Ghostbusters: 10 things you didn't know
Ghostbusters actor David Margulies has died aged 78. As fans across the world pay tribute, we list 10 things you may not know about the 1984 film
1. It was originally called Ghost Smashers
Ghostbusters star and screenwriter Dan Aykroyd originally conceived the film as a futuristic epic, where teams of “ghostmashers” battled dozens of giant monsters: estimates at the time placed the budget for his original vision somewhere in the region of $300 million (and this was 1984).
Ivan Reitman dubbed Aykroyd’s original draft “the phone book” because it was so long, and called in Harold Ramis to complete a shorter, cheaper draft, and return the story to the present day. Due to competition from a pre-existing, unrelated Filmation TV series, also called Ghostbusters , the filmmakers were hesitant to commit to Ghostbusters as a title, and considered ‘Ghoststoppers’ as an alternative. Luckily, the copyright issues were resolved.
2. Sigourney Weaver snarled, growled, and rolled across the couch during her audition
Rather than trying to terrify Ivan Reitman into giving her the role, the Alien actress was giving her impression of how her character, Dana, would act when possessed. Her efforts paid off, and she got the part.
3. Slimer was referred to as ‘Onion Head’ on set
All Ghostbusters fans know Slimer as the bright green pure-ectoplasm ghoul, who leaves a trial of slime behind him whenever he passed through a solid object. However, the character was actually given the moniker ‘Slimer’ by audiences, after the film was released.
On set, the ghost was dubbed Onion Head, because of the unpleasant stench the prop gave off. Dan Aykroyd famously based Slimer’s features on the actor John Belushi, and used to refer to the prop as “The Ghost of John Belushi.” Aykroyd originally envisaged Belushi in Ghostbusters in the Bill Murray role, but, sadly, Belushi died before the script was complete.
4. …And played by a peanut in one scene
After trying to create a shot of Slimer whizzing round a chandelier, the film’s animation supervisor Terry Windell realised at the 11th hour that the Slimer model he’d built just wasn’t small enough to produce the desired high-speed whizzing effect.
To resolve the problem, he replaced the model with a peanut, spray-painted green. In other food-on-set related trivia, Methyl Silos, otherwise known as Chinese food starch, was used to create the slime in the drawers in the opening library scene. However, in the scenes set after the Marshmallow Man explodes, the marshmallow isn’t actually marshmallow: the sticky white substance is actually 50 pounds of shaving cream.
5. Something strange in the neighbourhood? It’s probably Ron Jeremy
In the crowd scene shot after the explosion of the containment unit, approximately an hour into the film, porn star Ron Jeremy can be spotted, sporting his distinctive large moustache. Coincidentally, in 2011, Jeremy starred in a porn parody of Ghostbusters, helpfully entitled This Ain’t Ghostbusters XXX.
6. One of the producers designed the famous logo
Producers Michael C. Gross saved the Ghostbusters production team from having to splash extra cash on an artist when he created the now- iconic Ghostbusters logo, which depicts a ghost trying to escape from a red ‘banned’ symbol. Gross previously worked as an art consultant on The Muppets TV show, and as art director on National Lampoon magazine.
7. The ‘cross the streams’ ending was tacked on at the last minute
At the end of the film, the Ghostbusters teams combine the energy streams from their ghost-fighting proton packs, and manage to create an explosion that defeats evil God Gozer (in the form of the Marshmallow Man). However, when the scenes were shooting, neither Reitman, nor screenwriters Aykroyd and Ramis had any idea how the sequence would end. Thinking on their feet, they hit upon the idea of ‘crossing the streams.’ An earlier set-up scene was then hastily filmed and edited in.
8. Dan Aykroyd’s family ain’t afraid of no ghosts
Aykroyd’s inspiration for the original script came from his own family history. His great-grandfather, Samuel Augustus Aykroyd, was an enthusiastic participant in the 19th century spiritualist craze, and regularly took part in séances. More recently, Aykroyd’s father, Peter Aykroyd, published a book entitled A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Séances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters, and declares himself a firm believer in the supernatural. According to USA Today, however, Aykoyd’s mother, Lorraine Gougeon Aykroyd, still considers herself a sceptic.
9. Who ya gonna call? A 1-800 number, if you watched the original trailer
In the original theatrical trailer for Ghostbusters, the now famous 555 number seen in the film was replaced by a working 1-800 number, which led to a pre-recording of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. The number received 1,000 calls an hour, 24 hours a day, for six weeks.
10. The filming stopped Isaac Asimov from getting home
When the filming for the Ghostbuster’s final New York City showdown was taking place, the crew had to close several busy streets, causing a major traffic jam in midtown Manhattan. One of the many unlucky commuters affected was the sci-fi writer, Isaac Asimov. Asimov was so enraged by the delay to his journey, he made his way to the film’s set and started shouting at Aykroyd, who was filming at the time. Aykroyd, a huge fan of Asimov’s work, was reportedly left feeling rather crushed by the encounter.