Directed by Ivan Reitman and released in 1984, Ghostbusters is a supernatural comedy initially conceived by actor Dan Aykroyd. The film stars Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis (and of course, Aykroyd), and is one of the most successful comedies of the 1980s.
Want to know more? Then read on.
Facts about Ghostbusters (1984)
1.) Ghostbusters was originally envisioned by Dan Aykroyd as a comedic vehicle for himself and actor John Belushi. However, when Belushi passed away in 1982, Aykroyd continued working on the project with Eddie Murphy in mind to replace Belushi. Ultimately Murphy never came on board the movie and instead the core cast of Ghostbusters was rounded out with Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler and Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore.
2.) In early drafts of the script, Winston Zeddemore was given a lot more screen time and was introduced at the beginning of the movie, straight after Stantz, Venkman and Spengler are kicked out of Columbia University. During script rewrites the character’s scenes were cut back to give the other Ghostbusters more room to develop and as a result Winston wasn’t introduced until much later in the movie.
3.) The core cast members of Ghostbusters improvised a lot during filming, especially Bill Murray.
4.) The role of Louis Tully – played by Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II (1989) – was originally written for John Candy. When Candy dropped out of the movie the character was given to Moranis, at which point he decided to put his own spin on the role.
5.) In scenes cut from the movie it was suggested that Ecto-1 – the Ghostbusters’ iconic mode of transport – had paranormal abilities. No references were made to this in the final cuts of either Ghostbusters or Ghostbusters II.
6.) In addition to playing Peter Venkman and Ray Stantz, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd also filmed scenes where they played a pair of comedic homeless men who commented on the events of the movie. Don’t remember these characters? Well that’s because the scenes (and characters) were dropped from the movie as producers believed the twin-roles would confuse the audience. Speaking in Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History, Ghostbusters producer, Joe Medjuck, said: “We did a thing of Danny and Bill pretending to be bums. It got thrown out very early.”
7.) The Ghostbusters’ iconic fire station headquarters is actually two buildings. The exterior shots of the Ghostbusters’ fire station were filmed in New York, utilising the Hook & Ladder Company No. 8 building. Meanwhile, the interior shots were filmed in L.A at the Los Angeles Fire Station No. 23 building.
8.) During the movie’s epic conclusion, a heck of a lot of shaving cream – doubling as exploded marshmallow – was dropped on actor William Atherton, aka EPA agent Walter Peck – but it was originally meant to be a lot more. Discussing the scene in Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History (2015), Atherton, said: “It was only one take, but I got nervous because it was so much shaving cream. It was a huge vat. They say it was about fifty pounds, and I remembered from eighth grade science class that fifty pounds of feathers and fifty pounds of lead are the same. So they tested it with a stunt guy and it knocked him flat! When they put me in, they only dropped about half that amount.”
9.) The movie’s visual effects cost an estimated $5.6 million.
10.) The late film composer, Elmer Bernstein, provided the score for Ghostbusters. Prior to working on Ghostbusters, Bernstein had provided scores to iconic films such as The Ten Commandments (1956), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and The Great Escape (1963).
11.) Another version of the library ghost was created for Ghostbusters – a more terrifying spook than the one seen in the movie. It was deemed a little too scary and wasn’t used. It didn’t go to waste though and instead was used in the movie Fright Night (1985).
12.) Before being given the name Slimer, the tubby green-skinned ghost was known by production staff as Onionhead.
13.) Slimer was created as a tribute to actor, John Belushi. Speaking in Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History (2015), Steve Johnson, the special effects artist on Ghostbusters, said: “When Danny (Dan Aykroyd) wanted to do this movie, originally it was for him and Belushi. We thought we should pay some hidden tribute to John. We always thought of Slimer as a spiritual embodiment of what John’s character did in Animal House.”
14.) In the movie, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is approximately 112.5ft tall.
15.) A couple of subtle references to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man are made in the film, prior to his iconic appearance. One of these references is a bag of Stay Puft marshmallows which can be seen in Dana Barrett’s apartment.
16.) Actress Slavita Jovan played the part of Gozer, but her voice was dubbed over by actress Paddi Edwards.
17.) Ghostbusters effects artist, Steve Johnson – the man behind Slimer – didn’t think that much of his creation back in 1984. Speaking in The Complete SFX Guide To Ghostbusters (2014), Johnson, said: “If you asked me back then ‘hey Steve – do you think Slimer’s going to take off?’ I’d have said ‘no’. I didn’t realise this was going to be the face of a new fizzy fruit drink, a Saturday morning cartoon series, a comic book, refrigerator ornaments and even Christmas decorations. To me, it was a huge six-month design process that caused me to miss out on a lot of sleep!”
18.) The demonic voice of Zuul was provided by director Ivan Reitman.
19.) Executive producer, Michael C Gross names the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as his favourite ghost in Ghostbusters, but admits he has a soft spot for the Terror Dogs. Speaking in The Complete SFX Guide To Ghostbusters (2014), he said: “The Terror Dogs made me the happiest, because I was so involved with the development of them.”
20.) Ghostbusters director, Ivan Reitman, directed the music video for Ray Parker Jr’s Ghostbusters theme song.
21.) Ray Parker Jr doesn’t sing the word Ghostbusters at any point in the Ghostbusters theme song – he lets backing singers do it for him.
22.) The music video features cameos from numerous famous actors, including Chevy Chase, Peter Falk and even John Candy. Whilst Candy may have turned down a role in the movie, he still made sure he was part of the Ghostbusters legacy.
23.) The Ghostbusters theme was a big hit and was nominated for an Academy Award at the 57th Annual Academy Awards, but it lost out to Stevie Wonder’s, I Just Called to Say I Love You, which was taken from the movie The Woman in Red (1984).
24.) In his review of Ghostbusters in 1984, film critic Roger Ebert gave the movie the big thumbs up awarding it 3.5 stars out of 4 and stating that, “Ghostbusters is one of those rare movies where the original, fragile comic vision has survived a multimillion-dollar production.”
25.) When the teaser poster for Ghostbusters was released it didn’t include the name Ghostbusters anywhere on the artwork. The reason for this was quite simple – Columbia Pictures hadn’t secured the rights to use the name Ghostbusters when the poster was created. In fact, the film was in production long before Ghostbusters became the official name of the movie.
26.) Ghostbusters was a huge hit upon its release and became the 2nd highest grossing movie of 1984, just missing out on top spot due to the popularity of the Eddie Murphy-starring film, Beverly Hills Cop.
27.) As noted above, Ghostbusters was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Original Song and Best Visual Effects. It missed out on both.
28.) In 1995, Dan Aykroyd reprised the role of Ray Stantz for a quick cameo in live-action movie, Casper.
29.) In 2009, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and William Atherton all provided voice-over work for Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009), when they reprised their roles from Ghostbusters. The game is regarded by Ghostbusters creator Dan Aykroyd as essentially the third Ghostbusters movie.
30.) Ivan Reitman regards Ghostbusters as the happiest creative experience of his life.
This post was originally published on the Honcho-SFX blog.