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Paul's Ghostbusters II Alternate Scenes Theory

PermalinkBy Paul Rudoff on Dec. 4, 2016 at 4:26 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 2
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(storyboard formerly in the collection of producer Michael C. Gross, auctioned off in 2007)

Anybody who knows anything about the making of Ghostbusters II knows that the film went through many changes over the course of its production, and that didn't end when it was shown in the theater. Fans who saw the movie when it was screened theatrically in June 1989 remember seeing scenes that were omitted from the later VHS and laserdisc releases (and all subsequent home video releases). I remember seeing Slimer fly out from the Statue of Liberty at the end of the film (as depicted in the storyboard above), whereas Chris from Proton Charging remembers seeing the scene where Louis's cousin Sherman (played by Eugene Levy) helped get the Ghostbusters out of the Parkview psychiatric hospital.

The Sherman Tully scene is an example of a scene that doesn't work in tandem with another scene that was filmed later. In this case, the scene in the City Hall boardroom where the Mayor fired Hardemeyer and orders the Ghostbusters released from Parkview. The latter replaces the former, and they wouldn't work together in the same cut. The same is true for the Cheech Marin "Titanic" scene, which replaces Venkman delivering that same line to the fire captain outside the museum. All of the interaction with Hardemeyer and the Mayor outside the museum is also replaced by the boardroom scene.

Sony included a semi-common photo from the Sherman Tully scene in their August 2009 update of Ghostbusters.com, which was covered by a post on Proton Charging. In the now-deleted comments from that post, Chris (aka Castewar) commented on that:
# castewar - Posted August 27, 2009 at 12:12 PM
Levy played Louis' cousin that got the GBs out of the psych hospital, but it was cut from video release. I saw GB2 on opening day in Calgary, and the print I watched had that short scene in it, and then it never appeared again. It's driven me nuts for years - my own private Star Wars Holiday Special.
This prompted me to write my own theory on why there's a difference between the "Theatrical Cut" of Ghostbusters II as we remember, and the "Home Video Cut":
When I saw GB2 in the theater I know that I saw Slimer flying out from the statue towards the screen at the end. Of course, that's missing from all home video releases, too.

It makes me wonder why Columbia and/or Ivan would modify the film so greatly for home video and never show the theatrical cut ever again.

I wonder if the Sherman Tully scene was present in the U.S. theatrical prints. If you saw it up there, I'd bet it was shown down here as well. The Sherman scene couldn't exist in tandem with the City Hall boardroom scene, as there would be no need for Sherman to help get the guys out of the psych ward if the mayor already ordered them free ("...and somebody get me the Ghostbusters!"). I just found out from looking at these really expensive original call sheets - that the Prop Store is selling - that the mayor's office scene and the Cheech Marin dock scene were both filmed on the same day: "Thursday 27 April 1989". I don't know if it's normal for a movie to still be in principal photography less than two months before the release date - especially for an effects driven film. But what's interesting is that BOTH of these scenes were scripted to replace other scenes that don't appear on home video: the Sherman scene, the guys outside the museum discussing the Titanic with the fire chief and the Kumbaya singing, and the guys talking to Hardemeyer and the mayor outside the museum. This leads me to think that sometime in early 1989 Ivan decided to cut all of those scenes out, but for most of them it was too late. So he left in what was needed for the story, so the film could make the release date, and filmed the alternate scenes in April, with the idea that he'll fix up the movie as he sees fit for home video.

In other words, all home video releases contain the Director's Cut, instead of the Theatrical Cut. That's my theory.

As for Levy being in the Sherman scene, during one of the Selected Soundbytes interview clips on the Ghostbusters II Electronic Press Kit, Rick Moranis said, "We have Eugene here today, who's Canadian." There some very brief behind the scenes (B-Roll) footage from that scene on the EPK - some stills and video from it are on the GB2 Deleted Scenes: Sherman page on Spook Central.
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(Ghostbusters II Call Sheet - April 27, 1989 - sold by PropStore.com in 2009)

Recently, CBR posted an article about Ghostbusters II's ending, and whether Slimer did or didn't fly out from the Statue of Liberty. Honestly, I think the CBR article is full of inconclusive conjecture that does not prove their belief that it's "false". As someone who saw Ghostbusters II in the theater back in 1989, distinctly remembers Slimer flying out from Miss Liberty at the end, and who has been researching and documenting Ghostbusters for 20 YEARS (yes, Spook Central is the longest-running Ghostbusters website), I would not take a claim from a projectionist who got a 33mm print of the film FROM SONY IN 2010 as proof that this is false.

Who's to say that the print he got from Sony was not stricken from the "new final cut" that was used for home video and all subsequent showings after the 1989 theatrical showing? If Sony does not want the original theatrical version from ever being shown again, they're going to make sure that all copies of it - be it VHS, laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray, 35mm print, digital, etc. - are not going to contain *that* version...EVER!

The only way to prove this one true or false is to find a bootleg Ghostbusters II theatercam VHS from 1989 - my holy grail item!

I believe that the original theatrical cut has never appeared since June 1989 for legal reasons. If my theory holds true, and the home video cut is Ivan's final "final cut", Columbia Pictures may be legally obliged to only distribute that cut for the rest of time. I don't know what Ivan's contract with the studio entails, but I know that he and the main three actors had a lot of power given to them in their contracts, so my idea isn't far-fetched.
6 comments »

6 comments

Comment from: Jason A. Matthews (TheJAMMan1988) [Visitor]
Hi, have you heard that Alice Drummond died last Wednesday? http://www.slashfilm.com/ghostbusters-librarian-alice-drummond-dead/
Dec. 4, 2016 @ 17:35
Comment from: Paul Rudoff [Member] Email
Yup. Posted about it on the Spook Central Facebook page a few hours ago.
Dec. 4, 2016 @ 22:15
Comment from: Jace [Visitor]
Hey about the slimer scene at the end, im friends with Robin Shelby on FB. she played slimer in gb2. gonna meet up with her when i move to cali in january. Ive been talking to her regularly about a show i filmed but ill ask about that scene if it was filmed.
Dec. 5, 2016 @ 02:57
Comment from: Andreas [Visitor]
I also think they weren't quite finished, released an early version and fixed it for later screenings.


Dennis Muren: "They were still shooting with the actors two months before the film opened, [the schedule] was definitely tight! [...] [Ivan] just worked and worked to make this film the best that he could within the time frame that he had to make it."

Michael Gross: "We went back to shoot some scenes that we thought would help clarify story points or expand certain portions of the film [...] It meant the editing schedule had to be pushed back - and they were already dying. But we had to do it. [...] There was one point during a meeting with Columbia where studio representatives were getting really nervous about delivery. They kept saying: 'The 16th is locked'."
Dec. 5, 2016 @ 13:10
Comment from: A guy [Visitor]
I've heard about different cuts/scenes of GB2 over the years so I'll share the one scene that I always remember differently. I've always assumed it was just my memory playing tricks since I was only 5 at the time, but maybe it's real. In the standard GB2 cut is the following exchange:

Ray: You mean, you never even had a Slinky?
Egon: We had part of a Slinky. But I straightened it.

The way I remember it goes:

Ray: You mean, you never even had a Slinky?
Egon: I had something similar to a Slinky. (Followed by a sly grin from Egon).

Again, probably just my memory playing tricks but wanted to throw that out there.
Dec. 7, 2016 @ 00:53
Comment from: Jonathan [Visitor]
Jace, did you ever find any info from Robin Shelby?
Feb. 16, 2017 @ 22:50

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

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