Steve Martin (Godzilla)
- For the American actor, see Steve Martin.
|Appearances||Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
|Portrayed by:||Raymond Burr|
Steve Martin is a fictional American reporter played by actor Raymond Burr. The journalist first appears in the 1956 Godzilla film Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, the American version of the original Japanese Godzilla.
Fictional character biography
Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
Steve Martin, a foreign correspondent for United World News, arrives in Tokyo as a stopover on a flight to Cairo. While there, he plans to see his old college friend, Dr. Daisuke Serizawa. He inevitably falls victim to Godzilla’s rampage. The film begins with the wounded Martin narrating through flashback the events leading up to Godzilla’s major attack, including his own injury when the roof of the building within which he'd be viewing Godzilla's attack, collapsed onto him. The remainder of the story consists of him following the rest of the cast until the end with Godzilla’s defeat via the Oxygen Destroyer. Notably, when Martin reappeared in Godzilla 1985, he would state that he was the only American who had survived the attack on Tokyo. Given his presence in a scientific party which encountered Godzilla before its rampage began in earnest, Martin is likely, if not the first Westerner to encounter Godzilla, then the first Westerner to survive the encounter.
Now older and distant from the events happening in Japan, Steve Martin returns as a consultant for the Pentagon’s military effort against Godzilla. Martin recounts his firsthand experience of the monster's power and helps the American generals make tactical decisions about deploying military forces, on some occasions subtly expressing exasperation and disdain at the decisions of the military staff or the callousness with which they reacted to footage of the slaughter in Godzilla's wake. By this time, he is a grandfather and semi-retired writer. The book Cairo via Tokyo, seen on his desk, is likely an account of his adventures in 1954. Martin has an ivory dragon which he carries with him.
Because the actor and comedian Steve Martin was popular by this time, the film's character is referred to as "Mr. Martin." The original intent was to make Martin's role more comedic, in line with much of the other insert footage for Godzilla 1985, but Burr, who took the anti-nuclear message of Godzilla seriously, refused to do the film unless he was permitted to play the role seriously.
Though Marc Cerasini's Godzilla novels take place in a separate continuity from Toho films, Steven Martin is mentioned. In the first novel, Godzilla Returns, television reporters Brian Shimura and Nick Gordon work for the news company INN. In preparation for Godzilla, who has suddenly returned after many years, they read This is Tokyo, a book by Martin that documents his experience in 1954. Gordon initially pans Martin's grave style, reading Martin's opening words: "This is Tokyo, once a city of 6 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 - a smoldering memorial to the unknown, an unknown which at this very moment still prevails and could at any time lash out with its terrible destruction anywhere else in the world."  However, when Gordon sees for himself Godzilla destroy Tokyo, all he can weakly say when he reports on the destruction is "This is Tokyo..."
To broaden Godzilla's international appeal, Burr's character was inserted into the reedited version Godzilla, King of the Monsters! Thus it was through Steve Martin that American and all other international audiences outside of Japan were first introduced to Godzilla. Scenes requiring Burr to interact with the original cast were achieved through intricate cutting and the use of doubles for Martin’s conversations.
In 1984, the release of The Return of Godzilla brought the series out of temporary retirement. Renamed Godzilla 1985 in the U.S., this version saw Raymond Burr reprise his role as Steve Martin. The return of Martin is significant in the Godzilla franchise as it marks the first time a human character reappears in more than one series (Showa and Heisei). The only other characters to do so are Emiko Yamane, played by Momoko Kouchi in Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, and Professor Shin'ichi Chujo, played by Hiroshi Koizumi in Mothra and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
- Quote Steve Martin uses to open the film Godzilla, King of the Monsters