.
During the Second World War, he created a number of war movies, which were promoted by the Japanese government for their propaganda value. In a film that depicted the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbour, he used his special effects skills to replicate the attacks with models - the footage was so realistic that it was passed off as real in American propaganda films.
After the war, due to his involvement with the war effort, he found work hard to come by - going freelance, he set up his own company, and went on to work on a number of legendary films.
He took a hands-on role in the production of films he was involved with, with on-set pictures often showing him telling actors in cumbersome suits the best way to crush buildings, while dressed in his signature suit and trilby hat.
He continued working right up until his death, working as special effects supervisor on monster sci-fi flick Latitude Zero in 1969, shortly before his death, aged 68, in 1970.
Independent News Service