|The Ghost Busters|
|Created by||Marc Richards|
|Theme music composer||Diane Hildebrand|
|Opening theme||"Ghost-Busters" Theme (sung by Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch)|
|Ending theme||"Ghost-Busters" Theme (instrumental)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||15|
|Executive producers||Norm Prescott|
|Production location||United States|
|Running time||30 minutes (including commercials)|
|Release||September 6 –|
December 13, 1975
|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. The show reunited Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch in roles similar to their characters in F Troop.
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.
The series utilizes slapstick, with scenes centered on the perpetual bumbling of the characters, good and evil alike. 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
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:
- Dr. Frankenstein and his monster
- A Mummy
- The Red Baron
- The Canterville Ghost
- Count Dracula
- Billy the Kid
- Belle Starr
- The captain and first mate of the Flying Dutchman
- Forrest Tucker as Jake Kong
- Larry Storch as Eddie Spencer
- Bob Burns as Tracy (credited as the gorilla's "trainer")
- Lou Scheimer as the voice of Zero
In an interview conducted with Bob Burns III in 2007, 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. Kong's first name was never mentioned in the original series. Spencer is named as Eddie in the second episode, "Dr. Whatsisname".
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. 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).
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.
Mill Creek Entertainment announced the re-release of the series on DVD.
|Nº||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||PC|
|1||"The Maltese Monkey"||L.A. Peerce||Marc Richards||September 6, 1975||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. Peerce||Marc Richards||September 13, 1975||TBA|
|Bernie Kopell, William Engesser|
|3||"The Canterville Ghost"||Norman Abbott||Marc Richards||September 20, 1975||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. Peerce||Marc Richards||September 27, 1975||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 Abbott||Marc Richards||October 4, 1975||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 Abbott||Marc Richards||October 11, 1975||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 Abbott||Marc Richards||October 18, 1975||#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. Peerce||Marc Richards||October 25, 1975||#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. Peerce||Marc Richards||November 1, 1975||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. Peerce||Marc Richards||November 8, 1975||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 Abbott||Marc Richards||November 15, 1975||#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 Abbott||Marc Richards||November 22, 1975||#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. Peerce||Marc Richards||November 29, 1975||TBA|
|Jim Backus, Lisa Todd|
|14||"Merlin the Magician"||Norman Abbott||Marc Richards||December 6, 1975||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 Abbott||Marc Richards||December 13, 1975||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
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