L-r: Egon Spengler, Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore.


Original Medium: Television animation
Produced by: DiC
First Appeared: 1986
Creators: Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
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The 1984 release of the movie Ghostbusters was a big stroke of luck for Filmation, the studio responsible for animated productions such as The Groovie Goolies and Bravestarr. First, it gave them an opportunity to sue Columbia Pictures, the film's …

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… producer, for appropriating the name of their 1970s live-action TV show, and that netted them a reasonable hunk of change. Second, it made the name Ghostbusters, which they hadn't had much success with before, a hot commercial property, encouraging them to adapt their old show into a Saturday morning cartoon.

But even as Filmation's cartoon was in production, Columbia was working with DiC Entertainment (Inspector Gadget, Captain Planet) to adapt the movie into a Saturday morning cartoon of their own. As Filmation chief Lou Scheimer (who also did minor voice work in He-Man, Fat Albert and elsewhere) said later, "We should have asked for the animation rights to their Ghostbusters as part of the settlement."

To facilitate merchandising, the two shows had different names. Columbia/DiC called theirs Real Ghostbusters, while Filmation's became known as Original Ghostbusters — tho which was "real" and which was "original", in any true sense, was a toss-up. Both shows debuted on the same day, Sept. 13, 1986, Original on NBC and Real on ABC.

Real Ghostbusters picked up where the movie left off, with four actual busters of ghosts, their secretary, and a kid-friendly mascot, Slimer (a less bust-worthy ghost). The four were Dr. Peter Venkman, who made most of the group's decisions; Dr. Egon Spengler, who provided much of its knowledge about the ghostly realms; Dr. Ray Stantz, who did much of the hands-on work; and Winston Zeddemore, an expert in the use of their characteristic weapon, the Proton Gun.

Peter's voice was provided by Lorenzo Music (Garfield) in the first three seasons and by Dave Coulier (Scooby Doo in some 21st century productions) in the rest. Egon was Maurice LaMarche (The Brain). Ray was Frank Welker (Foofur). Winston was Arsenio Hall (Dr. Carver in The Proud Family Movie) in the first three seasons and Buster Jones (several voices in Transformers and G.I. Joe) later. Secretary Janine Melnitz was Laura Summer (Mimmy in Hello Kitty) in the first three seasons and Kath Soucie (Phil and Lil in Rugrats) after that. Slimer was Frank Welker (who also did Jabberjaw).

This show had a darker tone than many TV cartoons. But a more cartoony aspect was added in the third season, when Slimer got a segment of his own; and the series was temporarily retitled Slimer & the Real Ghostbusters. There were seven seasons altogether. In addition, Now Comics (Speed Racer, Astro Boy) adapted it into comic book form for several dozen issues between 1988 and '93. There was a flood of merchandise, and this version of Ghostbusters (which even spawned a sequel, Extreme Ghostbusters) is far better remembered than the one that came first.


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Text ©2006-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DiC.