Cult Cartoon Essentials

Cult Cartoon Essentials: The Real Ghostbusters

Following on from the hit 1984 Ghostbusters movie, The Real Ghostbusters was an American cartoon than ran for seven seasons (140 episodes) from September 13th 1986 to October 5th 1991. It documented the further adventures of Dr. Peter Venkman (voiced by Lorenzo Music in Seasons 1-2, Dave Coulier in Seasons 3-7) , Dr. Egon Spengler (voiced by Maurice LaMarche), Dr. Ray Stantz (voiced by Frank Welker), Winston Zeddemore (voiced by Arsenio Hall in Seasons 1-3, Buster Jones in Seasons 4-7), and their secretary Janine Melnitz (Voiced by Laura Summer in Seasons 1-2, Kath Soucie in Seasons 3-7). Slimer (voiced by Frank Welker once again), the hungry green ghost from the movie, was added as their  and their pet/mascot. It was produced by Columbia Pictures Television, DiC Enterprises, and Coca-Cola Telecommunications.  The story editor for the show was J. Michael Straczynski – who wrote every episode for every season apart from Season 4 and Season 7.

It should be noted that “The Real” part was added to the title following a rights dispute with Filmation and its original Ghost Busters properties. When initially making their film, Columbia Pictures had to obtain rights to use the name from Filmation. They initially neglected to do so and Filmation, who had already produced a live-action comedy series with that same name in 1975 filed legal action. Eventually Columbia agreed to license the name from Filmation for $500,000 plus 1% of the profits. Since Columbia did not really want to license Filmation the rights to the movie Ghostbusters when they were looking to produce an animated series they added “The Real” to distinguish the carton and thus not have to pay Filmation anymore. Filmation had even gone as far as to attempt to work with Columbia Pictures and had completed initial design work for a cartoon to be based on the movie but Columbia changed its mind, deciding not to work with Filmation (they chose DiC instead), prompting Filmation to create the cartoon based on its former live-action series.

As the series began we joined The Real Ghostbusters battling ghosts in New York. Most episodes were a ghost of the week type episode with their accountant Louis also popping up in their adventures. This continued until the fourth season (1988) when the show was renamed Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters. Episodes now included a thirty-minute The Real Ghostbusters episode and a 30 minute Slimer series. The Slimer part of the show was often in two sections that helped break up the main story.

In the Slimer parts, we see Slimer haunting the Sedgewick Hotel and we meet Slimer’s friends Chilly Cooper the singing ice cream truck driver named Chilly Cooper, Luigi the Italian pizza chef, Luigi’s boss Rafael the restaurant owner, Bud the bellhop, hotel manager Morris Grout, socialite Mrs. Van Huego and her dog Fred, and odd-job worker Rudy. Slimer spends his episodes trying not to be captured by mad scientist Professor Norman Dweeb and his pink poodle Elizabeth. Other enemies of Slimer include The Sleaze, Manx the alley cat, Bruiser the dog, Mrs. Stone, and the ghost gangsters Goolem, Zugg and their boss Scareface.

A sequel carton, Extreme Ghostbusters emerged in 1997 from Columbia TriStar Television and Adelaide Productions. It premiered on September 1st 1997 and ran for forty episodes.  Extreme Ghostbusters  was set many years after The Real Ghostbusters and it is explained that The Real Ghostbusters have disbanded due to a lack of supernatural activity. Egon is the last Ghostbuster left (along with Slimer) who stays at the firehouse to monitor the containment system. As a day job, Egon now teaches at a local university. When supernatural events begin occurring in New York, Egon recruits four of his university students as a new team of Ghostbusters, and Janine, now one of Egon’s students, returns to manage the office. In the two-episode season finale the original Real Ghostbusters return for the to celebrate Egon’s 40th birthday, which of course is interrupted by supernatural activity. This results in the old and new team having to put their differences aside to solve one last case.

 

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