Random Retro Issue 8
Special Ghostbusters Issue
In this issue:
Ghostbusters Movies, Ghostbusters Toys, Ghostbusters Cereal, Ghostbusters Soundtrack, the Real Ghostbusters Television Series
The masterpiece that started it all was released into theaters in 1984. The first film began a long line of pop culture products and the brand is enjoying a strong revival 25 years later in the form of new video games, new toys, DVD releases of the television series and word of a third movie.
This movie just hit every mark right on the spot. It had a great sci-fi feel while still remaining amusing and funny. Every actor plays his or her part perfectly and the effects characters like the Terror Dogs looked great.
The roots of the film trace back to Dan Aykroyd and his friendship with John Belushi who was originally intended to star in the movie. Others were in Aykroyd's mind to have a part in the movie as well but didn't end up for various reasons. Eddie Murphy, John Candy, and even Paul Reubens were to have been a part of the film but it wasn't meant to be for those great actors.
In the end we got a great combination of perfect nerd icons to play the parts of the Ghostbusters and the few people they meet in the movie.
While some people dislike Ghostbusters 2 a little bit I have always enjoyed it just as much and possibly even more than the fist movie. Alot of that may have to do with the fact that this was released 5 years after the original putting me at the age of 9, the perfect age to latch onto a story like this.
All of the major actors return for the sequel and the chemistry returns as well making for another classic geek film that is just as fun as the original.
Both of these movies are out in various formats but I prefer them on VHS for some reason, probably based 100% on nostalgia. Videocassette may be one of the lower qualities these are available on but there's just a certain charm in popping these in the VCR and vegging out for a whole afternoon with some excellent ghostbusting.
To go along with the animated series Kenner started a line of toys under the Real Ghostbusters Banner. Linked in with the show, these figures were perfect playthings. Kenner produced so much plastic gold between 1986 and 1991 that this small batch doesn't even begin to cover the line.
The king of the line was of course, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Mr. Stay Puft has had several incarnations throughout the different media of the franchise. In the original film he was the incarnation of Gozer as taken from the mind of Ray. In the Sega Genesis video game he was an actual ghost of a man who died eating the marshmallows that Mr. Stay Puft promoted. This figure however is based off of the cartoon series in which Stay Puft was created from positively charged marshmallow left over from the battle at the end of the first movie. He was a good guy in most of the cartoon series and helped the Ghostbusters from time to time.
Granny Gross is an example of my favorite line of ghosts that Kenner released. The series was called Haunted Humans and featured various normal looking humans who would transform into monsters. All of these were great and included a cop, a football player, and my favorite was the garbage man who transformed into Terror Trash. These were all cool looking monsters and fit in well with the Real Ghostbusters as well as Ninja Turtles and especially the Beetlejuice figures which were also Kenner productions.
Another great series in the line was the Monsters toys that were based upon the classic movie monsters from Hollywood. The figures looked great and included the pictured Dracula and Quasimodo as well as Frankenstein's Monster, a mummy, werewolf, and a zombie. These were rare in that they weren't creations exclusive to the Ghostbusters world like all the other toys were.
Of course you can't discuss the Real Ghostbusters toyline without talking about the paranormal investigators themselves. The first wave of the Busters was simple yet they did come with small ghosts and their famous proton packs. Later figures came with wacky weapons and colorful uniforms. Kenner added crazy action features and kept the line fresh and fun throughout the entire run.
Slimer. We can't forget everybody's favorite nasty little good ghost. The Kenner toyline simply referred to him as Green Ghost but we all know who he is supposed to be. There were several versions released, including a plush hand puppet but my favorite is probably the one pictured on the right. He is a part of the line known as Gooper Ghosts and besides looking most like his cartoon counterpart, he came packaged with a can of the great slime known as Ecto-Plazm. He has a backpack that forced the slime out of his mouth. The box describes this as Slimer giving Ecto-Plazm kisses which is a unique way of describing someone throwing up. Next time I puke I'll just tell everybody I'm giving out free Ecto-Plazm kisses.
Intertestingly the box does say in small letters that he is the ghost known as Slimer on the tv show but none of the packages that any version of Slimer was released on actually call him by that name. They acknowledge it but still call him Green Ghost.
Ralston pumped out all kinds of kid magnet cereals back in the day. They had everything from Bill & Ted to Gizmo printed on their boxes. One of my favorites, however, is their Ghostbusters cereal. Ghostbusters was a license that Ralston held onto for quite a while. They produced several different boxes tying in with the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, Ghostbusters 2, and even the Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters hour of animated television.
Ralston was jumping on the hologram bandwagon back when this box was produced. Holograms once covered everything that a kid could want and some were better quality than others. This one is pretty good and has held up over the years. It shows a random ghost getting busted by a blast from the Ghostbusters proton packs.
They must have really been banking on holograms because the back of the box has an offer for a hologram shirt with a few choices of the picture being from some of their more popular cereals at the time.
The side of the box shows the other cereals that were a part of their hologram series. Three were popular licenses while two were Ralston originals. Dinersaurs was a fruity dinosaur cereal that has long since passed but the other, Cookie Crisp, lives on under the watchful eye of General Mills.
Ghostbusters cereal was one of the better Ralston cereals. It was a colorful breakfast with marshmallow ghosts that went great on a Saturday morning while watching the Real Ghostbusters cartoon or rainy afternoon watching the movies.
When the first movie came out in 1984 it was accompanied by a song that everyone knows. Ray Parker Jr's Ghostbusters was a huge hit and brought the world two great catchphrases, "I ain't afraid of no ghosts" and "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!".
This soundtrack is loaded with plenty of recognizable and excellent tunes. Cleanin' Up This Town by the Bus Boys is intertesting as an instrumental version was used in the film but the actual song is on the soundtrack and is written just for the film. It tells the story of the Ghostbusters going out on their bust and cleaning up the town.
Another of my favorites is Magic by Mick Smiley which was played when the ghosts were released and running through the city. In all though the whole album is great and brings back so many memorable scenes while listening to the tracks.
This is a top notch album and needs to be owned and enjoyed by all Ghostbusters fans. There is no doubt that any fan would instantly be sucked into the movie while listening and this is a great way to enjoy the film when you can't watch it.
the Real Ghostbusters television series
In 1986 Columbia Pictures, DiC, and strangely Coca-Cola banded together to produce an animated series based upon the Ghostbusters film. The show was given the title of the Real Ghostbusters due to Filmation resurrecting their unrelated 1970's show Ghost Busters into a cartoon as well.
The busters themselves had their appearance changed for the show and other slight changes were included as well but there was no doubt that this was still the Ghostbusters. Slimer was now a resident of the firehouse and was basically their version of the family dog.
They may have looked a little different but these were still the guys who saved the day with their Proton Packs and the Ecto-1. The humor was still there and so was a hint of a dark tone to some of the episodes which could possibly be attributed to J. Michael Straczynski who has written for everything from Spider-Man comics to Murder, She Wrote.
This was the perfect show. You could sit in front of the tv on a Saturday morning with a big bowl of Ghostbusters cereal and some of Kenner's Ghostbusters toys spread out in front of you and just sit back for 30 minutes of ghost busting goodness. These days you can partially relive that great time in history as the series is becoming available on DVD. In fact the entire series is available in an awesome set that comes with packaging that resembles the Firehouse. I probably shouldn't recommend eating the cereal while watching though.