Ghostbusters

8 Ghostbusters Facts You Should Know

Words: Lizbeth Scordo                                                         
Photo: YouTube - Latest Movie Trailers               

8 facts you may not have known about the original Ghostbusters—from special effects tidbits and shaving cream to porn star Ron Jeremy

The release of the new Ghostbusters remake is just around the corner, and the chances are you’ve already heard plenty of buzz (good and bad) about the upcoming summer flick. The 2016 version has replaced the mostly male cast with a female roster including comic heavyweights Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, and many moviegoers are so unhappy about it that the new film’s first official trailer quickly became the most unliked movie trailer in YouTube history.

There are purists who feel the reboot is bastardizing the original, pundits who say the bad reaction stems from sexism, and others who are actually looking forward to another incarnation of the goofy, ghostly comedy. Whatever side of the Ghostbusters fence you’re on, it’s very likely you’ve seen (and love) the 1984 film. Here are eight facts you may not have known about the original Ghostbusters—ranging from special effects tidbits to shaving cream to porn star Ron Jeremy (seriously). Indeed, the ladies have a lot to live up to.  

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Ghostbusters Was Supposed to Star John Belushi

Dan Aykroyd wrote the movie’s original 40-page treatment with Saturday Night Live and Blues Brother pal Belushi in mind as his co-star, but the comedian died before the film came together. 

Aykroyd Wanted It to Take Place Far, Far From the ’80s 

“When I read that very first sort of treatment, it took place in the future,” director Ivan Reitman recounts in the Ghostbusters DVD commentary. “There were many groups of Ghostbusters, and the Marshmallow Man…was just one of maybe 50 large-scale monsters. Frankly, if I was going to make that particular script it would have cost $300 million in 1984.”

Rick Moranis’s Role as neighbour Louis Tully Was Actually Written for John Candy 

Candy had worked with both Reitman and Ghostbusters actor and co-screenwriter Harold Ramis on the 1981 comedy Stripes, so Reitman felt it was only natural he should be in this film. Turned out, it was anything but. “John didn’t understand this part. He kept coming back and saying, ‘Well maybe if I play him German with a German accent and he would have Rottweilers,” Reitman recounts. “I said, ‘You can’t have dogs. We have too much other dog imagery in the movie,’ and he finally passed on the film.”

Ernie Hudson, Who Played Winston the “Fourth” Ghostbuster, Admits He Felt Kind of Duped

Hudson claims he agreed to take the part for only half of his quote at the time because producers told him that the role would make his career—and he believed them. “The night before filming begins, however, I get this new script and it was shocking,” he wrote in Entertainment Weekly last year. “The character was gone. Instead of coming in at the very beginning of the movie, like page 8, the character came in on page 68 after the Ghostbusters were established. His elaborate background was all gone…so that was pretty devastating. The sad part is the thing that I thought that Ghostbusters would do, which is really kickstart my career into high gear, it never really materialized.”

Many of the Special Effects Were Surprisingly Low-Tech

In the iconic opening scene in the library basement, the books floating across the room were just hanging from wires. The card drawers were  manually pushed open by technicians standing behind them and the thousands of cards that fly out of the drawers were simply blown around by air through plain old copper tubing. “None of this was done optically,” explains Reitman. “It’s amazing, sometimes the most simple and most practical stuff is the most effective.”

Movie Buffs Love Those Proton Packs 

It’s one of the most ubiquitous props ever, so it’s no surprise that, when one of the actual proton packs used in the film was part of a Profiles in History auction in 2012, the starting bid was $60,000 and the thing sold for a dizzying $130,000.

Got a razor handy?

After the guys “kill” the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the goopy marshmallow that rains down on New Yorkers on the street below was actually hundreds of gallons of menthol shaving cream being poured out of garbage bags. While shaving cream sounds fairly benign, actor William Atheron (whose character Walter Peck gets especially doused) was concerned that loads of shaving cream might hurt. To put his mind at ease, Reitman had technicians first test it on an unsung stuntman to make sure all went well. (It did.) 

Porn Star Ron Jeremy Was an Extra 

Yep, a fully clothed, mustachioed Jeremy plays a crowd member looking up in awe of the firehouse explosion. You can see his feature film debut here

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