My memory of Saturday Morning Cartoons gets a bit fuzzy at times. Every time I have to choose one to write about, I take a stroll down memory lane. This week I am going to try and remember a wonderful cartoon called The Real Ghostbusters.
The Real Ghostbusters began in September of 1986 as an animated spin off of the 1984 film, Ghostbusters. You may be asking yourself, well why not just call the show Ghostbusters? Unfortunately, in the animated world, there was already a show that was using the name.
The Dueling Ghostbusters
In 1975, Filmation had a live-action show called The Ghost Busters. Wikipedia describes that live-action show as “[a] situation comedy that ran in 1975, about a team of bumbling detectives who would investigate ghostly occurrences”. The show’s main comedic element stemmed from the fact that one of the trio of detectives was a gorilla named Tracy.
Columbia Pictures paid Filmation for the rights to use the name Ghostbusters for the 1984 film. However, both Columbia Pictures and Filmation were looking to make animated shows based on these two properties. Since Filmation owned the original rights, they named their show Ghostbusters.
Due to the success of the 1984 film, Columbia Pictures decided that they would counter that by naming their show The Real Ghostbusters. The Filmation show lasted 65 episodes, but the Columbia one went on for 144 episodes. So it does appear The Real Ghostbusters won that one.
The Real Ghostbusters
The Real Ghostbusters aired from September 1986 until September of 1992. Following the 1984 movie, the show focused on the four busters of ghosts Egon, Ray, Peter and Winston. Also in almost every episode was the receptionist Janine and the team’s unwanted mascot Slimer.
Much like the film the show was based upon, the cartoon followed the four Ghostbusters as they chase and capture rogue spirits. Most of the show is still set in New York and several of the sights from the film are there to be seen. Slimer was added to the show as a mascot for two reasons in my opinion. The first reason is because he obviously helped sell the toys. What child wouldn’t like getting a Slimer with some actual slime? The second reason is that he helped add to the humour of the show. The continuous banter between Slimer and Peter made for some fun episodes.
Slimer! And The Real Ghostbusters
At the start of the fourth season, the show was actually renamed Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters. The show took up a one-hour time slot and would air a 30-minute episode of the main show followed by a 30-minute sub show entitled Slimer!
Slimer had become so popular, that they felt they could get another show out of the property. The sub-series, Slimer! managed to last 33 episodes. As a fan of the show, I did enjoy the travels to the Ghost World with Slimer. However, since I was also a huge fan of the original movie, I definitely preferred the ghost busting part of the show more.
Memories Of The Show
I think my favourite moments of the show were when there was almost a direct tie in to the movie. There were a few episodes where we got to see the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man for instance. I also remember seeing the Walter Peck character from the film who shut down the containment unit in the movie. In season five of the show, they even added Louis Tully thanks to Ghostbusters II.
My absolute favourite memory and moment of the show though came when they actually had Janine put on the proton pack and bust some ghosts. It still makes me smile remembering just how bad ass she was.
Who’s That Voice
The voice acting on the show was pretty good, but did go through some changes as the show went on. The man who did the most on the show was Frank Welker who took on the roles of Ray Stantz, Slimer, Stay Puft, Mayor Lenny and several more. Peter Venkman had two voice actors; in the first two seasons, Peter was voiced by legendary Garfield voice actor Lorenzo Music. After the second season, Lorenzo was replaced by Dave Coulier.
Maurice LaMarche was the voice of Egon throughout the entire run of the series. Winston Zeddemore was another character who had two voice actors. For the first three seasons Arsenio Hall voiced the character, but in season four Buster Jones took over Winston. Janine also had the voice change for her character. Laura Summer voiced Janine for the first two seasons before the role was given to Kath Soucie.
I really enjoyed watching the show, probably built out of my fandom for the original film. The Real Ghostbusters never failed to entertain me. Slimer was a favourite of mine of course, but Egon and Ray were always two characters I enjoyed watching. Of course, it helped Ray Stantz that he shared the same name as me. I also liked that the show used the famous Ray Parker Jr. song for it’s opening theme.
Have you watched The Real Ghostbusters? What did you think of the show? Have you ever seen the other Ghostbusters show that was airing? Did one show do better in your opinion than the other? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.