One of the most interesting aspects of The Real Ghostbusters has always been the three-minute and forty-nine seconds pilot used to sell the series to ABC. Back in late 1985 Richard Raynis informed Kevin Altieri that DiC were going to pitch a show based on the movie Ghostbusters to the ABC network. Being a fan of the movie Kevin leapt at the chance to work on it. Due to the incredibly quick turnaround there was no planned structure to the pilot; Kevin and Eddie Fitzgerald literally drew scene after scene as the ideas came to them. The pair had no models to work with and based all of their designs on the movie, which is why in the storyboards the characters look like their movie counterparts, with Winston even sporting a mustache!
Besides storyboarding the pilot with Eddie Fitzgerald, Kevin Altieri also directed it. It was completed on December 16, 1985, and not only did DiC manage to successfully sell the show to ABC, but it also became one of the longest running eighties cartoons with a staggering six years of production, including sixty-five syndicated episodes.
The reason the full pilot even exists on The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection DVD box set is because, after all these years, Kevin still had it in pristine condition on the very video tape he had originally transferred it to. James Eatock, who worked on the DVD set, took photos of the videocassette itself, along with the video tag that preceeded the pilot on the tape, which was left off of the DVD.
Footage from the pilot was used in: an ABC promo to announce the premiere of the series in the Fall of 1986 (amongst the many times it aired was on August 17, 1986 during the The Disney Sunday Movie), home video, a Blockbuster Video promo to announce the original Magic Window home video VHS release of the series in 1987, a Syndication promo to announce the premiere of the series in syndication in the Fall of 1987, and in the opening credits of "The Halloween Door" primetime special in 1989. The first 54 seconds of the pilot was used in its entirety in the Syndication promo and in the Blockbuster Video promo, but with different narration. Once the Ghostbusters start sliding down the firepole in silhouette, that's when the Blockbuster Video promo cuts to other footage, while the Syndication promo continues the shot up to the point where the Ecto-1 comes racing out of the firehouse, at which point it stills on the logo on the side of the car.
Here's a brief history of the Restored Version: The 16mm film reel was purchased by Robert Barbieri sight unseen from a lot of stuff found by another collector. It said "Ghostbusters" on the can, but he had no idea what exactly would be on the reel. He took it to be digitized and, lo and behold, it was the silent Master film copy that was shipped to DiC from the Japan animation studio that was contracted to do the animation for the pilot. Robert spent four months using Photoshop to clean up over 5,500 frames, and one month was spent color correcting each scene individually. The next step was to get sound for it. Luckily, the original director, Kevin Altieri, snuck a copy onto a personal VHS back in the day as a memento of his work. When he was interviewed for the TimeLife DVD set in 2008, he dug it up for the bonus features. When that VHS tape was digitized for inclusion in the set, James Eatock kept a copy of the raw digital transfer. He took the audio from that raw transfer, sent it to his friend and collaborator Dusan Mitrovic for remastering to get the best possible sound quality out of it, then sent it to Robert to sync with the restored film transfer. Granted, Robert could have simply ripped the pilot from the Time Life bonus disc to get the audio track, but he wanted to get the best quality possible - which meant going back to the original source. (sources: Facebook post #1, Facebook post #2, and Facebook post #3)
These storyboard PDFs came from the TimeLife Complete Series DVD set and are presented exactly as they were in the set. They have not been cleaned or fixed up, nor have they been optimized for the web.
James Eatock - Behind The Scenes (VHS Version)
Be sure to check out the entire collection of DVD Behind The Scenes photos.
Robert Barbieri - Behind The Scenes (Restored Version)
Images come from the 6-minute restoration featurette by David Mattox.
The Pilot (Restored Version)