On January 11, a special reunion was held inside Nakano Sun Plaza that saw a reunion of several actors from Toho Studios. Two of the names are very familiar to Japanese people: Akira Takarada and Yosuke Natsuki. Mr. Takarada appears at many such events in Japan and remains a strong and active presence on the stage and on TV. Mr. Natsuki also makes regular TV appearances on many programs in Japan.
The third person in this reunion was an American actress. Her name is Linda Miller, and she starred in a movie at Toho Studios during the late 1960s. The film is called King Kong Escapes (1967), and not only did it see release in Japan, but Universal Pictures released it in the United States theatrically in 1968.
This marked Ms. Miller first time to visit Japan in over 40 years, and it was the first time she had seen her King Kong Escapes co-star, Mr. Takarada, since finishing the movie. After the movie was completed, Ms. Miller and Mr. Natsuki met and became close friends. They hadn’t seen each other since the early 1970s.
The event was lively, and everyone in attendance was in great spirits. Mr. Takarada hosted the panel discussion and acted as emcee. He brought a few pages of notes with him, and he proved to be well prepared. He was even able to note King Kong’s specific weight and height! He probably knew more bits of info than most of the fans in the audience!
The chemistry between the three actors was palpable. Ms. Miller was very excited to be in the presence of her old friend, and it showed. In many ways, it seemed like everyone picked up from where they left off so many years ago without missing a beat. Perhaps it’s the beginning of some renewed friendships.
King Kong Escapes remains a popular cult film in America and Japan. It’s currently available on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. While some movie fans may snicker at the Kong suit used in the movie, nobody can deny the heart and soul that went into the production. It’s a great-looking film, and one of the most entertaining monster flicks from Toho Studios.
Overall, the reunion of old friends and King Kong alumni was excellent, and fans will be sure to talk about it for many years to come. Could there be another reunion in Japan in the near future? Only time will tell!