The 1960s brought us addicted television audiences all over the world no shortage of brain pan-melting live-action programming, and some of the craziest – and mostly forgotten – of those shows came from Japan. The kaiju craze that kicked off with the success of the first Godzilla movie has greatly influenced Japanese film and television to this day, but many of those beloved series either ended up distant memories for young viewers with active imaginations or were poorly dubbed and packaged for American audiences to enjoy on their local UHF stations at 6 in the morning before heading off to school. One of those shows was Giant Robo, a tokusatsu created by Mitsuteru Yokoyama that aired for one season from October 1967 to April 1968.
Produced by Toei Company Ltd, Giant Robo was later purchased for broadcast on U.S. stations by the television arm of the great drive-in and exploitation movie company American International Pictures. Under the supervision of Reuben Guberman the show was dubbed into English and had its title changed to Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. It would continue to run in syndication throughout the next two decades and even had several episodes edited together to create the movie Voyage into Space. The show reached cult status with fans of Japanese fantasy and sci-fi but has long been unavailable on home video in the U.S. Shout! Factory is about to rectify that egregious misfortune this March when they release Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot: The Complete Series on DVD (available for pre-order now).