Who ya gonna call?
It’s been 30 years since the cinematic release of the greatest film ever made, also known as Ghostbusters. Action, comedy, romance, ghosts and Bill Murray – what more could you ask for in a movie?
If you’re a fan you probably already know every line off by heart, but here are 30 frighteningly interesting facts about this ’80s classic that reveal just how different a film Ghostbusters could have been.
1. Ray and Egon wrote the script
Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis – who play Dr Ray Stantz and Dr Egon Spengler – penned Ghostbusters (and its sequel) together.
2. Dan Aykroyd is seriously fascinated by ghosts
The actor’s personal interest in things that go bump in the night prompted him to write the film. He is still intrigued by the paranormal to this day, particularly UFOs.
3. ECTO-1 was actually a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Ambulance
[That Hartford Guy / Flickr / CC]
In a case of art imitating life, the Ghostbusters’ car was unreliable and broke down during filming in New York. Eventually (during the filming of Ghostbusters II) the car ‘died’ on the Brooklyn Bridge and the crew were fined by police for stopping traffic.
4. It was nearly called ‘Ghostsmashers’
Dan Aykroyd’s original concept for the movie had this slightly more aggressive title.
5. ‘Ghoststoppers’ was also a contender
Producers briefly considered this contrastingly pathetic title for the film but – thankfully – ultimately settled on Ghostbusters.
6. Bill Murray ad-libbed most of his lines
So many Ghostbusters one-liners have made it onto lists of the best movie quotes of all time, especially Bill Murray’s. What’s so impressive about this is that the majority of Murray’s lines were improvised, further proving his comedy genius.
7. John Belushi, John Candy and Eddie Murphy could have starred
The role of Dr Peter Venkman was originally written with Aykroyd’s Blues Brothers co-star John Belushi in mind, but was given to Bill Murray after Belushi’s death in 1982. The characters of Lewis Tully and Winston Zeddemore were intended for John Candy and Eddie Murphy respectively, but in the end neither actor agreed to take part. Rick Moranis and Ernie Hudson were cast instead.
8. Huey Lewis was asked (but declined) to feature on the soundtrack
Lewis was approached before Ray Parker Jr. about writing the Ghostbusters theme song but declined due to his work on Back to the Future.
9. But then he sued Ray Parker Jr. over his ‘Ghostbusters’ song
In a bizarre twist of events, Huey Lewis then sued Ghostbusters theme song artist Ray Parker Jr. shortly after the film’s release for allegedly ripping off Lewis’s track ‘I Want a New Drug’. Sounds like a case of sour grapes to us.
10. The music video was star-studded
As well as some cheesy dancing from the movie’s principal cast, the quintessentially ’80s video for ‘Ghostbusters’ features cameos from popular celebrities of the time. Among them are John Candy, Carly Simon, Danny DeVito and Chevy Chase oddly attempting to eat a cigarette. A joyful cringe-fest.
11. The Stay-Puft marshmallow goo was actually shaving foam
After Venkman and the team defeat the giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, the monster messily explodes. In reality, the resulting melted marshmallow goo was shaving foam, and William Atherton (playing the meddling EPA employee Walter Peck) had 50 gallons of the stuff dumped on his head.
12. The Ghostbusters firehouse really exists
You can visit the exterior of Ghostbusters HQ in the Tribeca area of New York City. Located on North Moore Street, the Hook and Ladder No. 8 Firehouse has a tribute to Ghostbusters painted on the pavement outside.
13. Gozer was played by a model
The spooky, androgynous evil being Gozer who appears to the Ghostbusters on the rooftop of Dana’s apartment building was actually Serbian model Slavitza Jovan.
14. Bill Murray wasn’t the first choice to play Venkman
Legend has it that National Lampoon star Chevy Chase and Beetlejuice himself Michael Keaton both turned down the role of Dr Peter Venkman before Bill Murray was eventually cast.
15. Aykroyd’s original concept would have cost $300 million to film
The first draft of the ‘Ghostsmashers’ script was so ambitious that director Ivan Reitman estimated it would have cost ten times more than the Ghostbusters‘ actual budget.
16. It was the most successful comedy movie of the 1980s
Ghostbusters made $229 million at the box office in 1984, making it the second highest grossing film of the year. It was beaten by Beverly Hills Cop which – somewhat ironically – starred Eddie Murphy. A re-release of Ghostbusters in 1985 boosted its profits to $238.6 million, securing its position as the most financially successful comedy film of the decade.
17. The Ghostbusters logo was designed by associate producer Michael C. Gross
[The Conmunity / Flickr / CC]
The iconic ‘no ghosts’ image that has now been slapped on everything from mugs to bedsheets was created by Gross, who is a designer and artist as well as a film producer.
18. The film inspired a children’s cartoon
The Real Ghostbusters was a spin-off cartoon made between 1986 and 1991 which featured animated versions of the main Ghostbusters cast, including Slimer the ghost.
19. Ernie Hudson unsuccessfully auditioned for The Real Ghostbusters
That’s right, Hudson was not chosen to voice the animated version of Winston Zeddemore in The Real Ghostbusters, despite having played the character in the original film.
20. Dana’s apartment can be found on the Upper West Side
The exterior of Dana Barrett’s apartment can be found at 55 Central Park West in New York City, although the building was made to look taller in the film using special effects.
21. Harold Ramis cast himself as Spengler
After struggling to find a suitable actor to play kooky brainbox Egon Spengler, Harold Ramis eventually chose himself. Rumour has it that John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum were all considered for the role.
22. A budding romance between Janine and Egon was cut from the film
Short-tempered Ghostbusters secretary Janine Melnitz clearly has a crush on Egon throughout the film, but apparently more romantic scenes between the two characters were cut from the final edit.
23. It was Larry King’s film debut
Although already a radio and TV broadcasting veteran by the mid ’80s, Larry King had never appeared in a film until a brief cameo as himself in Ghostbusters.
24. Three Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man suits were destroyed during filming
One Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man body suit cost $20, 000 to make, and three of them were destroyed during production. Those are some pricey marshmallows.
25. The proton packs were really heavy
The four Ghostbusters reluctantly donned their proton packs for filming, as the props were heavy and uncomfortable to wear. According to Ivan Reitman, stoic Harold Ramis complained the least.
26. It was nominated for two Oscars
Ghostbusters was in the running for Best Visual Effects – cutting edge at the time, believe it or not – and Best Original Song (take that, Huey Lewis) but sadly missed out on both.
27. The ectoplasm or ‘slime’ Venkman and Ray find in New York Public Library is actually food starch
The Chinese food starch methyl silos, to be precise.
28. It ruined someone’s life
Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but actor William Atherton (Walter Peck) complained that he was often verbally abused by passers-by in the street after the film’s release because of the unsavoury character he plays.
29. Director Ivan Reitman voiced Slimer
Reitman saved a few pennies of the film’s budget by providing voices for both Slimer the ghost, and Gozer the Destructor.
30. Ron Jeremy appears as an extra
Although you probably won’t admit it, you might recognise porn star Ron Jeremy as a moustachioed extra near the end of the film. Jeremy went on to feature in an adult parody film titled This Ain’t Ghostbusters XXX in 2011.
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