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Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy franchise created in 1984. Its first installment was the movie Ghostbusters, released on June 8, 1984 by Columbia Pictures. It centers around a group of eccentric New York City parapsychologists who investigate and capture ghosts for a living. For the movie, the franchise licensed action figures, novelizations, and other original materials to be produced around the ghost movies' theme. After the initial success, they released original material in other fields such as comic books, video games, television series, and a theme park attraction.
- 1 Development
- 2 Television
- 3 Music
- 4 Merchandise
- 5 Universe
- 6 Cast and characters
- 7 Cultural impact
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The concept of the first film was inspired by Dan Aykroyd's own fascination with the paranormal, and it was conceived by Aykroyd as a vehicle for himself and friend and fellow Saturday Night Live alum John Belushi. Aykroyd came up with Ghostbusters after reading an article about quantum physics and parapsychology in the American Society of Psychical Research Journal and then watching movies like Ghostchasers. Aykroyd thought, "Let's redo one of those old ghost comedies, but let's use the research that's being done today. Even at that time, there was plausible research that could point to a device that could capture ectoplasm or materialization; at least visually."
The original story as written by Aykroyd was much more ambitious—and unfocused—than what would be eventually filmed; in Aykroyd's original vision, a group of Ghostbusters would travel through time, space and other dimensions taking on huge ghosts (of which the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was just one of many). Also, the Ghostbusters wore SWAT-like outfits and used wands instead of Proton Packs to fight the ghosts; Ghostbusters storyboards show them wearing riot squad–type helmets with movable transparent visors. The original draft of the script written by Aykroyd was very large, compared to a "phone book" by director Ivan Reitman.
Aykroyd pitched his story to director and producer Reitman, who liked the basic idea but immediately saw the budgetary impossibilities demanded by Aykroyd's first draft. At Reitman's suggestion, the story was given a major overhaul, eventually evolving into the final screenplay which Aykroyd and Harold Ramis hammered out over the course of a few months in a Martha's Vineyard bomb shelter, according to Ramis on the DVD commentary track for the movie. Aykroyd and Ramis initially wrote the script with roles written especially for Belushi, Eddie Murphy and John Candy. However, Belushi died due to a drug overdose during the writing of the screenplay, and neither Murphy nor Candy could commit to the movie due to prior engagements, so Aykroyd and Ramis shifted some of these changes around and polished a basic, yet sci-fi oriented screenplay for their final draft.
In addition to Aykroyd's high-concept basic premise and Ramis' skill at grounding the fantasy elements with a realistic setting, the film benefits from Bill Murray's semi-improvisational performance as Peter Venkman, the character initially intended for Belushi. The extent of Murray's improvisation while delivering his lines is debated.
With the first DVD release of the film on the 15th anniversary of the original theatrical release, many original concepts of the film were revealed, based on the storyboard artwork: Louis Tully was originally to be a conservative man in a business suit played by comedian Candy, but he was unable to commit to the role. The role was taken by Rick Moranis, portraying Louis as a geek. Gozer was originally going to appear in the form of Ivo Shandor as a slender, unremarkable man in a suit played by Paul Reubens. In the end, the role was played by Yugoslavian model Slavitza Jovan, whose Eastern European accented voice was later dubbed over by Paddi Edwards's.
Winston Zeddemore was written with Eddie Murphy in mind, but he had to decline the role as he was filming Beverly Hills Cop at the same time. When Murphy had the role, Zeddemore was going to be hired much earlier in the film, and would accompany the trio on their hunt for Slimer at the hotel and be slimed in place of Venkman. When Ernie Hudson took over, it was decided that he be brought in later to indicate how the Ghostbusters were struggling to keep up with the outbreak of ghosts.
In order to properly light the set for Gozer's temple and create the physical effects for the set, other stages needed to be shut down and all their power diverted over to the set. The hallway sets for the Sedgewick Hotel were originally built for the movie Rich and Famous in 1981 and patterned after the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, where Reitman originally wanted to do the hotel bust. The Biltmore Hotel was chosen because the large lobby allowed for a tracking shot of the Ghostbusters in complete gear for the first time. Dana Barrett and Louis Tully's apartments were constructed across two stages and were actually on the other side of their doors in the hallway, an unusual move in film-making.
A problem arose during filming when it was discovered that a show was produced in 1975 by Filmation for CBS called The Ghost Busters. Columbia Pictures prepared a list of alternative names in the event the rights could not be secured, but during the filming of the crowd for the final battle, the extras were all chanting "Ghostbusters", which inspired the producers to insist that the studio buy the rights to the name. For the test screening of Ghostbusters, half of the ghost effects were missing, not yet having been completed by the production team. The audience response was still enthusiastic, and the ghost elements were completed for the official theatrical release shortly thereafter.
Ghostbusters, the first movie in the series, is a 1984 sci-fi comedy film about three eccentric New York City parapsychologists. After they are fired from a university, they start their own business investigating and capturing ghosts. Starring Murray, Aykroyd, Ramis, Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts, and Hudson, it was released in the United States on June 8, 1984. The film grossed approximately US$240 million in the U.S. and over $50 million abroad during its theatrical run, more than the domestic gross of the second Indiana Jones installment, making it the most successful film in America that year (after re-releases), and one of the most successful comedies of the 1980s. The American Film Institute ranked it 28th in its list of the top 100 comedies of all time. IGN voted Ghostbusters the greatest comedy ever in 2005. Bravo (US TV channel) ranked Ghostbusters number 76 on their 100 Funniest Movies list in 2006.
The second movie, Ghostbusters II, was released in 1989. After the success of the first film and the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, Columbia Pictures pressured the producers to make a sequel. However, Aykroyd, Ramis and Reitman were uncomfortable with this, as the original film was intended to be conclusive and they wished to work on other projects. Eventually, they agreed and created a script.
Possible third film
During the 1990s, Aykroyd wrote a script for a potential third film in the series. The concept had the characters transported to an alternate version of Manhattan called Manhellton, where the people and places are "hellish" versions of their originals and where the Ghostbusters meet the devil (a modified version of this script was later used in Ghostbusters: The Video Game). At the time, Aykroyd stated that the studio was interested, though the principal actors were not. It featured a new, younger group of Ghostbusters, while Ray, Egon, and Winston (who is referred to as Dr. Zeddemore) struggle to keep the business going after Peter leaves to be with Dana. In reviewing the proposed script, IGN stated that the new Ghostbusters were "practically interchangeable," lacked personality conflicts, and were not "especially funny or charming." It also found the script to be too full of technobabble, and Venkman's appearance at the end is noted to be the "best gag" in the script.
Murray was reported in 2004 to be the only original Ghostbuster not interested in Ghostbusters III, as he disliked sequels. Multiple sources said Ramis wanted Ben Stiller to join the cast in 2005. During a 2009 interview, Ramis stated that the project had stalled due to a lack of interest and motivation. Both Ramis and Aykroyd subsequently confirmed that the script would call for a new group of younger Ghostbusters to take the lead, with Aykroyd stating, "There’ll be a whole new generation that has to be trained and a leader that you'll all love when you meet her. There'll be lots of cadets, boys and girls who'll be learning how to use the neuron splitter and the inter-planet interceptor—new tools to enable them to slip from dimension to dimension."
On January 13, 2010, Reitman confirmed that he would be directing the film. In March, Murray appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and talked about his potential return to Ghostbusters III, stating "I'd do it only if my character was killed off in the first reel." In an interview with Coming Soon the next month, Murray said: "You know, maybe I should just do it. Maybe it'd be fun to do." In May 2010, Aykroyd said a release was set for Christmas 2012. In the October issue of Vanity Fair, Aykroyd gave an update on the status of the Ghostbusters III script, written by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, writer-producers of The Office: "I’m working on the script now and those two—Stupnitsky and Eisenberg, wrote Bill the comic role of a lifetime, and the new Ghostbusters and the old are all well represented in it...we have a strong first draft that Harold [Ramis] and I will take back, and I’m very excited about working on it." Shortly after that interview, at the Spike TV Scream Awards, Murray appeared on the show to accept an award for Zombieland. He arrived on stage in full Ghostbusters gear, giving no statements regarding the film except, "I'm sorry; I don't mean anything by this, it's just all that was left that was clean." On October 14, Stefano Paganini, one of Sony's product marketing managers, appeared at a Ghostbusters event in Rome and said "I spoke about this tonight with my boss from Los Angeles. She allowed me to let you know that the script of Ghostbusters III has been approved so the engine has been turned on!"
On August 25, 2011, Aykroyd told Dennis Miller on The Dennis Miller Show that Ghostbusters III was moving forward and planning to shoot in early 2012 with or without the involvement of Murray, saying, "What we have to remember is that 'Ghostbusters' is bigger than any one component, although Billy was absolutely the lead and contributed to it in a massive way, as was the director and Harold Ramis, myself and Sigourney Weaver. The concept is much larger than any individual role and the promise of Ghostbusters III is that we get to hand the equipment and the franchise down to new blood." He also revealed minor details for Ramis' Egon Spengler and his own Ray Stantz characters' current statuses. "My character, Ray, is now blind in one eye and can't drive the Cadillac," he says, "He's got a bad knee and can't carry the packs... Egon is too large to get into the harness. We need young blood and that's the promise. We're gonna hand it to a new generation.... I like this guy Matthew Gray Gubler from the Criminal Minds show," he adds, "But there's going to be a casting. We're going to see everyone that wants to do it. We're going to need... three guys and a young woman."
In December, 2011, it was reported that Murray had received the script, but according to the National Enquirer, he shredded it to pieces and returned it to Ramis and Aykroyd with a note reading: "No-one wants to pay money to see fat, old men chasing ghosts." Aykroyd said that it was untrue, but stated that Murray decided not to return, and that Aykroyd is looking for a replacement actor to play Murray's character. He also mentioned that he wanted Moranis to return as Louis Tully.
On February 29, 2012, Aykroyd said he was unsure if a third film would ever be made, and considered the film to be in "suspended animation". Aykroyd said if the film were made, Murray was confirmed not to return; they would need his permission if they wanted to re-cast his role or have him appear as a CGI ghost, which Aykroyd doubted they would get. He said Murray is busy with his six kids, owns many houses and is happy just appearing at golf tournaments where people pay him to turn up to provide a laugh. Aykroyd said the two remain close personal friends and Murray is a friend first, colleague second and that he can't be mad at him for refusing to make a third movie. Both Reitman and Ramis said there had to be a way to make the movie. Aykroyd said the script has to be perfect and that he doesn't want to exploit the franchise.
On April 5, 2012, while discussing the Cubs at the opening day game, Murray talked about his involvement in Ghostbusters III as a possibility. In a June interview with David Letterman, Murray said that making a very good sequel is hard and, "we'll try again. I'm always dragging my feet on it." On July 4, Aykroyd confirmed that Ghostbusters 3 was still in development. He also confirmed that there would be a new script written by a new team. On July 10, it was confirmed that Etan Cohen would be writing the script. Aykroyd said of the script that "It's got to be perfect. That's the whole thing. There's no point in doing it unless it's perfect. So that's what we're up to now."
In an interview on August 2, 2012, Aykroyd reported that Murray would have no involvement in the film, saying, "It's sad but we're passing it on to a new generation. Ghostbusters III can be a successful movie without Bill. My preference would be to have him involved but at this point he doesn't seem to be coming and we have to move on. It's time to make the third one."
In a September 2012 interview with Collider, Reitman stated that he believes there could be a Ghostbusters remake.
In May 2013 during an interview with Larry King, Aykroyd discussed the third film even giving away major plot details. "We’re going to have to cast. We need four new ghostbusters. We need four new Columbia students. It’s based upon new research that’s being done in particle physics by the young men and women at Columbia University. Basically there’s research being done that...I can say that the world or our dimension that we live in, our four planes of existence, length, height, width, and time, become threatened by some of the research that is being done. And Ghostbusters, new Ghostbusters have to come and solve the problem.” Aykroyd said. When asked about Murray's status with the film, Aykroyd responded "He’s a good friend, I love him, but he just doesn’t want to reprise the role. However, there will be a hole for him. If Billy wants to walk in the door and be in the movie, we will find a place."
In June 2013, Rick Moranis gave a rare interview where he talked about appearing in the third film and his disappointment with the sequel. Moranis said “I haven’t talked to Dan Aykroyd about it. Somebody he’s associated with called me and I said, ‘I wouldn’t not do it, but it’s got to be good.’ You know, I’m not interested in doing anything I’ve already done, and I thought the second one was a disappointment. But I guess I’m interested in where that guy is now. I sort of see him as being Bernie Madoff’s cellmate in jail. Both of them being so orderly that they race to get up and make their beds.”
In October 2013, Dan Aykroyd appeared on Australian talk show The Project and confirmed that the script for the third film is currently being rewritten. He stated that they would be bringing in a younger generation of Ghostbusters along with the original Ghostbusters (excluding Bill Murray) for the third film. Aykroyd went on to state that they would not be writing Murray's character out, nor would they be recasting the role. Aykroyd also stated that "the door is always open if Bill wanted to return to the role."
After the death of Harold Ramis on February 24, 2014, a source from Sony Pictures insisted that Ramis was involved in Ghostbusters III minimally for a cameo appearance. With the screenplay needing to be reworked, Ivan Reitman has been scheduled to meet with Sony executives to assess how to move forward on the project. On March 18, 2014, it was confirmed that Reitman would not be directing the third film, but would remain as producer. Sony is aiming to begin shooting in early 2015. On March 20, 2014, it was revealed directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were in talks to direct the film, but on April 8, 2014, the duo has passed on the project. On May 30, 2014, The Wrap has reported that Ruben Fleischer is being considered to direct the third film. Weaver told Vanity Fair that Dana Barrett's son, Oscar, will be a Ghostbuster in the film.
The Real Ghostbusters
From 1986 to 1991, Columbia Pictures Television and DIC Entertainment produced an animated spin-off television series created by Ramis and Aykroyd that is non-canon to the original film, entitled The Real Ghostbusters. "The Real" was added to the title due to a dispute with Filmation and its Ghostbusters properties. The series continues the adventures of paranormal investigators Venkman, Stantz, Spengler, Zeddemore, their secretary Melnitz, and their mascot ghost Slimer. The Real Ghostbusters was nominated for an Emmy.
When the show's producers began to see the youth appeal of the character Slimer, he began to be featured more prominently. In 1988, the series was retooled and renamed Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters, and featured an hourlong format with a typical Real Ghostbusters episode leading into a more kid-friendly Slimer! cartoon. As the series progressed, the regular Real Ghostbusters episodes started to become lighter in tone so as not to frighten the growing fanbase of young children. Additionally, the characterizations became more one-dimensional, and the animation became less detailed. More changes went on behind the scenes as well with the departure of writer J. Michael Straczynski. Dave Coulier of Full House fame came on to fill the role of Peter (voiced by Lorenzo Music), Jones took over Winston from Hall and Kath Soucie took on Janine after Laura Summer voiced the role. Straczynski returned to the series for a temporary spell in the 1990 season. The only cast members who remained throughout the entire series were Frank Welker (voice of Stantz and Slimer) and Maurice LaMarche (voice of Spengler). The show was cancelled in 1991.
Extreme Ghostbusters was a sequel and spin-off of The Real Ghostbusters that began airing in the fall of 1997. The show featured a new team of younger Ghostbusters led by veteran Ghostbuster Spengler, secretary Janine Melnitz, and the ghost Slimer. The premise is similar to the plot of Ghostbusters II. Set years after the end of The Real Ghostbusters, a lack of supernatural activity has put the Ghostbusters out of business. Each has gone his separate way, except for Egon, who still lives in the Firehouse to monitor the containment unit, further his studies, and teach a class on the paranormal at a local college. When ghosts start to reappear, Egon is forced to recruit his four students as the new Ghostbusters. The new Ghostbusters were Kylie Griffin, a genius, expert on the occult, and female counterpart to Egon; Eduardo Rivera, a hip, cynical Latino slacker and counterpart to Peter; Garrett Miller, a wheelchair-bound young athlete and counterpart to Ray; and Roland Jackson, a studious African-American machinery whiz and counterpart to Winston. The show was given the Los Angeles Commission on Disabilities Award for making one of its main characters (Garrett) disabled but universally relatable.
The first film sparked the catchphrases, "Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!" and "I ain't afraid of no ghost." Both came from the theme song performed by Ray Parker, Jr., who wrote it in a day and a half. The song was a huge hit, staying at No. 1 for three weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and No. 1 for two weeks on the Black Singles chart. The song earned Parker an Academy Award nomination for "Best Song."
The music video produced for the song is considered one of the key productions in the early music video era, and was a No. 1 MTV video. Directed by Reitman, and produced by Jeffrey Abelson, the video organically integrated footage of the film in a specially designed haunted house, lined with neon in its entirety. The film footage was intercut with a humorous performance by Parker and featured cameo appearances by celebrities who joined in the call and response chorus, including Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Nickolas Ashford, Melissa Gilbert, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk and Teri Garr. The video ends with footage of the four main Ghostbusters actors, in costume and character, dancing in Times Square behind Parker, joining in the singing.
The sequel spawned two singles from the soundtrack. R&B artist Bobby Brown had a successful hit with "On Our Own", while hip hop group Run-D.M.C. were commissioned to perform "Ghostbusters (rap version)".
The film spawned a theme park special effects show at Universal Studios Florida that closed in 1996. The Ghostbusters were later featured in a lip-synching dance show including Beetlejuice on the steps of the New York Public Library facade at the park. The characters were all new and "extreme" versions in the show, save for the Zeddemore character. Their Ecto-1 automobile was used to drive them around the park, and was often used in the park's annual "Macy's Holiday Parade". For the show, an experimental silicone skin was used on Slimer, which took two weeks to put together. The show, Ecto-1, and all other Ghostbuster trademarks were discontinued in 2005 when Universal failed to renew the rights for theme park use.
The National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) released a line of action figures based on the first movie, but only produced a series of ghost characters, as Murray refused the rights to use his facial likeness. Their first and only series included Gozer, Slimer (or Onionhead), the Terror Dogs: Zuul and Vinz Clortho, and a massive Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, contrasting the diminutive figure that was in the original figure line. Ertl released a die-cast 1/25 scale Ectomobile, also known as the Ecto-1, the Ghostbusters' main transportation. Rubies' Costumes has produced a Ghostbusters Halloween costume, consisting of a one-piece jumpsuit with logos and an inflatable Proton Pack. Art Asylum's Minimates toy-line features a Ghostbusters sub-line, including a box set of characters from the 2009 video game. Extreme Ghostbusters has also seen a line of children's toys released by Trendmasters. Toys R Us released the Villains Series 3 of the Ghostbusters Minimates in January 2010. The Parallax Corporation  produces a line of marshmallows in a collectible box licensed under the Stay Puft Marshmallows brand. Mattel has produced a series of action figures based on the characters from the movie for their online MattyCollector.Com shop, and some for retail, including a "retro" series of 8-inch, cloth-costumed action figures based on the animated series.
In PlayStation Home, the PlayStation 3's online community-based social gaming network, Loot Entertainment, in association with Atari and Terminal Reality, released a Ghostbusters-themed apartment space on June 18, 2009. Called the "Ghostbusters Firehouse: On Location", this space is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Ghostbusters and its worldwide release on Blu-ray. The Firehouse personal space is a detailed replica of the three floor Ghostbusters' headquarters from the original film, including the ghost containment unit in the basement, the garage and office areas on the 1st floor, plus the living room, laboratory, fire poles, bedroom and bathroom areas.
In May 2003, Sony signed an agreement with 88MPH Studios to work on a comic update of the Ghostbusters movie, to be released in later in the year. Ghostbusters: Legion saw the return of the four Ghostbusters and the principal cast from the movie. Legion updated the series by setting the events of the first movie in 2004 rather than 1984. Set six months after the Gozer incident, the series was designed to follow the Ghostbusters as their initial fame faded and they returned to the regular chore of busting ghosts on a daily basis. The series sees the team run ragged as a spate of supernatural crimes and other related occurrences plague the city, as well as contemplating the greater effects of their success beyond the immediate media attention.
Manga publisher Tokyopop produced an original English-language manga around the same time the video game was announced. It was released in October 2008, under the title Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted. Taking place between the second film and the game, the manga featured a series of one-shot stories from several different artists and writers, as well as a subplot involving Jack Hardemeyer (from the second movie) and a vengeful army of ghosts attempting to get revenge on the Ghostbusters.
IDW Publishing also released a comic book series based on the franchise. Their first series, Ghostbusters: The Other Side, was written by Keith Champagne, with art by Tom Nguyen. A second series was later released in 2009 as Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression. A third series, Ghostbusters: Haunted Holidays was released November 2010. A monthly comic series was scheduled for release in September 2011.[dated info]
Ghostbusters: The Return is a 2004 novel written by Sholly Fisch in celebration of the franchise's 20th anniversary. Set two years after Ghostbusters II, the novel revolves around Venkman running for mayor of New York City and an ancient entity trying to conquer the world by bringing urban legends to life.
The Ghostbusters use a specialized set of equipment in the 1984 film, and all subsequent Ghostbusters fiction includes similar equipment to aid in the capture and containment of ghosts. In addition to the main technology used in the series, a script draft for Ghostbusters III includes the Ghostbusters developing a machine to transport themselves to an alternate Manhattan to save New York.
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The main equipment used by the Ghostbusters to capture ghosts is the proton pack: a reportedly unlicensed nuclear accelerator which fires a proton stream that polarizes with the negatively charged energy of a ghost, allowing it to be held in the stream while active. The proton packs' particle throwers were originally portrayed as wands worn on each arm. In current versions, it consists of a hand-held wand (neutrino wand as described and scripted by Aykroyd, also called a proton gun or particle thrower within the franchise) connected to a backpack-sized particle accelerator. The Proton Stream can also fire a hard-hitting boson dart which can be fired alone or collided with the Proton Stream to fire a Boson Collider.
The Slime Blower is seen and developed in the movie Ghostbusters II; this piece of equipment is a metal tank strapped to the back of its user, with an attached sprayer used to project streams of the psychomagnetheric mood slime that has been reinforced with positive emotions so as to neutralize its negatively reinforced counterparts. In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the slime blower is modified to shoot positively charged slime and can also shoot special Slime Mines (the grenade of the Ghostbusters arsenal). A toy slime blower was released with the Kenner Real Ghostbusters toy line. In the Ghostbusters comics, the Ecto-Splat is a flamethrower-like device that fires a hard jet of ectoplasm, which can damage or dissipate ghosts.
The Shock Blaster is the close-range weapon of the Ghostbusters arsenal. It fires a blast of stripped dark matter particles that diffuse quickly when they come in contact with the outside world. The Ghostbusters use the Shock Blaster for fighting close-proximity entities and inhabiting swarmers. The Shock Blaster also fires a Stasis Stream which fires a high-capacity stream that hypobond to ectoplasmic matter. If a Ghostbuster trains the stream on a ghost long enough, he can actually stop it entirely.
The Ghostbusters also use equipment to hunt and find ghosts. The PKE meter is a handheld device that locates and measures psycho-kinetic energy (PKE), which is an environmental byproduct emitted only by ghosts. The device's most prominent feature are winged arms that raise and lower in relation to the amount of PKE detected while a digital display gives an exact reading for the operator. The giga meter is a device similar to the PKE meter featured in Ghostbusters II. As explained by Egon in the original script, the giga meter measures PKE in GeV, or giga-electronvolts. Ecto-Goggles, sometimes known as Spectro-Visors, are a special pair of goggles that visually trace PKE readings. They are particularly useful in helping the wearer see normally invisible ghosts. There is also a Ghost Sniffer only seen used by Venkman in the first movie. A toy Ghost Sniffer was released as part of the Kenner Real Ghostbusters toy line.
In the Ghostbusters fiction, ghosts cannot simply be destroyed. Instead, they become temporarily destabilized. However, from their encounter with the Gray Lady in the first movie, Egon devises several pieces of equipment that are used to trap and contain ghosts.
The trap is a box with a split, hinged lid, remote-controlled by a simple pedal switch, attached to the end of the box by a long cable. When a ghost is brought close to the trap (usually by means of the proton pack), the ghost trap is activated by the foot switch. Its lid then opens, and a force field draws the ghost inside. When the ghost is captured, the trap emits smoke and a strong, bad smell. Characters are advised to refrain from looking directly at the trap when it is activated. The ghost can then be transported to the larger, more permanent containment unit. More than one ghost can be stored in a trap, but a maximum number has never been established, nor for how long a ghost can be held. A captured ghost can be released from the trap by opening it.
The Ecto-Containment Unit, also referred to as the Containment System, is the large facility in the basement of the Ghostbusters' headquarters. It was developed after Dr. Spengler and Dr. Stantz made their first actual contact in the basement of the New York Public Library with the ghost of its librarian Eleanor Twitty, who is referred by them as the Gray Lady. Data from that experience indicates they could capture and hold ghosts indefinitely. This idea makes the Ghostbuster business possible. All captured ghosts are stored in the containment unit. The unit itself utilizes a high-voltage grid of lasers to do its job. Turning off the protection grid without following proper procedures will result in a catastrophic and explosive release of all extoplasmic entities and psycho-kinetic energy stored in the unit. The containment unit has an easy-access slot, where the ghost can be transferred from the trap into the unit's containment field.
The Ectomobile, or Ecto–1 is a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style endloader combination car (ambulance conversion) used in the 1984 film Ghostbusters and other Ghostbusters fiction. The original vehicle design was the creation of Steven Dane, credited as a Hardware Consultant in the credits.
In the original movie, Stantz pays $4800 (over $9900 in 2012 dollars) for it and claims it needs a plethora of repairs. In Stantz's own words, it needs "suspension work and shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear end... new rings, mufflers, a little wiring...."
After the necessary reconstruction, it is used to carry the Ghostbusters and their ghost-capturing equipment through New York City. Its features include a special pull-out rack in the rear containing the staff's proton packs. There are also various gadgets mounted on the top, whose function is never revealed in the movies. A cartoon episode features the proton cannon, presumably a more powerful version of a proton pack, mounted on top for use against extra large or even giant sized paranormal entities.
Earlier versions of scripts written by Aykroyd for the first Ghostbusters also include mentions of the Ectomobile having the power of interdimensional travel. The shooting script for the movie describes the Ectomobile as being black, with purple and white strobe lights that gave the vehicle a "purple aura".
A miniature replica of the vehicle was mass-produced as a children's toy. Polar Lights released a 1/24 scale model kit of the Ecto-1 in 2002. In 2010, Hot Wheels released a "Ghostbusters Ecto-1" as part of the "2010 Hot Wheels Premiere" series.
Throughout other Ghostbusters fiction, a number of other Ectomobiles are introduced.
- In the 1984 computer game adaptation, players are given the choice between the 1963 hearse (which looked the most like Ecto-1), a cheap VW Beetle, a spacious station wagon and a high performance (but low-capacity) sports car.
- Ecto-1a is an upgraded version of the Ecto-1, seen only in Ghostbusters II, which includes more technical equipment on the vehicle's roof and digital announcement boards on each side of it. The logo is updated and added to the hood. The vehicle also sports strips of yellow and black along either side.
- Ecto-1b is featured in Ghostbusters: The Video Game; the 1b is similar to the 1a, but features upgraded equipment and the addition of the Super Slammer Trap, an enhanced capacity ghost trap, on its roof.
- Ecto-2 is a small open-topped two-seater autogyro is seen in the cartoons and the comic based on them, and was released as a toy.
- Ecto-3 has been the name of three different vehicles:
- a motorized unicycle and sidecar that slips into the Ecto-1's rear fender in the Real Ghostbusters episode "The Joke's on Ray"
- a time-distortion jet-like vehicle invented by Egon in the comics that is renamed Ecto-4 after the cartoon's unicycle version debuted
- a go-kart-like vehicle sold as a toy
- Ecto-Bomber is an airplane based on the Kenner toy.
- Extreme Ecto-1 is seen in the Extreme Ghostbusters TV series. The vehicle is equipped with new detection equipment and emergency lights, and has wheelchair access for Garrett Miller. It is mentioned that before the adaptations were made it was a 1970s Cadillac hearse.
- Ecto-Ichi (ichi means "one" in Japanese) is an extremely high tech six-wheeled Ectomobile supplied to the Ghostbusters by the Japanese government for a job in Tokyo. It can fly and travel on water, but is destroyed when a Godzilla-esque monster stepped on it.
- Ecto-8 is featured in the 2009 video game, and is a tugboat used to transport the team to Shandor island. It is driven by Ray, who refers to it as "Marine Ecto-8". Ecto-8 is identical in body to a traditional tugboat, but has a white paint scheme and the logo on the side.
- A Ghostbusters video game in development in 2007 featured a more modern version of the Ectomobile based on a stretched Chrysler 300C.
The repaired Ectomobile is named on-screen with the license plate shown reading "Ecto-1". The word Ectomobile was only used in the song "Cleaning Up The Town" from the film's soundtrack. The filmmakers planned to have the Ecto-1 painted black, but the color of the vehicle was changed to white when it was decided a black car would be too difficult to see during night scenes. Three cars have played the vehicle in the movies; the third 1959 Miller-Meteor was purchased after the second died during shooting of Ghostbusters II. The black Miller-Meteor seen at the beginning of the first movie was leased and used only for that scene and never converted for filming, though it was later purchased by the studio and completely converted to a full Ecto-1 for touring. Both of the other Ectomobiles are currently sitting in a Sony pictures backlot, having undergone a full restoration after years of deterioration.
Universal Studios "Spooktackular" stage show featured an Ectomobile replica built by Universal, which was purchased by a gentleman from Tennessee and is being restored to movie correct condition as well.[when?] The Universal Studios Ecto-1 Replica was sold at the Barrett-Jackson auto auction in Scottsdale Arizona on January 22, 2010 for $80,000. Another replica was made by Peter Mosen and bought by George Barris. Another replica currently resides at Historic Auto Attractions museum in Roscoe, Illinois.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ecto-1.|
Cast and characters
The Video Game
|The Real Ghostbusters
|Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters
|Peter Venkman||Bill Murray||Lorenzo Music
|Dave Coulier||Dave Coulier (cameo)|
|Ray Stantz||Dan Aykroyd||Frank Welker||Frank Welker (cameo)|
|Egon Spengler||Harold Ramis||Maurice LaMarche|
|Winston Zeddemore||Ernie Hudson||Arsenio Hall
|Buster Jones||Buster Jones (cameo)|
|Janine Melnitz||Annie Potts||Laura Summer
|Kath Soucie||Pat Musick|
|Slimer||Ivan Reitman (voice)||Troy Baker||Frank Welker||Billy West|
|Louis Tully||Rick Moranis||Rodger Bumpass|
|Dana Barrett||Sigourney Weaver|
|Walter Peck||William Atherton||William Atherton||Frank Welker|
|Stay Puft Marshmallow Man||Bill Bryan (suit actor)||(misc. voices)||Frank Welker
Paddi Edwards (voice)
|Mayor Lenny Clotch||David Margulies||Hal Smith, Maurice LaMarche, Frank Welker, Buster Jones||Frank Welker|
|Dr. Eleanor Twitty||Alice Drummond||(misc. voices)|
|Vigo the Carpathian||Wilhelm von Homburg
Max von Sydow (voice)
|Max von Sydow|
|Oscar Barrett||William T. Deutschendorf
Hank J. Deutschendorf II
|Dr. Janosz Poha||Peter MacNicol|
- Note: A gray cell indicates character did not appear in that medium.
Peter Venkman is the leader of the Ghostbusters. He is portrayed by Murray in both live action films, and is voiced in the animated series first by the late Music, followed by Coulier. Peter is one of three doctors of parapsychology on the team; he also holds a Ph.D. in psychology. In the movies, he is characterized by his flippant persona, his lackadaisical approach to his profession, and his womanizing demeanor; of the three doctors in the Ghostbusters, he is the least committed to the academic and scientific side of their profession, and tends to regard his field, in the words of his employer in the first film, as "a dodge or hustle".
Raymond "Ray" Stantz, another member of the Ghostbusters, is played by Aykroyd in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, and is voiced by Welker in the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters. He is one of the three doctors of parapsychology on the team. Ray is considered the "heart" of the Ghostbusters by the other members of the team. He is an expert on paranormal history and metallurgy. He is characterized by his almost childlike enthusiasm towards his work, and his forthright acceptance of paranormal activity.
Egon Spengler is the brains of the Ghostbusters who serves as Peter Venkman's second-in-command, and the creator of the Ghostbusters' equipment along with Raymond Stantz. Lacking much of a personality other than his focus on all things scientific, he is often shown as lacking social skills when dealing with people. Egon is portrayed by Ramis in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, and voiced by LaMarche in the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters and later Extreme Ghostbusters. LaMarche was the only voice actor to remain for the entirety of both series. Before the movie was released, American Cinematographer described Egon as "maniacal" based on reading the script. Ramis credits the part as launching his acting career, as up to that point he had been a director and writer.
Winston Zeddemore is played by Hudson in both movies and the 2009 video game, and was voiced by Arsenio Hall in the first season of The Real Ghostbusters. Buster Jones provided Winston's voice in the remaining seasons, and he reprised the role in a cameo on Extreme Ghostbusters. Hudson reportedly auditioned to reprise the role of Winston for the animated series, but he was rejected in favor of Hall. Unlike the other members of the team, Winston is not a scientist with a background in the paranormal; the novelization says that he was in the Marines. He is hired when the Ghostbusters' business begins to pick up. Despite not sharing the educational credentials of his coworkers, Winston often serves as the everyman of the team, acting as a voice of reason and displaying more common sense than the others. In the 2009 video game, Winston claims to have spent time in the Egypt exhibit of the museum while in college, suggesting experience in anthropology or a related science.
In the first movie, Dana Barrett is a single musician, living in the building which will become the gateway to a Sumerian god. Dana is singled out early for unwelcome paranormal attention by the movie's main villain, and seeks the help of the Ghostbusters after seeing their advertisement on television. She is possessed by the demon Zuul who along with Vinz Clortho opens the interdimensional gate to bring Gozer to Earth in the first film. She promptly attracts the romantic attention of Venkman, whose flippant behavior causes her to doubt her decision to seek aid from the Ghostbusters. Dana is portrayed by Weaver in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. In the sequel, she is a divorced mother of an eight-month-old boy named Oscar. It is immediately made clear that Venkman is neither the ex-husband nor the boy's father. At the time of this movie, Dana is working as a restorationist at a museum. By leading to her infant son becoming the target of a supernatural force, this job becomes the vehicle by which the Ghostbusters re-enter her life and come into contact with the movie's main villain. She is also a neighbor of Louis Tully.
Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters' secretary, is played by Potts in both movies, and is voiced by Laura Summer and Kathy Soucie in The Real Ghostbusters and Pat Musick in Extreme Ghostbusters. Janine has occasionally worn the Ghostbusters uniform and used ghost-catching equipment in the animated series. During the first film, Janine often flirted with Egon but none of her advances were returned in kind. She later dated Louis Tully in the sequel.
Louis Tully is a nerdy accountant and a neighbor of Dana Barrett, played by Moranis in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II and voiced by Rodger Bumpass in the Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters animated series. He is possessed by the demon Vinz Clortho, who, along with Zuul, opens the interdimensional gate to bring Gozer to Earth in the first film. In Ghostbusters II, he is revealed to have earned a law degree at night school, representing the Ghostbusters at their trial and taking up permanent employment with them when they reestablish their business. He later borrows a Ghostbuster jumpsuit and proton pack to attempt to help defeat Vigo the Carpathian. After the release of Ghostbusters II, Louis became a semi-regular character on Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters as the Ghostbusters' legal and financial adviser. Ghostbusters, like many films on which Moranis has worked, had him improvising some of his lines.
Slimer is a translucent green blob creature, with two skinny arms, no feet, and several chins. In the first movie, Slimer was voiced by director Reitman, while Welker voiced the green ghost in The Real Ghostbusters. In the 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II, Robin Shelby performed Slimer and Reitman again voiced Slimer but most of the footage shot ended up on the cutting room floor. In the late 1990s cartoon Extreme Ghostbusters, Slimer's voice was provided by Billy West. Troy Baker voices Slimer in the 2009 video game, though with the sound effects used in the first movie. Aykroyd reportedly referred to Slimer as "The Ghost of John Belushi".
In the script for Ghostbusters, Slimer is never called by any name, but is described as a "focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm or a class 5 full roaming vapor". The creature's original title was "The Onionhead Ghost", which the film crew dubbed him for the horrible odor he used to scare a couple in a scene cut from the original movie. Slimer’s personality is one of tremendous gluttony, and he is referred to as a “disgusting blob”. In the movies, he is not named and is portrayed as an antagonist. In the cartoon, he is known as Slimer, is able to speak, and demonstrates a child’s intelligence and intense loyalty to Ray and the Ghostbusters. In the Marvel UK comics of the Real Ghostbusters, Slimer had his own half-page sketch, in which Slimer's past life was covered; he was originally called King Remils, a greedy, obese monarch who had died of heart failure.
Slimer's popularity soared from the subsequent spin-off animated television series The Real Ghostbusters. Slimer later starred in his own Slimer! cartoons when The Real Ghostbusters was extended to a one-hour format. SLIMER! was briefly published by NOW Comics, a defunct Chicago firm. Artists included Mitch O'Connell and Mark Braun. Writers included Larry Parr who also wrote for the animated series. Slimer also appeared as a representative of The Real Ghostbusters in the animated anti-drug television special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. Slimer was also the mascot for the Hi-C flavor "Ecto Cooler", which came out shortly after The Real Ghostbusters, and was colored green. Slimer remained on the box well after the Real Ghostbusters was cancelled; but in 1997 the drink was renamed "Shoutin' Orange Tangergreen", and Slimer was removed. Slimer also had a toothpaste named after him.
Ivo Shandor is a major figure in the continuity, mentioned in the first movie and serving as the primary antagonist in the 2009 video game. He is an insane physician and an architect of some renown during the early 20th century with a penchant for performing macabre and unnecessary surgeries. The aftermath of the first World War convinces Shandor that humanity is beyond saving. He sets up a cult of Gozer worshipers, eventually numbering almost one thousand, in the 1920s with his ancestral island home on the Hudson River as the center of it. Using his connections to International Steel's chairman and other corrupt company owners, Shandor designs 55 Central Park West as a means to summon Gozer to bring about the end of the world. Shandor also develops a mandala across the city, with the New York Public Library, the Museum of Natural History, the Sedgewick Hotel, and Shandor Island (before it sank) as key nodes protected by his most loyal followers: Azetlor the Collector, the Museum Chairman, the Spiderwitch, and the slor that generates a steady stream of black slime used to power the Mandala system and Shandor's island lab.
Shandor's original scheme comes to fruition during the events of the first film in the 1980s, when the sufficient energy collected causes Gozer's minions to physically manifest in preparation for their master's coming. The Ghostbusters foil Gozer's entry and neutralize it. As revealed in the video game, Shandor is responsible for the events of Ghostbusters II, as the slime produced on his island finds its way into an abandoned city subway line, causing a wave of ghosts to surface and strengthening the spirit of Vigo the Carpathian. Shandor finally makes an appearance in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. By 1991, Shandor possesses the body of Mayor Jack Mulligan and makes Peck head of PCOC to hinder the Ghostbusters while he uses his only living descendant, Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn, to invoke the nodes of his mandala and revive Gozer. After once again being defeated by the Ghostbusters and failing to capture Ilyssa, Shandor becomes further disillusioned of Gozer, and decides to use the mandala to merge the ghost world with the real world in order to become a god himself. The Ghostbusters destroy Ivo Shandor once and for all by crossing the streams after following him into the ghost world.
Gozer the Gozerian, also known as "The Destructor", "Volguus Zildrohar" and "The Traveler", is a sadistic Sumerian shapeshifting god who is the primary antagonist of the first film. As the game sequel covered, cults worshipping Gozer and his minions arose around 6000 BC before being banished from this dimension by the Babylonian god Tiamat following a protracted conflict between their followers. Entering into any given dimension, Gozer uses the thoughts of those who witness his arrival to assume a fixed form within that plane of existence. Gozer's arrival is set in motion in the 1920s by the actions of Ivo Shandor and comes to fruition in 1984, when his minions Zuul and Vinz Clortho open the portal for their master to enter on top of the building Shandor designed. Though originally in the form of a woman, Gozer uses Ray's accidental thought to assume the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man before being conquered.
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, mascot for the fictional company Stay Puft Marshmallows, becomes the chosen form of Gozer after Stantz thinks about something he says is harmless. Stay Puft also makes appearances in the animated series The Real Ghostbusters as a friendly ghost, and returns to attack New York in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Stay Puft was inspired by Peter O'Boyle, a security guard at Columbia Pictures whom director Reitman met filming his previous movie, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. According to Sam Delaney of The Guardian, "Stay Puft's familiar mascot combined elements of real life brand ambassadors Bibendum (aka the Michelin tire man) and the Pillsbury Dough Boy." The costume was created by Bill Bryan using miniatures, optical compositing and Bryan himself in a latex suit.
Vigo the Carpathian, his full name "Prince Vigo von Homburg Deutschendorf", is the major antagonist of the second film. In life, Vigo is a sadistic tyrant of Carpathia, self-described as the "Scourge of Carpathia" and "the Sorrow of Moldavia". An expert in sorcery and black magic, Vigo enjoys an unnaturally long life which comes to an equally unnatural end when he is "poisoned, stabbed, shot, hanged, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered" by his own people before being decapitated and vows to live again.
Vigo's spirit is eventually transferred into a life size portrait which makes its way to the restoration department of the Manhattan Museum of Art in 1989, the setting for the Ghostbusters II movie. Using the psychomagnatheric mood slime to become active, Vigo manipulates the art gallery's curator, Dr. Janosz Poha (Peter MacNicol), into finding him a child (Dana's son Oscar) whose body he can inhabit. His plan is ultimately foiled by the Ghostbusters' use of the positive mood slime.
In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the portrait of Vigo is stored in the Ghostbusters' firehouse. Though no longer a threat, Vigo enjoys insulting and taunting anybody who approaches him. He also makes cryptic predictions based on real-world history, as the game's release post-dates the time period of the game by nearly two decades.
Dr. Eleanor Twitty
The Grey Lady is the first ghost encountered by the original three Ghostbusters (Ray, Egon, and Peter) while they are investigating paranormal activity at the New York Public Library. When they attempt to touch her, she transforms into a much larger and more frightening form, and causes the trio to flee the library in terror. Though they do not catch her, they get a scan of her and use the information to construct their containment grid and ghost catching equipment, allowing the creation of their ghost-catching business.
She returns in the 2009 video game, where much of her history is revealed, and the Ghostbusters uncover the tragic story of her death. She was once Dr. Eleanor Twitty, the head librarian of the NYC Public Library in the 1920s, and overseer of its collection of ancient artifacts, stone tablets, long-forgotten tomes, and rare books. In March 1924, she goes missing, and the police are unable to find her. They discover that she has been murdered by philologist Edmund Hoover, The Collector, who seduces her to get to the rare books in her care, specifically the Gozerian Codex. In the video game, the Ghostbusters discover her reading the Codex before capturing her. Due to the ease of the capture, they state that she must have wanted them to recover the Codex to aid them in defeating The Collector.
Kylie Griffin was first introduced as one of the next generation of Ghostbusters in Extreme Ghostbusters. She is the first female Ghostbuster (unless Janine Melnitz is counted). She is the unofficial leader of her group and carries the ghost trap on her back. She becomes involved with the Ghostbusters after enrolling in Egon Spengler's course at City College of New York. As part of Extreme Ghostbusters, Kylie is featured in the video games Extreme Ghostbusters for the Game Boy Color, Extreme Ghostbusters: Code Ecto-1 for Game Boy Advance and Extreme Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Invasion for the PlayStation. She was also the basis of several action figures from Trendmasters. Kylie is widely regarded as the fan favorite of Extreme Ghostbusters.
Kylie reappears as a supporting character in IDW Publishing's Ghostbusters comic. She first appears in issue 5 in 2012 as the manager of Ray Stantz's occult book shop. In November 2012, it was announced that Kylie would be made an official Ghostbuster in issues beginning in February 2013.
According to the director commentary on the Ghostbusters DVD, the movie's cultural impact was felt almost immediately. The building that was Dana Barrett's apartment building in Ghostbusters has, since the release of the film, been known as the Ghostbusters Building, and along with the Hook and Ladder Firehouse, have become a real world New York City tourist attractions. In May 2010, the group Improv Everywhere, at the invitation of the New York Public Library, staged a Ghostbusters-themed "mission" in the same reading room used in the film. The video game Burnout Paradise pays homage to the franchise with a car titled the 'Manhattan Spirit', which is based on the Ecto-1.
The movie Be Kind Rewind includes an extensive sequence in which Jack Black, Mos Def and others recreate the first Ghostbusters movie using props and costumes made by themselves, a guest appearance by Weaver, and a version of the theme sung by Jack Black.
On June 9, 2013, a trailer purportedly for a documentary called Spook Central was uploaded to YouTube. The trailer features clips from Ghostbusters alongside discussions of the perceived meanings in the film, mimicking the style of the documentary Room 237.
The movie's catchphrase, "Who you gonna call?", has been uttered in many other films and television shows:
- In the movie Casper, Aykroyd reprises his role of Stantz in a brief cameo, saying the line with a modified callback of "someone else" instead of "Ghostbusters".
- That scene is reprised in the 1990s adaptation of the Casper cartoon series.
- The original catchphrase is used in the Doctor Who episode "Army of Ghosts"
- The line is used in the Fringe episode "The Road Not Taken"
- It is also used in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "The Killer in Me".
- In the Doctor Who episode "Hide", The Doctor and Clara introduce themselves as Ghostbusters.
- The TV series Supernatural references the film with the recurring characters of the "Ghostfacers", "amateur spook-hunters" Ed Zeddmore and Harry Spangler.
- A series of short films sponsored by car company Volkswagen entitled "See Film Differently" includes one offering a humorous look at "A Day In The Life At The Ghostbusters Fire Station."
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ghostbusters|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ghostbusters.|
- Official website
- Ghostbusters at the Internet Movie Database
- Ghostbusters at Rotten Tomatoes
- Official Ghostbusters: The Video Game website
- Ghostbusters at DMOZ