When I checked, the mask fleetingly appeared at the very end of the ending credits with the director’s name Tsuneo Kobayashi (1911-1991) credited (I know little about him) rather than in the ending scene.
Talking about the story of this episode briefly, it is about a science researcher with a crooked personality who kidnapped boys and demanded ransom under the pseudonym of “Red-eyed Jaguar” to get money for the development of a holographic image device he was working on without being rewarded with any social reputation.
I don’t think this is such an attractive story because it has some unnatural settings I don’t think make sense, but this episode is well known among tokusatsu fans since Ultraseven appeared in it as the “costume” worn by the evil man as a street advertising character handing out toy sunglasses to children at a toy store in preparation for kidnapping the targeted boys.
The body of the Ultraseven suit that appeared in this show seems to have been made from fabric while it is likely that such a suit of Ultraseven was used at stage shows or possibly at other local events as one of the photos covered in an issue of Tokusatsu Hiho magazine shows an Ultraseven costume of the same kind (they may be the same costume).
Although it has no choice but to look cheap, it is impressive to find the Ultraseven mask attached to the suit looks exactly like the real ones used in the series while I assume it must have been cast from the original mold.
The appearance of the Alien Shadow mask at the end of the ending credits was apparently unrelated to the episode story, which makes me guess it should have showed up simply because (the costume of) Ultraseven appeared in the episode (such irrelevances are conspicuous in this episode).
It was fun to find the kidnapped boys’ father was played by Asao Matsumoto (1928-present) known to have impressively acted Ishiguro in Ultraseven episode 2 (he also played Matsui, observatory employee, in Ultraman Episode 8 who was rescued by Pigmon).
That was Michio Kida (1912-1994) who impressively played Yasui, the fortune teller persistently chased by Alien Shadow in Ultraseven Episode 23 “Find Tomorrow” because his ability to foresee the future intimidated the aliens as it could possibly spoil their plot to blast the Terrestrial Defense Force weaponry development facility.
In the Booska episode, Kida acted Orihime’s father comically, and Kida also appeared in Booska Episode 5 in which he played a kendo (Japanese swordsmanship with the use of bamboo swords) teacher who was easily beaten by Booska in a kendo match in spite of his stately presence.
And, after his appearance in “Ultraseven,” Kida performed a magician in “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)” Episode 1 “Man Who Gets Through The Wall” as a side character who just appeared for a short while.
A strong impression made by his role of Yasui makes it even more suitable for Kida to act a magician.
According to a book authored by Yuriko Hishimi who acted Anne in “Ultraseven,” Kida brought his grandson to the set when his Ultraseven episode was being filmed as the boy begged to take him there.
Hishimi writes she remembers Kida said to her with a laugh that the boy showed him respect for the first time with admiring words “Grandpa, you are great!.”
While I have read a few more stories like this uttered by other actors who appeared in the Ultra Series, these stories tell us how much popular the series were among us kids back then.
“Ultra Fight” was a five-minute long tokusatsu show (I am not sure how much appropriate it is to call this show tokusatsu) aired from 1970 to 1971 with 196 episodes at 5:30 pm from Monday through Friday in the same time slot on TBS.
Tsuburaya Productions was in a financial crisis back then as their “Mighty Jack” that started broadcasting with a lot of fanfare failed to win so much popularity as expected.
“Kaiki Daisakusen” that started after “Ultraseven” ended was also shortened than originally planned by judgement of TBS on the ground that it ended up gaining a lower viewership than the Ultra Series while the average rating itself alleged to have been 22.0% should have been fair enough even by the standards at that time.
Meanwhile, “Ultra Fight” started being produced as Hajime Tsuburaya, Eiji’s first son, took an initiative suggesting to work out a show with little expense.
Although it was planned to make each edited episode a five-minute long show in the first place extracting only the battle scenes between Ultraman/Ultraseven and a kaiju from the shows “Ultraman” and “Ultraseven,” as they found fewer battle scenes were long enough for the new show than they had thought, many newly shot episodes were added to the series while each part is described today as the “extracted episodes (71 episodes)” and “newly shot episodes (125 episodes)” respectively.
As it aired right after the show “Ultraseven” ended, no Ultra heroes and no monsters appear in “Kaiki Daisakusen” in which the SRI members who courageously stand up against “science crimes” are depicted incorporating minor tokusatsu scenes instead of covering ostentatious tokusatsu scenes featuring Ultra heroes, monsters and futuristic equipment.
While it is explained “Kaiki Daisakusen” is a TV show produced in the same line with the Toho “Transformative Human Series” movies consisting of “The H-Man” (1958); “The Telegian” (1960); “The Human Vapor” (1960).
I found the no-hero-and-no-monsters show very much unsatisfactory when watching “Kaiki Daisakusen” as a kid, I now realize it is another form of TV tokusatsu shows that is fully enjoyable.
Meanwhile, it is another fun thing to see Akiji Kobayashi (1930-1996) who acted Captain Muramatsu in “Ultraman” appear in “Kaiki Daisakusen” almost regularly as a police sergeant who cooperates with the SRI team although the sergeant Taizo Machida is much more human than Cap. Muramatsu as Machida often makes mistakes.
Furthermore, while the SRI chief Tadashi Matoya was played by Yasumi Hara (1915-1997), it is hilarious to see him appear as the owner of the hume pipe storage in Ultraman Episode 15 (he appeared in the episode before acting the SRI chief).
It is said that Hara was known to be a good-looking actor who appeared in popular TV series including a daytime soap opera and fascinated Japanese housewives even before his appearance in “Ultraman.”
I greatly admire Jissoji’s playful mind to apply such a popular actor to the man who yells at children in a funny way and gets into a lot of trouble, and Hara himself seems to have played the man happily at Jissoji’s request as Hara was also one of Jissoji’s favorite actors.
When it comes to “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery: aired from 1968 to 1969)” screened along with “Silver Kamen,” Episode 4 “Fearful Telephone” featured Hiroko Sakurai who played Yuriko Edogawa in “Ultra Q” and Akiko Fuji in “Ultraman.”
Sakurai acted a woman named Reiko Takiguchi in the “Kaiki Daisakusen” episode who has a gloomy streak contrary to cheerful Akiko Fuji while I also found the character of Reiko fascinating.
While the episode includes the scenes in which a man gets burnt to death by electricity transmitted through the telephone cable when using a public phone, Jissoji writes in one of his books they were scolded by a pharmacy owner when they were trying to shoot the scenes on the street by placing a creepy dummy doll made of styrofoam.
The other two episodes “Pottery Of Curse” and “I Am Buying Kyoto” are the products highly reputed as masterpieces in the “Kaiki Daisakusen” episodes among fans.
“Pottery Of Curse” includes excellent tokusatsu scenes featuring a temple ablaze at the end of the episode while Noriyoshi Ikeya allegedly played a major role in building the finely crafted miniature.
“I Am Buying Kyoto” also includes impressive optical compositing scenes in which stolen Buddha statues are being teleported by a substance transmission device and its surreal ending that leaves it uncertain whether it is a reality or a dream.
In the case of “Kaiki Daisakusen,” I realize Shin Kishida (1939-1982) who played Shiro Maki, an SRI (Science Research Institute) member in the show, has an extraordinary presence while he is widely known to have acted Ken Sakata in “The Return Of Ultraman” afterwards.
It is said that Kishida was one of Jissoji’s favorite actors, and Kishida also appeared regularly in such tokusatsu shows as “Silver Kamen Giant” and “Fireman” although I don’t think Jissoji was involved in these two.
It is said that Kishida publicly kept stating that he was an actor raised by Tsuburaya Productions even after he gained great fame through his appearances in various movies and TV shows in later years.
I went to see an all-night movie show at the Shin Bungeiza movie theater last Saturday (March 18) where the TV tokusatsu shows directed by Akio Jissoji were screened.
The event was held in commemoration of a newly released book on Jissoji (this year seems to mark the 10th anniversary of his death) authored by Naofumi Higuchi, and a talk show was also held at the outset in which Yuriko Hishimi who played Anne appeared along with Hitomi Miwa, actress who also appeared in the products directed by Akio Jissoji including Ultraman Tiga Episode 37, and Higuchi.
It is not that I am a Jissoji enthusiast, I looked forward to seeing Hishimi-san appear in the talk show and enjoying some of Jissoji-directed products, and I found Yuriko Hishimi was a very unassuming, straightforward and friendly person as I expected.
The Jissoji products shown there were (the number in the parentheses shows the episode number):
From “Kaiki Daisakusen (Great Operation Mystery)”: “Fearful Telephone” (4); “A Lullaby Of Death God”(5); “Pottery Of Curse” (23); “I Am Buying Kyoto” (25)
From “Siver Kamen”; “My Home Is The Planet Earth” (1); “The Shine Of Youth” (7); “Call From A Cold-blooded Alien” (8); “Chased In An Unfamiliar Town” (9); “Burning Horizon” (10)
After these episodes were shown, the movie “Jissoji-directed Ultraman” was shown for us as the movie that featured the edited episodes of the TV show “Ultraman” was first screened in 1979 covering the episodes about Gavadon, Telesdon, Jamyra, Skydon and Seabose while all of them were directed by Akio Jissoji
As I am too familiar with these Ultraman episodes, I found the showing of “Kaiki Daisakusen” and “Silver Kamen” enjoyable enough although it was so tough to stay up all night to see all these things as it was for the first time in such a long time since I was younger.
Gekko Kamen is said to have been Japan’s first television series and the origin of products featuring a modern superhero.
The hero’s motto was “Never hate, never kill and forgive a sin.” and he never killed bad guys.
It seems to have been so popular among kids at the time though it’s before I was born.
It’s impressive to learn that Ultraman was exactly the successor to Gekko Kamen as a superhero in a way given it was broadcast in the same Takeda Hour.
As to Takeda Hour, the product I remember is Ultra Series including Captain Ultra, Kaiki Daisakusen (Tsuburaya product with no superhero), Judo Icchokusen (judo drama), Silver Kamen and Iron King.
After Tsuburaya Productions got out of the hour leaving its immortal masterpieces behind (seemingly because of cost issues), Senkosha company which brought out Gekko Kamen produced two other SFX superheroes which are Silver Kamen (Silver Mask) and Iron King.
The people who left Tsuburaya Productions also took part in these two.
The design work was done by Noriyoshi Ikeya who was the successor to Tohl Narita in designing Ultra monsters (aliens) for the latter half of “Ultra Seven.”
Silver Kamen and Iron King, both of which were designed by Mr. Ikeya based on western armors look similar.
They are attractive in a different way from Ultra heroes.
Kuuso Tokusatsu Series (Fantasy SFX Series or Early Ultra Series, which stand for “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman” and “Ultra Seven”) were broadcast as one of the programs of “Takeda Hour.”
Takeda Hour was a prime-time TV program slot from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Sunday from 1958 through 1974 broadcast by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) and sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited..
The hour started with a characteristic chorus featuring the company name and the bird-eye views of the company building.
At any rate, it was a long-awaited hour for us kids at the time.
With the beginning of the Takeda song, we rushed to a television set and breathlessly waited for what’s coming next.