- Haunted houses
Ghostbusters (1986 TV series)
- View history
- 3 Controversy
- 5 External links
Jake Kong Jr. and Eddie Spencer Jr. are the sons of the original Ghost Busters from the live action series of the same name; Tracy the Gorilla worked with their fathers.
Their headquarters, termed Ghost Command, is located in a haunted mansion nestled between a number of tall skyscrapers (which resemble the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City) They are supported by a number of secondary characters including Ansa-Bone, a talking skull phone; Skelevision, a talking skeleton television; Belfrey, a pink talking bat ; and Ghost Buggy, their talking ghost car. They occasionally enlist the aid of Futura, a time travelling Ghostbuster from the future, and Jessica Wray, a local TV news reporter.
Together, they have dedicated themselves to ridding the world of the evil ghost wizard Prime Evil and his cast of henchmen. Prime Evil's headquarters, termed Hauntquarters (which resembles the British Houses of Parliament complete with a Big Ben-esque clock tower), is located in The Fifth Dimension . In a typical episode, Prime Evil uses his magical powers to open up a wormhole to enable one or more of his henchmen to complete a particular scheme that serves to help him take over the world.
Famous guest-star ghosts and monsters that appeared on the show include Count Dracula (who is actually a vampire ) and the Headless Horseman (who also appeared in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters written by Jean-Marc Lofficier's wife, Randy Lofficier).
Like almost all 1980s Filmation cartoons, each episode closes with a segment describing a particular lesson that can be learned from the events of the episode. Skelevision (sometimes accompanied by Belfrey) is the character most often employed in this role. From time to time, Jake, Eddie Jr or another protagonist would talk with Skelevison about the lesson.
Episodes [ ]
- I'll Be a Son of a Ghostbuster
- Frights of the Roundtable
- No Pharaoh at All
- The Secret of Mastodon Valley
- The Ones Who Saved the Future
- Witch 's Stew
- Mummy Dearest
- Wacky Wax Museum
- Statue of Liberty
- The Ransom of Eddie Spenser
- Eddie Takes Charge
- The Great Ghost Gorilla
- A Friend in Need
- No Mo' Snow
- Prime Evil's Good Deed
- Cyman's Revenge
- The Headless Horseman Caper
- Banish That Banshee
- He Went Brataway
- The Looking-Glass Warrior
- Laser and Future Rock
- Runaway Choo Choo
- Dynamite Dinosaurs
- My Present to the Future
- The Beastly Buggy
- Belfry Leads the Way
- The Battle for Ghost Command
- The Haunting of Gizmo
- The Sleeping Dragon
- The Phantom of the Big Apple
- Shades of Dracula
- Outlaw In-Laws
- Our Buddy Fuddy
- Train to Doom-De-Doom-Doom
- The Princess and the Troll
- Second Chance
- Tracy Come Back
- Doggone Werewolf
- That's No Alien
- The Ghost of Don Quixote
- The White Whale
- Country Cousin
- Knight of Terror
- The Girl Who Cried Vampire
- Little Big Bat
- Really Roughing It
- The Bad Old Days
- The Curse of the Diamond of Gloom
- The Bind That Ties
- Like Father Like Son
- The Fourth Ghostbuster
- Whither Why
- Cold Winter's Night
- Father Knows Beast
- Back to the Past
- Pretend Friends
- The Haunted Painting
- The Way You Are
Controversy [ ]
When Columbia Pictures started producing the film Ghostbusters in 1984, it neglected the fact that Filmation had already produced a live-action comedy series with that same name in 1975. Columbia agreed to license the name from Filmation for $500,000 plus 1% of the profits (of which there were ostensibly none). Since Columbia did not want to license Filmation the rights to the movie Ghostbusters when they were looking to produce an animated series, Filmation produced an animated version of their live-action TV show. Columbia proceeded to name their cartoon show The Real Ghostbusters to directly distinguish it from the Filmation show.
Filmation had even gone as far as to attempt to work with Columbia Pictures and had completed initial design work for a cartoon to be based on the movie. Columbia changed its mind, deciding not to work with Filmation, and the proposed deal fell through (Columbia worked with DiC instead). Filmation's Lou Scheimer later admitted, "We should have asked for the animation rights for their (Columbia's) Ghostbusters as part of the settlement." This prompted Filmation to create the cartoon based on its former live-action series.
- While The Real Ghostbusters had the catchphrase, "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!", each episode of Filmation's Ghost Busters also used a catchphrase: "Let's Go, Ghost Busters!"
External links [ ]
- Ghostbusters (1986 TV series) on the Internet Movie Database.
- Ghostbusters (1986 TV series) on the Big Cartoon Database.
- Ghostbusters (1986 TV series) on TV.com.
- Filmation Ghostbusters Wiki.
- 1 Sam: The Spirit of Halloween
- 3 Agatha Christie's Poirot: Hallowe'en Party
- One-off Villains
Great Ghost Gorilla
- View history
The Great Ghost Gorilla originated on Earth, but relocated to the planet Gorillium , where he took over the entire planet commanding an army of Robot Gorilla's. When he learned about the strength and intelligence that Tracy the Gorilla posessed, the Great Ghost ordered his Robot Gorilla's to kidnap Tracy so his scientist Robot Gorilla's could use Tracy as a model for a new army of Ghost Gorilla's.
- 1 Appearance
- 3 Appearances
Appearance [ ]
His appearance is that of a purplish-gray furred hood-wearing gorilla. He has yellow eyes without pupils..
History [ ]
The Great Ghost Gorilla first appeared in the episode The Great Ghost Gorilla .
Appearances [ ]
The Great Ghost Gorilla
Tracy Come Back (flashback only) (footage from The Great Ghost Gorilla )
The Great Ghost Gorilla was a one-time antagonist to the Ghostbusters, especially Tracy. However he did appear once more in one of Tracy's memories which was altered by Prime Evil in the episode Tracy Come Back .
Gallery [ ]
- 1 Ghostbusters Character Guide
- 2 The Ghost Busters
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Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews
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The History Of Filmation’s Ghostbusters
Posted by Shaun | Cartoons | 0 |
By now, we all know the Ghostbusters, the charismatic team in charge of returning ghosts and evil entities back to their dimension. Although, there is a version of the Ghostbusters that would leave many scratching their head.
Back in the 80s, there was an animated series by Filmation called Ghostbusters based on the 1975 live-action show, Ghost Busters. For a time the cartoon coexisted with the more popular franchise produced by Columbia Pictures. As the latter was the most popular at the time, the Filmation series was lost in the annals of history.
Though the show was very very short-lived, its story deserves to be told.
Table of Contents
The Ghost Busters Live-Action TV Series
In 1975 a live-action TV series was launched. It has the honor of being the first to use the famous “Ghostbusters” name.
Produced by Filmation and distributed by NBC, this slapstick children’s show introduced audiences to Jake Kong and Eddie Spencer, a pair of paranormal investigators, accompanied by the friendly gorilla Tracy. Together, they face various famous monsters and historical characters, such as Count Dracula and Billy The Kid.
It clearly took inspiration from Abbott and Costello and was made to grab the attention of the millions of Scooby-Doo fans around the world with too many similarities to name. Just watch a few of these episodes and you will see what I mean.
Although it was well-rated, the series was not greenlit for a second season, but it laid the groundwork for a sequel 10 years later.
The Origin of Filmation Ghostbusters Cartoon
Tracy would again make an appearance as the companion of the investigators, helping them in their adventures. However, this time, Tracy the gorilla is not the most peculiar partner, as the Ghost Buggy takes this prize, as the talking car.
In each chapter, the team confronts the strangest bad guys, with Prime Evil being the main villain. Throughout the series, more characters help the little heroes, such as the time-traveling ghostbuster Futura, the cuddly bat Belfry, the reporter Jessica Wray, the magician Madam Why and many more.
Despite the charisma of their characters and stories, the tactic of launching the series a few years after the release of Columbia’s famous 1984 film ended up playing against them.
Conflict with Columbia’s Ghostbusters
During the production of the Ghostbusters movie in 1984, they were unaware of the existence of the 1975 series of the same name. Eventually, Columbia managed to license the name by paying Filmation $600,000.
It seemed that this closed the problem, but after the massive success of the film, Filmation offered to produce an animated series based on the film. But as their previous negotiation did not include any rights to make a cartoon, Columbia gave this work to the animation studio DiC.
As a response to this “betrayal”, Filmation launched its own animated series at the same time as Columbia’s, although it all turned out to be a crass mistake, confusing the audience by the existence of two shows with the same name. There would be one clear winner as audiences stayed with the cast they knew and loved based on the popular blockbuster film, and so “The Real Ghostbusters” was created.
This ended up burying Filmation’s series, which was canceled before after one season, only 4 months of broadcasting and 65 episodes deep, contrasting with the enormous success of Columbia’s series, which lasted 5 years on the air and ended with 140 episodes.
- Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Filmation Ghostbusters Toys
The failure extended to the line of toys that Filmation launched to support their show, which was run by the company Schaper.
Despite being a franchise that didn’t last long on the market, it featured well-crafted toys of the show’s characters, and more cutting-edge figures, such as the transformable Ghost Buggy and the Ghost Command set.
Today, because of their rarity, these toys are found on places like eBay at high prices, especially the sets and the main characters, which some collectors proudly display on their shelves.
And so ends the story of Filmation Ghostbusters, a fairly short one and one that is not well known, but for those who grew up with the live-action television series and the animated show, they remember with special fondness the adventures of the paranormal investigators with the charismatic Tracy.
Now that you know these characters when you see something strange in your neighborhood, which ones will you call?
About The Author
Hi, Shaun here. I am the head editor and contributor at 8-Bit Pickle. I grew up in Toronto in the 80s and 90s I have a love for all things nostalgia. I have spent more than 20 years in the gaming industry and am your go-to guy for all things retro gaming, but will never pass up the opportunity to watch or talk about old cartoons and movies.
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Western Animation / Filmation's Ghostbusters
Just to set the record straight, these guys came first... mostly. (The Bowery Boys' 1946 film Spook Busters was made under the Working Title of Ghost Busters .)
In 1975 Filmation created a series for CBS called The Ghost Busters, starring F Troop veterans Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch , as well as Bob Burns in a gorilla suit (yeah, this show was kind of odd). For this low-budget live-action series, Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch and Bob Burns played Jake Kong, Eddie Spencer, and Tracy note When you hear the names "Spencer Tracy and Kong", you'd probably think of the famous actor and a gorilla named Kong. Nope... the gorilla's name is Tracy who would receive a message from the mysterious, unseen "Zero" who would inform them that some spook or other was up to mischief, and the Ghost Busters would have to stop it. Hijinks would ensue as the Busters and the Ghosts would use every trick you could think of (and even some you wouldn't) to outwit each other. For fifteen episodes the show ran on a rather "random" style of humor and was finally laid to rest, reportedly out of a desire by the studio to devote their efforts to the popular The Secrets of Isis .
Fast forward to 1984. Columbia Pictures wanted to make a movie about a team of "paranormal investigators and eliminators," which they wanted to call, surprise surprise, Ghostbusters . The characters, setting and unique aspects of the storyline were completely unrelated to the Filmation series, but well into production, Columbia learned that Filmation already held a trademark on the name. After some negotiation, Columbia was able to license the name. With the movie going on to become a massive blockbuster, they decided to cash in with an animated series . At the time, Filmation had become an animation powerhouse thanks to their successful He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) and She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoons. They were very close to striking a deal to work with Columbia on the project, but when that didn't pan out, they thought they could cash in with their own show.
So we got the animated Ghostbusters . A sequel to the live-action series, this starred the sons of Jake Kong and Eddie Spencer (who have the same names as their fathers). Tracy is back too, though he neither looks nor acts anything like his live-action counterpart. Nevertheless, dialogue indicates that this is the same gorilla.
The new series followed the premise of its forebear and had the same style of humor, but there were significant alterations: the setting had changed — the Ghostbusters now worked out of "Ghost Command" in which they kept some ghosts as pets, had technology that verged on the blatantly magical such as a talking car that could fly through space and travel through time , and even a backdoor to some sort of alternate dimension, which they went into in every episode to " get into uniform ." The biggest change, though, was that they now had a nemesis, a sort of ghost-robot thing named Prime Evil, who operated out of "Hauntquarters" — an elongated house situated at the end of time or something — and commanded a legion of paranormal baddies. The mysterious "Zero" from the 1975 series was never mentioned; instead usually the GBs would either be contacted by someone (usually their reporter friend Jessica Wray) or else just realize something is up and take initiative.
Like its forebear, Ghostbusters animated only lasted one season. This time, the cause for failure was clearer: kids tuned in thinking that this was the show with those four guys with the Proton Packs, and it wasn't (that was The Real Ghostbusters ). Also, like the live-action series, Ghostbusters runs on a "random" style of humor, which isn't to everyone's tastes.
Both the live-action series and the cartoon are available in their entirety on DVD.
"Let's trope, Ghostbusters!"
Tropes common to both series include:.
- Bag of Holding : Tracy's Ghost Kit contains whatever our heroes need to deal with the ghosts.
- Disintegrator Ray : The Ghost Dematerializer zaps ghosts and sends them back to the great beyond.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot : The first show had villains like ghost vampires, a ghost werewolf, a ghost mummy and a ghost yeti. The cartoon had "ghost robots," whatever that means, like Scared Stiff and Prime Evil, who's also a ghost-robot- wizard . Then there's Scarechrome, who's a ghost-pirate-cyborg...and there was almost Tex Hex , a ghost-cowboy.
- Public Domain : Both series borrows a lot from classic mythology, literature, and sometimes film.
- Screeching Stop : They do this all the time, especially on their way to the Transformation Sequence .
- Silly Simian : Tracy the Gorilla is one of the heroes, while also providing some slapstick thanks to his primate nature note Tracy's presence comes from the tradition of Bowery Boys-era spook-shows, which sometimes saw a man in a gorilla suit menace the heroes .
Tropes particular to the live-action series include:
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti : The last episode featured the ghost of the Abominable Snowman.
- Birthday Episode : "A Worthless Gauze" took place on Kong's birthday and had Spenser and Tracy plan a surprise party for him.
- Black Box : Nobody understands how the Dematerializer works.
- Character as Himself : "Tracy 'trained by' Bob Burns".
- Defanged Horrors : All of the ghosts and monsters our heroes faced were severely nerfed in some way: Dr. Frankenstein is saddled with an incompetent monster; the Wolfman acts like a big puppy when transformed; the Mummy sprays dust everywhere and is deathly afraid of moths. Not so much "defanged" as "had all of their teeth pulled out."
- Demonic Dummy : The Phantom of Vaudeville had one that was not at all threatening or even scary . In a cute plot twist, the Phantom himself turned out to be the dummy, and the dummy was the Phantom .
- Disintegrator Ray : Their standard ghost-busting gadget, the Dematerializer. Amusingly, none of them really knew how it worked .
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune : Yes, that's Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch singing the opening theme.
- Eldritch Location : Two of them: the graveyard where the ghosts materialized and the nearby castle which they'd then use as their base of operations.
- The Fool : Spenser, to the point where the ghosts revolved their plans around him. For example, Dr. Frankenstein planned to make his monster more obedient by granting him the brain of "the world's most gullible fool."
- Ghostly Goals : Fulfilling these is the main motivation of the ghosts the Busters deal with. Unfortunately for all involved, said goals tend to be unethical at best and malicious at worst.
- Glamour Failure : The Witch of Salem attempts to trick Spenser using a spell to appear as a gorgeous woman, but the glamour doesn't appear to work on animals since Tracy only sees her true, ugly witch form.
- Hurricane of Puns : Dear God . Sometimes they were genuinely (so bad they were) funny; sometimes they were groan-inducing. Example: when faced with Count Dracula, Kong muses that they'll need a stake to defeat him. Tracy reaches into the Ghost Kit and produces a steak . Kong says, "No, a wooden stake ." Tracy raps against the T-bone — it is, in fact, a wooden steak .
- Jekyll & Hyde : A very weird example in the form of Jekyll and Hyde showing up as separate ghosts. Hyde is represented as a boorish caveman.
- Last-Name Basis : (Jake) Kong and (Eddie) Spenser. The former's first name wasn't even given in the original series.
- Lethal Joke Character : While the Mummy was in no way lethal , the dust he spewed from his bandages could diffuse the Dematerializer's beam. In addition, any touch from the Mummy could mummify anyone else, leading to hijinks.
- After the theme song plays, the show opens with a comedy bit at the Ghost Busters office. Spenser and Tracy will eventually do something to anger Kong, who will send them to go pick up their next assignment from Zero...
- ... along the way Tracy's atrocious driving will cause some kind of hijinks...
- ...and the message will self destruct in Tracy's face.
- Spenser trying to fight the temperamental filing cabinet to get a mission critical file. Actually factored into the Wolfman episode as the titular Wolfman tried and failed to obtain an amulet from the ever shifting drawers.
- Only One Name : Kong and Spenser usually refer to each other by last name. Kong's first name is only given in one episode, and Spenser is never actually referred to by first name. It isn't revealed until the cartoon sequel, where their sons, Jake Jr. and Eddie Jr., go by their first names instead.
- Only Sane Man : Kong is portrayed as a straight man to the more comedic and ineffectual Spenser and Tracy.
- Portrait Painting Peephole : The criminal Mr. C from "The Canterville Ghost" spies on our heroes through a portrait with eyeholes.
- Special Guest : Perhaps the best way to describe this show is Supernatural In the Style of the 1960s Batman TV show.
- Spell My Name With An S : Is it "Spencer" or "Spenser"? The opening credits have it the first way, but the door on their office has it the second way (For what it's worth, the actor whose name the gag comes from had it the first way too).
- Theatre Phantom : The villainous "Phantom of Vaudeville" and his ventriloquist dummy, Elmo, may be a reference to the Phantom, as both are masked, and, as Kong notes, "the only way to send a Phantom back is to unmask him."
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That : Zero is somehow able to respond to Spenser's remarks even though he only contacts the Ghost Busters through recorded messages.
- This Page Will Self-Destruct : Spenser and Tracy would go to a store to pick up a secret message from Zero, once the message was played, it would always blow up in Tracy's face.
- Two-Headed Coin : Spencer tries to win a coin toss with Tracy on who drives in one episode with one. Tracy wins by flipping Spencer into the wall.
- The Voice : Zero is only heard from the recorded messages informing the Ghost Busters of their assignment and never appears physically. Who he is/what he represents (Like, is there a nationwide organization of Ghost Busters and this is just one group?) is never gone into either.
- Weaksauce Weakness : A corollary to the Defanged Horrors aspect. Played with in the Phantom of Vaudeville: our heroes get rid of him by unmasking him, but this also means that the Dematerializer doesn't work on him.
- Who You Gonna Call? : Oddly enough, the original 1975 series isn't the Trope Codifier . Our heroes received messages from their boss, Mr. Zero, in a parody of Mission: Impossible .
Tropes particular to the animated series include:
- 65-Episode Cartoon : The cartoon lasted 65 episodes.
- Abnormal Ammo : The Ghost Gummer, Spectre-Snare, Bubble Blaster, Fright Freezer are all weapons with bizarre ammunition.
- Adaptational Badass / Intelligence : The fathers sure aren't the slapsticky duo they were ten years before. Kong can be seen all-but-effortlessly hefting a steel beam to make Scared Stiff crash on a mine cart — In the very first episode .
- Alliterative Name : The weapons listed above in Abnormal Ammo are all alliterations.
- All Trolls Are Different : "Father Knows Beast" has the ghost of a troll king break free of his can and plot to convert the people of Scotland into an army of trolls to conquer with. They're depicted as monstrous humanoids with disproportionate features like giant noses, hands and feet complete with warts. Tracy is even turned into one.
- Amazing Technicolor Population : The purple-skinned people of Futura's era.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude : Tracy the gorilla was a scientific genius in this series, when the original live-action show was average by human standards at best.
- Amusement Park : The episode "Rollerghoster".
- And I'm the Queen of Sheba : "Pretend Friends" has Ansabone receive a call from the President of the United States. Ansabone infers that he doesn't believe the President is who he says he is when he retorts that he is the King of Transylvania.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle : Taken somewhat to extremes, even for a Filmation property. Each episode would end with a lecture, which would then be repeated (sometimes verbatim) in the moral at the end of the episode.
- Animated Adaptation : This cartoon is based on the 1975 live action series.
- Anything but That! : The ghosts sometimes say this to Prime Evil's punishments.
- Awesome Backpack : The Ghost Packs, which commonly served as Bags of Holding .
- Bad Boss : Most of the head honcho-type ghosts are pretty abusive and harsh to their minions.
- Badass Boast : Jake gives one to Prime Evil at the end of "That's No Alien". Jake : You don't scare us, Prime Awful. We'll be ready for you past, present, or future!
- Badass Normal : John Guardian in the episode "The Looking Glass Warrior".
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal : Belfry the bat doesn't wear shoes, unlike his fully clothed siblings.
- Be Careful What You Wish For : In the Halloween Episode , Kong and Spencer recall how cute their sons were as kids and say they wouldn't mind seeing that again. By this point, though, the boys and Tracy were turned into children by a witch working for Prime Evil.
- In "Prime Evil's Good Deed," Belfry stands up for Prime Evil when Ansabone and Shock Clock make fun of the ghost. In return, when Big Evil attacks Ghost Command, Prime Evil demands that he leave Belfry alone, and even attacks Big Evil with the Bubble Blaster (said act being the good deed that restores his powers).
- In "Belfry Leads the Way", two of the mole people are spying on the Ghostbusters to determine whether they're good or evil. When one of them falls from her perch, Jake tends to her injuries, convincing her that he and his comrades are trustworthy.
- Be Yourself : The Aesop of the episode "The Way You Are" - Eddie's wish of being a smart and strong hero is granted, but upon learning that his friends are worried sick about him, he decides that he'd rather be himself than some unknown hero.
- Big Bad : Prime Evil is the main villain.
- Black Magician Girl : Apparitia and Mysteria fight using magic. Futura counts as one too, when the writers remember she's also a magic-slinger.
- Bowdlerize : One episode takes everybody back to the Salem Witch Trials. Instead of being burned at the stake or hanged, the punishment for being accused of being a witch is that the person is tarred and feathered and chased out of town.
- Bratty Half-Pint : Even if one does not regard Belfry as such, Brat-A-Rat is professedly one. Corky, Jessica's nephew, is another one of these.
- Broad Strokes : The continuity is not very consistent, both internally and with the 1975 series. For instance, Jake and Eddie's fathers the original Ghost Busters are shown to have a Sentient Vehicle of their own in "Father Knows Beast" in spite of having an ordinary car in the original live-action show, while Belfry is shown to have relatives living in present day in spite of the Five-Episode Pilot establishing that he's from 100 years in the future. Somewhat justified in that the Ghostbusters can travel through time.
- Bubble Gun : A favorite in the boys' arsenal of weapons is a gun that shoots bubbles.
- Butt-Monkey : Eddie on the 'busters' side frequently suffers misfortunes, Scared Stiff for the ghosts.
- By the Power of Grayskull! : Eddie gets one in "The Way You Are": "Stand back, creatures of darkness and night, here comes the hero of Blackstone to make all alright!"
- Chained Heat : "The Bind That Ties" sees Eddie handcuffed to the ghost of the week. Since the handcuffs were made by Tracy explicitly to use on ghosts, they're stuck with each other until Tracy can finish making a key. Through this, the two reach an understanding.
- Chekhov's Gun
- Comical Angry Face : Prime Evil often does a humorous glare whenever he's vexed at his minions' incompetence.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment : Prime Evil regularly inflicted these on his minions. He'd blast Scared Stiff to pieces, chain up Sir Trance-A-Lot and pour water on him to make him rust, force Apparitia to sew Airhead back together, or stuff Haunter into his pith helmet.
- Cool Car : The Ghost Buggy is a sentient car that can turn into a plane.
- Cool House : Ghost Command. Also Hauntquarters.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive : Mr. Smythe, the human villain in "The Battle for Ghost Command".
- Covers Always Lie : In the back cover of the 2016 DVD "Ghostbusters Prime Evil", Jessica Wray the reporter is portrayed as a Sixth Ranger to the Ghostbusters and is seen using a Ghost Dematerializer which she only used once in the episode "The Sleeping Dragon".
- Cowardly Lion : Eddie was never as eager to fight Prime Evil's minions as Jake or Tracy, but he was always there when they needed him. He was also something of a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass , as in at least one episode he wreaks so much havoc on Hauntquarters by himself that Prime Evil promises to call off his current Evil Plan if the other Ghostbusters will come and get Eddie.
- Creator Cameo : As in most other Filmation cartoons, Lou Scheimer voiced several characters, most notably Tracy the gorilla. He also voices Ansabone and Fibface.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass : Eddie. There are many episodes where he shows that he can be a good Ghostbuster, especially when Jake isn't around. Indeed, this could also be said about the ghosts, who are much the same way when Prime Evil isn't breathing down their necks.
- Crying Wolf : In "The Girl Who Cried Vampire", a young futuristic girl fakes a ghost attack to amuse herself, but it results in nobody but Eddie believing her when she says the two new people at the colony are vampires. Luckily, the other Ghostbusters realize that maybe she's telling the truth, and save the day.
- Cthulhumanoid : Mr. Squid, an Affably Evil ghost from beneath the sea. Despite his appearance, he sounds like Droopy from Tex Avery 's cartoons.
- Cyborg : Prime Evil has some cybernetics on his ghostly self, and it's presumably where the static in his voice comes from.
- A Day in the Limelight : "Father Knows Beast" for the fathers. An old enemy of theirs (Slort the troll) escapes captivity and wants revenge. With Jake and Eddie on the ropes, the original duo saddle up.
- Deadpan Snarker : Ghost Buggy was constantly making insulting remarks, usually about Tracy. Their answering machine, "Ansabone" would likewise always make some remark every time it took a message.
- Dem Bones : "Scared Stiff" was a skeletal robot ghost — and, of course, Prime Evil, at least from the neck up, was an example.
- Depending on the Writer : Lots and lots of things. For instance, in "A Friend in Need" the ghost Big Evil is Prime Evil's rival. In "Prime Evil's Good Deed" he's written as Prime Evil's boss.
- Detect Evil : Jake's ghost-sniffin' nose twitches whenever a specter is near.
- Deus ex Machina : Seemingly spoofed with Fuddy, Merlin the wizard's sidekick, who Jake can mystically ask for help during the night of the full moon. Fuddy's still an apprentice after 150 years, and Jake never gets what he asks for. Sometimes it turns out to be useful anyway, though.
- The Drag-Along : Eddie frequently tries to chicken out of missions, only for the others to drag him with them against his will.
- Dress-O-Matic : The Transformation Sequence involves one, as Jake and Eddie go through a machine that puts them into their Ghostbusters clothes.
- Early-Installment Weirdness : "Statue of Liberty" seems to have been one of the first episodes finished: The voice track sounds exactly like a recording in places (even on the DVD release!), and Apparitia's character and appearance hadn't been quite nailed down (she has an oddly Estelle Winwood -like voice rather than the Mae West characterization she usually shows). It even opens with the boys testing a "new" weapon that'd been established as existing in the first episode, before they even knew about stuff like their transformation chamber and talking car.
- Elevator Gag : Continually with the Skelevator.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome : Haunter, the "Bwitish"...er, British colonial hunter ghost. note He's also based on comedian Terry-Thomas . . Mocked by Prime Evil in one episode when Haunter claims that Prime Evil had interrupted his "midnight tea bweak". Prime Evil : TEA BWEAK??!!
- Enemy Mine : On more than one occasion do the Ghostbusters have to team up with Prime Evil to defeat an even eviler ghost, Big Evil.
- Episode Title Card : The cartoon had title cards for the episodes.
- Even Evil Has Standards : In "The Princess and the Troll" when one of Gimghoul's minions asks if he will put a spell on Princess Gwendolyn with his scepter in order to force her into marrying him, Gimghoul replies, "I find such crude methods distasteful."
- Evil Brit : Haunter, again.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good : In one episode Prime Evil has to team up with the Ghostbusters to defeat his rival, Big Evil. He can't wrap his head around the idea that they'll just help him against a bigger threat without being extorted into it, or backstabbing him while he's vulnerable, because that's what he'd do. And that's what he does.
- Evil Is Petty : Several of Prime Evil's evil plots revolve around taking out perceived sleights to his and other ghosts' image.
- Evil Overlord : Prime Evil clearly falls into the category of being a villain obsessed with conquering his opposition.
- Evil Sorcerer : Prime Evil is also a villain with magic powers.
- Brat-A-Rat is somewhat similar to Imp from She-Ra: Princess of Power , being an obnoxious, blue lackey constantly hanging around the Big Bad and mocking the underlings. However, whereas Hordak was protective of Imp, Prime Evil has no problem abusing Brat-A-Rat.
- Expressive Mask : Prime Evil's face is amazingly flexible for a skull.
- Fade Around the Eyes : At the end of the opening, Brat-a-Rat slaps Scare Stiff away and the screen fades to black, showing only his teeth as he laughs.
- Fat and Skinny : Eddie and Jake are respectively obese and thin.
- Fight Dracula : The Ghostbusters take on the infamous vampire in "Shades of Dracula".
- Five-Episode Pilot : The series began with a five-part episode.
- Flying Saucer : A fairly common feature on the show. Haunter's pith-helmet could expand to the size of a VW Beetle and function as one of these.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum : To be expected in a show where the writers basically made things up as they went along, but this even extends to the guys' signature weapons at times! For instance at the end of "Maze Caves" Scarechrome shows up and blocks the way out. Instead of just taking him out with one of their various anti-ghost guns, Jake decides the best thing to do is break off a stalagmite for an impromptu sword fight.
- Fountain of Youth : "Back to the Past" had Jake, Eddie, and Tracy made five years old as part of a scheme to scare them into not wanting to be Ghostbusters once the spell wore off and they became adults again.
- Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal : Belfry's siblings.
- Gadgeteer Genius : Tracy invents all the team's equipment. Yes, Tracy the gorilla.
- Ghost Planet : A staple of the series.
- Ghost Ship : As sailed by Long John Scarechrome.
- Ghost Town : Shows up once or twice, most notably in "Eddie Takes Charge."
- Giant Spider : Apparitia creates one to attack Belfry in "Belfry Leads the Way", complete with web.
- Goofy Print Underwear : Jake and Eddie are seen in boxers with ghost-face patterns on them in the process of the Transformation Sequence .
- Great Big Book of Everything : The Ghostbusters' Manual. Infuriatingly, it is never mentioned again after the first episode.
- Great White Hunter : Haunter is the ghost of a stereotypical British safari hunter.
- Surprisingly, averted in at least two episodes. Though oil is a plot point in each, conservation of oil isn't the aesop. Especially bizarre in the episode about a "ghost" dragon that fed on oil, was melting the North Pole, and was defeated by his fire being extinguished. That episode's aesop? A complete non sequitur about fire safety.
- "The Bind That Ties" played it straight. Construction workers are tearing down trees in a jungle for a resort, so a ghost guardian emerges and attacks them. Eddie ends up in Chained Heat with the guardian and while he does sympathize with him after learning his motives, he still chastises him for endangering lives. Eddie proposes a compromise: build the resort among the trees, so that they can be preserved, the workers can do their jobs, and any visitors can learn to appreciate trees.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal : Tracy the gorilla wears pants.
- Halloween Episode : The episode "Back to the Past" took place during Halloween.
- Haunted Headquarters : Both Ghost Command and Hauntquarters.
- Haunted House : Again, both Ghost Command and Hauntquarters.
- Haunted Technology : Nearly all the equipment in the office was some form of haunted skeleton, although the effect is much closer to Pee-wee's Playhouse than Poltergeist . The live-action series had this too, with a TV that sprayed water when a nautical-themed show came on and a filing cabinet with a mind of its own.
- Headless Horseman : Obviously, the episode "The Headless Horseman Caper." Subverted in that he isn't headless — he does have a head, but Prime Evil thought he'd be scarier if he were , so the Horseman stuck his head into his costume. When the head does pop out, it resembles a green-skinned, orange-haired Edgar Allan Poe .
- Heel�Face Turn : In "Second Chance", the Tooth Scaries change for the better and decide to stop being trouble-making punks.
- Hellevator : The Skelevator, again.
- Hoist by His Own Petard : The slimy Mr. Smythe, owner of a waste processing plant, is on the business end of this trope in '"The Battle For Ghost Command." He and his people have been illegally dumping toxic waste into the sewer that not only drives ghosts crazy with hunger but also causes the Ghostbusters' equipment to go completely haywire. When the ghosts come to eat the plant and all of its waste, all of Ghost Command's equipment (including the phone) is so thoroughly bonkers that the Ghostbuster don't learn about Smythe's situation until after they manage to clear out the waste causing the trouble. And by that time, the attacking ghosts have reduced the waste processing plant to rubble.
- Hollywood Hacking : The episode "Knight of Terror" involved this.
- Humiliation Conga : Prime Evil often suffers humiliating defeats, but "Outlaw In-Laws" might have been the worst of it. He had Belfry kidnapped in order to amplify his sonic scream so that it could be used against humanity, but then his obnoxious sister and even more obnoxious nephew arrive for a visit. They not only prevent him from completing his plan, but they reveal an embarrassing nickname to his underlings, the nephew keeps pulling pranks, and they cause Belfry to get free (which ultimately results in the bat getting into the amplifier and trashing most of Hauntquarters).
- I Choose to Stay : "The Looking-Glass Warrior" has Jessica's uncle, professional soldier John Guardian, fighting insect-like robots called Invertroids who kidnap humans into their "Lost Dimension" in order to possess their bodies and invade the Earth. In the end, John decides to stay in the Lost Dimension to explore it and prevent the Invertroids from trying to reach Earth again.
- I Don't Like You And You Don't Like Me : Never said , but certainly implied between Jake and Headless in "The Headless Horseman Caper." Justified, too: Many years ago, Headless and other ghosts caused the failure of Jake's great-grandfather's gold-mine.
- Incredible Shrinking Man : "Little Big Bat" had Prime Evil trick Belfry into using an amulet to shrink Jake, Eddie, and Tracy.
- In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race : By Futura's time it looks like "purple" has become the single ethnicity.
- In Name Only : This cartoon had no connection with the 1984 movie, though the popularity of the latter inspired the Revival of the 1975 series in animated form.
- Inept Mage : Fuddy.
- Inside a Computer System : "Cyman's Revenge".
- Intrepid Reporter : Jessica Wray.
- Jet Pack : The Ghost Packs can transform into jet packs called "Buster Thruster Packs." And no, that's not code for anything.
- The Klutz : One of Eddie's primary traits; he just keeps causing accidents left and right. This proves to be a major source of irritation for Prime Evil when Eddie is kidnapped and brought to his headquarters. Jake fully expects Eddie to cause havoc, and Eddie ultimately decides to run with it.
- Large Ham : Prime Evil, of course.
- Laughably Evil : Prime Evil and his bungling minions can be prone to humorous antics at times, Depending on the Writer .
- Leeroy Jenkins : In "Belfry Leads the Way", Belfry repeatedly charges in to get the bad guys without any preparation or backup, forcing his teammates to go after him.
- Losing Your Head : Scared Stiff often had his head fall off.
- Magic Knight : Sir Trance-A-Lot could put his opponents to sleep with his magical Trance Lance.
- Magic Music : Floatzart.
- Heroes: Prime Awful; Prime Weevil; Prime Juicehead , etc.
- Villains: Ghostbunglers; Ghostblisters; Ghostbummers, etc.
- Meaningful Name : Futura lives in the future.
- Merchandise-Driven : Subverted. Schaper's toyline didn't last as long as that of The Real Ghostbusters ; also, every single thing that was made as a toy also appeared on the show (however, several things that appeared on the show didn't make it into the toyline).
- Minion with an F in Evil : The Headless Horseman, who was so not-scary Prime Evil came up with the headless thing trying to make him moreso. He still only enjoys scaring people if it means they're having fun.
- Mirror-Cracking Ugly : In "The Princess and the Troll", the prince who's been turned into a troll at one point causes a mirror to shatter after looking at it.
- Monster of the Aesop : Occasionally subverted — an oil-drinking dragon melting the polar ice caps is not called out as a Monster of the Aesop, making it technically the subtlest Aesop in the series.
- Ms. Fanservice : Futura. And then some.
- Musical Assassin : Floatzart, again.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands : There are a ton of gimmicks at the heroes' disposal which activate more or less at random and have somewhat unpredictable effects (invisibility also conferring immateriality, for instance). The most powerful and reliable weapons — like a ghostbusting tactical nuke — only show up once.
- Nerf : The Dematerializer is a bit downgraded from its original form, since it has zero effect on certain ghosts (namely Prime Evil) and the Busters also deal with living or inorganic villains working with the ghosts from time to time.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot : Most if not all of the ghosts are mashups of one or more different concepts.
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup : Tracy's inventions are so unique that it's impossible to recreate them. Originally, this was to have been the case for the Dematerializer, but in the series proper, all three Ghostbusters carry Dematerializers!
- Non-Human Sidekick : Belfry the bat (and a boatload of haunted appliances) fills the position of a sidekick of a different species for the heroes, Brat-A-Rat for the villains.
- No-Sell : This is why Just Shoot Him doesn't work on Prime Evil. The Busters try using the Dematerializer on him in their first encounter, but he ignores the shot entirely.
- Old Faithful : Featured in "Belfry Leads the Way". During their attempt to conquer a race of mole people who live underground, Prime Evil and Apparitia wind up standing directly beneath the geyser. The Ghostbusters defeat Prime Evil by maneuvering him into getting caught up in the blast. Also used as the setting for Belfry's Aesop epilogue.
- Our Ghosts Are Different : The "ghosts" included a werewolf ghost and a robot ghost. Most of the enemy "ghosts" behaved an awful lot like corporeal monsters or regular animals, such as dinosaur "ghosts" and a few dragon "ghosts."
- Outside-Context Problem : The villains in "The Looking-Glass Warrior" are robots instead of ghosts, so the Dematerializer has no effect on them.
- A Pirate 400 Years Too Late : The Ghostbusters had to deal with the likes of Long-John Scarechrome, a cross between this and a Space Pirate . Heck, any ghostly pirates seen in the show embodied this trope.
- Plot-Driven Breakdown : The Dematerializer could take out most of the villains with one shot, which became a little problematic with the Genre Shift from slapstick -comedy more to action -comedy. For that reason it tended to get broken, lost or flat-out forgotten so all the problems weren't resolved in thirty seconds. Moreover, what it did and didn't work on was kind of fuzzy. Generally if a villain were one of the main group of bad guys, he could be dematerialized (Fangster and Scared-Stiff, werewolf and robot respectively, are both ghosts). If the villain were a non-ghost and showed up only once, he was safe. Prime Evil was an exception, as he was simply too powerful for the Dematerializer's blasts to affect.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad : Prime Evil's "Usual Gang of Idiots".
- Reasonable Authority Figure : The Ghostbusters to most of the kids (and quite a few fellow adults) on the show. If their parents say "there's no such thing as ghosts," they know instinctively that there are grownups who know that ghosts exist and will take them seriously. Interestingly, the Filmation and Columbia Pictures franchises share this in common: in the '84 movie, the police turn a possessed Louis over to the Ghostbusters.
- Reformed, but Rejected : In "The White Whale", Time Hopper initially refuses to see Captain Ahab as anything but an evil ghost, even though he has long set aside his grudge with Moby Dick and become friends with the whale. She comes around eventually.
- Retired Badass : After the Five-Episode Pilot , Kong and Spencer have left the business to their sons, but on occasion, they show they still have their busting chops.
- Reused Character Design : The vampires Victor and Vampra from "The Girl Who Cried Vampire" are blatant reuses of the character designs for Drac and Bella La Ghostly from Sabrina and The Groovie Goolies . Drac's bat transformations from Groovy Ghoulies are reused as well.
- Revival : This cartoon was a continuation of 1975 series, more or less.
- Rube Goldberg Device : As featured in the Transformation Sequence . Tracy was also fond of these.
- San Dimas Time : Seems to be in effect, if only because there's only one "future" the heroes routinely travel to.
- The series begins with Prime Evil being trapped in a cave by our heroes after encountering Eddie, Jake, and their fathers. After being stuck there for 100 years, he tricks Belfry into releasing him and starts using time travel to plan his revenge against our heroes.
- "Father Knows Beast" has a boy in Scotland accidentally free a ghostly troll king named Slort, who had been imprisoned in an urn by Jake and Eddie's fathers 40 years prior to the episode's events.
- Secret Legacy
- Sentient Vehicle : Both Ghost Buggy and Time Hopper.
- Sequel Series : The cartoon is a continuation of the 1975 live-action series.
- Serious Business : For Prime Evil the idea that humans can derive pleasure from being scared is enough to make him fly of the handle of the Hauntquarters and short-circuit. For him fear should be genuine submission and only a means of enforcement and domination.
- Shout-Out : The Ghostbuggy's overall shape, red paint job and incessant backbiting and bellyaching owes more than a passing debt to My Mother the Car . Its transformations, though, are pure Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .
- Sick and Wrong : There's an episode in which Prime Evil must do one good deed in order to gain his powers back. Upon hearing this, he muses, "How disgusting."
- Sidekick Ex Machina : The Ghostbusters would be completely screwed without Tracy around.
- SkeleBot 9000 : Scared Stiff — and Prime Evil, at least from the neck up, resemble skeletal robots.
- Sonic Scream : Belfry's "Belfry Blast".
- A literal one in the form of an episode featuring the ghosts of Captain Ahab and Moby-Dick , who had become friends in the afterlife. Y'know, 'cause Moby-Dick is now... a ''space whale''.
- Spin-Offspring : Two of the protagonists (Jake Kong Junior and Eddie Spencer Junior) are sons of protagonists (Jake Kong Senior and Eddie Spencer Senior) of the series it spun from.
- Stable Time Loop : In "Frights of the Roundtable", the Ghostbusters borrow Excalibur from King Arthur . In "The Secret of Mastodon Valley", they go back to prehistoric times. In order to defeat the Ghost of the Missing Link, they place the sword in a mountainside to cause an avalanche. In doing so, the Ghostbusters accidentally place the sword in the stone that King Arthur pulls it from.
- Status Quo Is God : The Ghostbusters get rid of evil spirits with a gun called the Dematerializer that sends ghosts to limbo...for a while, so they can be back whenever another script calls for them to be around.
- Stealth Pun : Jessica's last name is Wray, and she's the Love Interest for Jake Kong . Not only that, one of the other major characters is a gorilla.
- Stock Footage : Footage of minor scenes are frequently reused. The Transformation Chamber sequence is a particularly notable example.
- Suddenly Speaking : Tracy still never gets out a proper sentence, but in this show he can suddenly manage to growl out a basic "no problem" or "okey dokey".
- The Stool Pigeon : The posture that is most often seen employed by Brat-a-Rat is pointing with his pointer finger towards whoever of the unfortunate souls of his cohorts, that managed to upset Prime Evil in some way.
- Surrounded by Idiots : Prime Evil's minions probably became ghosts because they were Too Dumb to Live .
- Talking the Monster to Death : One of Jake's favorite tactics when fighting a villain too powerful to just zap away: taunting them until they get so mad they make some kind of fatal mistake.
- Team Pet : Belfry the bat serves as a mascot of sorts for the heroes.
- Taken for Granite : "The Sleeping Dragon" featured a dragon with stone soldiers who turned people to stone. Medusa of course also does this when she shows up in "A Friend in Need".
- Tempting Fate : "He Went Brataway" had Brat-A-Rat lie to the others about being left in charge while Prime Evil was away, which led to (among other things) a good chunk of their base being destroyed. When Scared Stiff explained what happened, Prime Evil left to go punish Brat-A-Rat. Scared Stiff expresses relief for not getting abused for once, only for Prime Evil to come back and zap him for listening to Brat-A-Rat in the first place.
- Time Travel : A recurring plot point thanks to Futura, the purple-skinned Ghostbuster from the future, and her Time Hopper vehicle is that the heroes travel through time.
- Timey-Wimey Ball : Time travel is safe, common, and highly resilient to change. Traveling back or forward in time is about as casual as going out of country. This is all because the Ghostbusters are paranormal gunslingers: they show up, get rid of the ghost, and get back to their normal time period before they can do any damage.
- Title Theme Tune : The complete lyrics: "Let's go, Ghostbusters! Let's go! Let's go, Let's go!"
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth : Prime Evil kidnaps Eddie to use as bait to trap Jake and Tracy. Jake, however, knowing Eddie very well, decides not to act. At Hauntquarters, Eddie's natural klutziness causes severe problems for all the inhabitants there. It got so bad that Prime Evil wound up calling Jake and begging him to take Eddie back. note This is similar to the She-Ra episode "Flowers for Hordak", where Hordak kidnaps Cloud Cuckoo Lander Perfuma, and ultimately begs the Great Rebellion to take her back.
- Transformation Sequence : The boys getting on their ghostbusting gear. One of Filmation's favorite methods for avoiding new animation, and pretty long even for them; unedited the sequence lasted over a minute and a half in a show with 22-minute episodes. Mind you, it was a pretty kickass sequence.
- Transforming Mecha : The Ghost Buggy, aka GB.
- Undying Loyalty : When Big Evil briefly overthrew Prime Evil, Haunter was the only one to stand with his old boss. Puns aside, considering Haunter's the only rival Scared Stiff has for sheer volume of Bad Boss abuse, that's pretty impressive.
- Verbal Tic : Prime Evil punctuates his speech with what sounds like radio static.
- Villain Respect : At the end of the Five-Episode Pilot , Prime Evil begrudgingly admits that the boys are worthy adversaries. Of course, it makes him hate them even more.
- Villainous Breakdown : Prime Evil tends to fly into a rage whenever his plans go south.
- Villains Act, Heroes React : A standard approach for shows like these: villains hatch a scheme, protagonists find out about it and try to stop it. "Witch's Stew" sees Prime Evil actively trying to exploit this. He sets up a haunting solely to lure the team into a trap so that he can steal and destroy the Dematerializer.
- Vocal Dissonance : Prime Evil is a powerful cybernetic sorcerer ghost, but his voice sounds more like Dan Backslide 's senile father than anything intimidating.
- Voice Changeling : Belfry's cousin Beauregard is able to imitate people's voices. He demonstrates this by mimicking Prime Evil's voice in "Country Cousin" and Jake Kong's voice in "Whither Why".
- Walking Shirtless Scene : Tracy never wears a shirt.
- What the Hell Is That Accent? : Count Dracula's accent in "Shades of Dracula" wavers between Transylvanian and Italian.
- Worth It : When Prime Evil's sister dropped by for a visit, an annoying nickname for him ("Itchy") was revealed. Scared Stiff laughed himself silly and used the nickname to Prime Evil's face. He got blasted to pieces, but he said it was absolutely worth it. It's the happiest he ever was in any episode.
- Wrong Genre Savvy : In "Father Knows Beast", Slort wants revenge against the Ghostbusters, but Jake and Eddie have no idea who he is. Because time travel is so frequent on this show, Jake initially thinks they've fought him at some point in the future, and he's come back for revenge. It's only when told Slort fought the Ghostbusters decades ago that Jake realizes he means their fathers.
- "YEAH!" Shot : The heroes do this on a regular basis.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are : Eddie often has to learn not to sell himself short.
- You Don't Look Like You : Eddie and Jake's fathers are supposed to be Spenser and Kong from the original live-action series, but they have some noticeable inconsistencies in appearances. For instance, their clothes are completely different colors, Kong, Sr. has an 8 on his shirt instead of a 5 note the symmetrical 8 allowed animators to "flip" Kong's cels and thereby cut down on having to redraw him , and they both look a bit younger than they did in the live-action show.
- You Have Failed Me : Prime Evil says this to his flunkies quite often . He also acts on it on a regular basis, whether by blasting Scared Stiff to pieces or stuffing Haunter into his Pith Helmet.
- You No Take Candle : Air-Head Mummy talk this way.
- You Will Be Spared : Two kids unwittingly release a ghost bent on revenge against the family of one of them. He spares the kid as thanks.
Futura in the pillory.
Filmation's Ghostbusters has a scene with a pillory.
Example of: Stock Punishment
Alternative Title(s): The Ghost Busters , Filmations Ghostbusters
- She-Ra: Princess of Power
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- Dude, That's My Ghost!
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- The Fairly OddParents!
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How well does it match the trope?
What’s the Difference between Ghostbusters and 'The Real Ghostbusters?
By kara kovalchik | sep 13, 2016.
Two animated series, both debuting in 1986, both containing the title of the hit 1984 movie. Potato, potahto, just two quickie attempts to cash in on a popular franchise, right? Not so fast.
Turns out that the concept of bustin’ spooky spirits dates all the way back to 1975, when Filmation produced a live action Saturday morning series called The Ghost Busters that ran for one season on CBS. It starred F-Troop pals Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch as a pair of bumbling detectives named Kong and Spenser who traveled the world hunting ghosts with the aid of Tracy the Gorilla.
Columbia Pictures paid Filmation $500,000 plus a promise of 1 percent of the profits to use the name “Ghostbusters” for their 1984 Bill Murray film, but thanks to Hollywood-style accounting, despite grossing $165 million at the box office, the movie failed to turn a profit. Feeling duped, Filmation quickly turned out an animated version of their 1975 show, using the same characters (Kong, Spenser and Tracy the Gorilla) and called it Ghostbusters .
Meanwhile, Columbia produced its own cartoon series using the characters from the movie and, to emphasize the official-ness of the project, entitled it The Real Ghostbusters . (It made its debut 30 years ago, on September 13, 1986.)
Columbia had deeper pockets than Filmation, and their series was accompanied by a line of toys and a team of lawyers. A series of legal volleys ensued, and the Filmation project was discontinued after 65 episodes, while The Real Ghostbusters ran for seven seasons.
The Complete History Of The Real Ghostbusters, The Animated Series You Probably Forgot About
When it comes to beloved pop culture staples, 1984's "Ghostbusters" is right up there, a film with a little bit of everything. The Ivan Reitman-helmed horror-comedy spawned sequels and an extended franchise that has seen a few new feature film entries in recent years. Even before those, "Ghostbusters" remained a consistent presence in the public consciousness thanks to its memorable characters and catchy theme tune. For some children who grew up in the 1980s, their first exposure to the world of the Ghostbusters was the animated series "The Real Ghostbusters."
Released in 1986, "The Real Ghostbusters" follows Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston as they embark on madcap supernatural adventures. Along for the ride is secretary Janine Melnitz and Slimer, a gross little specter who essentially operates as the gang's pet and mascot. This crowd-pleasing cartoon was a wild ride at times, but, for as vibrant and captivating as it could be, the history behind "The Real Ghostbusters" is just as interesting. So grab your proton packs because this is the complete history of "The Real Ghostbusters," the animated series you probably forgot about.
It's called The Real Ghostbusters because of two guys and their ape
You might be wondering why the "Ghostbusters" cartoon was called "The Real Ghostbusters" and not "Ghostbusters: The Animated Series" or something like that. It probably has something to do with the fact that CBS produced a live-action kids show called "The Ghost Busters" in the 1970s. "The Ghost Busters" follows two paranormal investigators and their gorilla companion as they hunt and deal with ghouls, using their Ghost De-Materializer to send them back to the netherworld. Columbia had already started shooting "Ghostbusters" when it found out about this, and a number of less-catchy alternatives were considered, including "Ghoststoppers" and "Ghostbreakers." The issue still hadn't been settled when it came to filming a scene in which members of the public chant "Ghostbusters" in the street. "I got on a payphone and called Burbank and said, 'You guys have got to clear that name,'" producer Joe Medjuck told Vanity Fair .
The name belonged to a production company called Filmation, who allowed Columbia to keep the name "Ghostbusters" in exchange for $500,000 and 1% of the profits. They didn't think to include potential animated spin-offs in the discussion, and when "Ghostbusters" became a hit, both Columbia and Filmation decided to make cartoons based on their properties. Filmation founder Lou Scheimer told The Trades that he wanted to team-up with Columbia to make a cross-over, but he couldn't get enough support. "Our parent company then, Westinghouse, said, 'Oh, we don't need them.' And I said, 'Bad idea. I think we need them. Because they'll have one, we'll have one, and nobody will know what's going on.' And as it turned out, that's essentially what happened."
It was almost more like the movie
During the development of "The Real Ghostbusters," a short test film was made to provide a sample of what the series would be. This isn't an uncommon practice in the world of animation. The test short for "Batman: The Animated Series" has all the hallmarks that the show would become beloved for and the design of Batman doesn't change. That's not the case with the "Ghostbusters" cartoon. Clocking in at about four minutes, the test short for "The Real Ghostbusters" is a bit different from the eventual series.
The short sees the boys contend with a bunch of different ghouls, with appearances from previously established ghosts like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and the franchise's eventual mascot Slimer. It also showcases some new ghosts and creatures that the series would feature via its monster-of-the-week format. The feeling of the eventual series is there, but the main difference between the short and the show is that the Ghostbusters all look different from each other in the final product.
Rather than all wearing beige, the Ghostbusters wear clothing of various shades, presumably to help younger viewers tell them apart. The designs were all just different enough that they were distinct from their live-action variants. One major change is animated Egon having blonde hair. There is also Winston's lack of a mustache, and Venkman's lack of resemblance to Bill Murray .
Some of the voice cast still get fan mail
An animated series lives and dies on the quality of the voice acting. In the case of "The Real Ghostbusters," producers assembled a talented team of actors for the main cast. Providing the voice for Ray Stanz and Slimer, as well as countless other ghouls on the show, was the voice acting veteran Frank Welker, perhaps best known for his portrayal as Megatron on "Transformers." Next up, we have Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters' snarky secretary, voiced here by Laura Summer, best known as Patamon from "Digimon Adventure." According to Melnitz, she simply copied her mother's New York accent. "It wasn't as extreme as Janine's but she really spoke like that, so it was a very easy slip for me," she told Source Elements .
Stepping into the boots of Winston Zeddemore was talk show host and comedy legend Aresnio Hall. Then we have Maurice LaMarche, the man behind the Brain from "Pinky and the Brain," as the Ghostbusters' resident tech whizz Egon Spengler. According to LaMarche, he still gets fan mail from viewers all these years later. It has "tremendous staying power," he said in an interview included on the DVD release of "The Real Ghostbusters." The actor believes the show is living on because people who were kids at the time are now showing it to their own children and reliving their childhoods in the process. Last but certainly not least is Lorenzo Music — the animated voice of Garfield — as Peter Venkman.
The toy line was a big part of the show's success
You can't talk about "The Real Ghostbusters" without discussing the successful toy line. The 1980s saw a tsunami of cartoon-inspired action figures, dolls, and play sets. From "Transformers" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" to "My Little Pony," there were a number of popular franchises in the toy stores. Back then, toy sales were a huge deal for a franchise. "Television programs that feature heroes and villains drawn from the toy-store shelf or developed in conjunction with the marketing of toys, once banned by Federal regulations, are booming in the free-market era of the current Federal Communications Commission," The New York Times reported in 1986. "Mattel's 'He-Man' line of toys, for example, featured in its own television series, brought in an estimated $350 million in sales last year."
Among these successful brands were the toys produced by Kenner for "The Real Ghostbusters," which were just as creative as the show itself. Today, the action figures and proton pack play sets are collectors items and can fetch thousands of dollars on the market. A can of colored ectoplasm in mint condition will set you back $2,000, per Good Find Toys . Kenner's "The Real Ghostbusters" toy line is remembered so fondly that Hasbro decided to bring it back in 2021. Its so-called Ghostbusters Kenner Classics line debuted with six figures: Peter, Ray, Winston, Egon, the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and, of course, Slimer.
Changes to Janine's design caused some behind the scenes drama
In the late 1980s, ABC was keen to compete in the kids market, and the network wanted to make sure it was getting the most out of its cartoons. Execs turned to the Q5 Corporation, a consultancy firm that used cold, hard data to inform marketing decisions. They decided that Janine was not child-friendly enough, and the character got a major overhaul. Initially, the Ghostbusters' secretary was presented in a very mature way, with decade-appropriate hair, pointy glasses, and a feisty attitude. Come Season 3, gone were her sharp glasses and more angular hair, replaced by a softer and more gentle design. The new design was "warmer" according to Jennie Trias, ABC's vice president of children's programs, but not everyone agreed with the changes.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 1987, story editor J. Michael Straczynski said that Q5 wanted them to "knock off all the corners" when it came to Janine's look. "Janine was a strong, vibrant character. They wanted her to be more feminine, more maternal, more nurturing, like every other female on television." He went on to call Q5 "a truly insidious organization" and accused it of making tone deaf decisions. "I think they reinforce stereotypes — sexist and racist. I think they are not helping television, they are diminishing it." Straczynski has not softened his stance over the years. In 2018, he went into more detail about Q5's overhaul of Janine in a tweet , claiming that the character's iconic pointy glasses were axed because the firm's research showed that sharp things scared kids. "I said show me your data. They fell back on High Priest logic, PhDs etc."
Some voice actors were swapped out
Going hand-in-hand with her Q5-ordered redesign, Janine's original voice actor Laura Summer was replaced with Kath Soucie, the woman behind Maddie Fenton on "Danny Phantom" and Mom from "Dexter's Laboratory." Janine's transformation was so jarring that the writers of the show came up with an episode titled "Janine, You've Changed." The episode provides an in-universe explanation for Janine's altered voice and appearance. It's revealed that Janine had been using a fairy godmother — later revealed to be an evil entity — to change her looks via supernatural means.
Janine wasn't the only character who was voiced by more than one actor over the course of the show's seven seasons. Venkman's voice actor Lorenzo Music was swapped out for David Coulier from "Full House" fame toward the end of Season 2 (Coulier later reprised the role in "Extreme Ghostbusters"). Winston also had a change in voice actor, going from Arsenio Hall to Buster Jones in Season 4. Jones also played Blaster on "Transformers," making him an important figure in '80s pop culture.
Slimer takes centerstage
Alongside the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, Slimer is the most recognizable ghost in the "Ghostbusters" canon by a wide margin. Speaking to Bloody Disgusting , special effects artist Steve Johnson confirmed that the Slimer seen in the film was inspired by the late John Belushi. The role of Venkman was written for Belushi, but he died before the film was made. His friends on the cast thought that this would be a great way to honor him, even if it meant a total overhaul at the last minute for Johnson. "I'd been working for six months sculpting hundreds of Slimer variations, and they finally said, 'Make him look more like Belushi,' and I said, 'What the f*** are you talking about?'"
It might have sounded like an odd request, but it was clearly the right call, as viewers reacted well to Slimer and the green ghost quickly became the unofficial mascot of the franchise. Slimer's increased popularity led to progressively more screen time dedicated to him on "The Real Ghostbusters," especially in the show's later seasons. The show cemented this elevated status by changing its name to "Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters" in Season 4. This new name and format brought with it an additional 30-minute segment that usually had three short Slimer cartoons in it.
The creators were given a lot of freedom at first
In the early days of "The Real Ghostbusters," the creative team had a lot of freedom when it came to the content of the show, which was part of the appeal for them. "I loved it enormously, because it was really an opportunity to cut loose and be very obscure, to bring all the classics of science fiction, fantasy, and horror to a genre for kids," writer and editor J. Michael Straczynski told IGN , adding that he even touched upon some serious topics in his episodes. "I did stories about child abuse, and more serious stories about older characters — it was great. It was a great opportunity."
This all changed when ABC brought in consultants who advised against anything even remotely edgy — and we're not just talking about Janine's glasses. All the characters needed to have "identifiable roles," Straczynski explained. "Peter is the con-man, Egon is the brains, Ray is the builder, and they said, 'Make Winston the driver.' Winston being the Black guy." Straczynski refused to go along with this and threatened to walk away if the powers that be failed to side with him. They were adamant about the changes, and Straczynski made good on his threat, walking away from his beloved show. "I always tell people that when I work for them, I have very few rules: I don't lie, I don't bulls***, and I never ever bluff. If I say I'm going to go, I'm going to go."
If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services .
There's a lesser-known sequel series
"The Real Ghostbusters" went off the air in 1991, leaving the animated part of the franchise dormant for over half a decade. In 1997, a new animated series called "Extreme Ghostbusters" came out, a spin-off from "The Real Ghostbusters" that followed the next generation of busters. In "Extreme Ghostbusters," we learn that the original Ghostbusters team is no more, having gone their separate ways following the end of the original show. The firehouse is abandoned aside from Egon, who has remained to take care of Slimer, monitor the containment unit and teach a class about the supernatural at a local NYC college.
When there's a surge of ghostly activity in the city, Egon recruits four of his students to be the new Ghostbusters. The new squad includes an occult expert named Kylie Griffin, a burnout named Eduardo Rivera, a paraplegic athlete named Garrett Miller, and a tech whiz named Roland Jackson. Sadly the series didn't last beyond one season, but it is still remembered as a curious time capsule of the late-90s.
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Ghostbusters: the animated series, common sense media reviewers.
Lesser-known spook 'toon has some merit for kids.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show intends to entertain rather than to educa
The Ghostbusters use teamwork to execute their pla
It's easy to distinguish the good guys from th
Ghostbusters use a variety of weapons to eliminate
Female characters are shapely and well endowed, an
Rarely phrases like "Shut your snout."
Parents need to know that Ghostbusters: The Animated Series is inspired by characters from the 1975 live-action series The Ghost Busters and is not related to the popular movie series or The Real Ghostbusters , its sister cartoon series. Character details aside, the premise is fairly…
The show intends to entertain rather than to educate, but its changing settings introduce kids to mythology and history with stints at the Salem Witch Trials, Camelot, and ancient Rome, among others.
The Ghostbusters use teamwork to execute their plans against the ghosts, but they often succeed despite bumbling Eddie's mistakes and cowardice. Courage and quick thinking are shown to be more important than a person's (or animal's) size or strength.
Positive Role Models
It's easy to distinguish the good guys from the bad by their actions. Prime Evil and his crew are out for control and manipulation, while the heroes put others' needs before their own and typically act unselfishly.
Violence & Scariness
Ghostbusters use a variety of weapons to eliminate ghosts, including a gun that ensnares them in ropes, one that makes them disappear, and another that "dematerializes" them, or sends them to another dimension. For their part, the ghosts fight back with electric shock, bombs, and mind control. Prime Evil has a nefarious plot to control the world and everyone in it, but his repeated failures prove more comical than scary.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female characters are shapely and well endowed, and their figures are accentuated by clingy dresses with plunging necklines and, in one case, a skimpy leotard costume.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghostbusters: The Animated Series is inspired by characters from the 1975 live-action series The Ghost Busters and is not related to the popular movie series or The Real Ghostbusters , its sister cartoon series. Character details aside, the premise is fairly predictable: Paranormal hunters wage war on a squad of ghosts out to take over the world. Both sides use force and some weapons, including explosives, guns that entrap or disintegrate their targets (who are said to have gone to another dimension), and, in the case of the ghosts, some unique skills like shooting shock waves from their hands. None of the violence is bloody or graphic, and victims even quip about their fate to the very end, so most kids won't be bothered by it. Female characters' curvaceous bodies are shown off by their skimpy and clingy attire, but they hold their own among the men. On the upside, the series incorporates touches of mythology, history, and science through the characters' time travels, which find them in places like Transylvania, ancient Rome, and Camelot.
Where to Watch
- Parents say (1)
Based on 1 parent review
Curious Geogre goes to Ohio to defeat the cockroach king
What's the story.
In GHOSTBUSTERS: THE ANIMATED SERIES, friends Jake (voiced by Pat Fraley ) and Eddie ( Peter Cullen ) shoulder the responsibilities of hunting spooks when their dads decide to retire from the trade. The partners travel through time in their Ghost Buggy (Fraley again) with their pet gorilla, Tracy (Lou Scheimer), to thwart the evil plans of a villainous ghost wizard named Prime Evil ( Alan Oppenheimer ). They're joined by news reporter Jessica ( Susan Blu ), Belfry the kindly bat (Blu again), and the mysterious and powerful Futura (Blu again), as well as new friends they make in the places and times they visit.
Is It Any Good?
First, let's talk about what this series isn't . It's not associated with the well-known movies starring Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray , it's not related to the longer-running (and presumably more popular) cartoon featuring those movies' characters, and it's not a real thriller. The protagonists are a little goofy, the inclusion of a full-size gorilla sidekick is a little strange, and the villains' chronic ineptitude is suspect. That said, none of this should come as a surprise given that the series is a remake of a '70s show –- and a live-action one of that -- of the same grain.
But here's what the show is. It is devoid of any violence that's likely to upset your kids, thanks to weapons that usually shoot ropes or make their targets disappear. Even mildly tense moments are offset by droll one-liners that further lighten the mood. It's also a passable illustration of how looks can be deceiving, since the characters (both good and bad) come in all shapes and sizes but contribute to their cause in unique ways. And finally, it is a creative platform for introducing kids to the concepts of history and mythology, thanks to the characters travels back in time.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about why we like shows about ghosts and monsters. Is it fun to be scared a little by the shows and movies we watch? Which of these characters were the scariest to you?
How do the Ghostbusters conquer their fears? What drives them to do this job in particular? How does their work help people? Who in your community has a similarly helpful job?
If your kids have seen the series or movies with the "other" Ghostbusters characters, talk about how the two sets compare. Was either team more successful than the other? If so, what accounts for this difference? How did their supernatural partners contribute to the effort? Which set of characters is your favorite?
- Premiere date : September 8, 1986
- Cast : Alan Oppenheim , Pat Fraley , Peter Cullen
- Network : Hulu
- Genre : Kids' Animation
- Topics : History , Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires , Space and Aliens
- TV rating : TV-Y7
- Last updated : September 19, 2019
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