Fans cam­paign to add Root’s name to film’s cred­its

The Buffalo News - - CON­TIN­UED FROM THE COVER -

the coun­try would have warmed his heart.

“The fam­ily was very touched by the out­pour­ing of kind­ness and sup­port,” Co­hen said. “If Ge­orge had been more alert, he’d have been thrilled.”

Root, a Lock­port res­i­dent and for­mer news­pa­per re­porter, was di­ag­nosed with re­nal cell car­ci­noma in De­cem­ber 2015. As his prog­no­sis got worse, he had hoped to hang on un­til the movie’s orig­i­nal re­lease date, sched­uled for June last year. De­lays pushed the re­lease back to May.

He had been a de­voted Godzilla fan since child­hood.

“He was hop­ing he could hold on for just a cou­ple more months,” said Co­hen. “He re­ally wanted to see it be­fore his time is up.”

Co­hen had been try­ing to ar­range a pri­vate ad­vance screen­ing of the film and hoped to use his drive-in con­nec­tions to reach the film’s back­ers. Co­hen and Root met 20 years ago through Root’s af­fec­tion for the drive-in. Root was pres­i­dent of the West­ern New York DriveIn Movie So­ci­ety.

“There’s only one thing Ge­orge loves more than the drive-in, and that’s Godzilla,” Co­hen said ear­lier in the week.

Godzilla fans jumped on board to sup­port Root’s last re­quest, tweet­ing at the film’s di­rec­tor, Mike Dougherty.

“From one Godzilla fan to an­other, you fought a great bat­tle and I want you to know that all of us were there to wish for your dream to come true,” Yoko Higuchi, a New York City-based Godzilla fan and film­maker. The mes­sage was retweeted by Dougherty.

By Thurs­day af­ter­noon, fans who had learned of Root’s death had turned their small so­cial me­dia cam­paign into a quest to add his name to the film’s cred­its be­fore it is re­leased in May.

Had Co­hen suc­ceeded in the ad­vanced screen­ing, it wouldn’t have been the first time a stu­dio big­wig made a benev­o­lent ex­cep­tion to their re­lease sched­ule.

In 2015, a ter­mi­nally ill Texas man was al­lowed to see “Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens” af­ter friends and fans started a vi­ral so­cial me­dia cam­paign to grant his dy­ing wish. “Star Wars” stars Mark Hamill, who played Luke Sky­walker, and Peter May­hew, who played Chew­bacca, lent their sup­port. A screen­ing was also later ar­ranged for the dy­ing fan of the movie “Avengers: Endgame.”

Root asked for a memo­rial ser­vice to be held at the Tran­sit Drive-In. The fam­ily will de­cide whether it will be a pub­lic event.

“Ge­orge will al­ways be a part of the drivein, and we will be hon­or­ing his mem­ory in ac­cor­dance with the wishes of his fam­ily at the ap­pro­pri­ate time,” Co­hen said.

Root was a for­mer colum­nist for the Lock­port Union-Sun & Jour­nal and a mu­si­cian with the Pink Floyd trib­ute band the Floyd Con­cept. He is sur­vived by his wife, a son and two grand­chil­dren.

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