If you listen to the show, then you know that I like to watch movies. I came of age in the video renting world, and the perfect day for me consisted of heading down to the video shop and picking out a couple of flicks. We had a great rental spot in my neighborhood that shared retail space with the Pop Shoppe (remember those?!! I don't drink pop, but the labels were so darn attractive. Check out their crazy web site at http://www.thepopshoppe.com/ ). VCR tapes ruled my informative movie watching youth, and I was reluctant to believe in the power of DVDs, but then complete TV series of some of my childhood favorites started to show up on DVD. I was hooked - bait, line and sinker!
The Ghost Busters is the show that I lived for every weekend when I was about 8 years old. NO!! Please don't confuse this with Bill Murray, Who You Gonna Call, and Marshmallow Men. This was 1975 - 76, and it was the series where all of that started. I would rush home from where ever I was and sit glued to the TV for this show. In fact when I got the DVD release and popped it in to my player to relive the "magic" I was floored to discover that I could still sing the theme word for word. That was over thirty years ago Shuffle Functioneers!! Admittedly, it is pretty catchy tune - have a listen:
The Ghost Busters was a show about two men, Jake Kong and Eddie Spencer (played by F Troop standouts Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker) and their gorilla friend Tracy (played by Bob Burns who could have a Halloween post all his own!! check out http://www.bobburns.mycottage.com/ ), who fought ghosts and supernatural baddies for a living. It is that simple, but honestly I couldn't get enough of it!! Maybe it was a show that only an eight year old could fall in love with, but I really flipped for it. A few years ago when Tim and I were talking on the air we discovered that we both would have loved to go to school for parapsychology. I know that this TV show had a lot to do with my interest in ghosts and unexplained bumps in the night. The ghosts and ghouls were played by a who's who in 70's sitcom television - all familiar faces and unknown names. A few standouts though included Ted Knight, Billy Barty and Jim Backus. One episode even featured The Abominable Snowman - and in the day and age of Bigfoot meets the Six Million Dollar Man, that was a pretty big deal.
I'm sure that when I was eight I would have just pointed at the ape and giggled if you asked me what I specifically loved about The Ghost Busters. But I am an adult now and I know it's not polite to point, so I'll just list of a few of my reasons to love the show.
KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
The other TV show I loved at the time was The Love Boat. People got on a ship, hilarity ensued, they got off the ship, the end. Real simple. The Ghost Busters was just as simple. They get a mission to fight ghosts, hilarity ensues, they defeat the ghosts. Now I realize this is a deconstruction down to their bare bones, but The Ghost Busters were just like the Bush Administration on Terrorism - they never changed their story. Here it is in a nutshell (I wish I could make a flow chart for you):
#1)Jump in the jalopy and recieve ghost hunting mission at the hardware store.
#2) The evil ghost makes an appearance at the cemetery.
#3) Show the Ghost Busters at their office where one of two things happen: water gag or filing cabinet misshap with Tracy the Ape.
#4) Ghost Busters go through the cemetery to confront the ghosts
#5) Ghosts are defeated in the castle where lots and lots of doors are opened and closed.
That's it. I could write a complete episode in an hour. But please don't get me wrong - this formula worked wonderfully. Maybe using The Love Boat as an example was the wrong thing to do - you were a Fantasy Island fan weren't you?
ALWAYS LET THE APE DRIVE
Ronald Reagan and Ricky Gervais know that monkeys are funny. Tracy the Ape was a brilliant addition to the show. Even as a kid I realized that the monkey was smarter than either Kong or Spencer, and it was usually his antics that would defeat the ghosts and save the day.
ONLY USE FOUR SETS
All 15 epsiodes were filmed in only 4 spaces: the hardware store, the cemetery, the office, and the castle. Now I would have thought that after the second time you had to go out to the old castle at the end of town to fight ghosts you might start thinking things like "Wow, this castle attracts a lot of ghosts" or "Maybe we should destroy the castle so the ghosts have no where to go". The Ghost Busters never had that kind of forward thinking, and that is probably a good thing. 15 episodes of this show is far too few for my tastes.
If you are looking for some campy, goofy, family fun to watch for Halloween then be sure to track down this DVD set. You will enjoy seeing the cast of characters that roll through this show as evil ghosts, and you can listen to that theme song over and over and over again. Let me know what you think when you see it!!
Tomorrow is October 3rd, which means a third post is right around the corner. Have a good "Zombieland" weekend!!