Can you believe that this year marks the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters (1984)? Remarkably it has been just that long since we first heard that iconic theme song by Ray Parker Jr. and met Dr. Venkman (Bill Murray), Dr. Stanz (Dan Aykroyd), Dr. Spengler (Harold Ramis) and Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) for the first time. What could have been a silly, special effects blowout ended up becoming a monumental pop culture icon. The Ghostbuster logo is one of those icons that is instantly recognizable across the globe, like Superman’s symbol or Coke. Plus let me re-mention that theme song!
I can remember my first time watching Ghostbusters on the living room floor of my parent’s house on VHS. While the library ghost may have creeped me out, I will freely admit that I dreamed of being a Ghostbuster when I grew up. The irony here, is that I now work and a library and do NOT bust ghosts. Anyway, back to my reminiscing. So I was sitting on my parent’s floor, being terrified by a ghost in the library and then boom… next minute I know I am laughing.
Ghostbusters is one of those rare films that transcends age brackets. It is just as funny now as it was when I was little, of course it was PG before the PG-13 rating so a lot of the humor went over my five year old head. Today, jokes regarding the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster take on a whole new meaning, but that is not really much different than One-Eyed Willie from Goonies (1985) (really, One-Eyed Willie, yesh the 80’s were awesome).
We all know the story. Three guys (Doctors of Psychology really) form a business hunting and trapping ghosts and become extremely busy and successful. So successful in fact that they have to hire a fourth crew member and draw the ire of the EPA. The whole EPA thing is particular interesting, as if the movie is trying to speak out against the Environmental Protection Agency being against free enterprise!
The EPA is pretty much the bad guy in the movie, with Walter Peck (William Atherton) as the number one baddie and the released ghosts are more of an environmental hazard caused by Peck’s rhetoric. So our intrepid Ghostbusters face an ancient Sumerian God and a towering Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in what I swear is one of the best climaxes in cinema history. I have to give massive credit to Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis for cooking up such a great idea. I know my childhood would have been very different without this movie.
All of this leads me to believe that if I work hard enough and study as much as I can about ghosts, that I too can be a Ghostbuster, maybe even set up a franchise in Virginia Beach. No, seriously, I tried this much to my parent’s dismay. By the time I was in first grade at Bayside Elementary in VA Beach, I was checking out all the ghost books I could from the school library and my grandparents even had me signed up for the Time Life Mysteries of the Unknown series. I was well on my way.
Of course I had the toy proton packs and the PKE Meter to play around the house and I religiously watched the Saturday morning cartoon called The Real Ghostbusters (they had to call it The “Real” Ghostbusters since there was already another cartoon called The Ghostbusters, which was terrible). It was this cartoon that made Slimer synonymous with Ghostbusters. A little known fact about Slimer on that show is that his voice actor is Frank Welker, who also voiced Megatron on Transformers and Peter Cullen, who is Optimus Prime, voiced a character on the crappy The Ghostbusters show.
So coupled with my new ghost knowledge and my “scientific” equipment, I set out to start my new career as a first grade Ghostbuster. I put flyers on all the light poles in my neighborhood advertising my expertise in ghost hunting, UFO knowledge and helping to find lost pets. It was a cross between Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994) and ghostbusting. Worst of all, I put my address and phone number on all of these flyers. Needless to say, my parents were not too pleased and upon thinking about it now, maybe Ghostbusters should have been PG-13.
So now we come full circle. Ghostbusters is 30 years old and I am working in a library, blogging about Ghostbusters. About 15 years ago I was lucky enough to see a midnight screening on Halloween night in Hampton. I will fully admit that Ghostbusters stands the test of time, the effects still look great (with the exception of the demon dog blue screen work), the comedic elements are on point and I can fully see why we hear about a remake every other week.
Now Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids (2011), wants to do a reboot with all-female comedians. This idea is polarizing on the interwebs, with a vast majority of the fans crying foul. I am on the other side of this. I think we should have an all-female Ghostbuster team… I mean why not? Now that Harold Ramis has passed away, we can never have the original four again, so why not try something different and fun! I would love to see Kristen Wigg or Emma Stone as a Ghostbuster. I loved Bridesmaids, so if they can capture that lightening in a bottle again, go for it. I will be in line on day one.
What do all of you, my fearless readers think about this? Am I the sole voice of gender equality in the field of Ghostbusting? Or are there other failed Ghostbusters out there like myself, waiting for the next generation to take up the mantle? Have you had the Ghostbuster themed Krispy Kreme doughnuts yet? All important questions, but I do know one thing…