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Archives for: December 2011

The NYGB ComicGuide Resurrection

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Dec. 28, 2011 at 5:42 AM , Categories: Internet, Books
NYGB ComicGuide

For most of the 2000s, Chris Buchner ran two sites: the NYGB Tourguide and the NYGB ComicGuide. The former focused on the New York City filming locations from both movies, while the latter focused on all of the Ghostbusters comic books ever published. When I say "all" I mean ALL! All of NOW's books, all of 88MPH's books, all of Marvel books released in the UK (and their derivatives), and even all of First's Filmation books! Not only did the site cover all of the issues, it even went very in-depth with each one, giving you the credits, story synopses, trivia, bloopers, character photos, and more!

Unfortunately, on October 31, 2008, AOL shutdown their AOL Hometown web hosting service, and thus both sites left the internet, along with other AOL members' websites. Luckily for the Ghostbusters Online Community, I had saved copies of both sites. With Chris' permission, I've incorporated a lot of the Tourguide information into Spook Central's Filming Locations pages, though you can find some archived copies of the original site on the Internet Archive.

A few days before the shutdown, on October 28, 2008, I downloaded all of the ComicGuide files. Due to the way AOL handled their web hosting service, the site was actually split across a few different user accounts. I attempted to merge all of the download files into one computer folder... and let's just say that the results weren't pretty. Because there were a lot of files with the same names, they couldn't all be put into one folder "as is". I had to rename almost all of the files, which also meant that I would have to go in and edit every html file so that all of the new file names are referenced in links and the such. I didn't have the time to do the task, so the files sat untouched on my hard drive for a few years.

Around this time last year I saw a post by Fritz Baugh on the GB Fans forum where he mentioned the ComicGuide site by name and lamented over the loss of the invaluable information it contained. Seeing that he had an interest in the site, I contacted him to see if he'd also be interested in fixing up all of the files I saved a few years prior, with the intention of making it all available to the public again. I figured that he'd turn me down, as the files required a lot of work, and it would be a very tedious task. Surprisingly, and much to his credit, he accepted my offer.

So, now, three years and two months after AOL took it down, I am proud to present... The Resurrected NYGB ComicGuide (last updated September 10, 2008, archived October 28, 2008). FYI: Don't expect to find any of IDW's books on the site, as they all came out after the site went into hibernation.

MAJOR THANKS to Chris Buchner for creating the site and giving me permission to host the old copy here on Spook Central, and especially to Fritz Baugh for doing the time-consuming and labor-intensive task of fixing up all of the files and making the site whole again.

Put On Your Yarmulke, It's Time For Chanukah

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Dec. 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM , Categories: Miscellaneous , Tags: holiday_songs
Unusual Holiday Songs

For the past few years I've been posting an unusual holiday song each December. This year Matthew Jordan (of the Ghostbusters Wiki) offered to make me a little image to use for this now-annual tradition, and I thought it would be a great way to connect all of the posts, old and new. So, this year is the first year that the awesome title banner above is being officially used, though I retrofitted all of the old posts with it.

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. This is the holiday that Jewish people typically celebrate in December, though sometimes it occurs in November (it all depends upon where the Hebrew calendar lines up with the regular calendar each year). Hanukkah is an eight-day holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. For the non-religious and the non-Jewish, think of Hanukkah as the Jewish Christmas :-)

Hanukkah is not as popular in terms of mainstream music as Christmas is, so there really aren't any well-known Hanukkah songs. "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" and "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah" is about as well-known as it gets. Adam Sandler wanted to change all that in the mid-1990s with the release of a song that he appropriated titled, "The Chanukah Song". Available on his 1996 comedy album "What The Hell Happened To Me?", it's not so much of a song as it is a list of people who are Jewish. Still, it became really popular and is pretty much the only mainstream Hanukkah song there is. If you tuned in to see The Real Ghostbusters in the Winter of 1998 on the then-new Fox Family channel, you would have seen Sandler's live concert performance of the song, as it was constantly shown during commercial breaks. A few years after the original was released, Sandler made a revised version, changing a few lyrics and updating the list of Jewish people. This version, cleverly titled "The Chanukah Song, Part II", was recorded live at Brandeis University for his 1999 album "Stan and Judy's Kid". Because having two versions of the same song wasn't enough, Sandler released a "Part III" in 2002 on the Eight Crazy Nights soundtrack (MP3 album), this time featuring vocals from actor Rob Schneider and the children's choir The Drei-Dels.

Of course, why stop at only three versions when you can have FOUR!!! No, Sandler didn't put out a "Part IV" (not yet anyway), but someone did do a cover version... and it's someone whom you would never have expected to do a cover version of an Adam Sandler song - NEIL DIAMOND! Off of his 2009 "A Cherry Cherry Christmas" album, this version is more melodic, relaxed, and "adult contemporary" than Sandler's version - and it's probably the "safer" version if you want to listen to the song with your parents. An animated music video was created for the song (below), along with an online ecard that you can give to anyone you like - or hate, depending on their preference for Neil Diamond.

For the complete list of Spook Central's holiday song posts from years past, click here. Thanks to Matthew Jordan for making the "Unusual Holiday Songs" title banner that appears at the top of this post.
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The Real Ghostbusters News Alert - Shanna's Siren Song Stolen From She-Ra!

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Dec. 13, 2011 at 2:36 AM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters
Back in 1987, pop songstress Shanna O'Callahan captivated audiences worldwide with her hit song "Love Makes Me Live". The song was heard on the radio several times a day, the music video played in constant rotation on MTV (back when the channel lived up to its "Music Television" moniker), and it was even used in a very successful campaign for New Coke. One little known place where the song was heard was in the children's cartoon series, The Real Ghostbusters. Here's a clip from the episode "Banshee Bake A Cherry Pie?" featuring an animated Shanna performing the song alongside the Ghostbusters characters Peter Venkman and Slimer.

Out all day trying to make my way
Just trying to make ends meet
Working away to reach the day
When I can walk to my own beat

Cause there's love on the streets tonight
I won't sleep 'til I get it right
But I know that lightning will strike
Cause there's love... there's love... there's love...
On the streets tonight

Many people have always wondered why there was never any songwriter's credit on any of the "Love Makes Me Live" record, cassette, and CD singles released around the world. What the world did not know, until now, is that the song was not a Shanna original, as Ms. O'Callahan claimed when Barbara Walters asked her about the matter in her now infamous October 1987 interview. There have always been rumors that Shanna stole the song, but they have always been just that: rumors. That is, until now.

In 2006, BCI/Eclipse released The Best of She-Ra Princess of Power, a 2-DVD set featuring five episodes of the She-Ra: Princess of Power animated series and the preceding 1985 theatrical film The Secret of the Sword, along with a whole bunch of bonus features. Amongst the bonus features on Disc 1 are several versions of the "I Have The Power" music video from The Secret of the Sword film. One alternate version of the music video is included as an Easter egg, and THAT is where the truth about Shanna O'Callahan is revealed. To access the egg, go to the Special Features menu, highlight "Alternate Recording" and press Left. At first, there doesn't appear to be anything special about this version of the music video, but when the song is over and the end credits start, that's when everyone's eyes and ears will opened...

Cause there is love on the streets tonight
Just waiting for lightning to strike
We've gotta fight it, gotta hold on tight
Cause there's love on the streets tonight

Yeah, there's love
On the streets
Yeah, there's love
For you and me
Yeah, there's love
So hold on tight
Love on the streets
Love on the streets tonight
For you and me

Oh, 'cause there's love on the streets tonight
Just waiting for lightning to strike
We've gotta fight it, gotta hold on tight
Cause there's love on the streets tonight

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Shanna O'Callahan STOLE "Love Makes Me Live" from She-Ra!!!!! We now have irrefutable proof of the theft. Shanna released her song in 1987, while the song was used in the She-Ra music video in 1985 - a full two years earlier! To hide her thievery, Shanna renamed the song. The phrase "love makes me live" does not appear anywhere in the lyrics I transcribed above. In fact, I would bet that the original song's title is "Love On The Streets", judging by how many times that phrase is used.

What's interesting about the song's use in the She-Ra music video is that it doesn't even fit in the music video that it's in, both thematically and length-wise. There's 35 seconds of blackness after the video ends so that the song can play out a little bit. It seems like an afterthought; like something added in so there would be some kind of music to play under the music video's end credits. Heck, the song doesn't even appear in any other version of the music video on the DVD.

The Real Ghostbusters was produced by DiC, while She-Ra was produced by Filmation. The only thing the two shows have in common is that the music for both was done by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban. So I would bet that this song is part of their stock library. I did a search for some pieces of the lyrics online, but I couldn't find anything. I thought maybe some obscure band that Levy was a part of might have recorded the song before its cartoon uses, and the lyrics and information would be online - but not a sausage. The She-Ra movie came out in 1985, but the song could be older than that. I sent e-mails earlier this year to the webmaster of Shuki Levy's website, in the hopes that he/she could ask Shuki about the song, but I never heard back.

So I contacted my resident He-Man/She-Ra expert (he literally wrote the book), James Eatock. James has also worked on numerous animated series DVD sets, such as The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection (he also appeared on screen in the bonus features), and many sets for BCI/Eclipse, including The Best of She-Ra Princess of Power. Yes, he actually worked on the set on which the song appears, and didn't even realize its significance. Hey, I guess even the good ones slip up now and there.

The first thing I noticed about both versions of the song is that each one is sung by a different person, and each person sings slightly different lyrics. My first step was to identify the singer of The Real Ghostbusters version, as that is the one that everyone is most familiar with. During his time working on The Real Ghostbusters DVD box set, James managed to get a hold of the cast call sheets from voice director Marsha Goodman. These sheets lists the names of all voice actors for each episode and the characters they voiced - both the guest stars and the regulars, who would often do extra bit parts here and there. These sheets are quite valuable since the series either never named the guest cast per episode or just grouped all voice actors together in the end credits for an entire season. Naturally, I asked him to check the sheet for "Banshee Bake A Cherry Pie?" to see if it mentions who did Shanna's speaking and singing voices. He told me that "Jodi Carlisle was the voice of Shanna according to the recording sessions", but that he couldn't find any note about the use of the song. As great as that information is about the episode, that's pretty much a dead end about that particular version of the song.

James was able to provide a little bit of information on the She-Ra version of the song, but not as much as I would have liked. He told me that the song is performed by Noam Kaniel, who "was Shuki Levy's main vocal performer. Many of those Levy composed eighties cartoon theme songs have his vocal tones blessing them to some degree." I did a little searching online for Noam's past work, to see if the song appeared anywhere in it, but couldn't find anything.

So we're pretty much at a dead end with the She-Ra song, too. We know the singer, but nothing else. Being that it does not appear to have been written specifically for She-Ra - as evident by how it doesn't fit at all in the music video - I think we can safely say that Shuki Levy wrote the song prior to She-Ra, or for a different project at the time, and just reused the song for both She-Ra and The Real Ghostbusters. We know that The Real Ghostbusters version is not the original recording, though I can only assume that the She-Ra version is. I would think that if Shuki had Noam quickly record a piece of the song to play under the music video credits, he wouldn't have recorded so much of it that it actually plays longer than those credits.

I'm going to try e-mailing Shuki's webmaster again, this time pointing him to this page, and hope that I get a reply this time. No guarantees, of course. If anyone has any information they care to share on the matter, feel free to chime in with a comment below.

By the way, while we're on the subject of The Real Ghostbusters music... I know a lot of people would love to have the Shuki Levy-composed score music released on some sort of "score album". If the music is a part of the Saban Music Group catalog, and not owned outright by Sony, and assuming all of the original recordings still exists, Bug Music would be the people you should bug (no pun intended) in any efforts to get a Real Ghostbusters score album released. In October 2010, Bug Music acquired the worldwide rights to Saban Music Group's publishing catalog. According to the press release, the extensive purchased catalog includes material from leading children's franchises such as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Digimon, The Addams Family Reunion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Next Generation, Princess Sissi and Walter Melon properties, and encompasses a slate of theme songs, cues and scores from more than 90 television series, 3,700 television episodes and 100 made-for-television films and specials. If the recorded music doesn't exist anymore, maybe the sheet music still exists, and it could all be re-recorded for the score album. That would be the best worse-case scenario.

BMG Rights Management purchased Bug Music in September/October 2011. Going to BugMusic.com now takes you to BMGChrysalis.com, with a message overlay that reads, "Dear Friends of bug music, We have moved to our new home under BMG Chrysalis." That means that BMG Chrysalis is now the company you should pester for a Real Ghostbusters score album release, assuming the music is still in the Saban music library they now own due to the Bug Music acquisition.

[UPDATE - 7/10/2012]
I posted a message (link req. login) on singer Noam Kaniel's Facebook wall (only visible if you friend him), and received the following replies from him which gives us some more information on the song.
[July 8, 2012] Yeah I wrote this song with Michael Piccirillo and Lisa Popeil. It was originally recorded as a demo for me as a singing artist, but since my obligations with Saban were so important I had no time to pursue a singing career again, so we placed it in this She-Ra music video. I'm singing on it with Erika Scheimer. Boy that's a long time ago!!!
[UPDATE - 9/30/2014]
Episode co-writer, Dennys McCoy posted several messages to the Ghostbusters Wiki Facebook page, which gives us a little more insight on the song, and his career - and how shrewd of a businessman Haim Saban is.
[September 25, 2014] Back in the time of GHOSTBUSTERS and DENNIS THE MENACE, Saban studios produced music for animated series. They were the exclusive suppliers for DIC, which produced both shows. I was Haim Saban's Creative Director at the time and they would happily mix-and-match music cues from different series. This is how Saban initially made his money in the U.S. -- by literally giving away the music to the studios, but retaining all the rights to the music. It wasn't unusual for Haim to make more money from the music than the studios made from their productions.
[September 25, 2014] I didn't get a credit on Dennis the Menace because I was working for SABAN and not DIC. We wrote for DIC, but I was an executive at Saban. Saban turned out music cues 24-7, and I mean that literally. They had 3 8-hour shifts with 3 producers who would record music cues and VARIATIONS on music cues. So whereas a cue may sound familiar but not exact -- it's one of the variations. This way Saban could sell the same music to several productions. There's a story about when Andy Heyward, who ran DIC, let Mattel have a cue from HE-MAN and the trouble that resulted from that. Mattel didn't own the theme, DIC didn't own the theme -- SABAN owned the theme. Way too long story for here -- but it was an amazing screw-up that lead to Saban becoming one of the wealthiest guys in Hollywood.
[September 26, 2014] This is really funny. First, I and my partner/wife, Pamela Hickey, wrote BANSHEE BAKE A CHERRY PIE. Second -- WE NAMED THE SONG! We wanted a title that just plain sounded stupid, so we called it "LOVE MAKES ME LIVE." By that time I had left Saban and Pam and I were working as full-time writers in animation. But we knew that Shuki and Noam had a ton of songs they'd written. By the way, all the music is listed as composed by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy because that is how they contracted all music. Love Makes Me Live could have been composed by any number of producers/writers who worked for Saban, including brilliant people like Steve Marsden or Glen Jordan. We had come up with a GHOSTBUSTERS idea for a banshee and wanted to make her a pop diva. Shuki and Noam were HUGE fans of the Eurovision song contest (and always entered a song every year) and if you're familiar with the Eurovision song contest you already know that with one exception (ABBA) the winners of that contest invariably go on to total obscurity. The songs always suck and they always sound like a cross between a Las Vegas lounge act and a music score from a Goddard movie. So we knew if we called the song LOVE MAKES ME LIVE, that Shuki and Noam would dig out all their old Eurovision entries and find something that fit the title. However, until you posted the story above, we had no idea that it had gone on to be a hit. We can now say that we have written (the title of) a hit song.
[September 26, 2014] I was the Creative director from '84-'87. Pam was at home with our daughter, Elizabeth Hickey-McCoy (who is also a writer... look for her name or her nom de plume Andrea Case). At that time I was supervising producer on KIDD VIDEO, the first animated series from Saban. It featured an animated (and live) rock group named Kidd Video... naturally so Haim could sell more music. During this time we did Kidd Video, a Japanese mash-up show called MACRON 1, five animated developments for Mattel, and a little show called BIO-MAN. Bio-Man is the show that eventually became (wait for it) POWER RANGERS!!! I quit when our writing started making us more money than working for Saban. By the way, I really liked Haim. He is really a good human being.

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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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