Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Cartoon Historian Lesson 17: The Real Ghostbusters

Welcome to the Cartoon Historian. As you remember,I did a lesson about Filmations Ghostbusters aka the Other Ghostbusters. Well,Today I'm gonna be talking about the more popular Ghostbusters series.

It's The Real Ghostbusters on the Cartoon Historian.

As you know,The Real Ghostbusters is an animated series based on the 1984 film. The series ran from 1986 to 1991, and was produced by Columbia Pictures Television and DiC Entertainment.

"The Real" was added to the title after a dispute with Filmation and its Ghost Busters properties. See my 'Filmation Ghostbusters' episode for more details.

The series continues the adventures of paranormal investigators Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, Dr. Ray Stantz,their secretary Janine Melnitz and,of course,Slimer. The Ghostbusters job is to hunt down and capture rogue spirits around New York and various other areas of the world.

A short pilot episode was produced, but never aired in full. The full four minute promo was released on Time Life's DVD set in 2008. Scenes of the pilot can be seen in TV promos that aired prior to the beginning of the series.

In the promo pilot,the Ghostbusters wore the beige jumpsuits that they wore in the film instead of the different color jumpsuits they'd wear in the finished series. Also,the character design for Peter Venkman bore more of a resemblance to actor Bill Murray than the character design seen in the finished series.

When he auditioned for the voice of Egon Spengler, Maurice LaMarche, noted that while he was asked not to impersonate Harold Ramis, he did so anyway and eventually got the part.

LaMarche also noted that Bill Murray complained that Lorenzo Music's voice of Peter Venkman sounded more like Garfield (who was also voiced by Lorenzo Music at the time). Ironically,Bill would provide the voice for Garfield in the 2006 Live-Action movie.

Ernie Hudson was the only actor from the films who auditioned to play his character in the series. However,the role was given to Arsenio Hall instead. Yes,it's That Arsenio Hall.

Anyway,the character designs by Jim McDermott were dramatically redesigned from the way the same characters looked in the movie.

It's also worth noting that at the same time The Real Ghostbusters was being created, Filmation was making their Ghostbusters Cartoon.

Although the Cartoon series differed from the movie,many tie-ins from the films can be seen. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man made numerous appearances including in the intro. During the third season, Walter Peck, the Environmental Protection Agency antagonist from the original film,also reappeared.

The uniforms and containment unit were redesigned, and Slimer was changed from a bad ghost to the ghostbusters goofy sidekick. How Slimer made the change was explained in the episode "Citizen Ghost",as The episode explains what happened to the Ghostbusters right after the 1st movie's events.

Gozer is also mentioned repeatedly throughout the series, usually in comparison to a ghost they are currently battling.

In the second season, some of the character designs were modified. Ray was slimmed down and Slimer was given a tail instead of the formerly rounded bottom.

The biggest change,however,was to Janine, whose hair was completely changed from being short and spiky to long and straight. Her overall design was softened,as was her personality. Her voice was also softened with Kath Soucie taking over the voice role from Laura Summer.

At the start of the series' third season in 1988,the series was retitled to "Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters". The opening was completely redone to center around Slimer.

Eventually the episodes were expanded from their original half-hour format to last an hour. The show's feel was also changed to be more light-hearted.

When Ghostbusters II was released,the character of Louis Tully was introduced to the show, with his voice provided by Rodger Bumpass. Later episodes referenced events from the film.

With the departure of writer J. Michael Straczynski, more changes were made. Dave Coulier(aka Joey Gladstone of Full House) took over the role of voicing Peter from Lorenzo Music and Buster Jones replaced Arsenio Hall as the voice of Winston.

In 1990,Straczynski returned to the series to write a few of the episodes in the final season. The only voice actors to remain for the entire series were Frank Welker and Maurice LaMarche. The show was canceled in 1991.

The show originally aired on ABC for its full run, except for the third season which ran on syndication at the same time as the second season ran on ABC. Later, reruns of the show appeared on the USA Network's USA Cartoon Express as well as Fox Kids. Fox(abc)Family also reran the series.

In 2004 and again in 2006 Sony released bare bones episode compilations. The DVD release of Ghostbusters II also included two episodes of the series as bonus features, "Citizen Ghost", a story focusing on events set immediately after the first movie, and "Partners in Slime", which featured the psycho-active slime from Ghostbusters II and a brief mention of its villain Vigo the Carpathian.

On May 27, 2008, Time-Life announced they would be responsible for the complete series' release on DVD in the Fall of that year. The DVD set was released on November 15, 2008. The set spans 25 discs containing all 147 episodes of the series.

The show had 2 Spin-offs: Slimer and Extreme Ghostbusters. I'll start with Slimer first.

As you know,the third season in 1988 was given an hour long time slot. In addition to the regular thirty-minute Real Ghostbusters episode, a half-hour Slimer sub-series was added that included 2-3 short animated segments focusing on the character Slimer.

The segments added several characters,including the character Professor Norman Dweeb,a mad scientist accompanied by a poodle named Elizabeth. This dude's main goal was to capture Slimer and experiment on him.

Professor Dweeb also made infrequent appearances in the main series. One of the ghosts from the Slimer cartoons, the Sleaze, also reappeared in The Real Ghostbusters.

In 1997, a sequel cartoon entitled Extreme Ghostbusters, was created by Columbia TriStar Television and Adelaide Productions. It premiered on September 1, 1997 and ran for forty episodes until its conclusion on December of that same year.

Set several years after the end of The Real Ghostbusters, the series opened by saying the team has disbanded due to a lack of supernatural activity. Out of the original cast,only Egon,Janine,and Slimer remained. Egon takes care of the containment system in the firehouse and teaches classes at a local university. Slimer serves as Egon's assistant. And Janine,who is one of Egon's students,returns to manage the office.

When supernatural events begin occurring in New York, Egon recruits four of his university students as a new team of Ghostbusters. The original Ghostbusters return for the two part series finale to celebrate Egon's 40th birthday.

We will never forget how great this show was. And even though the franchise itself is very weak and pathetic,it's fanbase is very healthy,as there are a shitload of fansites and Clubs dedicated to the Real Ghostbusters.

That's gonna do it for now,see ya next time on the Cartoon Historian.

*The Real Ghostbusters Theme Plays*


Stefan said...

Another awesome entry! Ghostbusters was a very memorable show. Not only that but Janine(before her change) was Hot!

KingsSideCastle said...

O_O Have to check out the Extreme Ghostbusters conclusion. ^_^ Sounds like a really cool episode. :-)