B-Sides: Dr. Pepper Was Afraid to Love Godzilla
Fifty-eight years ago today, on November 3, 1954, the King of the Monsters first rose up from the depths many stories high breathing fire into the sky on movie screens across Japan. Probably should have come up with a better way to honor Godzilla’s anniversary than with this embarrassing B-Sides.
The 16th movie in the Godzilla series marked the King of the Monsters' return to the big screen after a decade long hiatus and was designed to both reboot the series with updated 1984 special effects while also serving as a direct sequel to the 1954 original. New World Pictures imported the film to the United States a year later under the title Godzilla 1985 and with the inclusion of some very American product placement courtesy of a sponsorship deal with Dr. Pepper.
If you listen to the lyrics to “I Was Afraid to Love You,” it becomes quickly apparent the song is a love song about the human desire to accept Dr. Pepper into one’s heart as an alternative to Coke or Pepsi. To this day I’m not aware of the performers of the song ever being properly credited, and thankfully, the number does not appear anywhere in the movie itself. That didn’t stop it from spawning a music video that is nothing but scenes from Godzilla 1985, including scenes from the movie containing Dr. Pepper product placement, as well as footage from a pair of campy commercials running on television at the time that featured a Godzilla-like monster whose attack on Japan could only be stopped with the thirst-quenching taste of Diet Dr. Pepper.
To recap: “I Was Afraid to Love You” is a product jingle touted as a theme song for a movie in which it is never heard used in a music video to promote the movie that is actually a commercial for the product-boasting scenes from other commercial tie-ins for the product inserted into the movie footage.
This reality was clearly not lost on the people running MTV given how the video only aired once the day Godzilla 1985 premiered in American theaters. Someone more scholarly in all things Godzilla can probably clarify whether that was due to Dr. Pepper and New World only buying the airtime for a single broadcast or because both the song and the video are so embarrassing MTV wanted nothing more to do with it. The video aired only one other time on MTV as a joke during a 1986 Elvira, Mistress of the Dark Halloween special. Since then it has been relegated to being nothing more than an amusing low point in the annals of Godzilla fandom.
Happy 58th birthday, Godzilla! I’m so sorry this is my present to you. At least I was never afraid to love you.
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