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 Oto Island Expedition, thereby becoming the first gaijin to catch sight of Godzilla when it 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 Hideo 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.
In Marc Cerasini's young adult novel Godzilla Returns, Japanese--American reporter Brian Shimura recalls the famous book written by Steve (Stephen) Martin on the 1954 Godzilla raid, This Is Tokyo, as well as a docudrama based on the book. His own report following Godzilla's next raid pays homage to Martin's.
- In Godzilla 1985, Steve Martin is referred to as Steve and Mr. Martin to avoid confusion with the actor-comedian Steve Martin who was popular at the time of the movie's release.