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Archives for: November 2008

Real Ghostbusters DVD Collection Hands-On

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Nov. 21, 2008 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Spook Central, Real Ghostbusters, Home Video
A surprise package was left on my porch today from TimeLife. I was expecting to get my copy of the set next week, but apparently some select people are getting copies of the set this week in advance of the shipment to the general public this Tuesday.

The promo pilot was the first thing I watched and it looked great. The first 54 seconds was used in its entirety in the Blockbuster and Syndication promos, so that first minute of the pilot didn't seem so fresh. The rest was incredible. It was also a hoot to see all of the known footage in its proper context. In my mind I kept saying, "So that's where that shot is from." Considering the original source is a 20 year old videocassette (you can tell the source was VHS), the quality is amazing.

I have not even taken every disc out of the case, much less watch it all, but I did search out a few other things to check up on them. I was pleasantly surprised to find that "A Fright At The Opera" and "The Bird Of Kildarby" were the alternate Tahiti music versions and not the series music versions (as I was originally led to believe). This is great news for Kildarby because the series music version can be found on Sony's Creatures of the Night DVD, not so great for Opera because it means that I'm stuck keeping my Fox Family copy until I can find someone with a copy of the series music version from the original syndication run sans logo, on-screen text, and edits.

Although I state this on my page for the set, no redubbed or alternate episodes are included except for the one-hour version of Deja Boo (and technically the retitled Slimer! "A Mouse In The House" that none of us knew about - or probably cared about). However, of the four alternate music episodes, two are series music and two are Tahiti music.

However, all is not good. I've found at least two things content-wise that I don't like. The first one is minor, but the second one is major. At the end of every episode, the "Columbia Pictures Television" logo is replaced with the new "Sony Pictures Television" logo. I can sort of understand replacing the logo in the early episodes, due to the original bearing the Coca-Cola Company mark, but there was no reason to change it in the later episodes. In fact, on the 2005 Ghostbusters II DVD, they left the original logo intact on "Partners In Slime". Only on "Citizen Ghost" was it changed.

The major issue is that something is really screwy with Season 4. Again, the "Partners In Slime" episode is played too slowly, and thus sounds bad, has defects in the audio, and runs unusually long. It was like this on the GB2 2005 DVD, but NOT in the original ABC broadcast. A few other Season 4 episodes I checked sound slow as well.

When I finally get the chance to watch all of the episodes, I'll make notes about what doesn't sound or look right and compare them to the original ABC episodes. I have a feeling I may have to keep a few more of my old tapes than I originally planned to.

UPDATE [12/10/2008]

I wasn't the only one who noticed the slow episodes, as Zuul noticed it as well: Is it just my copy or are all the episodes on Volume 4 - Disc 2 kind of slow? All of the voices are really noticeably sluggish. Even the music and effects track is messed up. [This is the disc with "Partners In Slime" on it.]

Matt aka clortho has shed some light on why certain episodes play slowly: As for those "slow" episodes Paul was talking about, I can almost guarantee they were PAL masters slowed down to match the NTSC framerate, which although the framerate is now matching our standard, it just doesn't look right. I have a few DVDs that are like that where PAL masters were used and it looks like shit. It's possible the original masters broadcast on ABC are no longer in existence or whatever.

His sentiments were back up by Chris Stewart: A few of the tracks are apparently pulled from PAL sources - PAL (UK/Asia) runs at a different rate than NTSC (North America), hence the slow down. There's been no confirmation of this, though the effect is consistent. And there's no explanation as to why this is.

Well that certainly would explain it. However, According to Andy Mangels they are not from PAL masters:
I can guarantee you that they are not, and I don't know why Paul thinks they are different.

I spent 10 days at Technicolor going through over 600 1" Master NTSC tapes, finding the most complete and best set of ORIGINAL masters I could.

These are 100% from NTSC masters, and AS ORIGINALLY AIRED, unless the labels were lying. Some of the ABC shows even had the original commercials in place.

Andy Mangels
Well, I can assure Andy that the slowed-down episodes in Volume 4 are NOT as originally aired on ABC. You know, when "Partners In Slime" showed up on Sony's GB2 DVD in 2005, I thought they screwed up in the transfer. But now I'm starting to think the issue is with the master. So if all of the masters were NTSC, not PAL, then I can only think of one reason for why the episodes on the DVD are messed up:

The masters that Andy was given were actually NTSC conversions from PAL masters (done a long time ago), but were never labeled as such.

It's quite possible that some time in the past 20 years they lost or misplaced the original NTSC masters that aired on ABC and figured that the PAL masters would be just as good, not realizing that the different video formats pose quite a problem. Based upon what Spengs said about the episodes originally airing this slow in Europe, which was not the case in the U.S., this seems to be the likely scenario.

Odd enough, I checked out one of the two-story pair episodes - specifically "Venk-Man! / Slimer Streak" - and "Venk-man!" sounded incredibly sped-up. It was like I was watching Fox Family Channel! I'm going to have to check out the original ABC broadcast to see if that's simply how it is or if there's something strange going on in the neighborhood.

Other than that video quality is good. As good as the original television broadcasts, if not a bit better, though I'd hardly call the episodes "remastered" or "restored". You will see the occassional spec of dust and dirt that you'd expect to see from something of that vintage - nothing bad, though one of the Slimer! eps had some scratches at the very beginning, which although minor, proves that they weren't "restored" or "remastered" in any conventional sense of those words.

Audio is a mixed bag, generally because it's like that way in the series. In some episodes Lorenzo and Maurice sound odd and in others they sound fine. That's not a fault of the DVD, though.

You can read more of my thoughts on the audio, video, and select features in my review of the promo DVD from last month.

My biggest complaint about the set, and I know that I'm not alone in this sentiment, is the disc-over-disc storage inside the steelbook cases, and the disc locking mechanism which has absolutely no give and upon repeated use will cause the inner ring of the disc to crack. I've had this happen with my GB1 1999 DVD, and that case's disc locking mechanism is a bit better than this ones - but not by much. The steelbooks on the outside are nice, and the art inside is nice, but the actual storage of the discs leaves a lot to be desired. I would have expected better for a set that costs near $200.

[UPDATE - 1/11/2009]
A better alternative to the Steelbooks DOES exist! CBS/Paramount's Petticoat Junction - The Official First Season set has five discs packaged inside a clear standard-size plastic keepcase (same width as the Steelbooks), with each one on its own page with NO overlap! As you can see in this photo I took, the Petticoat Junction case fits nicely in the RGB box in Volume 1's place. The disc locking mechanism, although not as good as the four spade (my name for it) and M-Lock hubs, is FAR superior to what the Steelbooks use. I can guarantee that not a single one of you would have a complaint about it.

And being that it's a clear case, they printed episode information on the reverse of the outside liner, and thus there was background art - just like the Steelbooks have. There's even clips on the inside front cover, so a booklet could be stored inside, too. Very handy for Time-Life's individual retail releases of the sets.

Although the steel exterior of the Steelbooks is nice, I think Time-Life would have done everyone a big favor by using this style case instead. The consumers would have user-friendly and disc-friendly packaging, and TimeLife would save some money (as I'm sure the 5-disc plastic case is cheaper to produce than the Steelbook cases). It's a win-win for everyone.

Anyway, before I get completely off-topic, let me wrap this up by saying that if you'd like to read more about the set, go over to Proton Charging, GB Fans, TheRealGhostbusters.com, Cinema Blend, and be sure to check out Chris Stewart's new packaging pics.

Oh, and if it seems like I'm being really negative and complaining about everything...well, it only seems that way. By and large, I *LOVE* the set and highly recommend it to everyone. It's just that I'd be doing a great disservice to the other fans if I didn't mention the things that just aren't kosher :-)

Yes It's True, Activision Has No...Ghostbusters Game - Atari Has It!

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Nov. 7, 2008 at 9:00 AM , Categories: Spook Central, Games
Almost a year to the day that we got the official press release from Sierra we get one from Atari officially confirming that they are the new publishers of the video game, now set to be released in 2009 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first film.

MTV posted an article that explains why Activision chose to drop Ghostbusters and several other games. In short, it's because they can't run them into the ground by constantly exploiting them every year with endless sequels and downloadable content. What's interesting is that almost a year earlier Penny Arcade had a comic about an Activision exec using the word "exploit" to describe the plans they have for their game properties each year, and a public relations guy trying to come up with non-offensive alternatives. I guess Activision has had this exploitive mentality for quite some time now.

Finally, the Internet Movie Database has, yet again, put up a page for Ghostbusters 3, this time proclaiming a release date of 2010. I've lost count as to how many times they've had a Ghostbusters 3 page over the past 10 years. It's because of their page that the original 1998 DVD release of The Blues Brothers (and from what I've heard, the original DVD release of Blues Brothers 2000 as well) lists Dan Aykroyd as starring in "Ghostbusters 3" in 1998! (see screen shot below) Anyone want to take bets as to how long it stays up this time?


Ghostbusters Game Atari Press Release

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Nov. 7, 2008 at 8:38 AM , Categories: Games

LYON, FRANCE - 7 November 2008 - Atari, one of the world's most recognized video game publishers, announced today the addition of the highly anticipated Ghostbusters: The Video Game to its 2009 release schedule. Working closely with Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. and acclaimed development studio Terminal Reality, Atari will bring this completely new story to advanced gaming platforms coinciding with the 25th anniversary celebration of the film's original theatrical release. Ghostbusters: The Video Game, based on the smash hit motion picture franchise, also reunites original cast members to recapture the unique blend of humour and fright that established Ghostbusters as a pop culture sensation.

"Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a fantastic addition to Atari's global line-up in 2009," said Phil Harrison, President of Infogrames Entertainment, the parent company of Atari. "The title has built considerable anticipation and excitement among game fans for its high quality action and all-out mayhem. There's no more thrilling Ghostbusting experience to be had, short of building your own proton pack."

"We're thrilled to partner with Atari on Ghostbusters: The Video Game", said Mark Caplan, Vice President of Licensing-Hardlines for Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. "As one of our studios' most valued film franchises, we wanted to develop a video game that would be exciting for both new and old fans and with Atari we have a publisher that fully understands Ghostbusters, and is committed to producing engaging entertainment that fans will thoroughly enjoy."

Ghostbusters: The Video Game was penned by original Ghostbusters writers Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd and reunites members of the original cast for the first time in 20 years. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson lend their voices and in-game likenesses to the original story set two years after Ghostbusters II, with Manhattan once again overrun by ghosts and supernatural forces. The game also features performances from fan favourites such as William Atherton (Walter Peck), Annie Potts (Janine Melnitz) and Brian Doyle-Murray (portraying Mayor Jock Mulligan).

Atari will release the Ghostbusters: The Video Game for the PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system, PlayStation 2 system, the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Windows PC, Wii and Nintendo DS. The launch will also leverage Atari's worldwide distribution network to maximize the presence of Ghostbusters: The Video Game around the globe as Sony marks the film's upcoming 25th anniversary. For more information on Atari's entire line up visit www.atari.com.

2009 also marks the 25th Anniversary of the original theatrical release of Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II combined to gross over $500 million world-wide at the box office. The film spawned some of the most memorable comedic catch-phrases and scenes in motion picture history. To recognize this special milestone, Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc has licensed the property for several new products to commemorate the anniversary, including: video games, toys, t-shirts, comic books, prop replicas, and a theme park attraction. In addition, the original Ghostbusters car (Ecto-1) has been fully restored with plans for special promotional appearances throughout the US. And for the first time ever, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II on Blu-ray disc.

About the Game
When Manhattan is once again overrun by ghosts and other supernatural creatures, players will take on the role of a new recruit joining the famous Ghostbusters team. Developed by acclaimed studio Terminal Reality, Ghostbusters: The Video Game will make its debut on the PLAYSTATION 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and Windows PC. The PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system version and the Wii version are being developed by Red Fly Studios, and the Nintendo DS version, in which the player takes the role of one of the Ghostbusters themselves, is developed by Zen Studios. The PLAYSTATION 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and PC versions of the game are developed using Terminal Reality's phenomenal proprietary Infernal Engine technology.

About the Film
Ghostbusters, released in 1984, is one of Columbia Pictures' highest grossing films, spawning a hit sequel in 1989 and three successful animated television shows. Ghostbusters and its sequel grossed over $500 million world-wide. Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, produced and directed by Ivan Reitman, starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson as ghost hunters for hire, cleaning up Manhattan's buildings of slime-spewing spooks.

About Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc.
Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc. (SPCP), a division of Columbia TriStar Consumer Marketing (CTCM), is based in Los Angeles and handles the merchandising and branding efforts for some of the most recognized properties in film and television.

Columbia TriStar Consumer Marketing is a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). SPE is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.sonypictures.com.

About Infogrames Entertainment and Atari:
The Infogrames group, including the Atari brand, is a global producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software for all market segments and all interactive game platforms including consoles from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, advanced smartphones, Personal Computers, web and online. Its games are sold in more than 60 countries through an international distribution network and direct to consumers via www.atari.com.
Atari's extensive catalogue of popular games is based on original franchises (Alone in the Dark, Test Drive, V-Rally, My Horse & Me, Backyard Sports franchise, Total Annihilation, Outcast etc.), publishing properties (The Witcher, Legendary, Race Pro etc.), international licenses (Dragon Ball Z, Dungeons & Dragons, Jamie Oliver etc.) and classic games covering the entire history of the video game industry (Pong, Missile Command, Asteroids etc).

© 2008 Atari Europe SASU. All rights reserved.
Atari word mark and logo are trademarks owned by Atari Interactive, Inc.

"GHOSTBUSTERS", The Video Game © 2008 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. "GHOSTBUSTERS" with the "GHOST DESIGN" is a registered trademark of Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. "GHOSTBUSTERS", and "GHOSTBUSTERS 2" movies © 1984, © 1989 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Game Software excluding Columbia Pictures Elements © 2008 Atari, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and the Xbox logos are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. "PlayStation", "PLAYSTATION" and "PS" Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. Nintendo DS and Wii are trademarks of Nintendo. © 2006 Nintendo. Windows and the Windows Vista start button are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries and are used under license from owner.


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Established August 1996

In Loving Memory of Joel Richard Rudoff (July 28, 1944 - January 20, 2014)

In Loving Memory of Linda Joyce Rudoff (July 12, 1948 - November 29, 2015)

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