After the success of The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms in 1953, Japanese film producer Tomoyuki Tanaka had the idea for his own giant monster movie. He wrote a script titled The Giant Monster From 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and pitched it in April of 1954, and it was quickly approved for production. It wouldn’t be until later though that the title was changed to Godzilla.
The actual Godzilla monster would be designed by Teizo Toshimitsu, who initially wanted to use stop-motion animation to bring the monster to life much like King Kong from 1933. But with Toho’s small size at the time, it would’ve taken at least seven years to complete the stop-motion work. It was then decided that Godzilla would rather be brought to life by an actor in a suit.
In the end, all of their choices were the right ones because Godzilla became way more popular than The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms in every way. The film ultimately spawned dozens of sequels and spinoffs, many of which are still being produced today. Not to mention that the Godzilla franchise has spawned its own number of ripoffs, one of which introduced the giant turtle Gamera, who would also go on to become quite iconic.
It’s fascinating seeing how such a simple concept from a film like The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms can be tweaked and somehow become even more successful.