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5 Things You Might Not Know About 'Ghostbusters'

The Playlist By Jessica Kiang | The Playlist June 8, 2012 at 9:57AM

Remember 1984’s “GhostSmashers” aka “GhostStoppers”? Of course you do. With a star-studded cast featuring John Belushi (Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Ray Stantz), Jeff Goldblum (Egon Spengler), Eddie Murphy (Winston Zeddemore), John Candy (Louis), Sandra Bernhard (Janine) and Paul Reubens (Ivo Shandar/Gozer), the future-set supernatural comedy in which roving teams of ghost catchers protect humanity from the supernatural, directed by Ivan Reitman, cost a whopping $300 million to make, featured hundreds of monsters, including a giant marshmallow man, and spawned not one but two sequels; the second of which got smoothly underway recently with the full, gracious participation of all of the original cast.
Ghostbusters novel

3. "I read a lot myself. Some people think I'm too intellectual."
The film spawned not one but two novelisations.

This being the mid-80s, “Ghostbusters” was released at the very pinnacle of the novelisation craze. The first of the two books based on the screenplay to make it into print was by Larry Milne, published in the U.K. and simply titled “Ghostbusters.” That was the one this writer owned and repeatedly read (and yes, we do understand there is a special circle of nerddom reserved for those who not only rewatch a beloved movie ad infinitum, but reread it…). Anyway, it hews very faithfully to the film, though presumably to the film in its unfinished state (as was the practise with novelisations, the author would often be working from a cruder edit or even early script draft, in order to have the book on the shelves simultaneously with the film’s release). Written in the present tense, strangely, if our memory serves really the only thing it expands on that didn't make it into the theatrical release is the budding love affair between Janine and Spengler (I seem to remember he compliments her clavicles at one point), though it does also include rather nice pithy sketches of our heroes, like “Nobody has explained the facts of life to Spengler. He worked them out for himself on a pocket calculator and vaguely suspects he came up with the wrong result." That probably made me snort milk out of my nose all over my pedal pushers.

The following year the second version hit the shelves, written by Richard Mueller, this time called “Ghostbusters: The Supernatural Spectacular.” According to those in the know (or rather, the reviewers on Amazon) it is superior to the Milne version in terms of style and artistry and adds greater backstory to the characters.

GB firestation logo

4. "I love this town!"
Despite only being partially filmed there, Ghostbusters is regarded as a quintessential New York movie.

While the fact that it has a certain catchment area and is a vital resource for the surrounding community is probably cited as the reason Hook and Ladder 8 firestation on 14 North Moore Street in Tribeca got saved from a recent firehouse cull threatened by wily ol’ Mayor Bloomberg, "Ghostbusters" fans rallying to its defence probably didn’t hurt. For yes, it is the Ghostbusters HQ, and as such, an integral part of any self-respecting cinephile’s tour of New York City (some nice shots of it here). However, those bothering the actual fireman for a peek inside should know that there’s no pilgramage value there -- all the HQ interiors were shot in a disused firehouse in L.A., one that was also built in 1912, hence the neat matching of exterior and interior detailing. But with a slightly altered logo painted on the sidewalk outside, and the same fireman/ghostbuster motif available on Ladder 8 FDNY merchandise, the association is there to stay.

Of course the firehouse is not the only real-life New York location you can spot in the film: Columbia University, the New York Public Library, Central Park, the apartment block overlooking Central Park, The Tavern on the Green Restaurant -- all these exteriors are used, along with some of their interiors at times. Had budget and logistics allowed, indeed, the film would have featured the mother of all New York landmarks: originally the 112.5 ft Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (the height was a compromise between the 100ft and the 125ft variously suggested to Reitman), was to rise out of the water beside the Statue of Liberty, to give us a sense of its size. With Lady Liberty standing at 111.5 feet without her pedestal, they would have made a beautiful couple. But that turned out to be impractical and so the majority of the film’s supernatural events take place uptown, proving, if nothing else, that ancient Sumerian gods have expensive taste in real estate. And the statue got its moment in the limelight eventually with a key role in the vastly inferior sequel.

This article is related to: Ghostbusters 3, Ghostbusters, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ivan Reitman, On This Day In Movie History, Features

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