Ghostbusters (franchise): Wikis

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Logo used by the "Ghostbusters" in the film

Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy multi-media franchise created in 1984. Its inception was for the movie Ghostbusters, released on June 8, 1984 by Columbia Pictures. It centered around a group of eccentric New York City parapsychologists who investigate and capture ghosts for a living. For the movie this franchise licensed action figures, novelizations, and other original materials to be produced around the movies theme. After this initial success they released original stories in other fields such as comic book, and video game, and television series, and a theme park attraction. With the 2009 release of Ghostbusters: The Video Game the characters within the Ghostbusters set up their own fictional version of a Ghostbusters franchise to open Ghostbusters locations in other cities, which in real life was earlier seen in two independent films not officially approved by Columbia Pictures.

Contents

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.[1] 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."[2]

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.[3] The original draft of the script written by Aykroyd was very large, compared to a "phone book" by director Ivan Reitman.[4]

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 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 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.[5] In the end, the role was played by Yugoslavian model Slavitza Jovan, whose Eastern European accent (later dubbed by Paddi Edwards) according to Bill Murray caused her line "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

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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.[6]

Ghost capture

A prop replica of the proton pack

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, and is spelled in the subtitles for Ghostbusters: The Video Game, as a neutrona wand ("neutrona" not an actual scientific term), and together with the back worn Proton Pack was referred to as a "positron collider" in the first movie. In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the Proton Pack is upgraded to include additional firing modes two of which are the Stasis Stream and the Meson 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 as to neutralize its negatively reinforced counterparts. In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, configured into the Proton Pack, the Slime Blower can also shoot Slime Tethers which can be used to pull objects together and to solve some environmental puzzles. 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 used (incorrectly) 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

As the cartoon points out, ghosts cannot be simply destroyed but rather become temporary destabilized and would regain form later on. However, from their encounter with the "Gray Lady", Egon devised 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, 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 "Real Ghostbusters" episode "Bustman's Holiday" the team converted a dump truck into a giant "ecto trap" in order to capture a massive being, which was also done in the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "Back in the Saddle". In the 2009 video game, the Ecto 1-b is equipped with a large Ecto Trap on top of it called the Super Slammer.

The Ecto-Containment Unit, also referred to as the "Containment System" or the "Protection Grid", 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 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". 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 United States Environmental Protection Agency‎ lackey Walter Peck's ordering the system powered down, which would result in 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. In addition to the battery back-up, one episode shows that the Ghostbusters resort to a bicycle attached to an electrical generator during a serious power loss while they struggled to restore power. However, this is shown as a last-ditch effort and is not used as the primary back-up. 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. During one episode of Extreme Ghostbusters- "Slimer's Sacrifice"- it was shown that the containment unit's interior has developed into its own miniature dimension filled with all the ghosts the Ghostbusters have captured, which a human can only enter through a specially-designed 'airlock' while wearing a diving suit to protect them from the atmosphere

Transportation

The Ecto-1.

The Ectomobile, or Ecto–1 is a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor[7] limo-style endloader combination car (ambulance conversion) used in the 1984 film Ghostbusters and other Ghostbusters fiction[8][9]

In the original movie, this vehicle was purchased by Ray Stantz for the relatively high price of $4800 (over $9800 in 2009 dollars when scaled up for inflation)[10] 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..., 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. 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. In addition, unlike its previous incarnation, this updated logo was placed on the hood of the vehicle. The vehicle also sported strips of yellow and black along either side.
  • Ecto-1b : Featured in Ghostbusters: The Video Game. The 1b is similar to the original Ecto-1 but features upgraded equipment and the addition of a 'Super Slammer Trap', an enhanced capacity ghost trap on its roof to allow for capturing outdoors without a regular trap. It also has features left over from the 1a such as the yellow and black strips along the sides, the Ghostbusters' phone number printed on it, as well as the Ghostbusters logo on the hood.
  • 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".[11]
    • 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 is mentioned that before the adaptations were made it was a 1970s Cadillac hearse. Its greatest alteration is that it has wheelchair access so that Garrett Miller can ride in it and get in and out of the back.
  • Ecto-Ichi: An extremely high tech six wheeled Ectomobile used by the Ghostbusters in Japan. It is capable of flight and traveling on water. (Ichi means "one" in Japanese so the toy was technically Ecto-one)
  • Ecto-8 : Featured in the 2009 video game, the Ecto-8 was a tugboat used to transport the team to Shandor island that had surfaced in the Hudson River. It is driven by Ray, who refers to it as "Marine Ecto-8". The Ecto-8 is identical in body to a traditional tugboat, but has a white paint scheme and the logo on the side.

The Ectomobile is named on-screen through the introduction of its finished form (presumably once Ray was done with repairs) 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. 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 for filming, though it was later 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 backlot having recently undergone a full restoration after years of deterioration , Universal Studios "Spooktackular" stage show featured a replica built by Universal which was purchased by a gentleman from Tennessee and is currently being restored to movie correct condition as well. 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, Illinois. 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. At the announcement held at Best Buy HQ the fully restored Ecto-1 made an appearance.

The Universal Studios Ecto-1 Replica was sold at the Barrett-Jackson auto auction in Scottsdale Arizona on January 22, 2010 for $80,000.

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 the late 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. 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.[12] Ramis credits the part as launching his acting career, as up to that point he had been a director and writer.[13]

Dana Barrett

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 promptly attracts the romantic attention of Venkman whose flippant behavior causes her to apparently become somewhat skeptical of the Ghostbusters and of her decision to seek aid from them. Dana is portrayed by Sigourney 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.

Winston Zeddemore

Winston Zeddemore was played by Ernie Hudson in both movies and voiced the character in 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. 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 steals Spengler's Ghostbuster jumpsuit and proton pack to (attempt 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.[14]

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 performed Slimer and Ivan Reitman again voiced 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 his original appearance he is not named and is portrayed as an enemy of the Ghostbusters, being a typical antagonistic ghost and the first spirit whom the Ghostbusters catch. In the cartoon, he is known as Slimer, is able to speak, and demonstrates a child’s intelligence and an intense loyalty to Ray and the Ghostbusters; on one occasion he even allowed himself to be trapped in the containment unit where the Ghostbusters store the captured ghosts after he unintentionally damaged it, forcing new teammember Eduardo to enter the unit to save him.

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. The episode "Citizen Ghost" of the Real Ghostbusters shows that it was Ray who gave Slimer his name, and Venkman regularly calls Slimer by the nickname "Spud".

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 in 1997 the drink was renamed "Shoutin' Orange Tangergreen", and Slimer was removed. 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.

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 is present in the 2009 Ghostbusters game, being the sole ghost not living in the containment unit, having his own ghost cage near Janine's reception desk until a large-scale PKE shockwave ripples through the city and frees him, again, as he goes down to the containment unit, an attempt to catch him accidentally freeing the Sloth Ghost. After escaping the Ghostbusters building, Slimer returns to the Sedgewick Hotel that he originally haunted only to be re-captured again. Troy Baker voices Slimer, though with the sound effects used in the first movie.

Ivo Shandor

Ivo Shandor is a major figure in the continuity, referred in the first movie and serving as the major antagonist in the 2009 video game. He was an insane physician during the early 20th century, with a penchant for performing macabre and unnecessary surgeries. The aftermath of the first World War convinced Shandor that humanity was beyond saving and set up a cult of Gozer worshipers in the 1920s with his ancestral island home on the Hudson River as the center of it. Numbering nearly 1,000 prior to his death, and using his connections to International Steel's chairman and other corrupt company owners, Shandor designed 55 Central Park West as a means to summon Gozer to bring about the end of the world. To ensure it, Shandor also developed 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 which are protected by his most loyal followers. As a byproduct of his work, numerous ghosts manifest in these five areas and became active throughout the city while psychomaganatheric "mood slime" is produced within the bowels of Shandor Island. These marvels, in spite of their purpose, made Shandor a genius beyond his time.

Shandor's original scheme came to fruition, during the events of the first film, in the 1980s, when the sufficient energy collected cause Gozer's minions to physically manifest in preparation for their master's coming. Unfortunately, the Ghostbusters foiled Gozer's entry and neutralized the god. As a result, disillusioned by how his god would easily fall to mortals, Shandor's spirit decides to use the mandala to merge the Ghost world with the real world in order to become a god himself and remake the world in his image. By 1991, the events of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Shandor possessed the body of Mayor Jack Mulligan and made Peck head of P-COC to hinder the Ghostbusters while he used his only living descendant, Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn, to invoke the mandala's nodes. But when the Ghostbusters manage to break the mandala, Shandor resorts to freeing the ghosts they captured so that he can use their energy to complete the process while kidnapping Ilyssa to begin the ritual. Once the truth is revealed, Shandor is exorcized from the Mayor as he pulls the Ghostbusters into the Ghost World where he assumes his Destructor form, the Architect, before being destroyed by them as they cross the streams.

Gozer

Gozer the Gozerian, known by many titles like "the Destructor", "Volguus Zildrohar" or even "The Traveller", is a Sumerian shapeshifting god who is the major supernatural enemy of the first movie. As the game sequel covered, Gozer had cults worshiping him around 4000 B.C along with his minions also being worshiped. Entering into a dimension, Gozer uses the thoughts of those who witness his arrival to assume a fixed form within that plane of existence. Gozer's arrival set in motion in the 1920s by the actions of Ivo Shandor and come to fruition in 1984 when his minions Zuul and Vinz Clortho enter through, possessing suitable human hosts to open the portal on top of the building for their master to enter. 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 destroyed.

Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man

The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is a mascot for the fictional company Stay-Puft Marshmallows who becomes the chosen form of the destructor that Gozer took after Ray Stantz accidentally thought about him near the end of the film. He is seen in Ghostbusters and later makes various 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 Ivan 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 and the Pillsbury Dough Boy".[15] The costume was created by Bill Bryan using miniatures, optical compositing and Bryan himself in a latex suit.[16]

Vigo

Vigo the Carpathian, his full name "Prince Vigo von Homburg Deutschendorf", is the major antagonist of the second film. In life, Vigo was a sadistic tyrant of Carpathia who was self-described as the “Scourge of Carpathia” and “the Sorrow of Moldavia”. He described in his tyranny that "On a mountain of skulls and in a castle of pain that he sat on a throne of blood". An apparent expert in sorcery and black magic, Vigo enjoyed an unnaturally long life which came to an equally unnatural end when he was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hanged, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered by his own people before he was decapitated, vowing to live again. (A sequence of events not dissimilar from the legends surrounding the death of Rasputin.)

Vigo's spirit was eventually transferred by unknown means into a large life size portrait which had made its way to the restoration department of the Manhattan Museum of Art by 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, to find him a child whose body he can inhabit and thus regain physical form upon the approaching New Year. With such a child brought to him, Dana's son Oscar, the plan was ultimately foiled by the Ghostbusters. Making a last ditch effort by possessing Ray, it took a combination of proton streams and Slime Blowers to force Vigo out of Ray and be defeated with his painting altered into a likeness of the four Ghostbusters surrounding Oscar protectively.

In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, it's revealed that the portrait of Vigo (now changed back to its normal image) has since been stored in the Ghostbusters' firehouse on the first floor. Though he's no longer a threat, Vigo enjoys insulting anybody who gets close enough to him.

Media

Movies

Ghostbusters is the first movie in 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 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 (in their 100 Years...100 Laughs list).[17] In 2005, IGN voted Ghostbusters the greatest comedy ever.[18] In 2006, Bravo ranked Ghostbusters number 76 on their 100 Funniest Movies list.[19]

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.[citation needed]

Ghostbusters III

During the 1990s, Aykroyd wrote a script for a potential third film in the series.[20] The concept reportedly would have the characters transported to an alternate version of Manhattan called Manhellton,[21][22] where the people and places are hellish versions of their originals and they meet the devil.[22] At the time, Aykroyd stated that the studio was interested, though the principal actors were not. It would feature a new, younger group of Ghostbusters as characters Ray, Egon, and Winston (who is referred to as Dr. Zeddemore), who 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.[22] Over the years, various rumors have floated around about the film, including reports stating that Murray was the only original Ghostbuster not interested as he disliked sequels,[23] and that Ramis wanted Ben Stiller to join the cast.[21][24] During a 2009 interview, Ramis stated that the project stalled due to lack of interest and motivation to do it.[20] Both Ramis and Aykroyd have confirmed that the script would call for a new group of younger Ghostbusters taking 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." Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd are currently in the planning stages and the film is expected to be released in 2011 with Bill Murray on board[25]. Rick Moranis has not officially stated whether he will or will not be a part of the sequel as he has retired from acting. Sigourney Weaver has said she expects to return alongside all the other original cast. On January 13, 2010, Ivan Reitman confirmed that he will be directing the film[26], but on 17 March 2010 the contract was dissolved.[27]

On a recent appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman, Bill Murray down played the chance of his being a part of GB-3, stating "I'd do it only if my character was killed off in the first reel".

Television series

The Real Ghostbusters

From 1986 to 1991, Columbia Pictures Television and DiC Entertainment produced an animated spin-off television series that is non-canon to the original film, entitled The Real Ghostbusters. "The Real" was added to the title over a dispute with Filmation[28] 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.[29]

When the show's producers began to see the youth appeal of the character Slimer, he began to be featured more prominently. (He also made a cameo in Ghostbusters II eating out of a lunch box as if he lived in the fire house in the film as he did in the animated series. He was also seen driving a bus and ultimately helped Louis Tully reach the Manhattan Museum of Art to help the rest of the Ghostbusters.) 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 (voiced by Lorenzo Music), Buster Jones took over Winston from Arsenio Hall and Kath Soucie took on Janine after Laura Summer voiced the role. Many of the older fans disliked the switch to more kid-friendly stories[30] 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

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, a studious African-American machinery whiz. The show was given the Los Angeles Commission on Disabilities Award for making its main character disabled but universally relatable.[31]

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.[32] 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." Parker never had another Top 40 hit, but he does remain a hitmaker in the jazz world.[citation needed]

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, 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 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". 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.[citation needed]

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).

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.[33] Extreme Ghostbusters has also seen a line of children's toys released by Trendmasters.[34]

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 Bill 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.[35] 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. Art Asylum's Minimates toyline features a Ghostbusters subline, including a box set of characters from the 2009 video game.

The first film was released on a USB drive through PNY Technologies in partnership with Sony in 2008.[36]

In January 2010 Toys R Us released the Villians Series 3 of the Ghostbusters Minimates.[37]

Video games

Year Title System Developer Publisher
1984 Ghostbusters Atari 800, Commodore 64, MSX,ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC Activision Activision
1984 Ghostbusters NES Activision Activision
1985 Ghostbusters Atari 2600, Apple II Activision Activision
1987 The Real Ghostbusters Arcade Data East Data East
1987 Ghostbusters Sega Master System Activision Sega
1989 The Real Ghostbusters Commodore 64, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST Data East Activision
1989 Ghostbusters II Atari 2600, Amiga, Commodore 64, MSX, PC, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC Activision Activision
1990 Ghostbusters II NES Kemco Activision
1990 Ghostbusters Sega Genesis Sega Sega
1990 New Ghostbusters II Game Boy, NES Hal Laboratory Activision
1993 The Real Ghostbusters Game Boy Kemco Activision
2009 Ghostbusters: The Video Game Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, Wii, PC Terminal Reality, Red Fly Studios, Zen Studios Atari,
Sony Computer Entertainment (Europe only, PS2 and PS3 versions)

In PlayStation Home, the PlayStation 3's online community-based social gaming network, Sony Pictures Loot, in association with Atari and Terminal Reality, has released an apartment space in Home on June 18, 2009.[38] 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. It comes complete with 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. Users can, through the use of an external special effects/compositing programs, create images of their avatar driving the film's Ecto-1 vehicle in their own machinima movies. Users are also able to fly around as Slimer. A Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man headwear item for users avatars also comes with the purchase of the space. Ghostbusters costumes, other ornaments, and t-shirts from Loot are also available for users to purchase at Home's shopping complex. This is all available in the North American version of Home.

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.[39][40] 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 Tokyopop produced an original English-language manga at about the same time that the video game was announced. It was released in October 2008,[41][42] under the title Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted.[43] 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.[44] A new series was later released in 2009 with Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression.

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.

iBooks.net, 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 to its limited printing often fetching over $100 for a copy.[citation needed]

Cultural impact

According to the Director Commentary of Ghostbusters, the movie's impact on the culture started almost immediately. The director noted many schools were calling up Columbia pictures shortly after the movie's release to say that their students were playing games of "Ghostbusters". The teachers were not complaining, as they were happy that their students were playing together instead of in competition.

The building that was Dana Barrett's apartment building in Ghostbusters has, since the release of the film, been known as the Ghostbusters Building.[45] The building used in the movie has become a real-world New York City tourist attraction.[46]

The video game Burnout Paradise pays homage to the franchise with a car titled the 'Manhattan Spirit', which is based on the Ecto-1.[47]

The movie Be Kind Rewind includes an extensive sequence in which Jack Black, Mos Def and others recreate the first Ghostbusters movie[48] using props and costumes made by themselves, including Christmas tree tinsel as the streams from their proton packs, and a version of the theme sung by Jack Black. Sigourney Weaver also makes an appearance. In the movie Casper, Dan Aykroyd reprises his role of Ray Stantz in a brief cameo. Upon exiting the Harveys' haunted mansion, he says "Who you gonna call? Someone else!", an obvious reference to the film's catchphrase.[49] The movie Zombieland contains a scene where the four characters visit Bill Murray's mansion in Beverly Hills. Columbus and Little Rock watch the movie while Tallahassee, Wichita and Murray play around with Tallahassee wearing a jumpsuit and proton pack.

References

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  2. ^ Will Fresch (January 1, 2002). "A Well-Traveled Gentleman". Crazewire. http://www.crazewire.com/features/20030716296.php. Retrieved August 13, 2007. 
  3. ^ A Ghostbusters 1 and 2 DVD pack included a 28-page booklet of copies of Ghostbusters storyboards.
  4. ^ Ken P. (September 29, 2003). "Featured Filmmaker: Dan Aykroyd". IGN. http://movies.ign.com/articles/452/452080p1.html. Retrieved August 13, 2007. 
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  7. ^ 1959 Cadillac Ambulance Miller-Meteor Futura 'Ectomobile'
  8. ^ 1959 Cadillac Ambulance in Ghostbusters II, Movie, 1989.
  9. ^ 1959 Cadillac Ambulance in The Real Ghostbusters, Animation Series, 1986–1991
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  27. ^ More Ghostbusters 3 Chatter -- Reitman Out?
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  30. ^ The Real Ghostbusters in Jump The Shark
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  37. ^ Another Ghostbusters Minimates Collection - With Villains!
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