No, William and Henry Deutschendorf were twins who shared the role of Baby Oscar in Ghostbusters II. It was their only film role.
The Real Ghostbusters
The Real Ghostbusters is an American animated television series based on the 1984 film Ghostbusters. The series ran from 1986 to 1991, and was produced by Columbia Pictures Television, DiC Enterprises, and Coca-Cola Telecommunications. "The Real" was added to the title after a dispute with Filmation and its Ghost Busters properties. The series continues the adventures of paranormal investigators Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spengler, Dr. Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore, their secretary Janine Melnitz and their mascot ghost Slimer.
There also were two ongoing comicsReal Ghostbusters, one published monthly by Now Comics in USA and the other published weekly (originally biweekly) by Marvel Comics in the United Kingdom, and a popular toy line manufactured by Kenner (the toyline lasted longer than the television series itself).
The series follows the continuing adventures of The Ghostbusters, secretary Janine, accountant Louis, and their mascot Slimer, as they chase and capture rogue spirits around New York and various other areas of the world.
A short pilot episode was produced, but never aired in full. The full four-minute promo was released on Time Life's DVD set in 2008. Scenes of the pilot can be seen in TV promos that aired prior to the beginning of the series. Among differences seen in the promo pilot, the Ghostbusters wore the beige jumpsuits they had worn in the film instead of the color-coded jumpsuits they would wear in the finished series, and the character design for Peter Venkman bore more of a resemblance to actor Bill Murray than the character design seen in the finished series. When he auditioned for the voice of Egon Spengler, Maurice LaMarche noted that while he was asked not to impersonate Harold Ramis, he did so anyway and eventually got the part. LaMarche also noted that Bill Murray complained that Lorenzo Music's voice of Peter Venkman sounded more like Garfield (who was also voiced by Music at the time.) A different explanation for the change of actor for Peter Venkman came from Dave Coulier, who took over the role of Venkman from Music, who expalined that Joe Medjuck a producer on both the original 1984 film and the animated series, wanted the character to sound more like Bill Murray. Ernie Hudson was the only actor from the films who auditioned to play his character in the series; however, the role was given to Arsenio Hall.
At the same time The Real Ghostbusters was being created, Filmation was making a cartoon known simply as "Ghostbusters", which was a revamp of Filmation's 1970s series The Ghost Busters. The character designs by Jim McDermott were dramatically redesigned from the way the same characters looked in the movie.
Although the "Ghostbusters" concept was tinkered with, the finalized show does feature many tie-ins from the films. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man made numerous appearances. During the third season, Walter Peck, the Environmental Protection Agency antagonist from the original film, reappeared. The uniforms and containment unit were redesigned, and Slimer was changed from a bad ghost to a resident and friend, events which are explained in the episode "Citizen Ghost" that flashes back to what happened to the Ghostbusters right after the movie's events. Gozer is also mentioned repeatedly throughout the series, usually in comparison to a ghost they are currently battling (e.g. "Cthulhu [sic] makes Gozer look like Little Mary Sunshine").
In the third season, some of the character designs were modified. Ray's character design was slimmed down to give the character a less overweight appearance and Slimer was given a tail instead of the formerly rounded bottom. The biggest change was to the character of Janine, whose hair was completely changed from being short and spiky to long and straight. Her overall design was softened, as was her personality. Her voice was also softened with Kath Soucie taking over the voice role from Laura Summer. Changes to Janine's character were eventually addressed (and resolved) in the season 6 episode "Janine, You've Changed".
At the start of the series' third season in 1988, the series was retitled to Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters. The opening was completely redone to centre around Slimer. Eventually the episodes were expanded from their original half-hour format to last an hour, and the overall feel of the show was changed to be more youthful, with episodes having a lighter tone to be less frightening. When Ghostbusters II was released, the character of Louis Tully was introduced to the show, with his voice provided by Rodger Bumpass, and later episodes referenced events from the film.
With the departure of story editor and writer J. Michael Straczynski, more changes were also made. Dave Coulier took over the role of voicing Peter from Lorenzo Music and Buster Jones replaced Arsenio Hall as the voice of Winston. The show was canceled in 1991, with Straczynski returning to the series to write a few of the episodes in the final season in 1990. The only voice actors to remain for the entire series were Frank Welker and Maurice LaMarche.
The show originally aired on ABC for its full run, except for the third season which ran on syndication at the same time as the second season ran on ABC. Later, reruns of the show appeared on the USA Network's USA Cartoon Express from September 16, 1991 to September 11, 1994. Fox Family Channel also reran the series from August 17, 1998 to October 1, 1999. Fox included the series as part of their Fox Kids block on Saturday mornings in 2001-02. In August 2012, reruns began airing on Fearnet during the weekends, part of their "Funhouse" block.
In January 2009, IGN named The Real Ghostbusters as the 22nd best show in the Top 100 Best Animated TV Shows.
The Real Ghostbusters Soundtrack was released in 1986 on CD, records, and cassette by Polygram Records. All songs were performed by Tahiti (Tyren Perry & Tonya Townsend.)
In 1988, a small series of video cassettes featuring 3 episodes each were released by Random House Home Video. The episodes on the cassettes were from the first season of syndication.
In 2004 and again in 2006 Sony released bare bones episode compilations in the United Kingdom and United States respectively. The DVD release of Ghostbusters II also included two episodes of the series as bonus features, "Citizen Ghost", a story focusing on events set immediately after the first movie, and "Partners in Slime", which featured the psycho-active slime from Ghostbusters II and a brief mention of its villain Vigo the Carpathian.
On May 27, 2008, Time-Life announced they would be responsible for the complete series' release on DVD in the Fall of 2008. That July they allowed fans the chance to vote between two variations of an outer box for the set—one designed to look like the main characters firehouse headquarters and the other all black with different images on each side. Both featured lenticular printing, the firehouse version to show the Ecto-1 and the black version to have oozing "slime". Released on November 25, 2008, in the "firehouse" casing, the set spans 25 discs containing all 147 episodes of the series. The company began releasing the individual volumes on March 31, 2009.
The complete first season was released on DVD in Australia on June 3, 2009, and in the U.K. on June 15, 2009.
At the start of the third season in 1988, with the series' renaming, it was given a one-hour time slot. In addition to the regular thirty-minute Real Ghostbusters episode, a half-hour Slimer sub-series was added that included 2–3 short animated segments focusing on the character Slimer. At the end of its six season run, 147 episodes had aired, including the syndicated episodes and 13 episodes of Slimer, with multiple episodes airing out of production order. The segments added several characters as friends of Slimer, plus an antagonist, Professor Norman Dweeb, a prototypical mad scientist usually accompanied by a pink poodle named Elizabeth. Dweeb wants to capture Slimer to experiment on him and to gain personal glory. Dweeb also made three appearances in the main series, one a clip show from the last two seasons. One of the ghosts from the Slimer cartoons, the Sleaze, also reappeared in The Real Ghostbusters to be captured a second time.
In 1997, a sequel cartoon entitled Extreme Ghostbusters, was created by Columbia TriStar Television and Adelaide Productions. It premiered on September 1, 1997 and ran for forty episodes until its conclusion on December 8, 1997. Set several years after the end of The Real Ghostbusters, the series opened by saying the team has disbanded due to a lack of supernatural activity. Only Egon remains in the firehouse, along with Slimer, to care for the containment system while teaching classes 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, also one of Egon's students, returns to manage the office. The original Ghostbusters return for the two-episode season finale to celebrate Egon's 40th birthday, leading to them reluctantly working together with the younger generation to solve one last case.
Ghostbusters (role-playing game)
Janine Melnitz is a fictional character in the Ghostbusters series. She is the Ghostbusters' secretary and confidante.
On numerous occasions, Janine has been forced to take up a Ghostbusters uniform and proton pack to bail the guys out of trouble in episodes "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me A Dream", "Janine’s Day Off", "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster" and "Jailbusters". In episode "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster" from Season 2, she borrows one of Peter Venkman's uniforms, and in the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "A Temporary Insanity" she borrowed one of Egon Spengler's.
Throughout most Ghostbusters media, Janine is often displayed as having a romantic attraction to Egon Spengler. This is shown in the first movie and more prominently in the Real Ghostbusters cartoons. In Ghostbusters II, however, she becomes involved with Louis Tully, who has become the team's financial advisor and lawyer. Despite this, Janine retains her attraction to Egon throughout the entire Real Ghostbusters series, and even into the Extreme Ghostbusters series.
In Janine's Genie, in which Janine encounters an evil genie after receiving a possessed lamp (unaware that the genie is evil), one of her wishes was for Egon to fall in love with her, and in one instance when she is driving Ecto-1, Egon comments "Janine, you're beautiful when you drive."
Egon and Janine share a handful of tender moments throughout the series, but Egon's somewhat stilted emotions often create a barrier between them.
In Ghostbusters, Janine is hired as the secretary of the Ghostbusters. In Ghostbusters II, Peter Venkman assigns her to baby-sit Dana Barrett's baby Oscar. She asks Louis Tully to babysit with her.
Janine is the youngest daughter of a working-class family. Though her parents, sister, nephew and grandmother all live in Canarsie (as seen in "Janine's Day Off"), she has remained in Brooklyn Heights, where she grew up. She tends to wear loud, blocky jewelry and (in early seasons) tends to wear a mini-skirt at work.
In 1987, Janine owns a convertible red Volkswagen Beetle, which is severely damaged after being loaned to the Ghostbusters in "Beneath These Streets". In "Baby Spookums" she has a yellow Renault 5 Le Car, although it is not known if this is a loaner/rental or her own car; in later instances she owns a pink Beetle convertible.
She has a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor and has been known to make jokes about the Ghostbusters, either to their faces or under her breath, but most of the time she usually gets along with Ray and Winston, while usually having a kind of sibling rivalry with Peter.
Season 3 of Real Ghostbusters features severe changes to the character: a new voice actor, a new character design, and a softened personality.
In the Season 5 episode "Janine, You've Changed", it is revealed that her changes were the result of her wishes to a "makeoverus lotsabucks" (the name likely a swipe at ABC by J. Michael Straczynski), a demon posing as a fairy godmother (and even referred to as such by Janine herself). (This was one of a handful of episodes Straczysnki wrote as a favor to the show's producers, as he could not return as a full-time writer due to other working commitments he had at the time). As such, the demon fed off of Janine's insecurity regarding her looks, and frustration in failing to win Egon's heart. The demon used her magic to blind Egon (and the other Ghostbusters) to Janine's changes, thus making Janine more dependent on the demon for "improvements" on her appearance in hopes Egon would notice her.
None of the Ghostbusters noticed until Slimer showed them pictures of Janine in their photo album. They demonstrated her startling changes over the years. When Janine leaves the firehouse to meet the demon alone, the Ghostbusters go after her. In the car, Egon tells the others, just as he's realising, how much Janine means to him, now he could lose her forever. In the climax of the episode, Janine becomes similar to the demon herself, temporarily possessing its powers (allowing her to change her own appearance at will). She lashes out at Egon when he comes to her rescue, blaming him for hardly ever acknowledging her affection for him. Egon defeats the demon's hold over Janine by confessing his love for her. (The NOW and Marvel UK comics ignore these changes). Egon's confession proves sincere (and is not just a way of defeating the demon), as he and Janine are later seen sitting on a bench together, watching the sun set. It is here Egon puts his arm round Janine and asks her out on a date.
Strangely, by the time of Extreme Ghostbusters, Janine reverted back to the way she was before Season 3. It can only be theorized that over time the effects of the demon changing Janine's physical appearance (and voice) gradually wore off.
Janine's character was changed at the suggestion of consultants, who said that they wanted to change the shape of Janine's glasses (which they thought would frighten children), and change her from a feisty character to the "mother" of the Ghostbusters group as they felt she was "too abrasive". Additionally, the Brooklyn accent was discarded with a change in voice actresses. This, among other reasons, was why writer J. Michael Straczynski left The Real Ghostbusters.
Set 6 years after the series finale of The Real Ghostbusters, Janine had bounced from various jobs since the Ghostbusters closed down in 1991. Having been recently downsized from her last job she returned to school at the New York City College and amongst the various (and unmentioned) courses she was taking was a paranormal one, where she was reunited with Egon, going on to help him form the new team.
Janine has had brief appearances in the Extreme Ghostbusters Game Boy Color game (only released in Europe) and in the Extreme Ghostbusters game, Code Ecto-1 for the Game Boy Advance.
Annie Potts reprised her role as Janine in the Ghostbusters: The Video Game, once again being the team's secretary, warning them about what's going on, either by calling them or by radio, and of course, making sarcastic comments about the situation. Her physical appearance is quite similar to the way she appeared in the second movie.
In the film series, she was portrayed by Annie Potts. In the cartoon series Real Ghostbusters, she was originally voiced by Laura Summer and later by Kath Soucie. In the cartoon series Extreme Ghostbusters, she is voiced by Pat Musick.
Ghostbusters is a comedy role-playing game designed by Sandy Petersen, Lynn Willis and Greg Stafford and published by West End Games in 1986. It is based on the 1984 film Ghostbusters.
The Ghostbusters RPG won the 1986 H.G. Wells Award for Best Roleplaying Rules. In 1999 Pyramid magazine named Ghostbusters as one of The Millennium's Most Underrated Games. Editor Scott Haring noted that Ghostbusters was "the first-ever RPG to use the dice pool mechanic" and "the game did a great job of catching the zany feel of the movies."
The Ghostbusters role-playing game is set in the same fictional universe as the Ghostbusters films, but in a period sometime after the first film. In the game, the original Ghostbusters have created a corporation known as Ghostbusters International, which sells Ghostbusters franchises to individuals around the world.
Most player characters in the Ghostbusters role-playing game are franchisees who operate in cities outside the film's New York locale. The game does, however, include profiles of the original four Ghostbusters for gamers who wish to role-play the cinematic characters or have them appear as non-player characters.
While the Ghostbusters films limit the Ghostbusters to combating ectoplasmic entities such as ghosts and demons, the Ghostbusters game expands the setting to pit Ghostbusters against numerous other paranormal creatures and incidents. Ghostbusters characters may encounter creatures as diverse as vampires, extraterrestrials, and time-travelers.
Ghostbusters features an intentionally minimalist rules system. The game's main rulebook, the Operations Manual, does not include rules for subjects like movement rates and weapon ranges; it explicitly states that they are unnecessary for play.
Character generation in Ghostbusters begins with a simple character point mechanic for assigning character attributes, which it calls Traits. Each character begins with 12 points, which the character's player assigns to the four Traits: Brains, Muscle, Moves, and Cool, giving each Trait a score between 1 and 5.
Each character must also be assigned four Talents. Talents (skills) are organized into groups based on which of the four Traits they're most associated with; each character has one Talent from each group. The character's score in each Talent is three points higher than the associated Trait. For example, one might have a Cool of four with Convince as his talent, making his dice pool on Convince rolls seven.
In some cases, certain equipment or circumstances might add additional dice to the pool. For example, one could have a Muscles of two with Brawl as his talent, for a dice pool of five. This could be further improved by picking up a wrench to use as a club in melee combat for two more dice, for a total dice pool of seven.
Most tasks in Ghostbusters are resolved by determining which Trait or (if appropriate) Talent is most relevant to the task at hand, and rolling a number of six-sided dice equal to that Trait or Talent's score. The results of the dice rolled are added, and the sum compared to a difficulty number assigned to the task by the Ghostmaster (gamemaster). If the player's roll equals or exceeds the difficulty number, the character succeeds at the task.
This basic dice pool mechanic has two additional game mechanics. The first, the Ghost Die, is a special die that represents bad luck, and can cause even successful actions to have negative effects for player characters. It has the Ghostbusters logo instead of a six, and when it comes up causes some unfortunate mishap. When a ghost is rolled for a villain, the mishaps rebound in their favor or temporarily make their powers more effective.
The second mechanic, Brownie Points, represent the character's accumulated "good karma", and can be used to increase the number of dice used in a task resolution roll, or even change the effects of a roll that would have otherwise failed. The points must be spent before rolling, however-one may not spend brownie points to obtain additional dice to roll once a roll has already failed. Each character begins the game with a pool of 20 Brownie Points, which decreases as they are used in play. In the first edition Brownie Points are also lost when characters are injured. Players earn replacement points for their characters by succeeding in Ghostmaster-appointed tasks, achieving their character's personal goal (for instance, Egon's is advancing the cause of science), and as rewards for good roleplaying.
Ghostbusters' task resolution system was influential on the development of other West End Games systems. A more detailed version of the system was used in the role-playing gameStar Wars, and became the signature mechanic of the D6 System. As the first known "dice pool" system it had an influence on other role-playing games, too: after producing Ars Magica, Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein*Hagen were inspired by Ghostbusters to each design their own game based on "dice pool" resolution mechanics. Tweet produced the cult hit Over the Edge, whilst Rein*Hagen came up with the immensely successful Vampire: The Masquerade, the system of which would go on to drive the World of Darkness roleplaying games as well as Exalted and many other White Wolf Publishing games.
The Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaying Game boxed set (ISBN 0-87431-043-1) was published in 1986. It contained a 24-page Training Manual (player handbook), a 64-page Operations Manual (GM's handbook), six dice, and various handouts. West End Games published three accessories for the original Ghostbusters rules:
In 1987, Ghostbusters won the H.G. Wells Award for "Best Roleplaying Rules of 1986." 
In 1989, West End Games published a revised version of Ghostbusters, titled Ghostbusters International (ISBN 0-87431-223-X). The second version of the game was published both to capitalize on that year's release of the film Ghostbusters II, and to satisfy players who requested a more detailed set of rules. (Anonymous 1989). This boxed set contained a single, 144-page rule book, six dice, and handouts. West End Games published five accessories for the Ghostbusters International rules:
As of 2006, Ghostbusters and all of its supplements are out of print.
Egon Spengler, Ph.D. is a fictional character appearing in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, in the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters, and later in Extreme Ghostbusters. He is a member of the Ghostbusters, and one of the three doctors of parapsychology on the team. Spengler is portrayed by Harold Ramis in the films, and voiced by Maurice LaMarche in the cartoon series.
The character of Egon Spengler was named after Oswald Spengler and a classmate of Ramis' at Senn High School named Egon Donsbach who was a Hungarian refugee.
LaMarche stated that when he auditioned for the part of Spengler in The Real Ghostbusters, he was asked not to do an impression of Ramis, a request he ignored because impressions were one of his strengths as a performer and there was no other way he could imagine properly portraying the character other than to follow Ramis's example, and got the part anyway. LaMarche said in an interview that he did two different takes, one where he impersonated Ramis, the other where he tried a more "Woody Allen" like approach, which he admitted did not suit the character's physicality.
Egon Spengler is a tall, laconic, bespectacled, awkward member of the team responsible for the main theoretical framework for their paranormal/quantum studies. Being addicted to science, he is the creator of the Ghostbusters' equipment along with Raymond Stantz, thus making him the brains of the Ghostbusters. Although book smart, Spengler does not have much social ability, as demonstrated by his stiff interactions with the Ghostbusters' secretary Janine Melnitz, and his reliance on Peter Venkman as spokesperson for the group.
Spengler is the most serious and rigid member of the team. Of his hobbies, Spengler states that he collects "spores, molds, and fungus", and claims that, as a child, the only toy he ever had was "part of a Slinky", which he straightened out. As implied in the first movie, Spengler apparently is a sugar junkie, due to his affection for sweets and candy. According to the 2009 video game, Spengler sleeps an average of 14 minutes per day, leaving him "a lot of time to work."
Spengler's hair was changed from brown in the films (Ramis' natural hair color) to a blond pompadour in the animated series (Spengler wore his hair in a ponytail on Extreme Ghostbusters). This was reportedly done due to legal issues concerning character/actor likenesses.][
Despite his leanings toward science, Spengler has a family history of witchcraft (three ancestors, Zedekiah, Eli and Ezekiel, were wizards), of which he is not so much ashamed as "strongly" considers irrelevant, mainly because he sees science as relevant. Spengler's faith in science was also tested in one episode where the Ghostbusters get abducted to the ghost world by the ghost of Al Capone. Spengler's scientific equipment fails until he is told by former capos of Capone (who aid the Ghostbusters in revenge for Capone double-crossing them) that only magic can harm ghosts in the ghost world as opposed to science harming ghosts in the human world, thus forcing Spengler to accept the wizardry methods of his ancestors to defeat Capone.
He is the love interest of Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters' secretary, in the first film and both animated series (Ghostbusters II excluded their romance due to Ramis' dislike of the subplot, thus having Melnitz date Louis Tully instead). Spengler sometimes appears to be unaware of Melnitz's romantic interest in him, but at times he displays having similar feelings for her, such as when he gave her a geranium as a gift when she expressed an interest in plants (which backfired horribly when it was revealed that the geranium was possessed by a ghost and nearly destroyed her apartment, along with much of Brooklyn; though Spengler managed to thwart the ghost, Melnitz angrily told Spengler he would have to pay for the damages to her home) and when he rushed to her rescue in "Janine, You've Changed"; he also embraces her in "Ghost Busted" after she was kidnapped and held for ransom by a gangster, and became jealous when she was briefly involved with a slimy businessman named Paul Smart.
In the episode "Cry Uncle", Spengler's well-meaning but skeptical uncle Cyrus, visits him and, since he does not believe that Spengler's work with the Ghostbusters is real scientific work and therefore a waste of Spengler's genius, tries to make him come back to Ohio (where Spengler grew up) to work at his uncle's lab, but fortunately, after his uncle accidentally releases the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the containment unit, he realizes that ghosts are real and accepts Spengler's work.
Throughout the series, Spengler would have his soul switched with that of a demon, have his molecular structure destabilized to the point that it stranded him in the Netherworld (requiring him to be rescued by the others), experience a curse-induced age regression that nearly destroyed him, turn into a were-chicken, and have his intellect switched with Slimer's. He has however, ceased his sugar junkie ways, only to briefly be tempted by a candy store when in Slimer's body (a likely fact that Slimer was an overt glutton).
It is revealed in "The Boogieman Cometh" that, as a child, Spengler was stalked by the boogieman, a supernatural monster that fed on the fear of children and hid in their closets, and was particularly fond of Spengler's fear; it was these encounters with the creature that inspired Spengler to study the paranormal, and as an adult, he would battle the Boogieman twice and defeat him.
It is implied in one episode of the animated series that Spengler accidentally burned down his family's garage.
Spengler is the only original Ghostbuster to return for the Extreme Ghostbusters series as a regular, acting as a mentor to the new Ghostbusters (the others appeared for a two-part episode, "Back in the Saddle"), and monitoring and sustaining the Containment Unit while working as a paranormal studies professor at a university. He is the de facto leader of the new, younger team of Ghostbusters; although the old team had gone into retirement after they apparently dealt with all the ghosts in the city, after the digging of a new subway tunnel resulted in the release of an ancient ghost, Spengler was forced to recruit his only four current students to act as the new Ghostbusters.
Although willing to do his share of the legwork, Spengler overestimates his abilities and his aging becomes apparent when he is no longer able to work at the same level as in his younger days, generally working at the firehouse doing research while the team handle the actual 'Ghostbusting', though when the situation calls for it he will help. Melnitz is still carrying a torch for him, which leaves him a little flustered. He celebrates his 40th birthday during this series, which would put him in his late twenties when The Real Ghostbusters began. Age is the largest factor causing Spengler to having transition from active ghost hunting to a mentorship role; in one episode where the original Ghostbusters guest starred on an episode the audience clearly sees middle adulthood has affected the speed and weakened the stamina of the original Ghostbusters.
A likeness of Ramis, circa 1991 (the year in which the game takes place) appears in the Ghostbusters: The Video Game that was released on June 16, 2009. In the game, before the "Return to Sedgewick Hotel" mission, Stantz comments that Spengler was once a coroner, to which he replied that he maintains interest in the subject as a hobby.
Peter Venkman, Ph.D. is a fictional character from the franchiseGhostbusters. He is a parapsychologist and member of the Ghostbusters, appearing in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II and in the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters. In both the live action films, he was portrayed by Bill Murray, and was voiced in the animated series first by the late Lorenzo Music and then by Dave Coulier.
In 2008, Peter Venkman was selected by the magazine Empire as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time, described by Empire's Nick de Semlyen as "the ultimate New York hero: cynical, sarcastic, secretly sweet-natured", "a man possessed by manic spontaneity, with a wont to twirl in circles around a public concourse or declare undying love for a woman he's just met", and the "most popular" character played by Murray.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Peter is one of three doctors of parapsychology on the Ghostbusters team. He holds PhDs in both parapsychology and psychology. Originally his professional interests were focused on paranormal phenomena like ESP; he appeared not to believe in ghosts until he actually saw one. In the movies, he is characterized by his flippant persona, his approach to his profession as a scientific charlatan, and his womanizing demeanor. Fred Pfeil sees in him a postmodern hero, whose level of "crass self-interest" safeguards him from being ensnared by a stereotypical role.
Despite Venkman's lackadaisical attitude, from time to time he has created inventions that help the Ghostbusters save the day, and he is shrewd and more street-smart than either Ray Stantz or Egon Spengler. Venkman serves as the front man for the group and possesses more social ability than the more academically inclined Ray and Egon. For instance, he is the one who is able to persuade the city mayor to release them after being arrested, return their equipment and otherwise support their attempt to stop Gozer.
In The Real Ghostbusters series, Peter's womanizing is toned down somewhat (though he is still quick to approach attractive women), but he retains his dry wit and sarcastic demeanor, and his vanity is played up more. While not the official leader of the group, Venkman is the closest thing they have to one, and often makes the decision whether the Ghostbusters will take a case or not. He often reinforces the prospect of Ghostbusters being a business and, with rare exceptions, opposes ghostbusting without the promise of equity. He is originally opposed to the idea of Slimer living in the firehouse, but quickly develops a love–hate relationship with the ghost; mostly hate whenever he is "slimed" on an episodic basis. The episodes "Venkman's Ghost Repellers", "Cold Cash and Hot Water", and "Treasure of the Sierra Tamale" feature Peter's father, a con artist/businessman who could not make an honest dollar and was often away on business during Peter's childhood, as mentioned in "X-mas Marks The Spot". He is depicted as a negligent, even manipulative father; his relationship with Peter often tumultuous. Peter has claimed to be a Scorpio, as mentioned in "Mean Green Teen Machine". In "Last Train to Oblivion", one of Peter's favorite hobbies is trains, and he used to dream about driving a big locomotive when he was a child (Peter even studied engineering in college for two years before discovering it had nothing to do with trains).
Venkman appears in the two part series finale. After the closing down of the Ghostbusters, Peter moved out to California, with the intention of getting another Ghostbusters movie made, although he said he was holding out for Brad Pitt to play him.
Bruce G. Hallenbeck, author of Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914–2008, compares Peter Venkman to Groucho Marx, who hosted the 1950s quiz show You Bet Your Life. Hallenback said, "With a quip for every situation, a put-down for everyone who deserves it and an ability to rise above it all, Venkman is a lot like Groucho." The comparison is also reinforced by the scene in the original movie where, waiting for Dana Barrett to finish the day's rehearsals with the orchestra Peter jogs up and down a bustling New York square hopping on a single foot, alternately, just as Groucho Marx used to do.
Winston Zeddemore is a fictional character appearing in the Ghostbusters films, TV series, and video games. He was played by Ernie Hudson in both movies and was voiced by Arsenio Hall in the first two seasons of The Real Ghostbusters. Buster Jones provided Winston's voice in the remaining seasons, and he reprised the role in a cameo on Extreme Ghostbusters. Hudson returned to provide his appearance and voice to Zeddemore in 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game, and is expected to reprise the role in the future Ghostbusters III film.
In the original script for Ghostbusters, Winston Zeddemore was intended to be the smartest and most capable of the Ghostbusters, a former Marine with multiple degrees and a Ph.D., making him more suited for the job than the founding three Ghostbusters. However, in the final screenplay none of these qualifications were mentioned. The changes are discussed in detail in the commentary on the DVD of Ghostbusters, the explanation being Winston allowed the technobabble to be put into layman's terms.][
However, the novelization of Ghostbusters mentions Zeddemore's service with the Marines prior to joining the Ghostbusters. Further, in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, while the Ghostbusters are on a mission in the New York History Museum, Zeddemore reminisces about the time he spent studying for his doctorate in the museum's Egyptology wing. (In context, it's unclear if Zeddemore studied for the doctorate prior to joining the Ghostbusters, or sometime between the events of the movies and the game's setting in 1991.)
Zeddemore is a religious man to some extent, saying in a discussion in Ghostbusters that he believes in God and "loves Jesus' style". While driving the Ecto-1 with Ray he voices his thoughts that the sudden spike in ghosts appearances might be a sign of the apocalypse, pointing out that while they have come to treat capturing ghosts as routine pest control, in a very real sense the dead are literally "rising from the grave".
Winston Zeddemore's first on-screen appearance was in the movie Ghostbusters, when he applied for a position with the team not long after they were established. Questioned extensively during his application by Janine Melnitz as to whether he believed in a large number of supernatural occurrences and beings (such as UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster and the theory of Atlantis among others), Zeddemore replied, "If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say."
Though Zeddemore had no previous background in paranormal studies and was not initially a firm believer in the existence of the paranormal, he readily accepts the existence of ghosts and the supernatural as he encounters them as a Ghostbuster. However, despite this, he continues to act as an 'everyman' and voice of reason for the team, and when the jailed Ghostbusters seriously propose asking a U.S. federal judge to release them because they must fight an invading god, Zeddemore is the one who reminds the others that they will not be believed.
After working with him the previous year on Trading Places, Dan Aykroyd originally wanted Eddie Murphy to play the role of Winston Zeddemore. Aware of his comic abilities, his characterization of Winston would have been in a semi-improvisational style, similar to Bill Murray's performance as Peter Venkman. Murphy was too busy shooting Beverly Hills Cop to commit.
Many details of Zeddemore's personality and character are revealed in episodes of the Real Ghostbusters. The episode "Cry Uncle" clarifies that, in the show's continuity, Winston has no doctorate; he also informs Egon's skeptical Uncle Cyrus that, prior to becoming a Ghostbuster, he too doubted the existence of ghosts. In "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream," Winston states that, unlike his three colleagues, he is not a scientist, causing him to doubt his ability to resolve a crisis when the Sandman traps the others within their own dreams, but with encouragement from a dream-version of Albert Einstein, he meets the challenge and wins the day. "The Ghostbusters in Paris" reveals that Winston was once a construction worker prior to joining the Ghostbusters. This idea seems to be further reinforced in the episode "The Brooklyn Triangle", when the Ghostbusters respond to a construction site headed by his father; this would indicate that it might have been a family business, until Winston decided to join the Ghostbusters.
In the episode "Devil To Pay", Zeddemore mentions having a girlfriend, though she is never seen on screen during the series. In "Night Game", he is shown to love baseball, and his favorite team is the Jaguars. In several other episodes it is shown that Zeddemore loves mystery novels and detective stories, and in "Boodunnit" he is the one who solves the mystery novel left behind by a deceased mystery writer similar to Agatha Christie, allowing her soul to rest. In "Doctor, Doctor" it is revealed that Zeddemore also likes classical literature, including the works of Herman Melville and Charles Dickens. He is also a fan of The Alan Parsons Project. "The Brooklyn Triangle" introduces Winston's father, Ed, who works in construction. Their relationship is shown to have been strained because of Winston choosing to be a Ghostbuster, but they reconcile by the end of the episode.
Finally, in the episode "The Moaning Stones", Zeddemore is revealed to be the reincarnation of Shima Buku, a shaman at war with an immortal demon known only as the Undying One.
Winston is the primary driver of Ecto-1 for more than a few moments in the two films. As a result, he is almost always shown driving the car in the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, and is often seen performing routine maintenance such as oil changes on the vehicle. In an episode of the cartoon where the Ghostbusters are sent back in time to the 1950s, Winston sees Ecto-1 in its original role as a hearse; telling the other Ghostbusters he would know the vehicle anywhere, he says to the car, "Hang in there Ecto--better days are ahead for you", illustrating how fond Zeddemore is of the car.
Only appearing in the two-part series finale. After the closing down of the Ghostbusters, Winston got his pilot's license, being the first and only Ghostbuster to be a certified pilot.
The name "Zeddemore" is misspelled as "Zeddmore" in the closing credits of Ghostbusters. As a result it was also sometimes misspelled in scripts and other sources related to The Real Ghostbusters. The name is spelled correctly on the nametag on Winston's jumpsuit, in the shooting script of Ghostbusters (as published in the book Making Ghostbusters), and in the closing credits of Ghostbusters II. The name is also pronounced correctly (with three syllables) by both Annie Potts and Ernie Hudson in Ghostbusters.
Winston, the only non-white Ghostbuster, has been noted as being the character most often not featured in video games based upon Ghostbusters media, even when Peter, Ray and Egon are selectable. So far, Winston has only been featured as a playable character in Ghostbusters II for NES, New Ghostbusters 2 for NES and Game Boy and in the multiplayer mode of the 2009 game.
As previously mentioned, Ernie Hudson reprised his role as Winston Zeddemore for 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game, with both Hudson's appearance and voice being used for Zeddemore in the game. Furthermore, since the events of the first film sequel, Zeddemore has earned a Doctorate and is now addressed as "Doctor" along with his colleagues (this is a possible callback by series co-creator Dan Aykroyd, to the film Spies Like Us.) During battles on multiplayer, Zeddemore can be heard quipping "That's Dr. Zeddemore to you, punk!" when defeating enemies suggesting that he successfully completed his PhD.
Ghostbusters is a 1984 American supernatural comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City, who start a ghost catching business. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a potential client and her neighbor. It was released in the United States on June 8, 1984 and made US$238,632,124 in the United States. The American Film Institute ranked Ghostbusters 28th in its AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list of film comedies.
The film was followed by a sequel, Ghostbusters II in 1989, and two animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters. As of May 2013, a third feature film still remains uncertain.
Following their first encounter with a ghost, misfit parapsychologists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) lose their jobs at Columbia University. Unable to research their discovery, the trio establish a paranormal exterminator service known as "Ghostbusters" in a former firehouse. With no customers and dwindling funds, they are eventually hired by the Sedgewick Hotel manager to investigate a haunting. At the hotel, they capture their first ghost and deposit it in a "containment unit" in the firehouse basement. Paranormal activity begins to increase in New York City; the Ghostbusters become celebrities containing it, but are increasingly burdened by their hectic schedule. The group hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), to help them cope with the demand.
The Ghostbusters are retained by Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), whose apartment is haunted by a demonic spirit, Zuul, a demigod worshipped as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, a Sumerian shape-shifting god of destruction. Venkman takes a particular interest in the case, competing with Dana's neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), for her affection. As the Ghostbusters investigate, Dana is possessed by Zuul, which declares itself "The Gatekeeper", and Louis by a similar demon called Vinz Clortho, "The Keymaster." Both demons speak of the coming of the destructive Gozer, and the Ghostbusters plan to keep the two apart. Thereafter, the Ghostbusters' office is visited by Walter Peck (William Atherton), a lawyer representing the EPA, who has the team arrested for operating an unlicensed nuclear device and orders their ghost containment grid deactivated, unleashing hundreds of captured ghosts onto the city. Freed from the Ghostbusters' custody, Louis/Vinz advances toward Dana/Zuul's apartment while the escaped ghosts wreak havoc throughout the city.
Consulting blueprints of Dana's apartment, the Ghostbusters learn that mad doctor and cult leader Ivo Shandor, claiming humanity was too sick to survive after the horrors of World War I, designed the building as a gateway to summon Gozer and bring about the end of the world. The Ghostbusters are released from custody to combat the paranormal activity, but are unable to prevent the arrival of Gozer, who initially appears as a woman (Slavitza Jovan). Briefly subdued by the team, Gozer disappears, but her voice echoes that the "destructor" will follow, taking a form chosen by the team. Venkman, realizing that whatever they think of will appear as a destroying force, urges his comrades to avoid giving form to the destructor by clearing their minds. Unable to keep his mind blank, Stantz remembers a beloved corporate mascot from childhood, "something that could never, ever possibly destroy us," whereupon the destructor arrives in the form of Stantz's giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, which begins laying waste to the city. To defeat it, the team combine the energy streams of their proton packs (which Egon advised against earlier) against Gozer's portal to our world. A single explosion banishes Gozer back from whence it came, seals the gateway between the worlds, and destroys the Marshmallow Man. Soon thereafter, Dana and Louis are freed from the remains of their possessors. As hundreds of New Yorkers wipe marshmallow goo from their faces, the Ghostbusters are applauded by the city's population.
The cast also includes Alice Drummond as a librarian, Jennifer Runyon as an ESP volunteer, Reginald VelJohnson as a jail guard, and director Ivan Reitman provides the voice of Zuul and Slimer. Roger Grimsby, Larry King, Joe Franklin, and Casey Kasem make cameo appearances in the film.
The concept was inspired by Aykroyd's own fascination with the paranormal and it was conceived as a vehicle for himself and friend John Belushi, fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus. The original story, as written by Aykroyd, was very different from what was eventually filmed; in the initial version, a group of "Ghostsmashers" traveled through time, space, and other dimensions combating huge ghosts (of which the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was one of many). Also, the Ghostbusters wore SWAT-like outfits and used wands instead of proton packs to fight the ghosts. Ghostbusters storyboards show them wearing riotsquad-type helmets with movable transparent visors. In addition to a similar title, the movie shares the premise of professional "exterminators" on a paranormal mission with The Bowery Boys slapstick comedy Spook Busters (1946, directed by William Beaudine).
Aykroyd pitched his story to director/producer Ivan Reitman, who liked the basic idea but immediately saw the budgetary impossibilities demanded by Aykroyd's first draft. At Reitman's suggestion, the story was given a major overhaul, eventually evolving into the final screenplay which Aykroyd and Ramis hammered out over the course of three weeks in a Martha's Vineyard bomb shelter in May–June 1982. Aykroyd and Ramis initially wrote the script with roles written especially for Belushi, Eddie Murphy, and John Candy; but Belushi died during the writing of the screenplay, and neither Murphy nor Candy would commit to the movie, so Aykroyd and Ramis made some changes and polished a basic, science-fiction-oriented screenplay for their final draft.
In addition to Aykroyd's high-concept basic premise, and Ramis' skill at grounding the fantastic elements with a realistic setting, the film benefits from Bill Murray's semi-improvisational performance as Peter Venkman, the character initially intended for Belushi.
For the test screening of Ghostbusters, half of the ghost effects were missing, not yet having been completed by the production team. The audience response was still enthusiastic, and the ghost elements were completed for the official theatrical release shortly thereafter.
Louis Tully was originally conceived as a conservative man in a business suit played by comedian John Candy; but with Candy unable to commit to the role, he was replaced by Rick Moranis who portrayed Louis as a geek. Gozer was originally going to appear in the form of Ivo Shandor as a slender, unremarkable man in a suit played by Paul Reubens; but the role was played by Yugoslav model Slavitza Jovan. The demonic voice of Gozer was provided by Paddi Edwards, supposedly after Bill Murray joked that the line "choose and perish" sounded like "Jews and berries" when spoken with Jovan's Slavic accent. Eddie Murphy was supposed to be Winston Zeddemore because Dan Aykroyd wanted him to, but he went to make Beverly Hills Cop. The Peter Venkmen role was originally meant for John Belushi but due to his passing, the role had to be given to Bill Murray, per Larry King in a recent interview on the Howard Stern Show. King also went on to say that Murray wanted to do the script as written as a tribute to John.
Ghostbusters was released on June 8, 1984 in 1,339 theaters and grossed $13.6 million on its opening weekend and $23 million in its first week, a studio record at the time. The film was number one at the box office for five consecutive weeks, grossing $99.8 million. After seven weeks at number one, it was finally knocked to second place by Prince's film, Purple Rain and had grossed $142.6 million, second only to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as the year's top moneymaker. However, Ghostbusters regained top spot the next week, and then again six weeks later. It went on to gross $229.2 million at the box office, making it the second highest-grossing film of 1984, behind only Beverly Hills Cop. At the time, these figures put it within the top ten highest-grossing films of all-time. A re-release in 1985 gave the film a total gross of $238.6 million ($509 million in today's dollars) surpassing Beverly Hills Cop and making Ghostbusters the most successful comedy of the 1980s.
Ghostbusters received mainly positive reviews from critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1984. It holds a 94% "Certified Fresh" approval rating on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 46 reviews; the site's consensus called the film "An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray's hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns."
Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "This movie is an exception to the general rule that big special effects can wreck a comedy ... Rarely has a movie this expensive provided so many quotable lines". Newsweek magazine's David Ansen wrote, "Everyone seems to be working toward the same goal of relaxed insanity. Ghostbusters is wonderful summer nonsense". In his review for TIME, Richard Schickel praised the three lead actors: "Of the ghost wranglers, the pair played by writers Aykroyd and Ramis are sweetly earnest about their calling, and gracious about giving the picture to their co-star Bill Murray. He obviously (and wisely) regards Dr. Peter Venkman as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop fully his patented comic character". Pauline Kael had problems with the chemistry among the three lead actors: "Murray is the film's comic mechanism ... But nobody else has much in the way of material, and since there's almost no give-and-take among the three men, Murray's lines fall on dead air". In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Its jokes, characters and story line are as wispy as the ghosts themselves, and a good deal less substantial".
The film received two Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Song (for the hit song "Ghostbusters") and Best Visual Effects.
In 1989, Criterion Collection released a laserdisc version of the film, in a one-disc CLV version and a two-disc special edition CAV version; the latter also included deleted scenes, and a split-screen demonstration of special effects from the film, the screenplay, among other features.
Director Ivan Reitman was not happy with the laserdisc release of the film because "it pumped up the light level so much you saw all the matte lines. I was embarrassed about it all these years". The DVD version of the movie was released on June 29, 1999; at a time when an estimated four million U.S. households had DVD players, Ghostbusters became one of Reel.com's fastest selling products.
Sony announced at Comic-Con 2008 that the Blu-ray version of the film was to be released on October 21, 2008. It was released first through Sony Pictures' campaign site, Ghostbustersishiring.com as a way to drum up sales of its release. The movie was released on Blu-ray on June 16, 2009 to coincide with the film's 25th Anniversary. Ghostbusters was the first film ever officially released on a USB flashdrive.
For one week in August 2009 an ad-supported version of Ghostbusters could be streamed in the USA via YouTube.
A second Blu-ray version was released on May 14, 2013. It was marketed as "Mastered in 4k", and was noted as having improved image quality over the previous Blu-ray release.
Sony Pictures re-released the film in nearly 500 theaters in the United States on October 13, 2011, and the following two Thursdays before Halloween of that year.
The film's theme song, "Ghostbusters," written and performed by Ray Parker, Jr., sparked the catchphrases "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!" and "I ain't afraid of no ghost." The song was a huge hit, staying #1 for three weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 chart and #1 for two weeks on the Black Singles chart. The song earned Parker an Academy Award nomination for "Best Original Song". According to Bruce A. Austin (in 1989), this theme "purportedly added $20 million to the box office take of the film".
The music video produced for the song became a #1 MTV video. Featuring actress Cindy Harrell, directed by Ivan Reitman, produced by Jeffrey Abelson, and conceptualized by Keith Williams, the video integrated footage of the film intercut with a humorous performance by Parker. The video also featured cameo appearances by celebrities who joined in the call-and-response chorus, including Chevy Chase, Irene Cara, John Candy, Ollie E. Brown, Melissa Gilbert, Jeffrey Tambor, George Wendt, Al Franken, Danny DeVito, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, Lori Singer, and Teri Garr. The video ends with footage of the four main Ghostbusters actors in costume and character, dancing in Times Square behind Parker, joining in the singing.
The film score was composed by Elmer Bernstein, and is notable for its use of ondes Martenot (a staple of Bernstein's 1980s work) and also the Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer. Orchestrators contributing to the film were Peter Bernstein, David Spear and Patrick Russ. The score was commercially released in 2006 as Ghostbusters: Original Motion Picture Score by Varèse Sarabande. It contains 39 songs by Bernstein.
Reviewers at Allmusic have awarded both the Original Soundtrack Album and the Original Motion Picture Score 4 out of a total 5 stars. Evan Cater describes the Original Soundtrack Album somewhat pejoratively as "a very disjointed, schizophrenic listen" that "does very little to conjure memories of the film". However, he notes that there are exceptions to this, namely Ray Parker Jr.'s title track "Ghostbusters", Mick Smiley's "Magic", and the two inclusions from Elmer Bernstein's score. Jason Ankeny describes the Original Motion Picture Score as "epic in both sound and scale", noting that it "ranks among Bernstein's most dazzling and entertaining efforts, evoking the widescreen wonder of its source material", concluding that "his melodies beautifully complement the wit and creativity of the onscreen narrative."
In autumn 1984 Huey Lewis sued Ray Parker, Jr. for plagiarism, claiming that Parker copied the melody from his 1983 song "I Want a New Drug". Lewis had been approached to compose the main theme song for the movie, but he declined due to his work on the soundtrack for Back to the Future. The two musicians settled out of court. It was reported in 2001 that Lewis allegedly breached an agreement not to mention the original suit, doing so on VH1's Behind the Music.
A script for a potential third film was under development by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, the writing team that worked with Harold Ramis on the 2009 comedy Year One; according to Ramis, the four main cast members from the original film may have minor on-screen roles: "The concept is that the old Ghostbusters would appear in the film in some mentor capacity". Comments from Murray in August 2010, after Year Ones release suggested the latter's poor reception made a new Ghostbuster sequel a "dream just vaporized." Two months later, Aykroyd downplayed Murray's comments, saying Stupnitsky and Eisenberg "wrote Bill the comic role of a lifetime, and the new Ghostbusters and the old are all well represented in it"; they wrote a "strong first draft" that Aykroyd and Ramis would work on. In February 2012, Aykroyd said "The script must be perfect. We cannot release a film that is any less than that. We have more work to do."
The film became a cultural phenomenon and an instant classic. The American Film Institute ranked it 28th in its list of the top 100 comedies of all time (in their 100 Years... 100 Laughs list), and nominated it for its lists of the 100 greatest movies in 1998 and 2007 and the 100 most heart-pounding movies (in AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills). The title song was nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs, and two quotes were nominated for AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes: "We came. We saw. We kicked its ass," and "He slimed me," both spoken by Venkman. In 2005, IGN voted Ghostbusters the greatest comedy ever. In 2006, Bravo ranked Ghostbusters 76 on their 100 Funniest Movies list. Entertainment Weekly ranked it as the Funniest Movie of the Past 25 Years. In 2008, Empire magazine ranked the film #189 on its list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. In 2009, National Review magazine ranked Ghostbusters number 10 on its 25 Best Conservative Movies of the Last 25 Years list. In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted Ghostbusters the 44th greatest comedy film of all time.