Nature has a way sometimes of reminding man of just how small he is. She occasionally throws up the terrible offsprings of our pride and carelessness, to remind us of how puny we really are in the face of a tornado, an earthquake, or a Godzilla. The reckless ambitions of man are often dwarfed by their dangerous consequences. For now, Godzilla, that strangely innocent and tragic monster, has gone to Earth. Whether he returns or not, or is never again seen by human eyes, the things he has taught us remain.
— Steve Martin (Godzilla 1985)
Steve Martin was an American journalist who, in the 1950s, worked as a foreign correspondent for United World News. He witnessed firsthand Godzilla's 1954 rampage in Tokyo and, by his own testimony, was the only American to survive it.
En route to an assignment in Cairo, Martin had intended to spend a two-day layover in Tokyo catching up with Daisuke Serizawa, "an old college friend." Unable to meet Serizawa, and questioned about a mysterious occurrence at sea during his flight, Martin instead spent his time reporting to his United World News editor, George Lawrence, on the subsequent ship disasters.
Martin joined the Odo Island expedition, thereby becoming the first westerner to catch sight of Godzilla when the monster appeared on the island. He then stationed himself in Tokyo to report on Godzilla's first raid upon the city and the planning that went into defending Tokyo from future raids. Martin tape-recorded a real-time account of Godzilla's second raid on Tokyo, but was struck unconscious by a falling beam when Godzilla brushed past his building.
Recovering from his injuries in an overflowing hospital, Martin was visited by his and Serizawa's mutual friends Hideto Ogata and Emiko Yamane. Upon Emiko's revelation of the Oxygen Destroyer devised by Serizawa, Martin and Ogata persuaded Emiko to confront Serizawa. Martin was present on the Godzilla-seeking voyage at which Serizawa detonated his device, bringing the terror of Godzilla, and his own life, to an end. Martin recounted the sacrifice: "The menace was gone. So was a great man. But the whole world could wake up and live again."
As revealed at the start of this film, in the years since Godzilla's first appearance Steve Martin has published a written account of the raids, under the title Cairo via Tokyo. When a second Godzilla destroyed a Soviet nuclear submarine the seas off Japan, the Soviet Union was quick to blame the United States. After Japanese authorities relaxed tensions by revealing the true culprit to the press, the Pentagon began mobilizing anti-Godzilla forces for Japan's defense. General Goodhue called in Martin as a consultant; at Martin's insistence, Goodhue resisted deploying several military units near Japan until the magnetic lure developed by Professor Hayashida was activated, drawing Godzilla into the crater of Mount Mihara.
- Godzilla Returns (1996)
Stephen Martin was a Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago reporter who witnessed Godzilla's destruction of Tokyo on November 3, 1954. The book he wrote about his experiences, This is Tokyo, became a classic of journalism. In the 1956 docudrama Godzilla, King of the Monsters, he was portrayed by Raymond Burr. He passed away in 1994, four years before Godzilla again attacked Japan. After initially scoffing at Martin's book, INN reporter Nick Gordon paid tribute to it in his broadcast following Godzilla's defeat.
- By the time Raymond Burr reprised his role as Steve Martin in Godzilla 1985, the actor Steve Martin had risen to prominence. As a result, the fictional Martin's first name is never spoken in the film, and the end credits list him as "Steven Martin."
- Martin is referenced in the 2019 film Godzilla: King of the Monsters. A news article shown during the film's credits is written by a "Steven Martin."
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