A Behind-the-scenes Story About Shaboten (Cactus) Park

Spherical greenhouse from Ultraman Episode 5 in Cosmo Land (Granpal Park at present); this still photo is among the ones alleged to have been recently discovered with no such scene in the show

While I posted an article about Hydra and “Izu Shaboten (Cactus) Park” (currently “Izu Shaboten Zoo Park”) where the Hydra statue is located, a story often referred to in a talk by the cast members of the time and publicized in books is an accident that took place during the filming at the park.

When the night scenes were filmed along with Akiji Kobayashi (Cap. Muramatsu) and Sandayu Dokumamushi (Arashi; formerly credited as Iyoshi Ishii), it is said that Susumu Kurobe (Hayata) accidentally sat on a big spiny cactus.

 

Dokumamushi says in a book that he heard Kurobe say “ouch!” when they tried to get in position by lowering themselves, and Dokumamushi found Kurobe got stuck by the cactus with the needles all over his buttock like a toothbrush.

And they had to remove the needles one by one with the filming interrupted while Kurobe was bending forward with his uniform trousers lowered and his buttock exposed to the filming light lit up by a seasoned lighting technician from Toho who served for products including Kurosawa movies starred by Toshiro Mifune.

Although I feel sorry for Kurobe-san, such a story really makes me feel the presence of a homey relationship exhibited by the cast and staff members of the time.

Izu Shaboten Park was launched in 1959 and has been seen as a “well-established” theme park sine then along with “Izu Granpal Park” run by the same company while both of them are located at the foot of Mt. Ōmuro on the Izu Peninsula.

 

While the mountain where Kemlar showed up was also Mt. Ōmuro (Mt. Ōtake in the show), the (now-defunct) spherical greenhouse that appeared in Ultraman Episode 5 used to be located in Granpal Park that was called “Izu Cosmo Land” back then.

The scene of the spherical greenhouse viewed from above as the VTOL was landing was filmed by Koichi Takano, tokusatsu director, from a helicopter.

These theme parks could be the symbols related to domestic tourism that thrived in the 1960s while they evoke a feeling of nostalgia a lot although such long-standing theme parks are on the wane now due to the emergence of Tokyo Disneyland and the declining number of children in Japan.

Incidentally, the word shaboten sounds a bit outdated as the cactus is called saboten today on the regular basis.


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