It was the 1980s, and pretty much every movie was getting turned into an animated TV show. Ghostbusters was certainly no exception — although, with the movie grossing nearly $100 million its first month out, it would have been shocking if they hadn’t. In 1986, ABC debuted The Real Ghostbusters, featuring nearly all the characters from the movies. The show would actually last for seven years — and that doesn’t even cover the spin-offs.
While our news feed blows up with stories on Paul Feig’s new Ghostbusters flick, let’s take a look back at some of the awesome stories that came out of the animated series.
There’s a reason it’s called The “Real” Ghostbusters
In 1975, Filmation (the same folks who brought us He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) produced a live-action kids show called The Ghost Busters. Despite it’s seemingly surefire-hit formula wherein “two klutzes and a gorilla search for ghosts”, it only lasted fifteen episodes. When Ghostbusters went into production in 1984, however, Filmation still owned the rights to the name — which they licensed to Paramount Pictures for a $500,000 fee and a percentage of the film’s gross.
When the movie turned out to be a success, Filmation decided to capitalize and produce an animated version of their live-action property. As to avoid confusion (and, presumably, as a dig at Filmation) Paramount and DIC Entertainment named the movie-based series The Real Ghostbusters. There was some legal wrangling back and forth between the two parties but, in the end, Filmation’s Ghostbusters only lasted one season.
Ernie Hudson was the only Ghostbusters cast member to audition for the series
The majority of the cast of Ghostbusters already had pretty solid careers up to that point. It was reasonable to expect them to pass on voicing an animated series. So, DIC Entertainment decided to court some well-known voice talent for the roles, instead. With one exception: Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore in the film, auditioned to voice his animated counterpart. Unfortunately, DIC decided to go with another actor instead — namely Arsenio Hall.
Yes. That Arsenio Hall.
The original voice of Garfield voiced Dr. Venkman
Lorenzo Music was already well known among voice actors when he took the role of Peter Venkman on the series. He was the voice behind Carlton the Doorman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff Rhoda and, most famously, the voice of Garfield the Cat. Maurice Lamarche, who was the voice of Egon, remarked in an interview that Bill Murray had questioned why his animated counterpart had sounded so much like Garfield – without knowing who was performing the voice. Ironically, Murray would go on to voice the cat in two animated features.
It was because of this comment from Murray, Lamarche noted, that Music would be replaced with another familiar name: Dave Coulier. With Ghostbusters 2 set to release in 1989, producers recast the role with the Full House star in order to get a voice that sounded more like Murray. So, Uncle Joey replaced Garfield as Bill Murray.
How is that even a real sentence?
The creator of Babylon 5 was story editor.
J. Michael Straczynski has a pretty good track record in the world of comics, sci-fi and all-around cool stuff. He created Babylon 5 and also created that show where Dylan from Beverly Hills 90210 and Theo from The Cosby Show were a part of the apocalypse (sort of — it was called Jeremiah, and it was actually pretty awesome). He’s also co-creator of Sense8, along with Andy and Lana Wachowski.
But, we’ve all gotta start somewhere — and one of Straczynski’s earliest jobs was story editor on The Real Ghostbusters. He wasn’t just an editor, though — he actually wrote a good number of the episodes and was a big part of why the show lasted as long as it did.
The Real Ghostbusters were replaced with Extreme Ghostbusters.
Ever since Ghostbusters II, there’s been talk of either another sequel with the original cast or a “New Generation” “reboot” “quotation marks”. But, that’s just Hollywood. While the rest of the world was talking about Ben Stiller rebooting the franchise, the rest of us were watching that happen in cartoon form.
In Extreme Ghostbusters — which premiered in 1997 — a lack of supernatural activity had put the Ghostbusters out of business. Egon remained at the firehouse to monitor the containment unit (and Slimer) while, at the same time, teaching at a local college. Of course, things — and ghosts — happened, and Egon needed to bust ghosts again, this time with students from his class.