The Ghost Busters
|The Ghost Busters|
Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker, Bob Burns
|Created by||Marc Richards|
|Theme music composer||Diane Hildebrand
|Opening theme||"Ghost-Busters" Theme (sung by Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch)|
|Ending theme||"Ghost-Busters" Theme (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||15|
|Executive producer(s)||Norm Prescott
|Running time||30 minutes (including commercials)|
|Original release||September 6 – December 13, 1975|
|Related shows||Ghostbusters (1986 TV series)|
The Ghost Busters was a live-action children's situation comedy that ran in 1975, about a team of bumbling detectives who would investigate ghostly occurrences. Fifteen episodes were produced. The show reunited Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch in roles similar to their characters in F Troop.
The primary humor of the series was slapstick, with scenes centered on the perpetual bumbling of the characters, good and evil alike. The series also made references to classic cinema; the names "Spencer" and "Tracy" were taken from the famous actor Spencer Tracy, while the name Kong – ironically not given to the gorilla – was a clear homage to King Kong.
- Forrest Tucker as Kong
- Larry Storch as Spencer
- Bob Burns as Tracy, the gorilla (Burns in a gorilla costume, billed as Tracy's trainer)
- Lou Scheimer as the voice of Zero
Spencer, Tracy, and Kong billed themselves as "The Ghost Busters", bumbling paranormal detectives. Kong (Tucker) was the leader of the trio with Spencer (Storch) as his partner, and Tracy (a gorilla, played by Burns) as their assistant who also drove their barely-functional jalopy. Their headquarter was situated in a run down office building in an unspecified city (Spencer's name on the door was misspelled "Spenser" while the opening credits spelled his name "Spencer"). Outside of normal office equipment, plus a large armoire on which Tracy hung numerous hats including his trademark beanie, the office itself was also dilapidated, with peeling wallpaper and a pay phone near the door as the Ghost Busters' only means of communicating with prospective clients.
Each episode consisted of the same formula: in the pre-credits teaser, a ghost or monster (usually accompanied by a half-witted sidekick), would manifest themselves and vow to wreak havoc or vengeance on a particular person, the city, or even the world. After the credits, Kong would send Tracy and Spencer to a general store to get their next assignment from the unseen "Zero" (Scheimer). The tape-recorded message was usually hidden inside an everyday object such as a bicycle, typewriter, or toy. In a parodic homage to Mission: Impossible, the recording would end with Zero saying, "This message will self destruct in five seconds"; after Tracy counted down the seconds, the message (and often the item in which it was hidden) would explode in Tracy's face.
The Ghost Busters' assignments would invariably take them to the same place, a spooky castle with an adjoining graveyard on the city's outskirts (Kong would point out that the castle was the only one in or near the city), and after a series of farcical chases, the ghouls would be cornered and dispatched back to the netherworld by a "Ghost De-Materializer", usually activated by Kong as he triumphantly shouted "Zap!"
Ghosts and monsters
The show frequently made use of ghostly characters from popular and literary culture, and even real-life historical figures. These included:
- Dr. Frankenstein and his monster
- A Mummy
- The Red Baron
- The Canterville Ghost
- Count Dracula
- Billy the Kid
- Belle Starr
- The captain and first mate of the Flying Dutchman.
In an interview conducted with Bob Burns III in 2007, he revealed that all 15 episodes were taped in 9 weeks every other day. He also revealed that the show did well enough for a second season, coming in at number 2 in the ratings, behind The Shazam!/ISIS Hour, but Filmation decided to put more money into their number 1 program; thus the plug was pulled. Lastly, he stated that it was rumored that the tapes of all 15 episodes were believed to have been destroyed, after having changed hands a few times. This rumor was put to rest, when a full set of the tapes was rediscovered, and subsequently released on DVD (see below).
In 1986, after the success of the Columbia film, the show was revived in animated format with Kong and Spencer's sons, Jake and Eddie Jr., inheriting their fathers' business (and Tracy the Gorilla) in Ghostbusters. Kong's first name was never mentioned in the original series. Spencer is named as Eddie in the second episode, "Dr. Whatsisname."
Home video release
BCI Eclipse LLC (under license from Entertainment Rights) released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 on April 17, 2007. The 2-disc boxset contains extensive special features including interviews, photo galleries and rare footage. In addition, unlike many of BCI's ER Filmation releases, this DVD appears to have been sourced from the original NTSC videotapes (the show having been recorded on tape rather than shot on film).
Australia received the complete series on DVD in a two-disc set on July 11, 2016.
As of 2009, this release has been discontinued and is out of print as BCI Eclipse has ceased operations.
In mid-2011 re-runs of The Ghost Busters aired on the Retro Television Network.
|No.||Title||Original air date||Prod. Code|
|1||"The Maltese Monkey"||September 6, 1975||TBA|
The Ghost Busters must stop the Fat Man and Rabbit from summoning the ghost of gangster Big Al Caesar, who will help them steal the stuff dreams are made of: the Maltese Monkey.Guest Stars: Billy Barty, Johnny Brown
|2||"Dr. Whatshisname"||September 13, 1975||TBA|
Dr. Frankenstein returns, seeking the brain of the world's most gullible fool to transplant into his Monster. Enter Eddie Spencer.Guest Star: Bernie Kopell, Bill Engessor
|3||"The Canterville Ghost"||September 20, 1975||TBA|
The Ghostbusters' assignment is to rid a haunted mansion of the cowardly ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville. But little do they know that master criminal "Mr. C" is after the priceless Canterville diamond worn by Sir Simon.Guest Stars: Ted Knight, Kathy Garver, Len Lesser
|4||"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"||September 27, 1975||TBA|
Hoping to remove the curse of the werewolf from hapless Harry Albert, Gypsy fortuneteller Sophia comes seeking to steal the Baldus Lupus Amulet that Spencer recently unearthed.Guest Star: Lennie Weinrib, Dodo Denney
|5||"The Flying Dutchman"||October 4, 1975||TBA|
The ghostly captain and his sidekick from the Flying Dutchman take up residence in the castle, looking for new crewmen for their ship. And what "empty-headed scalawag" might fit the bill?Guest Star: Stanley Adams, Phil Bruns
|6||"The Dummy's Revenge"||October 11, 1975||TBA|
The Phantom of Vaudeville and his ventriloquist's dummy return from beyond to settle a score with Slappy, Maxie, and Nijinsky, three vaudevillians who wronged them in the past. Guess which trio gets mistaken for the three troublemakers?Guest Star: Tim Herbert, Brian Berlin
|7||"A Worthless Gauze"||October 18, 1975||#83007|
The Ghost Busters become embroiled with Egyptian Queen Forah and her Mummy as they search for the ape-sorcerer Simios, who in turn can bring them to Spen-Zah, possessor of the secret of immortality.Guest Star: Barbara Rhoades, Richard Balin
|8||"Which Witch Is Which?"||October 25, 1975||#83008|
The ghost of a witch reappears to get revenge against the descendant of Edward Spencer, the spell-dissolver in old Salem who brought ruin to witches. Matters become complicated when the ugly witch transforms herself into a seductive beauty who might lure the Ghost Busting Spencer to his doom.Guest Star: Huntz Hall, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Leigh Christian
|9||"They Went Thataway"||November 1, 1975||TBA|
Those ghostriders in the sky are the spirits of Billy the Kid and Belle Starr back to round up a new gang of cattle rustlers. The Ghost Busters disguise themselves as cowboys to get the Dematerializer drop on 'em.Guest Star: Marty Ingels, Brooke Tucker
|10||"The Vampire's Apprentice"||November 8, 1975||TBA|
The Ghost Busters may get the bite put on them when Count and Countess Dracula return from the other side in search of a warm-blooded donor.Guest Star: Dena Dietrich, Billy Holms
|11||"Jekyll & Hyde: Together, for the First Time!"||November 15, 1975||TBA|
The ghost of Dr. Jekyll appears, and is bedeviled by his alter ego. But if he can find a dolt with no personality at all, he can neutralize the effects of the personality-splitting formula and rid himself of Hyde forever. Oh, Spencer?Guest Stars: Joe E. Ross, Severn Darden
|12||"Only Ghosts Have Wings"||November 22, 1975||#83012|
The ghosts of the Red Baron and Sparky return to repair their plane, the Spirit of Icarus, so that they can once more engage their enemies: Lord Smedly Hargroves and his grease monkey, Tracy Holmes-Harrington... who bear a startling resemblance to two of the Ghost Busters.Guest Star: Howard Morris, Robert Easton
|13||"The Vikings Have Landed"||November 29, 1975||TBA|
|Jim Backus, Lisa Todd|
|14||"Merlin the Magician"||December 6, 1975||TBA|
Merlin and jester Gronk are pursued from the Great Beyond by their nemesis Morgan le Fay, who intends to trap them in this era. The Ghost Busters befriend and assist the broken-down magician in his battle with the beautiful sorceress.Guest Stars: Ina Balin, Huntz Hall, Carl Ballantine
|15||"The Abominable Snowman"||December 13, 1975||TBA|
Spencer stumbles onto the scene when Dr. Centigrade is searching for a warm-blooded heart to transplant into the Abominable Snowman. Final episode of the series.Guest Star: Ronny Graham, Richard Balin
- Solomon, Charles (September 18, 1986). "Animated Shows For Kids". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "Filmation's Ghostbusters: The Animated Series, Vol. 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
- United States Copyright Office
- United States Copyright Office
- The Ghost Busters at the Internet Movie Database
- The True Ghostbusters International Fan Forum
- List of The Ghost Busters episodes at TV.com
- The Ghost Busters @ 70slivekidvid.com
- The Official Bob Burns Website
- Screencrush review of The Ghost Busters http://screencrush.com/original-ghostbusters-filmation/