Monday, July 12, 1999

The Godzilla Trial


Title: Toyko. 1954.

Godzilla is stomping Toyko. Horrified and helpless, Perry Mason watches from his high-rise hotel window. He dictates into a primitive wire recorder. A newsreel cameraman behind him films what he sees.

PERRY MASON: This is Tokyo, once a city of six million people. What has happened here was caused by a force which, up until a few days ago, was entirely beyond the scope of Man's imagination. Tokyo is now a smoldering memorial to the unknown. As a lawyer, I intend to bring the unknown up into the light. The light of justice.


The gallery is packed with angry survivors of Godzilla's attack on Tokyo. They're shaking their fists and shouting. Subtitles read: NO TRIAL! HE IS NOT AN INTELLIGENT BEING! Godzilla is chained in an enormous Plexiglas box.

PERRY MASON glances over at the Prosecuting Attorney. Hami-ru-ton Berg-a.

MASON: You remind me of someone.

The judge raps his gavel.

JUDGE: The United Nations Crimes Against Humanity Commission versus Godzilla. This court is now in session. Hajime! Opening statements please. Prosecution first!

BERG-A: Hai, judge-san! History shows again and again how nature destroys the follies of men. But this thing is unnatural! It --

MASON: Objection.

BERG-A: Ah? To my opening statement?

MASON: Your honor. Characterization of my client as "unnatural" is irrelevent to the case and will tend to prejudice the jury.

BERG-A: Baka!

JUDGE: Objection sustained. State argument in less offensive way!

BERG-A: Hai! (grinds teeth) Prosecution will prove beyond shadow of all doubt that, on the night of January 15, 1954, the defendant -- Godzilla, this giant lizard, this animal, this abomination, with cruelty and premeditation -- stomped Toyko!

He bows.

MASON: Objection.

JUDGE: Objection sustained.

MASON: Bake-ne?

JUDGE: Strive to be even less offensive. Please, state case against defendant.

BERG-A: The facts of the case are this: At midnight on Jan. 15, the defendant stomped Toyko. I can produce several miles of newsreel footage and 3,227,000 eye witnesses. Prosecution will prove Godzilla's guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt.

He bows.

JUDGE: Defense! Make opening statement!

MASON, Yes, your honor. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. My client is not an animal or abomination. Godzilla -- who prefers to be called Gojira -- scored 155 on his Sanford Binet. Scientific tests prove his intelligence, hence this trial.

He's really pissing the judge and jury off.

JUDGE: These facts are known. State argument. Don't play for sympathy.

MASON: Yes, your honor. Defense will establish that my client's guilt cannot be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Barely restrained outrage.

JUDGE: Prosecution. Hajime!

BERG-A: Permission to show Exhibit A.


BERG-A: Please direct attention to slide. Ariel reconnaissance photography from American planes reveals swath of destruction caused by giant lizard. This overlay provides chronology. If cross-examined. I am prepared to call witnesses to establish authenticity. These will be representative witness, to expedite trial. I am prepared to call all three million witnesses if necessary!

MASON: No objection, your honor. We do not question the destruction itself. Or the veracity of the fine B-52 pilots of America's occupation force.

This really pisses everyone off.

BERG-A: Permission to call representative witnesses?

JUDGE: Granted.

Montage of Tokyo citizens saying "Godzilla"

BERG-A: Permission to show newsreel footage?

JUDGE: Granted.

Scenes of destruction. Godzilla. Obviously.

BERG-A: Prosecution rests!

JUDGE: Defense may cross examine.

MASON: Declined, your honor.

Universal astonishment.

JUDGE: Present case. Call first witness, please.

MASON: Thank you, your honor. Defense calls General Curtis LeMay.


BERG-A: Objection, your honor! These ridiculous theatrics --

JUDGE: Overruled. Defense has one hour to produce witness. We will stand in recess for that amount of time.


LeMay is on witness stand. A smaller witness stand, designed for humans.

MASON: Please state your name and occupation.

CURTIS LE MAY: Curtis Le May, United States General.

MASON: What do you do?

LE MAY: Hell, lots of things. Try to tell you all of 'em, it'd take all day.

MASON: Does part of your job involve destroying cities. Cities like Tokyo, Hiroshima, etc?

LE MAY: Well, yeah. It did. (shifts uncomfortably) You know that. We were at war.

MASON: Who was at war?

LE MAY: Who was at -- America, I mean to say. America and Japan. They started it, we finished it. Sorry folks. I don't just go around dropping bombs on people. That's a strictly job-related activity.

BERG-A: Objection! In what conceivable way do the war crimes of Curtis LeMay have to relevance to this case!

MASON: Defense will establish relevance.

JUDGE: Overrule. Defense may proceed.

MASON: General. Do you admit you destroyed numerous Japanese cities in the course of WWII?

LE MAY: Admit it? I'm -- (catches himself)What I did is on the historical record. It's a fact. I don't have to admit to it. Those facts are known.

MASON: Why did you destroy these cities?

LE MAY: To win the war. Obviously.

MASON: So you had no desire to destroy Japanese cities?

LE MAY: Of course not, you damn fool! As far as it goes, my desire is to protect Japanese cities. Some cities are in the damn loss column, sure. But we saved more cities by winning the war faster! That pencil-neck McNamara did the numbers, OK?

MASON: You wanted to protect Japanese cities?

LE MAY: Yeah, as a matter of fact I'm --

MASON: Still protecting them, general. Still protecting them?


MASON: I'll repeat the question, General. Are you currently doing anything to protect Japanese cities?

LE MAY: You have lost your mind!

MASON: May I remind you, General that you're under oath.

LE MAY: You can remind me all you like. That information is classified!

MASON: Please tell us about Monster Island!


MASON: I can produce independent verification.

LE MAY: Fine. You win.

MASON: What is Monster Island, general? Please inform the court.

LE MAY: Monster Island is a classified -- a formerly classified -- installation due South of the Ryuku chain.

MASON: Why was it necessary to create this installation?

LE MAY: Well. Aw, c'mon, Judge. Do I have to answer his question?


LE MAY: OK, then. Long and the short of it is, following the bombing and dee-struction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, certain, uh, biological anomalies were detected in the vicinity of the Japanese home islands. The eggheads assumed it was on account of the radiation, but that's neither here nor there.

MASON: What sort of entities?

LE MAY: Daikiju, I think that's what the Nips call 'em. We'd call 'em monsters. Based on a secret UN mandate, we created this installation to contain the damn things.


LE MAY: The United States military and the Japanese Self-defense Force.

MASON: You did this to protect Japanese cities?

LE MAY: Yes, we did.

MASON: Protect them from creatures like Gojira?

LE MAY: You mean Godzilla?

MASON: Yes, General.

LE MAY: OK, then. Yeah. We needed a hoosegow for Gojira, Godzilla, whatever you want to call him. Him and a bunch of other things I'm not prepared to talk about. We threw 'em in jail and locked away the key. Having a buncha monsters on the loose stomping around ain't good for cities last time I checked!

MASON: And Godzilla was on Monster Island. In 1945?

LE MAY: Yeah, yeah.

MASON: He did not mysteriously appear this year?

LE MAY: No. But he sure as hell did some damage!

MASON: How is that possible? Did Godzilla escape from Monster Island?

LE MAY: I ain't answering any more questions! Haul me up for contempt, you want to. I'm leaving!

He stomps out.

MASON: No further questions, your honor.

JUDGE: Defense may call its next witness.

MASON: Defense calls Gojira. Also known as Godzilla.

JUDGE: Just call him! For purposes of clarity you will henceforth refer to defendant as "Godzilla."

MASON: Yes, your honor.

MASON addresses GODZILLA inside the giant, Plexiglas cube.

MASON: Mr. Godzilla. On the night of June 16, 1954, did you destroy Tokyo?

GODZILLA speaks with flawless Japanese with English subtitles. A translator translates PERRY MASON'S words into Japanese.

GODZILLA: No. I wasn't in Tokyo,

MASON: Where were you?

GODZILLA: Monster Island.

MASON: Can you collaborate this alibi?

GODZILLA: No. There was a power failure, all surveillance systems were down. I stayed in my room the whole time. I only found out about the destruction of Tokyo later. I am sorry for your loss.

The court erupts in a riot.

MASON: No further questions

The riot continues.

MASON: Defense calls King Kong.

The courtroom laughs.

JUDGE: King Kong? For what purpose?

MASON: Your honor. I submit that General LeMay hasn't told us the whole truth. Defense is prepare to establish that the chronology of atomic technology has been falsified by the American Government --

LE MAY: (from back of the court) Somebody shut him up!

MASON: Defense will also prove that Monster Island was, in fact, created by an atomic bomb blast on Skull Island in 1943. Monster Island was created, specifically, as a place to contain King Kong. The other monsters came later.

LE MAY: (from the back of the courtroom) Sweet baby Jesus. The shit has officially hit the fan!

MASON: Your honor, I respectfully repeat my request. Defense calls King Kong.

JUDGE: There is no way King Kong will come to this court. No! Never!

Later --

They're swearing the big ape in.

BAILIFF: Mr. Kong, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

KONG nods.

MASON: Mr. Kong.

KONG grunts.

MASON: Isn't it true that on the night of June 16, 1954, you cut the power to monster island thereby allowing your escape in a giant rubber Godzilla suit?

KONG grunts.

MASON: Was it not your attempt to commit a heinous crime and blame it on Godzilla? Is it not true you hate Godzilla?

KONG grunts.

JUDGE: Speedo! Speedo! This line of questioning is going nowhere. He is obviously an inarticulate simian!

MASON: One more question, your honor. I refer to exhibit G.

Holds up photograph. Presses it up against giant Plexiglas booth.

MASON: Mr. Kong, I call your attention to this photo. Have you ever seen it before?

Kong looks. The photo is simultaneously flashed on a giant scene so the court can see it.

It's a photo of Godzilla and Fay Wray.

The court gasps.

KONG pounds his fist on the giant bench inside the Plexiglas cube.

KONG: (flawless upper class British accent) Of course I've seen it before, you horrid little man! And,yes of course, this socially inept lizard was boffing the blonde. Or doing something I suppose. Just to hurt me really. I destroyed Toyko to hurt him. I confess all right? I bloody well did it. Now can I please get out of here?

MASON: No further questions, your honor.

A trap door opens. KONG disappears.

JUDGE raps gavel.

JUDGE: Godzilla not guilty! Mistrial! Everybody go home!

GODZILLA leaves Courtroom with Fay Wray. Nods at PERRY MASON. Puts on a pair of giant shades and stomps away.

PERRY MASON theme up.

HAMI-RU-TON BERG-A looks pissed.

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