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Archives for: July 2015

Early Real Ghostbusters Peter Venkman Bill Murray Design

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Jul. 23, 2015 at 8:13 PM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters
In the early stages of production on The Real Ghostbusters, the Peter Venkman character was designed to look more like Bill Murray (the movie counterpart) than what was seen in the final show. You may have noticed this if you saw the original promo pilot that's included with The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection DVD Box Set.


What you may not know is that a few pieces of early promotional artwork feature a different Peter Venkman design; one that looks even more like Bill Murray than what was seen in the promo pilot. Let's take a look at two pieces of this early promo art. First up is the classic and oft-used "Guys in Ecto-1 Zapping Slimer" art. Here's the version we all know and love, followed by the original version.

(click to enlarge)


In the original, Peter has a more rounded and fatter face, with flatter hair that sticks out more in front.


As has been pointed out to me by "Snakewise", because I completely overlooked it since I was concentrating solely on Peter, the original artwork also has an early Ray design, too. Early Ray had long, dark straight hair and a long face, while redrawn Ray has short, curly brown hair and a fatter and rounder face.


The original artwork appeared as a black & white image in the September 1986 issue of "TV Movie Jr." magazine. A color version showed up in the Promotional & Development Art Gallery in Volume 1 of Time-Life's The Real Ghostbusters DVD set. James Eatock documented his work on the DVD interviews and bonus materials in California, and provided me with an exclusive Behind The Scenes Photo Diary. James took a close-up photograph of the early Peter in that artwork, and it's what I used for the comparison image above (if you click on it, you'll see the complete full-size close-up).

Moving on... Another well-known piece of Real Ghostbusters artwork is this group shot of the guys which has appeared in a few places, such as on the back cover of Diamond's Real Ghostbusters sticker album. Of course you know the final version (first), but have you ever seen the original (second)? Now you have.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

What's interesting here is that not only have they redrawn Peter's face, but they also redrew his body as well. Besides that, the uniforms went from beige (to match the movie) to the character-specific colors we're all familiar with. For whatever reason, they never fixed that weird-looking PKE Meter in Egon's hand.


The original artwork appeared as a black & white image in the September 1986 issue of "TV Movie Jr." magazine. A color version was published in the Fall 1986 issue of "Barbie Magazine". A watercolor variant (seen below) was published in Starlog #111 (Oct. 1986).

(click to enlarge)

Thanks to Flickr user "katherine of chicago" for scanning in the Barbie magazine, to Lanny White for finding it, Matthew Jordan for telling me about it, and to myself for cleaning it. Also, thanks to the Ghostbusters Wiki for the image of Peter from the series used at top right.

On an unrelated note, over the past several weeks I have been making lots of updates to the Los Angeles Firehouse page. If you were following the Spook Central Facebook page, you would have already known that I added images from these movies, TV shows, and music videos:

• Knight Rider Season 4 Premiere Promo (September 13, 1985)
• Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
• U2 - "Where The Streets Have No Name" (1987)
• Poco - "Call It Love" (1989)
• V.I. Warshawski (1991)
• Buffy The Vampire Slayer: "Faith, Hope & Trick"
• Enrique Iglesias - "Lloro Por Ti" (2008)
• Body Heat (2010)

Plus placeholders were added for lots more to come at a much later date.

The Story Behind The Ivan Reitman Signed Ghostbusters Comic Book

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Jul. 6, 2015 at 11:30 PM , Categories: Personal, Cast & Crew, Books

Life is strange sometimes.

You see that glorious Ghostbusters Infestation #2 comic book signed on the cover by Ivan Reitman, director of Ghostbusters 1 & 2, and lots of other classic comedy films? I received that in the mail today, but how it got to me is quite a story.

A few weeks ago, the day after my birthday no less, I received an e-mail from Eric Reich of The Montecito Picture Company. For those of you who don't know, that's Ivan Reitman's production company. He wrote to tell me that they found a comic book Ivan had signed for me a long time ago, which had gotten returned and apparently got lost in a pile.

The wheels started turning in my head. I'm sure that I sent Ivan a comic to sign (that sounds like something I'd do), but it had to have been quite a long time ago because it's not something that was fresh in my mind. I couldn't even remember what kind of Ghostbusters comic I had sent him. I was sure about one thing: they must have sent the comic to my old address; the house I was living in before Hurricane Sandy destroyed it in October 2012. So, I immediately got in touch with Eric and gave him my current mailing address.

Fast forward a week and a half, and I find this in my mailbox today.


I carefully pry it open and inside is my original self-addressed stamped envelope. Sure enough, there's my old mailing address on it in my own hand-writing, along with the U.S. Postal Service's yellow "Return to Sender, Unable to Forward" sticker.


I lift the flap on the back and I notice that I, very wisely, wrote a note to myself about who I wrote to, what I sent, and most importantly, WHEN I sent it.


I mailed the comic to Ivan back in June 2011. That makes sense as this comic was released on March 23, 2011. So, this wouldn't have been part of my autograph collecting wave in the early 2000s. For those of you who just did the math, it took four years for this comic to come back to me signed. That's the longest I ever waited for an autograph through the mail. He beat Weird Al Yankovic's three year turnaround time, and all I got in return was a small black & white lithograph photo.


A Montecito Picture Company/Ivan Reitman note card apologizing for the delay was also included, along with my original typed letter (my handwriting sucks, so I type my fan letters). I mentioned Spook Central in my letter, with the SpookCentral.cjb.net url that the site was using at that time. That address died on April 1, 2013 when CJB cancelled their free service, without any forewarning to their users. If you're playing along at home, that means that the folks at Montecito DIDN'T have my current mailing address, e-mail address, or website address. It's quite a miracle that Eric took the time to track me down online. I guess that's why I should be glad that I use my real name on Spook Central instead of hiding behind a screen name.

So, thanks to Ivan Reitman for signing my comic, and HUGE THANKS to Eric Reich for making sure it got to me. This now brings my signed Ghostbusters comic book collection to seven books (two from Dan Schoening). I never intended on having such a niche collection, but I like the way it's turned out. Looks like I should now send a comic out to Paul Feig so I can get the other Ghostbusters director in this very specialized collection :-)

Oh, and since some of you may ask, here's the mailing label for The Montecito Picture Company with their two addresses on it. I see no harm in sharing this since the addresses are public knowledge. I used the Montecito address.

1 comment »

Editorial - Ghostbusters Merchandise I'd Like To See Next Year

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Jul. 3, 2015 at 9:05 PM , Categories: Personal, Reviews & Merch
Rarely do I post editorials because I just don't think anyone is interested in reading my thoughts and opinions on things. However, occasionally I get ideas that I want to "put out there", and want to commit to the archive of posts on Spook Central, and this is one of those times.

With filming on the reboot in full swing, and set for a July 2016 release date, next year is going to be a banner year for Ghostbusters merchandise. Likely, it'll be the best year for Ghostbusters since 1989 - the last time there was a Ghostbusters film in theaters. I suspect that in addition to collectibles based on the reboot, we'll see a revival of classic goodies. I have a few ideas for some Ghostbusters merchandise I'd like to see released next year, and I'm hoping that maybe - just maybe - if I share my ideas, someone at Sony Pictures Consumer Products will read them, like them, and get this stuff made. Yeah, I know that's not very likely, but nothing will happen if I don't share these thoughts. So, with that in mind...


Ghostbusters: The Video Game - The Movie

The last time that there was any great wave of Ghostbusters merchandise was back in 2009 in honor of the 25th anniversary of the franchise. Even though it was 20 years since there was a Ghostbusters film in theaters, and there was no "Ghostbusters 3" in sight, some very smart person(s) thought that we should get a new Ghostbusters video game. Putting aside the fact that the game was actually good (quite a feat for a Ghostbusters video game, or a movie video game for that matter), it was monumental because it brought all four of the original Ghostbusters together (and some of the ancillary cast) - including the Ghostbusters-shy Bill Murray. That's something that any development on a third Ghostbusters film was never able to do in two decades!

With the passing of Harold Ramis in 2014, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is the last time that we'll ever have the four originals together again. Dan Aykroyd even told Game Informer (December 2007, issue 176, page 81) that he considers the game to be "essentially the third movie". The problem is; it's NOT a movie. Unlike movies, which can be re-released a millions times over on a myriad of video formats, video games are fundamentally tied to the hardware they were originally designed for, and they have a very limited "shelf life".

As of right now (July 2015), just six years past the original release date, the game has fallen to the wayside, as have hundreds of other games that were released in 2009. Now think ahead a decade, when all of the hardware - PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Wii, PSP - is no longer manufactured, and copies of the game are rare and hard to find, it will be very difficult to see this reunion of the original crew. Yet, the theatrical movies will still be available in whatever is the video format of the day.

That's why this "third movie" MUST be preserved as a third movie. Sony should make a concerted effort to take the video game cutscenes and assets and repurpose them as a "movie" to be released on Blu-ray and DVD. YouTube user GamestersStuff apparently agrees with me, as he edited down the game to a 2-1/2 hour "movie", which he published last year. Of course, that's not an official release that you can buy on Blu-ray or DVD. Sony needs to do what Warner Bros. did with the Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes video game. They took the cutscenes, added some new stuff, and released it on Blu-ray and DVD as Lego Batman: The Movie - DC Super Heroes Unite. If Sony were to repurpose the video game into a "Ghostbusters 3" movie, they could make money from it by selling it on home video, and licensing it for TV showings and the such. Sony isn't making anything from the game assets sitting in a proverbial vault.

I would love to see a nice high-definition Blu-ray "Ghostbusters 3" movie release of the game. The bonus features could be:

All cutscenes in their complete form.
All stylized version complete cutscenes. (all but four are generated in-game)
The original game trailers.
• The original game tv spots.
• The original game promotional videos.
The original game still galleries. (was a realistic version bonus feature)
• Deleted Parade level still images (hidden on PC disc) and information.
The Ghostbusters television commercial from the movie. (was a PS3 bonus feature)

That's just items that popped into my head right now. We had a game trailer and a promotional video on the 2009 Blu-ray of the first movie, but they've been left off of the 2014 Blu-ray. This "game conversion movie" would give a perfect permanent home to such videos.

The reboot is a year away, which gives Sony plenty of time to put this together and release it when Ghostbusters is hot again. Plus, think of the publicity they'll get online from "Ghostbusters 3 finally being released"! Converting the game into a movie is a win-win for Sony, and it's a win-win for the fans. Please make it happen, Sony.

(image source: Collider.com)

Lego Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Last year, Lego decided to go forth with a fan-submitted idea for a Ghostbusters set. The official Lego Ghostbusters set, as seen above, contains an Ecto-1 and all four guys with their proton packs and an exclusive Ghostbusters booklet. That's super awesome, and certainly long overdue, but what we didn't get (and I think we need even more) is a Lego Ghostbusters video game.

By the end of this year, there will have been 16 major Lego video game releases covering franchises as varied as Marvel, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, DC/Batman, and Jurassic Park/World. The Lego series of games continues to be very popular and profitable for Lego, publisher Warner Bros., and the owners of all of those franchises. I see no reason why that wouldn't be the case for a Lego Ghostbusters game. Lego Jurassic World is the most recent game to be released, having come out the same day as the movie: June 12th. Three weeks later and I'm still seeing it advertised on TV. By comparison, the Lego Ghostbusters toy set didn't receive *any* mainstream publicity. The franchise needs the mainstream publicity, and a Lego Ghostbusters video game would surely get that.

Although Lego Jurassic World was released as a tie-in for the movie of the same name, it features levels based on all four Jurassic movies. That's the ideal scenario for a Lego Ghostbusters game. Release it in June 2016 as a tie-in for the reboot, and have it feature levels covering the original two movies, the reboot, and some inspired by the 2009 video game. Lego games are infamous for their wealth of unlockable characters, and the game could draw on the three theatrical movies, The Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters, the IDW comics, and the 2009 video game for its roster. Developer TT Games (formerly Traveller's Tales) would definitely meet their character quota with the Ghostbusters franchise.

The Real Ghostbusters will give TT Games a lot of options for unlockable vehicles, in addition to the two movie vehicles and whatever they use in the reboot. There's the Ecto-2 gyrocopter (sadly, that'll give TT the ability to include some of those dreaded flying races), the Ecto-3 motorized unicycle and sidecar, Janine's pink Beetle, all of the specialized cars from the "Afterlife in the Fast Lane" episode, and a lot of obscure ones. New York City is a natural hub world for the game, and TT Games could reuse a lot of their New York City hub assets from Lego Marvel Super Heroes. Funny enough, the Statue of Liberty was a playable character in the Marvel game, though she was human-size and there was no trophy for walking her down the street.

I don't know anything about video game development, but I'm guessing that one year is not enough time to get this project completed in time for the reboot. So, it's not likely this will happen for when it should, but I really think that a Lego Ghostbusters video game is something that needs to happen soon. The broad mainstream appeal of Lego and the popularity of the video games will definitely help make Ghostbusters relevant again to a generation who doesn't even know about it.

[UPDATE - 2/4/2016]
Ghostbusters is featured in the Lego Dimensions toys-to-life video game/toy collection. However, to play with the Ghostbusters content, you will need to buy the Starter Pack for $99.99, the Ghostbusters Level Pack for $29.99, and the two Ghostbusters Fun Packs for $14.99 each. So, if you're just strictly going for the Ghostbusters stuff, it'll cost you $160 for everything. That's pretty damn expensive for a video game. Yeah, this isn't exactly what I had in mind when I wished for a Lego Ghostbusters video game. Still, that Lego/Warner Bros. Interactive has the license to use Ghostbusters characters in a Lego video game, has me hopeful that they're secretly working on a stand-alone Lego Ghostbusters video game to be released next Summer in time for the reboot.


Extreme Ghostbusters: The Complete Series DVD Box Set

Every one of the main Ghostbusters movies and TV shows has been released on DVD in the U.S. except for this 40-episode animated series. Understandly, the series isn't very well known, but shows far more obscure have hit DVD, so it's about time the Extreme crew were given their chance. The show wasn't given one during it's original 1997-1998 run because it was put in the hands of a piss-poor distributor who only advertised it during the 2-hour syndication block in which it aired. To add insult to injury, most stations showed it while kids were in school.

The "Ghostbusters" name would be enough to get a "Complete Series" DVD release out there to a wide audience, especially if released near the reboot, and that may help the show get the attention it deserves. While not a perfect show, and the wheelchair-bound character (Garrett) reeks of being *too* politically correct (and not feasible for the occupation of ghostbusting), the show is a lot better than it sounds on paper. The writing, acting, and more adult themes makes it rise above its faults.

The best chance we have for a DVD release is through budget company Mill Creek Entertainment. They have a licensing deal with Sony to release a lot of their lesser-known movies and re-release some of their TV series. Mill Creek has already released two Columbia-Tristar animated series that aired around the same time as Extreme Ghostbusters: Godzilla and Jumanji. Mill Creek is, usually, fond of releasing shows as Complete Series sets, so that's a plus. The only downside is that they will cram 10 episodes onto a disc (so it'll be a 4-disc set) and it will have no bonus features, but I can live with that just to get this series on DVD.

Two years ago, Sony was releasing some stuff through Warner Bros.' manufacture-on-demand service, such as Jackie Chan Adventures: The Complete Collection Second Season, but that partnership must have ended because those items aren't available on the Warner site anymore. (Amazon is handling MOD duties for Jackie Chan Adventures: Season 2.) That means Mill Creek is still our best hope if Sony still has no interest in releasing the series themselves.

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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