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« Revenge of Shot on Site Summer - Ghostbusters II Locations, Part 1Revenge of Shot on Site Summer - Ghostbusters Locations, Part 5 »

Revenge of Shot on Site Summer - Ghostbusters Locations, Part 6

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Filming Locations , Tags:
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In honor of the respective 35th & 30th anniversaries of the original Ghostbusters movies, every Sunday - henceforth dubbed Shot on Site Sundays - at Noon (Eastern) for the next several weeks (schedule here), I will go through the original two movies from start to finish, showing and telling you where everything was filmed in Manhattan, New York and Los Angeles, California. This will be part filming locations rundown, part behind the scenes exploration, and part "Making Ghostbusters". All parts are available here in reverse order: Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. I will be utilizing the home video cuts of both movies, which can be found on the 2014 Blu-ray Double Feature, as well as the recently-released 5-Disc 4K UHD & Blu-ray with Bonus Disc Set. With that in mind, SPOILER WARNING if you read any further... though I suspect that if you're at Spook Central, you've already seen both movies a million times over.

The majority of real world New York photos were taken by Alex Newborn in July 2014 and Lars Karlsen in July 2018, and are being used with permission. The enlargements for these photos, and for the movie framegrabs, can be found on the various Filming Locations pages elsewhere on Spook Central. Other images are credited where known. Locations were identified by various people and sources over the past 35 years. Those that are not common knowledge are credited on the specific Filming Locations pages (see previous link). The title graphic seen at the top was created by Lars Karlsen, based on an idea by Paul Rudoff. It can be enlarged for a better look at its beauty. Now that that's out of the way, we've got movie sign...

Thanks to Walter Peck, the Ghostbusters are jailed.

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This is one of the few unidentified filming locations that I will be including in this article. Don Shay's book "Making Ghostbusters" tell us that "the incarceration scene was shot on location at an actual New York prison facility, now out of commission and essentially abandoned. The lock-up was just a terrible place to shoot. It was dark and very crowded, with low ceilings and dirt everywhere." That means that this is not a set, but a real place that was no longer in use as a prison back in 1983, when the movie was filming in New York.

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Alex Newborn pointed out a photo showing Ivan trying to direct the guys in the scene, but Dan is blissfully consumed by a magazine on the table.

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(source: original unknown, found on Ghostbusters Archives Facebook page)

Just what is so interesting in that magazine? Though the use of sophisticated computer technology (photo bottom left), and a box of crayons, Alex figured out that Dan was mesmerized by a photo of a topless Jamie Lee Curtis (photo bottom right) from his previous movie, Trading Places (1983).

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(source: censored framegrab by Alex Newborn)

While the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper are busy consummating their relationship, the Ghostbusters are released and taken to meet the mayor.

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They arrived at the real New York City City Hall.

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(date unknown, credit: Museum Planet)

The office of City Council president Carol Bellamy was graciously made available as a stand-in for the actual mayor's office. No photos exist of the interior, other than what is seen in the movie.

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The Ghostbusters' load up Ecto-1 at the City Hall loading dock.

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In real life, City Hall has no loading dock. Filming took place at the Manhattan Municipal Building at 1 Centre Street, which is across the street from the real City Hall. It's also down the block from the courthouse in Ghostbusters II, across the street from the "City Hall" in Ghostbusters (2016), and as previously mentioned, nearby the reporter and subway locations (since they're on the other side of City Hall). Yes, this one area provides you with SIX Ghostbusters filming locations! If you're interested in Elementary and Batman Forever filming locations, you'll find one from each in this area, too.

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(July 2014, credit: Alex Newborn)

Filming the scene, with the camera on a crane hoisted high up.

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(source: Making Ghostbusters)

The Ghostbusters get a police (and military) escort to the apartment building, giving us some foreshadowing of Columbus Circle in the background. I'll discuss that location when it makes its big entrance later. From here on out, there aren't very many filming locations, so the rest of this article will mainly be behind-the-scenes photos.

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Harold, Bill, Dan, and Ernie pose for a photo at the filming location.

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Ivan directs the scene.

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(source: Premiere Magazine, June 2004)

In an effort to stop the Ghostbusters from entering the building, a huge sinkhole opens up in the middle of the street.

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This scene was actually filmed in two different locations. This shot, with the mostly intact sidewalk and the ambulance with NO light on the side, were filmed in front of 55 Central Park West in New York. Here's Jason Reitman, and his father Ivan (who thought that the Ghostbusters were full of crap and that's why they later went out of business), standing atop the fake rubble laid out on the real New York street.

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(source: Reitman Family via Entertainment Weekly)

Everything but the kitchen-sinkhole.

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Switch to a different shot, and we're suddenly on the other side of the United States. The shots that show the sidewalk very violently broken up, and an ambulance with a red side light, were filmed at a facsimile of the apartment building's ground floor constructed at the Columbia Ranch (now Warner Bros. Ranch) at 411 North Hollywood Way in Burbank, California. This set was previously seen in the shot of Peter arriving for his date with Dana. Here's a behind-the-scenes photo that shows where the set piece ends.

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(source: Making Ghostbusters)

The guys finally enter the building, but have to head up to the 22nd floor using the stairs since the elevators were shut down.

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We're back at the Biltmore Hotel at 506 South Grand Avenue in Los Angeles. For this one shot, the hotel's staircase was used, extended to "infinity" through the use of a matte painting.

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(June 2019, credit: Jason Fitzsimmons of GhostbustersNews.com)

Here's a look at the actual matte painting, as hung on the wall of a collector's house. The area in the lower left corner was blacked out because there was something else in the original photo.

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The guys make it to Dana's apartment, only to find the entire side of the building blown away.

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Filming the scene on the Dana's apartment set.

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(source: Making Ghostbusters)

Matthew Yuricich painting the matte painting that shows the building exterior and the surrounding area.

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(source: Complete SFX Guide To Ghostbusters, 2014 Edition)

The final matte painting. If you look closely at the balcony on an adjacent building in the lower right corner of the screen when the camera starts to pull WAY back, you'll see some people moving. Those people are Matthew Yuricich (Chief Matte Artist), Michelle Moen (Matte Artist), and a few others. They were photographed in order to give the shot a little more movement (and perhaps as an inside joke, as well).

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Where do these stairs go? They go up to the temple atop the apartment building. What? Don't all buildings in New York have Gozerian temples on their roofs?

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All of the temple scenes were filmed on Stage 16 at The Burbank Studios at 4210 West Olive Avenue in Burbank, California. In the photo below, Ivan directs the guys on where to look when Gozer appears.

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(source: Making Ghostbusters)

Filming the "Choose the form of your destructor" portion of the scene.

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Inside the temple they find a foggy pyramid with a glass entryway through which Gozer materializes.

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A look at the set and filming on Stage 16. Notice the eyeline placecards on the steps, to note where to look at Gozer and the Terror Dogs.

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(source: Prevue magazine, August 1984)

A nice look at the steps, entryway, and pyramid from the side of the set.

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It's a girl! She prefers to be called a "woman" these days. Make that mistake and she'll send you flying off the side of a mid-town high-rise.

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(source: Making Ghostbusters)

I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never, ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay-Puft...

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The massive marshmallow menace makes his grand entrance at Columbus Circle. Louis was here, out of frame on the left, when he spoke to the horse after leaving Central Park. That big, boxy white building that's on Stay Puft's left (our right) as he makes his entrance in the first film, and that the Ecto-1 drives past at the beginning of the second film, was one of Columbus Circle's most unique and recognizable buildings: 2 Columbus Circle. Designed by Edward Durell Stone and built in 1964, it housed the Gallery of Modern Art. The facade brought mixed feelings to New Yorkers, as it's box shape featured absolutely no windows at all until the 9th and 10th floors. A series of "vent" designs dot the corners and cartoony lollipop designs adored the ground floor. After the Gallery closed, the building remained abandoned for many years until the Museum of Arts and Design won a bid on it in late 2005. They modified the facade by adding windows and tera cota, finishing it in 2008.

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(July 2014, credit: Alex Newborn)

Mr. Stay Puft waddles his way down to the apartment building, while the Ghostbusters look on from up high.

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The big fella was actually Bill Bryan in a suit walking down a miniature street. The Ghostbusters and buildings would be composited in later.

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As he approaches the apartment building, panicked people run for their lives.

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The above movie shot shows the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, at 3 West 65th Street in New York. The church is actually right next to the apartment building at 55 Central Park West, just like in the movie. You'll notice some white stuff on the tarp covering the military vehicle in the midground. I always thought that was supposed to be white paint, but the Making Ghostbusters book informs that it's supposed to be melted marshmallow from later after Stay Puft is destroyed. The vehicle was not supposed to be shown this early in the film.

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(March 2008, credit: Galdino Vilante)

The rest of the movie takes place on the temple set and out in front of the apartment building in New York, so there's nothing left to discuss for Ghostbusters.

That's a wrap! Be sure to come back next week - same ghost time, same ghost channel - for my look at Ghostbusters II.

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