The Ghost Busters

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The Ghost Busters
Created byMarc Richards
StarringForrest Tucker
Larry Storch
Bob Burns
Theme music composerDiane Hildebrand
Jackie Mills
Opening theme"Ghost-Busters" Theme (sung by Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch)
Ending theme"Ghost-Busters" Theme (instrumental)
ComposersYvette Blais
Jeff Michael
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes15
Executive producersNorm Prescott
Lou Scheimer
Dick Rosenbloom
ProducerNorman Abbott
Production locationUnited States
Running time30 minutes (including commercials)
Production companyFilmation
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 6 (1975-09-06) –
December 13, 1975 (1975-12-13)
Ghostbusters (1986 TV series)

The Ghost Busters is a live-action children's sitcom that ran on CBS in 1975, about a team of bumbling detectives who investigate ghostly occurrences. Fifteen episodes were produced.[1] The show reunited Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch in roles similar to their characters in F Troop.[2]

The series is unrelated to the 1984 film Ghostbusters (although Columbia Pictures did pay Filmation a significant fee for a license to use the name). Like the film, the series spawned its own animated sequel in 1986.[3]

The series utilizes slapstick, with scenes centered on the perpetual bumbling of the characters, good and evil alike.[4] The series also makes references to classic cinema; the names "Spencer" and "Tracy" were taken from the actor Spencer Tracy, while the name Kong – not given to the gorilla – was a clear homage to King Kong.


Eddie Spencer, Jake Kong and Tracy the Gorilla billed themselves as "The Ghost Busters", bumbling paranormal detectives. Kong (Tucker) was the leader of the trio with Spencer (Storch) as his partner, and Tracy (a gorilla, played by Burns) as their assistant who also drove their barely-functional jalopy. Their headquarters was situated in a run down office building in an unspecified city (Spencer's name on the door was misspelled "Spenser" while the opening credits spelled his name "Spencer"). Outside of normal office equipment, plus a large armoire on which Tracy hung numerous hats including his trademark beanie with a propeller, the office itself was also dilapidated, with peeling wallpaper and a pay phone near the door as the Ghost Busters' only means of communicating with prospective clients.

Each episode consisted of the same formula: in the pre-credits teaser, a ghost or monster (usually accompanied by a half-witted sidekick), would manifest and vow to wreak havoc or vengeance on a particular person, the city, or even the world. After the credits, Kong would send Tracy and Spencer to a general store to get their next assignment from the unseen "Zero" (Scheimer). The tape-recorded message was usually hidden inside an everyday object such as a bicycle, typewriter, or toy. In a parodic homage to Mission: Impossible, the recording would end with Zero saying, "This message will self-destruct in five seconds"; after Tracy counted down the seconds, the message (and often the item in which it was hidden) would explode in Tracy's face.

The Ghost Busters' assignments would invariably take them to the same place, a spooky castle with an adjoining graveyard on the city's outskirts (Kong would point out that the castle was the only one in or near the city), and after a series of farcical chases, the ghouls would be cornered and dispatched back to the netherworld by a "Ghost De-Materializer", usually activated by Kong as he triumphantly shouted "Zap!"

Ghosts and monsters[edit]

The show frequently made use of ghostly characters and other characters from popular and literary culture, as well as real-life historical figures. These included:

Regular cast[edit]

Larry Storch, Forrest Tucker and Bob Burns as Spencer, Kong and Tracy.


In an interview conducted with Bob Burns III in 2007,[5] he revealed that all 15 episodes were taped in a span of 9 weeks, every other day. Burns also revealed that the show did well enough in the ratings to warrant a second season, coming in at number two behind The Shazam!/ISIS Hour, but Filmation decided instead to put more money into its number-one program, thus canceling the show after one season. Though the series ended, reruns were broadcast for some time afterward. Burns stated that it was rumored that the master tapes of all 15 episodes had been destroyed after having changed hands a few times. Fortunately, this rumor was put to rest when a full set of the master tapes (or copies) was re-discovered, and subsequently released on DVD.


In 1986, after the success of the Columbia Ghostbusters film, the show was revived in animated format with Kong and Spencer's sons, Jake and Eddie Jr., inheriting their fathers' business (and Tracy the Gorilla) in Ghostbusters.[6] Kong's first name was never mentioned in the original series. Spencer is named as Eddie in the second episode, "Dr. Whatsisname".

Home media[edit]

BCI Eclipse LLC (under its Ink & Paint classic animation entertainment label) (under license from Entertainment Rights PLC) released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 on April 17, 2007.[7] This 2-Disc DVD boxset contains all 15 episodes from the original 1975 live-action series, uncut, re-mastered and transferred from the original broadcast videotapes, and presented in their original production order. It also contains extensive special features including interviews, photo galleries, rare footage and trailers from BCI's Ink & Paint brand. In addition, unlike many of BCI Ink & Paint's other Filmation releases, this DVD set appears to have been sourced from the original NTSC videotapes (the show having been recorded on tape rather than shot on film).

Prior to this, there were at least three VHS tapes released by Continental Video during the 1980s. These are now extremely hard to find. The show was billed as The Original Ghostbusters.[8][9]

Australia received the complete series on DVD in a two-disc set on July 11, 2016.

As of 2009, this release has been discontinued and is out of print as BCI Eclipse has ceased operations.[10]

Mill Creek Entertainment announced the re-release of the series on DVD.


Title Directed by Written by Original air date PC
1"The Maltese Monkey"L.A. PeerceMarc RichardsSeptember 6, 1975 (1975-09-06)TBA

The Ghost Busters must stop the Fat Man and the Rabbit from summoning the ghost of gangster Big Al Caesar, who will help them steal the stuff dreams are made of: the Maltese Monkey.

Guest stars: Billy Barty, Johnny Brown
2"Dr. Whatshisname"L.A. PeerceMarc RichardsSeptember 13, 1975 (1975-09-13)TBA

Dr. Frankenstein returns, seeking the brain of the world's most gullible fool to transplant into his Monster. Enter Eddie Spencer.

Guest stars: Bernie Kopell, William Engesser
3"The Canterville Ghost"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsSeptember 20, 1975 (1975-09-20)TBA

The Ghostbusters' assignment is to rid a haunted mansion of the cowardly ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville. They are unaware that master criminal "Mr. C" is after the priceless Canterville diamond worn by Sir Simon.

Guest stars: Ted Knight, Kathy Garver, Len Lesser
4"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"L.A. PeerceMarc RichardsSeptember 27, 1975 (1975-09-27)TBA

Hoping to remove the curse of the werewolf from hapless Harry Albert, Gypsy fortuneteller Sophia comes seeking to steal the Baldus Lupus amulet that Spencer recently unearthed.

Guest stars: Lennie Weinrib, Dodo Denney
5"The Flying Dutchman"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsOctober 4, 1975 (1975-10-04)TBA

The ghostly captain and his sidekick from the Flying Dutchman take up residence in the castle, looking for new crewmen for their ship. And what "empty-headed scalawag" might fill the bill?

Guest stars: Stanley Adams, Phil Bruns
6"The Dummy's Revenge"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsOctober 11, 1975 (1975-10-11)TBA

The Phantom of Vaudeville and his ventriloquist's dummy Elmo return from the Great Beyond to settle a score with Slappy, Maxie, and Nijinsky, three vaudevillians who wronged them in the past (one of them wore an ape suit). Guess which trio gets mistaken for the three troublemakers.

Guest stars: Tim Herbert, Brian Berlin
7"A Worthless Gauze"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsOctober 18, 1975 (1975-10-18)#83007

The Ghost Busters become embroiled with Egyptian Queen Forah and her mummy as they search for the ape-sorcerer Simios, who in turn can bring them to Spen-Zah, possessor of the secret of immortality.

Guest stars: Barbara Rhoades, Richard Balin
8"Which Witch Is Which?"L.A. PeerceMarc RichardsOctober 25, 1975 (1975-10-25)#83008

The ghost of a witch reappears to get revenge against the descendant of Edward Spencer, the spell-dissolver in old Salem who brought ruin to witches. Matters become complicated when the ugly witch transforms herself into a seductive beauty who might lure the Ghost Busting Spencer to his doom.

Guest stars: Huntz Hall, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Leigh Christian
9"They Went Thataway"L.A. PeerceMarc RichardsNovember 1, 1975 (1975-11-01)TBA

Those ghost riders in the sky are the spirits of Billy the Kid and Belle Starr, back to round up a new gang of cattle rustlers. The Ghost Busters disguise themselves as cowboys to get the Dematerializer drop on 'em.

Guest stars: Marty Ingels, Brooke Tucker
10"The Vampire's Apprentice"L.A. PeerceMarc RichardsNovember 8, 1975 (1975-11-08)TBA

The Ghost Busters may get the bite put on them when Count and Countess Dracula return from the Great Beyond in search of a warm-blooded donor.

Guest stars: Dena Dietrich, Billy Holms
11"Jekyll & Hyde: Together, for the First Time!"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsNovember 15, 1975 (1975-11-15)#83011

The ghost of Dr. Jekyll appears, and is bedeviled by his bumbling alter ego Mr. Hyde. But if he can find a dolt with no personality at all, he can neutralize the effects of the personality-splitting formula and rid himself of Hyde forever.

Guest stars: Joe E. Ross, Severn Darden
12"Only Ghosts Have Wings"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsNovember 22, 1975 (1975-11-22)#83012

The ghosts of the Red Baron and his mechanic Sparky return to repair their plane, the Spirit of Icarus, so that they can once more engage their enemies: Lord Smedly Hargroves and his grease monkey, Tracy Holmes-Harrington, who bear a striking resemblance to two of the Ghost Busters.

Guest stars: Howard Morris, Robert Easton
13"The Vikings Have Landed"L.A. PeerceMarc RichardsNovember 29, 1975 (1975-11-29)TBA

The ghosts of Erik the Red and Brunhilda return to plant a Viking banner and establish their claim to having discovered America prior to the loathsome Lothar the Hun.

Guest stars: Jim Backus, Lisa Todd
14"Merlin the Magician"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsDecember 6, 1975 (1975-12-06)TBA

Merlin and his jester Gronk are pursued from the Great Beyond by their nemesis Morgan le Fay, who intends to trap them in this era. The Ghost Busters befriend and assist the broken-down magician in his battle with the beautiful sorceress.

Guest stars: Ina Balin, Huntz Hall, Carl Ballantine
15"The Abominable Snowman"Norman AbbottMarc RichardsDecember 13, 1975 (1975-12-13)TBA

Spencer stumbles onto the scene when Dr. Centigrade is searching for a warm-blooded heart to transplant into the Abominable Snowman. The final episode of the series.

Guest stars: Ronny Graham, Richard Balin


  1. ^ Solomon, Charles (September 18, 1986). "Animated Shows For Kids". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  2. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. pp. 184–185. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  3. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 372–374. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  4. ^ Woolery, George W. (1985). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981, Part II: Live, Film, and Tape Series. The Scarecrow Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-8108-1651-2.
  5. ^ "Interview". Retrieved 2021-11-18.
  6. ^ "Filmation's Ghostbusters: The Animated Series, Vol. 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2011-01-22.
  7. ^ "The Ghost Busters DVD news: BCI announces Live-Action series |". Archived from the original on 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  8. ^ "The Original Ghostbusters Volume 1". Amazon.
  9. ^ "The Original Ghostbusters Volume 3". Amazon.
  10. ^ "Site News DVD news: Navarre shutters BCI Eclipse division |". Archived from the original on 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2010-05-31.

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