When we go down the list of the most iconic movies of all time it’s almost a certainty that Ghostbusters is one that will reach the top of your list. It had many great actors and spawned a loyal following that has lasted for decades on since its original airing. It was a pioneering piece of artwork for the time in more ways than one and it was the first time Columbia, or any studio for that matter, agreed to give a comedy film 30 million dollars budget. It was an unheard of number and many people immediately touted it as a grave mistake by Columbia Pictures and swore that they would pay the price for shelling out that much dough.
In the end, the right outcome occurred and all the parties involved took a collective sigh of relief before relaxing in their new found success. Little known actors used it to springboard their careers and for the likes of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, it only helped to solidify them in acting lore. From that point on they would forever be known as the Ghostbusters. They would take the box office hit that was the first movie and power it into a second installment that, while not as good as the first, did exceedingly better than expected at the box office. What came about as a result was a large legion of fans that still to this day drop facts and tidbits about the movie that you otherwise would have missed.
When you are filming in city areas you can run into a multitude of various problems. It can be anything from having people step into a shot that aren’t supposed to be there to noises that you don’t expect coming from areas that aren’t blocked off for filming. In the case of the Ghostbusters movie though, part of the problem came with some illegal driving of the Ecto-1.
So, what made the driving of the Ecto-1 illegal exactly? Well, in order for the cast and crew to drive in certain areas of the city they were required to have a permit. It turns out in many instances they didn’t have one and it resulted in some very unhappy law enforcement officers. It got so bad that on more than one occasion staff and cast members were chased by law enforcement. There’s even a scene in the Ecto-1 montage that has Dan being chased down.
One of the things that I am sure almost everyone remembers from the original Ghostbusters film is the marshmallow man aka Mr. Stay Puft. Even if you have forgotten certain parts of the film by now this is one part of the film that is sure to stay in your mind for the foreseeable future. It’s for this reason that you may be surprised to learn that this iconic final form almost didn’t make it into the film.
That’s right; Ivan Reitman felt that the marshmallow man was not believable enough to be the final form of Gozer. He felt that it would appear too childish and would really detract away from the film and make people hate it. The cast members seemed to agree with this notion as well and he instead experimented with having a giant lizard or a giant dog attack New York City instead.
There are many times when we wonder where writers got their inspiration for the films and stories they write, but in the case of Dan Aykroyd and Ghostbusters, it hit close to home. In his preparation for writing the script for Ghostbusters Dan drew from his personal experience with his father and great-grandfather holding séances in their home in Ontario.
Dan got lucky and found notes that his great-grandfather Samuel had taken about their various experiences. In crafting the script for Ghostbusters from the notes it’s important to mention that Dan believed every word he was reading. It turns out that he felt that what was said about these séances was the truth and to this day he still believes strongly in the paranormal.
The title for a movie is often on the same level of importance as the script and the actors that play the characters within that script. Just think about your favorite movie for a second and try to imagine it being named a bit different. Chances are it doesn’t have the same ring to it as it once did. In the case of Ghostbusters though, there was another driving force that almost didn’t make it happen.
Dan Aykroyd’s idea for the movie title settled on Ghostbusters at first, but when he got word that there may be copyright issues with the title he back peddled and came up with other ideas. One such idea was Ghoststoppers while another was Ghost Smashers, but lucky for the cast and crew they were able to proceed thanks in large part to reach a licensing deal with the original owner of the name.
When you think of a movie like Ghostbusters you think of a commercial success, but for many studio heads at Colombia and elsewhere it seemed a lot farther off. To put things into perspective, there had never been that large an amount of money ever spent on a comedy film before and on top of that many people did not know what to expect. Executives thought that the movie was just too grand and that audiences wouldn’t buy it.
When the current studio chairman at the time Frank Price invited his fellow colleagues to view the film, they were less than enthusiastic. He waited with baited breath to hear their final input when he showed them a screening of the film only to find that many felt it was a mistake and that it would flop. He is quoted as saying “A studio executive came up and put his arm around me and said, "Don’t worry: We all make mistakes."
There are times when actors want a part in a movie so badly that they will do anything to prove that they can do a multitude of roles on a whim. In the case of Sigourney Weaver of Alien fame, this was true to the highest degree. Director Ivan Reitman remembers her coming in for an audition for the part of Dana Barrett in the film and what he describes her doing is nothing short of remarkable.
He stated that Sigourney told him that she believed that when Dana Barrett got possessed during the film that she should then turn into a dog herself. She then proceeded to climb onto the coffee table and get on all fours and howl and bark like a dog. Ivan was so awestruck by this that he insisted that she be in the film.
Not only were there many different final monster designs for Gozer, but there was also a lot of alteration to the image we know of. When the idea was first brought to bear, Reitman felt that the idea of a giant marshmallow man was too childish. He instead opted for a demonic dog or a giant lizard as the main attacking monster in the film. He drew from many past designs and suggested that they go with one of them instead of Mr. Stay Puft.
After extra input from the cast and deep thought of the issue, Reitman finally caved. When Mr. Stay Puft was finally selected as the final form the artist on the Ghostbusters went to work creating a believable version of the creature. They wanted it to appear harmless at first, but turn into something rather horrifying. It was Dan’s own prodding and explanation that made it happen.
Having watched the original movie many times I always wondered if there was some sort of connection between Mr. Stay Puft and that notable tire icon. It didn’t seem far-fetched to think that there was a connection with the Michelin Man given that his legs and arms were similar to that of Mr. Puft’s. It turns out in the end that what many people thought about his origins was actually correct.
Staff on the film were drawn to the eye-popping nature of the Michelin Man, but they felt that if they made something too similar they would run into copyright issues. Dan Aykroyd felt that the Michelin man was not the right choice and that they should go with something similar to the Pillsbury Doughboy instead since it was even more recognizable. In the end, artists working on Mr. Stay Puft decided to combine the two in a unique way.
Aside from Mr. Stay Puft there is perhaps no ghostly apparition from the original movie more recognizable then Slimer. He burst onto the movie screen and quickly made his way into all of our hearts with his antics and deep appetite for food. Given his deep green color and his slimy appearance, you would think that the staff would have no problem referring to him by his given name.
In truth, he didn’t actually get his name until after the movie was released and staff on the set gave him the name of “Onionhead” due to the foul smell that he was said to have emitted. Though Aykroyd called him that as well, at times it turns out that he more often than not referred to him as John Belushi’s ghost. In fact, it wasn’t just in name; the staff actually modeled his mannerisms after the late Belushi himself.
It’s hard to imagine that actors would continually stray away from the script, but in the case of Ghostbusters, that’s exactly what happened on more than one occasion. This could be due in part to the limited amount of time that was given to write the script, but it is more than likely due to the fact that everyone on the cast had deep experience with improv, thanks to Saturday Night Live.
As amazing as it is to learn, this it gets even better when you learn that Billy Murray, a third selection choice, actually ad-libbed the majority of his lines. Instead of reacting to things the way that the script said he should act, Bill would just react the way he actually would if faced with that same situation in real life.
Being that the four main characters of the film all had Saturday Night Live experience it’s no surprise that they would attempt something like what I am about to mention. One day, while meeting with Murray to discuss the film Aykroyd had the brilliant idea of having he and Murray commentate as two random homeless guys throughout the film.
The idea was that doing something like this would not only break the fourth wall a little bit but also add an extra brand of comedy to the film that was very unique. Even though they both agreed on the idea they still had reservations about it taking away from the seriousness of some parts of the film. Movie staff went ahead and shot many different scenes with them doing just as described, but in the end, it was cut once Reitman, the director of the film, felt that they hadn’t disguised themselves well enough.
The Ecto-1 or Ectomobile as it is commonly known, was a hard to miss part of the Ghostbusters franchise. Its characteristic white color and form factor similar to that of a police car made it stand out and embedded it into ghost busting lore. While it made its mark and carried on even into the start of the third film before giving up the ghost it was actually not the original concept for our ghost fighting crew.
The Ecto-1 was originally going to be a 1958 pink Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance. This idea was scrapped and they instead began to paint it black until the lead cinematographer on site by the name of Laszlo Kovacs stepped in. He helped the crew redesign the car in part because he felt that it would be impossible to film it during nighttime sequences.
After the immense popularity of the first Ghostbusters movie, there was no doubt that an animated series was sure to arise. It didn’t take long for it to materialize with The Real Ghostbusters in the year 1986. The cartoon went on to have commercial success and even gained popularity after the second Ghostbusters film was produced. While the show meant fan’s expectations, there was perhaps one glaring difference between the film and the show.
So, what was the glaring difference between the two that I speak of exactly? Well, it turns out that the Ghostbusters cartoon show needed to completely redraw all the characters from the movie. This was done because Columbia Pictures did not want to have to pay the original actors any likeness rights.
The logo for the Ghostbusters was so simple on the surface, but had it not been for one inspired producer of the film it might not have even come into existence. Having worked many different jobs, Michael C. Gross finally landed at a job as art director for National Lampoon magazine. It was at this same magazine that Murray and Belushi were getting there start as well.
After spending many years with the magazine, Gross crossed paths with Reitman and worked with him on many different projects at his studio including the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. When Reitman got the go-ahead for Ghostbusters, naturally Gross went with him. Columbia expressed that they wanted to make a teaser poster, but couldn’t because of a legal battle with the name Ghostbusters. Gross decided to create a logo that embodied the film, but that did not require the name to be used and thus the logo was born.
There are many great lines in the Ghostbusters movie that were indeed in the script, but there were also a lot that weren’t. One such line arose because of the technological aspect of the film. While it was meant to be a comedy, there was an explanation about the proton packs and their underlying nuclear nature earlier in the film script. This, as you can imagine, posed a problem later in the film when the heroes would have to combine their packs to survive.
Talking about it years later, Ramis stated that he and Aykroyd toiled over solutions on how to help the Ghostbusters survive the coming battles until they landed upon the idea that crossing the streams would somehow alter the current dimension. This solved the current problem of explaining how the Ghostbusters would survive the final battles and made for an epic one-liner that stands the test of time.
There have been many movies and songs alike that have authentic sounding phone numbers in them that turn out to be nothing of the sort. People always try to call them and usually either get someone with that actual number or they get the more common end of the number not even being a proper one. In the case of the Ghostbusters though there was a number that worked.
During the showing of the theatrical trailer for the film, viewers were treated to a 1-800 number on the screen that sounded like it might actually be legitimate As it turned out, the number actually did work and when called it would bring the caller to a prerecorded message by Bill Murray and Dan. If you’re wondering if many people called, they did, to the tune of 1,000 calls an hour for the entire three weeks it was up.
You know the song and I’m sure just mentioning the Ghostbusters theme song brings back memories for you. I mean why not? The song is super catchy and it’s pretty upbeat all things considered. It even topped the charts as a single for a couple weeks both during and after the movie was first released. What you may not know though is that its release was filled with controversy.
For starters, after Ray Parker Jr. composed the iconic song he was hit with a lawsuit from Huey Lewis who claimed that he had plagiarized it from his song “I want a New [Substance]”. As if that isn’t bad enough, it turns out that Lewis was the one who was originally hired to compose the Ghostbusters theme song. The legal battle went on for many months but was dropped by Lewis soon after the movie was released in theaters.
The original story concept for the film turned out to be much different than the one we know of today. When Aykroyd set out to write the script for the film his original plan was to have it take place in the future to a much darker backdrop. In this future, he envisioned not just one group of Ghostbusters, but multiple groups fighting ghosts across different worlds. It involved the inclusion of new dimensions and Puft appeared early on in the film.
In its entirety, the script contained some fifty large-scale monsters like Mr. Stay Puft and each of them the cast would have to conquer. This would have entailed more than one movie in likelihood. After looking it over Reitman determined that it would cost over three hundred million to produce.
One of the most difficult things about making a movie is coming up with a catchy name that fits the story and drives people to the theaters. As difficult as it can be to come up with a name it was even harder for Columbia Pictures because the name that they came up with that sounded good was already taken by another production company.
When Columbia attempted to patent the name and use it for the movie they quickly found out that a production company by the name of Filmation had previously used the name in a short run television show by the same name. In the end, Filmation agreed to let Columbia use the name if in exchange they would pay the company a licensing fee.
When the movie was conceived everyone involved only had a year to film it and complete production. This presented its own host of problems and forced the staff to film in many different places in order to accomplish the filming on time. Though the story centers on our heroes in a New York fire station, the amount of filming in total there was almost none to speak of.
In total, only three weeks of filming actually took place in the big apple. The rest of the filming for the movie was done in Los Angeles at various locations around the city. New York just wasn’t the place for filming for long periods of time and its congestion caused a laundry list of issues during filming. Filming primarily in LA allowed for breaks in shooting and also allowed for empty streets and buildings to film events.
In video games, we are used to seeing hidden Easter eggs and getting the occasional cameo appearance here or there and the same holds true for many of our favorite films. When the film was announced there was a myriad of people that wanted to be a part of it in any way that they could. If they couldn’t star in it directly they wanted to have a chance to make a cameo appearance.
The directors and producers of the film understood this wholeheartedly and indulged many individuals in there wish to take part. In the case of Larry King, not only did he make a striking cameo, but it was his first ever cameo appearance in a movie. Not to be outdone, Ron Jeremy, a world-renowned adult film star, positioned himself to be in the crowd during the final battle against Mr. Puft and can be seen standing next to a police car.
You would think that people viewing a film would have an understanding that the actor playing a role is simply doing just that. There are times however when things get a little too real for anyone’s taste and we start to see people react in strange ways toward actors that played bad men in films. William Atherton knows this all too well because he got constantly harassed for his portrayal of Walter Peck.
Atherton did such a good job in the role that he encountered instances years afterward where random people would try to pick fights with him at bars. Everywhere he went he was harassed and insults were hurled at him as if the events of the movie actually took place. He tried to counteract it by shaving his beard off, but that didn’t seem to help him.
All these years I wanted it so much to be true that they used real marshmallows during the final battle sequences. Knowing how sticky the substance is though and how much it could weigh in large amounts, I am not surprised that they didn’t actually use any at all. That’s right, there was no actual marshmallow used in either the battle sequences or when it is dumped onto the street below.
So, if it wasn’t marshmallow cream that fell then what was it? Well, in actuality, the decision was made to use shaving cream as a substitute for marshmallow. Not just because it was lighter, but because it also made for an easier cleanup. Originally the plan was to dump one hundred pounds of it on the street below, but when Atherton’s stunt double got flatted by it they lowered the quantity to just fifty pounds.
When it comes to Ghostbusters, we all know the iconic cast, but something that might not stand out is how one cast member seems to be left out of promotional material. Ernie Hudson, better known as Winston Zeddemore in the films, was left out of not only promotional posters for the first film but also from the original trailer. To make matters worse he was also left out of important decisions regarding the direction of the movie.
Hudson stated that the original plan was to have him through the entirety of the movie, but that this was changed and he was at first entirely dropped and then re-added halfway through the script. To add insult to injury not only was his role in the first Ghostbusters impacted, but his lack of promotion during the first and second films caused additional problems. He outwardly expressed how he couldn't find work for three years after each Ghostbusters movie.
We have already learned that Bill Murray was far from the first choice in his role in the Ghostbusters film. It was first given to John Belushi before he passed on and then offered to Eddie Murphy who passed on it before resting on John Candy. After some deliberation, the studio passed on Candy and made an offer to Bill Murray for the role.
Understandably, by the time an offer of a potential role for Murray came up, he was none too pleased. Like many before him, he was unsure how the film would do and he was reluctant to help Columbia fill the role since they didn’t give him the green light for a film he had wanted to do. He got his wish when he made Columbia agree to green light The Razor’s Edge in return for his role in Ghostbusters.