ByCassie Benter, writer at
Breaker of Games, Mother of Bug Finding. Co-creator of AdventureJam. Twitter: @FenderBenter
Cassie Benter

Ghostbusters turns 30 years old today. In celebration of that, here's some trivia about the movie. Hope you enjoy!

All facts were taken from the Ghostbusters IMDB page, unless stated or sourced otherwise.

The music video for the song "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr., directed by Ivan Reitman, featured a number of celebrities who did not appear in the film. They included Chevy Chase; Irene Cara; John Candy; Melissa Gilbert; Ollie E. Brown; Jeffrey Tambor; George Wendt; Al Franken; Danny DeVito; Carly Simon; Peter Falk and Teri Garr. In addition, the Ghostbusters themselves (in costume) danced down Times Square right behind Parker Jr. Cindy Harrell played the girl in the haunted house. The lively chorus shouting the words "Ghostbusters" through the song were made up of the only people Ray Parker Jr. could find quickly enough to help him meet his deadline: his young girlfriend and her friends.

When Alice the librarian is queried as to whether anyone in her family had ever had any history of mental illness, she replies she had an uncle who thought he was St. Jerome. Jerome is the patron saint of librarians.

The original premise of Ghostbusters had three main characters: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. They fought ghosts in S.W.A.T. like suits using wands instead of guns. The ghost named Slimer was known as 'Onionhead' because of its horrid smell. A scene where the ghost haunts two newlyweds showed this characteristic, but it was cut. And at the end of the movie, Ghostbusters businesses were all over the United States. John Candy also was slated to play Louis. However, with Belushi's death and characters backing out, the script was rewritten and new actors cast. On the set, Dan Aykroyd referred to the "Slimer" ghost as the ghost of John Belushi.

According to Ivan Reitman and Harold Ramis in the DVD Commentary, in Dan Aykroyd's original rough draft of the movie, the story was going to take place in the future and that there would be teams of Ghostbusters like there are paramedics and firefighters (thus explaining basing the Ghostbusters HQ in a firehouse). According to Reitman, such a film would cost "at least $300 million in 1984 dollars". So Harold Ramis was brought in to rewrite the script and bring it into modern times.

The "marshmallow" goo was actually shaving cream. More than fifty gallons was dumped on Walter Peck (William Atherton), almost knocking him to the ground.

"We had the eighth-grade science test. I went under the bag, and I asked, 'How much shaving cream is in there?' And they said, 'Not that much.' So I said, 'Well, how much does it weigh?' 'It's about 75 pounds, but it's shaving cream.' You know the whole thing about 75 pounds of feathers and 75 pounds of lead? It's about the same thing. [Laughs.] So can we figure out what's going to happen with this?" So they put some poor stunt guy underneath to show the sissy actor 'Okay, nothing's going to happen.' So they unleashed it, and it flattened him. So they took out half of the shaving cream, and I went in very happily and was slimed."

Had Eddie Murphy accepted the role of Winston, the character was actually meant to appear in more of the film. He was to have joined the team much earlier, and it would have been he who was slimed at the hotel. When Murphy declined the role, the script was re-written to have him appear about half-way through the film.

The electric shock experiments that Venkman conducts on the college students parodied the real life Rhine Experiments, which related to ESP. In the early 1930s, Duke psychologist JB Rhine, interested in parapsychology, wanted to test for ESP. Using Zener Cards, a deck of 25 cards with 5 different symbols, test subjects were asked to report what card the test administrator was holding up without being able to see it. Though Rhine reported that one test subject was able to correctly guess all 25 cards correctly, the results have never been duplicated, and Venkman is apparently using electric shocks in an attempt to repeat the original results. Also, the Milgram experiment was used as an inspiration, where people were asked to give increasing electric shocks to strangers. This experiment was more about seeing how far people would go when being pushed, and the movie used the same premise to see how people would like to have the good guy giving electric shocks unfairly in a test.

The party scene where Louis Tully mingles with his party guests (commenting on the price of the salmon, and so on) is not only taken in one continuous shot, but is almost entirely improvised.

The probe Venkman uses in Dana's apartment is actually a United Technologies/ Bacharach 300 Series "Sniffer", normally used to locate utility gas leaks or low-oxygen hazards. The squeeze-bulb is standard. It is conceivable such a detector could be modified to find other gases--perhaps even paranormal ones.

In the DVD commentary, Ivan Reitman says he received a call from William Atherton complaining that the movie ruined his life. The character of Walter Peck was so hated that people would talk Atherton as if they were giving the character Peck a piece of their mind. Apparently more than once, physical fights had been started with Atherton in bars.

Coincidentally with a movie about ghosts and ghost-busting, the filming of the jail scene was actually a prison reported to be haunted, and the dailies had many scratches all over with no apparent physical cause. Ivan Reitman was concerned about returning there, but the crew was very relieved to find enough footage to complete the scene without returning.

When Venkman mentions the time Spengler tried to drill a hole in his head, Spengler's response ("That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me") was actually ad-libbed by Harold Ramis. Almost none of the scenes were filmed as scripted and, in fact, almost all of the scenes had at least one or two ad-libs. Most of Bill Murray's lines are ad-libs.

The Stay-Puft marshmallow man was originally supposed to come up out of the water right next to The Statue of Liberty, to get a contrast of size, but the scene was too hard to shoot.

Making Ghostbusters: The Screenplay - Page 97
Making Ghostbusters: The Screenplay - Page 97

Gozer is based on several things, according to the screenplay. Gozer was originally going to be played by Paul Reubens, who turned down the role. In the original script, Gozer took on the form of Ivo Shandor (the ghost building's architect, who started the original Gozer cult), who resembled a pale, slender, unremarkable man in a business suit.

In the middle of the film's initial release, to keep interest going, Ivan Reitman had a trailer run, which was basically the commercial the Ghostbusters' use in the movie, but with the 555 number replaced with a 1-800 number, allowing people to call. They got a recorded message of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd saying something to the effect of "Hi. We're out catching ghosts right now." They got 1,000 calls per hour, 24 hours a day, for six weeks.

That's it! Is there anything I left out that you think should have made the list? Let me know in the comments!


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