Ghostbusters (franchise)

Ghostbusters (franchise)

Ghostbusters is a comedy film franchise created in 1984. The two films center around a group of eccentric New York City parapsychologists who investigate and capture ghosts for a living. The first film was simply titled Ghostbusters, and was released on June 8, 1984 by Columbia Pictures. The film became a pop culture phenomenon, leading to a sequel, three animated television shows, a novel, a comic series, various video games, a large number of action figures, a theme park attraction, and other merchandise, owned by The Weinstein Company in 2010.

Development

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 S.W.A.T.-like outfits and used wands instead of Proton Packs to fight the ghosts; Ghostbusters storyboards show them wearing riotsquad-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 / producer Ivan 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 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 fantastic 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 varies wildly with every re-telling of the making of the film; some say he never even read the script, and improvised so much he deserves a writing credit, while others insist that he only improvised a few lines, and used his deadpan comic delivery to make scripted lines seem spontaneous.

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 John Candy, but Candy 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 accent (later dubbed by Paddi Edwards) caused "choose and perish" to sound like "Jews and berries".

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 Peter 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 filmmaking.

A problem arose during filming when it was discovered that a show was produced in 1975 by Filmation for CBS called The Ghost Busters, starring Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker. (this show's title is written as two words instead of one word like the 1984 movie.) Columbia Pictures prepared a list of alternative names just in case 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.

Common elements

Technology

Ghostbusters equipment is the equipment used by the Ghostbusters in the 1984 film and all subsequent Ghostbusters fiction used 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.

Ghost capture

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 Dan Aykroyd, also called a "Proton Gun" or particle thrower within the franchise) connected to a backpack-sized particle accelerator ("Proton Pack"). It has also been pronounced as a neutrona wand ("neutrona" not an actual scientific term, while "neutrino" is a scientifically recognized term), and together with the back worn Proton Pack was referred to as a "positron collider" in the first movie.

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 emotionally been positively reinforced, rather than negatively. A toy Slime Blower was released with the Kenner Real Ghostbusters toyline, known as the Ecto-Charger Pack. Unique to the Ghostbusters comics, the "Ecto-Splat" is a flamethrower-like device similar to the Slime Blower. It fires a hard jet of ectoplasm, which can damage or break up ghosts. As it fires it makes a noise spelled "zzax".

The Ghostbusters also use equipment to hunt and find ghosts, such as a PKE meter, Ecto-Goggles, and a Ghost Sniffer. A PKE meter is a handheld device, used in locating and measuring Psycho-Kinetic Energy, which is a unique environmental byproduct emitted 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 its wearer see normally invisible ghosts and it can also be used to assist in tracking ghosts within a visible field of search. There is also a "Ghost Sniffer" only seen (incorrectly) used by Peter Venkman thus far. A toy Ghost Sniffer was released as part of the Kenner Real Ghostbusters toyline, known as the Ghost Nabber.

Containment

Several pieces of equipment were used to contain ghosts. The ghosts the Ghostbusters catch are housed at their retrofitted fire house. The building also houses their offices and residence. The building used in the movie has become a real-world New York City tourist attraction. In addition, ghost traps are used to catch ghosts and transport them to the fire house. Once brought back, they are stored in the Ecto-Containment Unit.

The ghost 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, though not necessarily), the ghost trap is activated by the foot switch. Its lid then opens, and a force field draws the ghost inside. 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 has never been established how many or for how long a ghost can be held. It has also been suggested that a captured ghost can be released by a Ghostbuster from the ghost trap voluntarily by opening it again. This was not explicitly shown in the movies, but the animated series showed this to be true several times. The Real Ghostbusters animated series also expanded on the Ghost trap greatly, showing that more powerful ghosts must be quickly sent to the containment unit or they may break free of the trap and that if more than one ghost is caught in the trap at once, they merge into a single entity and cannot be divided, although later in the series several ghosts are shown to still be separate when released from the trap. In the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "Back in the Saddle", the team converted a dump truck into a giant "ecto trap" in order to capture a massive being that was devouring the city, which was also done in the "Real Ghostbusters" episode "Bustman's Holiday".

The Ecto-Containment Unit, also referred to as the "Containment System", is the large containment facility in the basement of the Ghostbusters' headquarters. It was developed after Dr. Spengler and Dr. Stantz made their first actual contact with the ghost of a librarian in the basement of the New York Public Library. According to data from that experience they theorize that if, in addition to their other data, a ghost's ionization rate remains constant they could capture and hold it indefinitely. This idea makes the Ghostbuster business possible. All captured ghosts are stored in this containment unit. The containment unit has an easy-access slot, into which is placed a full ghost trap; after two buttons are pressed in sequence, and a lever pulled, the ghost is pumped from the trap into the unit's containment field. After completing these steps, a green light attached to the containment system briefly activates, denoting a successful containment. Thus the rule: "When the light is green, the trap is clean."

The containment system seen in the cartoon is radically different from the one found in the original movie Ghostbusters (Though the hatch in both versions is nearly if not completely identical). In the movie, the device is simply installed into a cramped basement area of the old firehouse, built into the concrete wall. However, in the cartoon, the basement is a sprawling, two-story, warehouse-like space, with the large, red, cylindrical containment unit given new prominence. The reason given in the cartoon series for these changes is that improvements were made to prevent any further complications like those which occur in the movie, such as the system reaching maximum capacity, or EPA lackey Walter Peck's ordering the system powered down, releasing all contained ghosts into New York City. To this end, the basement of the Ghostbusters' headquarters is expanded, and the containment unit upgraded in size and technology, with a back-up power source to prevent sudden shut-downs. However, the company once must resort to a bicycle attached to an electrical turbine during a serious power loss to maintain the protection grid while they struggled to restore power. Furthermore, in the TV series, the Ghostbusters also work at developing more permanent disposal solutions such as dimensional portals where ghosts could be deposited in other planes of reality.

Transportation

The Ectomobile, or Ecto–1 is a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor limo-style endloader combination car (hearse) used in the 1984 film Ghostbusters and other Ghostbusters fiction.

This vehicle was purchased by Ray Stantz for the relatively high price of $4800 (over $9400 when scaled up for inflation) in a poor state of repair. In Stantz' own words, it needed "suspension work and shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, steering box, transmission, rear-end (interruption by Venkman inquiring as to the aforementioned price), new rings, mufflers, a little wiring..." It is assumed that Ray continues listing needed repairs after this scene cuts away.

After the necessary reconstruction, it was used to carry the team's ghost-capturing equipment, as well as transporting the Ghostbusters through New York City. It has a distinctive siren wail. Its features include a special pull-out rack in the rear containing the staff's proton packs, which facilitates a quick retrieval without the complication of having to reach into the vehicle's rear. There are also various gadgets mounted on the top, whose function is never revealed in the movies. The book "Making Ghostbusters" by Don Shay describes a deleted scene where a police officer places a ticket on the Ectomobile only to have it instantly burn to ashes.

Earlier versions of scripts written by Dan Aykroyd for the first Ghostbusters also included mentions of the Ectomobile having the power of interdimensional travel. The shooting script for the movie described 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. The toy version of this vehicle has sold approx. 1,000,000+ units worldwide. Polar Lights released a 1/24 scale model kit of the Ecto-1 in 2002.

Throughout other Ghostbusters fiction, a number of other Ectomobiles were introduced.

  • Ecto-1a : An upgraded version of the Ecto-1, seen only in Ghostbusters II, which included more technical equipment placed on the roof of the chassis. Most noticeably this upgrade included digital announcement boards on each side of the vehicle's roof, broadcasting Ghostbuster advertisements, specials, and their phone number. Also, the logo was updated on the doors and back entrance of the ambulance.
  • Ecto-2 : A small open-topped two-seater helicopter seen in the cartoons and the comic based on them as well as a toy. The toy's stern end had a pistol-type grip and trigger to let a child playing with it hold it in the air and make its rotor spin; this grip and trigger are copied in the comic despite the resulting aerodynamic unnaturalness.
  • Ecto-3 : There have been 3 vehicles with this name:-
    • a motorized unicycle and sidecar that slips into 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. This vehicle was renamed the Ecto-4 after the cartoon's unicycle version debuted.
    • a go-kart-like vehicle seen as a toy.
  • Ecto-Bomber : An airplane seen in "The Slob" based on the Kenner toy. The name comes from the toy, it was not mentioned in the episode it was in.
  • "Extreme" Ecto-1 : This vehicle is a slightly different variant on car from The Real Ghostbusters as seen on the Extreme Ghostbusters TV series. The vehicle is equipped with a more 'modern' selection of detection equipment and emergency lights. It resembles a 1970s Cadillac hearse. A ramp is installed so that Garrett can go in and out of the car.
  • Ecto-Ichi: An extremely high tech six wheeled Ectomobile used by the Ghostbusters in Japan. It is capable of flight and traveling on water.

The Ectomobile is never named on-screen. The word "Ectomobile" was only used in the song "Cleaning Up The Town" from the film's soundtrack. Originally the filmmakers planned to have the Ecto-1 be painted black. The color of the vehicle was later changed to white when it was decided a black car would be too difficult to see during night scenes. The Ectomobile was originally going to be a much more high tech vehicle, with an almost artificial intelligence. 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. Later this car was purchased by the studio and completely converted to a full Ecto-1 for touring. Ecto-1A was originally scripted as Ecto-2, and one reference to this remains in the movie. When Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman is standing outside of his apartment and the car pulls up, the phrase Ecto-2 is visible on the license plate. Both Ectomobiles are currently sitting in a Sony pictures studios backlot in a rapidly deteriorating condition, the Ecto-1a having served as an attraction at the Universal studios "Spooktackular" stage show. Currently an Ecto-1 replica is held for sale at about $150,000. This is not the original car, but a replica made by George Barris. George Barris actually had nothing to do with the original cars, but has claimed credit to designing and building them. Another replica currently resides at Historic auto attractions museum in Roscoe, IL. The original was the creation of Steven Dane, credited as a Hardware Consultant in the credits. At one point there was a Ghostbusters video game in development which featured a more modern version of the Ectomobile, based on a stretched Chrysler 300C.

Major characters

Peter Venkman

Peter Venkman is the most prominently featured Ghostbuster in the films. He was portrayed by Bill Murray in both the live action films, and was voiced in the animated series first by Lorenzo Music and then by Dave Coulier. Peter is one of three doctors of parapsychology on the team, though he also holds a Ph.D.s 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

Raymond "Ray" Stantz (born 1959 in the Bronx, according to Real Ghostbusters episodes "It's About Time" and "Citizen Ghost") is a member of the Ghostbusters. He was played by Dan Aykroyd in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, and was voiced by Frank Welker in the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters. He is one of the three doctors of parapsychology on the team, along with Dr. Peter Venkman and Dr. Egon Spengler. 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

Egon Spengler is a member of the Ghostbusters, and one of the three doctors of parapsychology on the team. Egon is portrayed by Harold Ramis in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, and voiced by Maurice LaMarche in the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters and later Extreme Ghostbusters. 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

Winston Zeddemore was played by Ernie Hudson in both movies 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. Winston is a Ghostbuster, but unlike the other members of the team, he is not a scientist with a background in the paranormal. (The novelization mentions that he was in the Marines.) He is hired later in the company's existence when their business begins to pick up. However, despite not sharing the educational credentials of his coworkers, Winston often serves as a voice of reason and displays far more common sense than the other Ghostbusters.

Janine Melnitz

Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters' secretary, was played by Annie Potts in both movies, and was voiced by Laura Summer and Kath Soucie in The Real Ghostbusters and Pat Musick in Extreme Ghostbusters. Over time, the Ghostbusters have come to count on Janine, not only for her work as a secretary keeping the business afloat, but also for help against ghosts. On numerous occasions, Janine has been forced to take up a 'busters uniform and proton pack to bail the guys out of trouble.

Louis Tully

Louis Tully is an accountant and a friend of Dana Barrett, played by Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II and voiced by Rodger Bumpass in the Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters animated series. Along with Dana, he is possessed by the two demons (the two Terror Dogs known as Zuul and Vinz Clortho) who open the interdimensional gate to bring Gozer to Earth in the first Ghostbusters film. In Ghostbusters II, he is revealed to have earned a law degree at night school and represents the Ghostbusters at their trial. He later dons a Ghostbuster jumpsuit and proton pack to help defeat the evil ghost of 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

Slimer is a fictional green friendly ghost featured in the Ghostbusters movie (as well as its 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II), whose 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 also appeared as a representative of The Real Ghostbusters in the animated anti-drug television special, Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. In the first movie, Slimer was voiced by the film's director Ivan Reitman, while Frank Welker voiced the green ghost in The Real Ghostbusters. In the 1989 sequel Ghostbusters II, Robin Shelby portrayed and performed Slimer but most of the footage shot ended up on the cutting room floor. In the short-lived late 1990s cartoon Extreme Ghostbusters, Slimer's voice was provided by Billy West.

Slimer is a translucent green blob creature, with two skinny arms, no feet, and several chins. Slimer’s personality is one of tremendous gluttony, being referred to as a “disgusting blob”, and exists only to eat food. In the cartoon, he is able to speak, demonstrating a child’s intelligence and an intense loyalty to Ray and the Ghostbusters.

Dan Aykroyd reportedly referred to Slimer as "The Ghost of John Belushi". In the script for Ghostbusters, Slimer is never actually called by any name, so is never given one. The creature's original moniker was simply The Onionhead Ghost, which the film crew semi-officially dubbed him because of his horrible odor, which he used to scare a couple in a scene cut from the original movie. When the cartoon series was produced, in response to the name much given to the character by audiences, the writers renamed the green ghost "Slimer", and the name stuck on all subsequent Ghostbusters properties, although he was referred to as "Mean Green Ghost" early in the related toy line.

Slimer was also notably 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 canceled, but left the box In 1997, when the drink was renamed "Shoutin' Orange Tangergreen". Slimer also had a toothpaste called "Slimer" Toothpaste. SLIMER! was briefly published by NOW Comics, a now-defunct Chicago firm. Artists included Mitch O'Connell and Mark Braun. Writers included Larry Parr who also wrote for the animated series.

The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is a character in the movie Ghostbusters and the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. He was the cartoon mascot of the fictitious Stay Puft Corporation, which produced marshmallows. He was thought to be a parody of the real-life Pillsbury Doughboy and the Michelin tire man. Dan Aykroyd was the creator of the Marshmallow Man.

Jonah Goldberg of the National Review referred to the Marshmallow man as a popular-culture symbol that people assume is harmless, but can be turned to evil under certain circumstances. The costume was created by Bill Bryan using miniatures, optical compositing and Bill Bryan himself in the latex suit. His image has been found in a microscopic etching on a 1988 math coprocessor chip.

In the film, an ancient Sumerian god called Gozer arrives atop an apartment building on Central Park West in New York City, where it tells the Ghostbusters that the next thing they think of will be the form Gozer will assume to destroy their world. Despite their efforts to clear their minds, Ray Stantz imagines the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. As he explains, Mr. Stay Puft "just popped in there" as "something that could never possibly destroy us." Moments later a giant (34.3 meters tall) Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is seen walking towards the apartment building. The Ghostbusters shoot at Stay Puft with their proton packs; setting him on fire, but not stopping his advance. The Ghostbusters eventually stop Stay Puft when Egon suggests that the Ghostbusters cross their proton pack streams as they fire at Gozer's portal—although Egon himself had warned them early in the film that crossing the proton streams "would be bad," he does assure them that there is a very slim chance in this case that they could survive. The plan succeeds in causing "total protonic reversal", destroying the gate. The explosion generated by the event incinerates the Stay Puft man, raining molten marshmallow down onto the roof of the skyscraper and on the street below.

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man also appears in the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, contradicting the events of the original film. No explanation is offered as to how Mr. Stay Puft, originally the incarnation of Gozer, became an entity in his own right. Although Stay Puft was portrayed originally as a mindless monster in "Cry Uncle", by later episodes he had become a kind-hearted, almost childlike figure. Again, this change is never fully explained, save a vague reference by Peter that he is "all better now" when a police officer reminds him of Stay Puft's previous rampages. Mr. Stay Puft soon became an ally to the team, helping the Ghostbusters defeat enemies too powerful to fight on their own. The character was voiced by John Stocker, and later by Frank Welker.

Over the years, a moderate amount of merchandise has focused around the character and has become an icon for the Ghostbusters film. A number of McDonald's Happy Meal toys have featured the character. To coincide with the film's release, Kenner released an action figure with limited articulation that included rotation in the head and arms in 1986. A Japanese vinyl kit of the character was also released by Tsukuda as was Kenner's plush Marshmallow Man.

In 2004, company NECA licensed the Ghostbusters franchise to produce a number of modern Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (and other Ghostbusters related) merchandise such as a Bobble-head toy, a resin statue, and a roto-cast plastic action figure. The NECA version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man displayed a more menacing and evil version of the character compared to that of Kenner's, which portrayed the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as a more gentle looking figure.

He has been referenced several times in popular culture. On the television series Lost, one of the nicknames Sawyer gives Hurley is 'Stay Puft', due to his weight. On the MTV Show Viva La Bam, Don Vito is referred to as the Stay Puft Man due to his weight. The movie Shrek 2 includes a scene with a giant gingerbread man named Mongo that is intended as a spoof of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. In the Homestar Runner Halloween toon "Homestarloween Party", one of the characters, Pom Pom, dressed up as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man for his Halloween costume.

The person inside the Stay Puft costume during shooting was the costume's creator, Bill Bryan. According to the Ghostbusters DVD special features, the 10 second scene of Stay Puft climbing the building while on fire cost almost $100,000. The first take was ruined when the costume caught fire too quickly and Bill Bryan had to be extinguished. A new suit had to be constructed, at the cost of around $50,000 a piece. Originally, when Mr. Stay Puft is destroyed in the movie, there was a scene in which, in addition to the marshmallow goo, Mr. Stay Puft's hat also falls to the ground. The scene was ultimately cut due to the "hat", a large cloth replica that works much like a parachute, was deemed too unrealistic. In the scene where the containment grid is shutdown in the first film, a Stay Puft poster can be briefly seen on a wall, and Dana Barrett bring home stay-puft marshmallows she has bought earlier in the film. The earliest design of Mr. Stay Puft had a head resembling that of a cartoon-like man with a scary-looking face; this was scrapped and replaced with the more recognizable marshmallow-shaped head. Mr. Stay Puft was also featured in several of the Ghostbusters video games.

Movies

Ghostbusters is the first movie which started the series. It 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. It was released in the United States on June 8, 1984, starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson. The film grossed approximately USD$240 million in the U.S. and over $50 million abroad during its theatrical run, more than the second Indiana Jones installment, making it easily the most successful film of that year, and the most successful comedy of the 1980s. The American Film Institute ranked it 28th in its list of the top 100 comedies of all time (in their "AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs" list). In 2005, IGN voted Ghostbusters the greatest comedy ever. In 2006, Bravo ranked Ghostbusters 76 on their "100 Funniest Movies" list.

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, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ivan 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. Reportedly, some of the cast and crew were ultimately dissatisfied with the film as well as its box office reception.

Future film

Ghostbusters III is a proposed project. During his interview with Mike McGuire on CISN Country 103.9 FM in Edmonton, Alberta, Dan Aykroyd announced that Ghostbusters III: Hellbent will be CGI. "I can do all the things I wanted to do for much, much less money," he stated. Aykroyd wrote the script, which was described by IGN as being "too technical", with a new team of Ghostbusters that were not clearly delineated and had no group conflict or leading personalities. Bill Murray has been thought to have held up the making of a third Ghostbusters movie, despite Aykroyd's enthusiasm, due to his preference that the movie be animated and his dislike of sequels. However, he has now signed on to make the movie now that it will be CGI. Harold Ramis is already attached. Sigourney Weaver has not expressed enthusiasm at doing another sequel.

Harold Ramis mentioned in 2005 that he wanted Ben Stiller to take Bill Murray's part in the then titled Ghostbusters in Hell. The plot was to follow the three Ghostbusters attempting to find a replacement for Bill Murray's character while dealing with ghosts rejected from hell. Aykroyd later elaborated, now that Murray is on board, that in the movie "We go to the hell side of Manhattan, downtown, Foley Square. It's all where the cops are--they are all blue minotaurs. Central Park is this huge peat mine with green demons there, surrounded by black onyx thousand-foot high apartment buildings with classic red devils, very wealthy. We go and visit a Donald Trump-like character who is Mr. Sifler. Luke Sifler. Lu-cifer. So we meet the devil in it". Jason Reitman, the son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, has stated that he has little interest in directing the movie.. He was a guest on The Howard Stern Show on April 10 2008; when he was asked if he would direct Ghostbusters 3 and cast Howard, he said "do you know how many times I get asked if I want to do Ghostbusters 3? Looking at my career so far, I mean if you just looked at my two films, I would make the most boring Ghostbusters movie. It would just be people talking about ghosts, there wouldn't be any ghost-busting in it." Ernie Hudson told Moviehole.net, that Ghostbusters III is still very much a possibility. He said he hoped that the new video game would generate renewed interest in a 3rd Ghostbusters film.

On September 4, 2008, Columbia Pictures signed on Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky (writers for the U.S. version of The Office) to script a third film. No deals will be made with the original cast until the script is complete. The story will feature old and new Ghostbusters. Ramis had collaborated with Eisenberg and Stupnitsky on The Year One. Judd Apatow is also producing that film, and has made other films for Columbia, so they hope he will provide cast members for Ghostbusters III. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman are consulting on the project, and Bill Murray will be involved on some level, having expressed interest in reprising his role.

Television shows

From 1986 to 1991, Sony Pictures Television and DiC Entertainment produced an animated spin-off television series of the original film, entitled The Real Ghostbusters. "The Real" was added to the title over a dispute with Filmation and its Ghostbusters properties. The series continues the adventures of paranormal investigators Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, Dr. Ray Stantz, their secretary Janine 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. The show now 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 child fanbase. 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, Buster Jones took over Winston and Kath Soucie took on Janine. Many of the older fans disliked the switch to more kid-friendly stories and by the turn of the decade, the Ghostbusters franchise was slowly starting to fade out of the public eye. The show was ultimately cancelled in 1991. 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 Ray Stantz and Slimer) and Maurice LaMarche (voice of Egon Spengler).

Extreme Ghostbusters was a sequel/spin-off of The Real Ghostbusters, airing in the fall of 1997. The show featured a new team of younger Ghostbusters led by veteran Ghostbuster Egon 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, 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 girl genius and expert on the occult, Eduardo Rivera, a hip, cynical Latino slacker, Garrett Miller, a wheelchair-bound young athlete, and Roland Jackson, an African-American studious machinery whiz. The show was given the Los Angeles Commission on Disabilities Award for making its main character disabled but universally relatable.

Music

The first film sparked the catchphrases "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!" and "I ain't 'fraid of no ghost(s)." Both came from the hit theme song written and performed by Ray Parker, Jr. The song took a day and a half to write. The song was a huge hit, staying #1 for three weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and #1 for two weeks on the Black Singles chart. The song earned Parker an Academy Awards nomination for "Best Song." However, Parker never had another Top 40 hit, possibly due to the scandal of pirating Huey Lewis's 'I Want A New Drug'. He does remain a hitmaker in the jazz world.

The music video produced for the song is considered one of the key productions in the early music video era, and was a #1 MTV video. Directed by Ivan Reitman, and produced by Jeffrey Abelson, the video organically integrated footage of the film in a specially-designed, haunted house made entirely of neon for the music-video. 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 comical footage of the four main Ghostbusters actors, in costume and character, dancing in Times Square behind Parker, joining in the singing.

Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker, Jr. for plagiarism, citing that Parker stole the melody from his 1983 song "I Want A New Drug". Ironically, Lewis was approached to compose the main theme song for the movie, but he declined. It was reported in 2001 that Lewis allegedly breached an agreement not to mention the original suit, doing so on VH1's Behind the Music. Lindsey Buckingham was also approached to do the theme song based on his success with "Holiday Road" for the National Lampoon's Vacation films. He declined, reasoning that he did not want to be known as just a soundtrack artist.

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 DMC were commissioned to perform "Ghostbusters" (rap version).

Games and merchandise

The film spawned a theme park special effects show at Universal Studios Florida. (The show closed sometime in 1996 to make way for Twister: Ride it Out!) The Ghostbusters were also featured in a lip-synching dance show featuring Beetlejuice on the steps of the New York Public Library facade at the park after the attraction closed. The GBs 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". The show, Ecto-1, and all other Ghostbuster trademarks were discontinued in 2005 when Universal failed to renew the rights for theme park use. Currently, the Ghostbuster Firehouse can still be seen near Twister, without its GB logo and "Engine 89" ribbon. A "paranormal investigator" etching on a nearby doorway hints at the old show. For the show, an experimental silicon skin was used on Slimer, which took two weeks to put together. Extreme Ghostbusters has also seen a line of children's toys released by Trendmasters.

NECA released a line of action figures based on the first movie but only produced a series of ghost characters, as Bill Murray refused the rights to use his facial likeness. Their first and only series included Gozer, Slimer (or Onionhead), the Terror Dogs, 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 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.

The first film was released on a USB drive through PNY Technologies in partnership with Sony in 2008.

Video games

Year Title Console Developer Publisher
1984 Ghostbusters Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum Activision Activision
1985 Ghostbusters Atari 2600, Apple II Activision Activision
1987 Real Ghostbusters Arcade Data East Data East
1989 Ghostbusters II Atari 2600, Amiga, Commodore 64, MSX Activision Activision
1990 New Ghostbusters II NES HAL Laboratory Activision
1990 Ghostbusters Sega Genesis Sega Sega
1993 The Real Ghostbusters Game Boy Kemco Activision
2008 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Wii, PC Terminal Reality, Red Fly Studios Sierra Entertainment

Literary adaptations

Comics/Manga

In 2003, Sony signed an agreement with 88MPH Studios to work on a comic update of the Ghostbusters movie, to be released the following fall. Ghostbusters: Legion saw the return of the four Ghostbusters and the principal cast from the movie. Legion saw an update to 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 Tokyo Pop announced that a manga based on the upcoming Ghostbusters video game. It will be a one-shot featuring different stories and many artists and writers. It will take place after the first two movies and before the events of the video game. It is tentatively set for release in October 2008.

IDW Publishing is also releasing a comic book series based on the franchise. Ghostbusters: The Other Side - it will be written by Keith Champagne, with art by Tom Nguyen.

In the late eighties NOW Comics and Marvel UK published, The Real Ghostbusters, comics based on the TV series of the same name.

Novels

Ghostbusters: The Return is a 2004 novel written by long-time science fiction writer Sholly Fisch in celebration of the franchise's 20th anniversary. Set two years after Ghostbusters II, the novel revolves around Peter Venkman running for mayor of New York City and an ancient entity trying to conquer the world by bringing urban legends to life.

In the novel, it is five years after the events of Ghostbusters II. The group finds themselves once again neck-deep in ghosts and ghouls as some of the most unsettling urban legends — like the hook-handed killer in Lovers' Lane and The Vanishing Hitchhiker — all come to deadly life! But the worst is yet to come for Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore — and quite possibly the people of New York: the Ghostbusters' leader, Peter Venkman, has been chosen by an independent political party to be their candidate¨for Mayor! With the city reeling under a supernatural reign of terror, can the Ghostbusters stop the arrival of an ancient fear-demon in time to save Election Day — or should Venkman start looking for another job already?

The company that published the novel is no longer in business, and the novel only saw one printing. The book is now a sought out collectible for Ghostbusters fans due its limited printing.

Cultural impact

Ghostbusters has had many instances of popularity and parody in popular culture since the first movie's release.

The building that was Dana Barrett's apartment building in Ghostbusters has, since the release of the film, been known as the Ghostbusters Building.

A group of credit unions have used the Ghostbusters symbol on their ATMs to promote their surcharge-free banking privileges.

An anti-anthrax gel was created under the name of "Project ectoplasm" after the paranormal slime substance from the franchise.Film References have been made to Ghostbusters in many other films, such as Superbad, in which a character has a Real Ghostbusters lunchbox.

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, including Christmas tree tinsel as the streams from their proton packs, and a version of the theme sang by Jack Black.

In the movie Casper, Dan Aykroyd reprises his role of Ray Stantz in a brief cameo. Upon exiting the Harvey's haunted mansion, he says "Who you gonna call? Somebody else!", an obvious reference to the film's catchphrase.Television In the animated series Family Guy, Peter says "I remember my first summer job." This is followed by a short sequence where a younger version of Peter in a Ghostbuster jumpsuit drives up to a house in the Ectomobile and rushes inside, interrupting the pottery scene from the movie Ghost by capturing the ghost of Sam, and telling Molly "That'll be $27.50." Another instance is in the episode where Peter loses his driver's license. Trying to pass the time, Peter hides in the refrigerator. When Lois opens the fridge door, Peter says, "There is no Peter, only Zuul."

In the animated series The Simpsons, Homer Simpson remarks that Ghostbusters was an adaptation of the play Hamlet. The family then burst into dance to the Ghostbusters theme tune.

On the show Robot Chicken, a channel changing scene shows two ghostbusters each using urinals. Then one turns to the other and says "don't cross the streams", a comedic reference to the ending of the 1st film.

Ghostbusters in other languages

References

External links

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