The Real Ghostbusters

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The Ghostbusters; Egon, Peter, Winston and Ray respectively.

The Real Ghostbusters was a cartoon series based on the hit 1984 movie Ghostbusters which ran from 1986 until 1991 and was produced by Columbia Pictures Television and DiC Entertainment. "The Real" was added to the title over a dispute with Filmation and their Ghost Busters properties (see the Ghostbusters article for more information). The series continued the adventures of Dr. Peter Venkman (voiced by Lorenzo Music of Garfield fame), Dr. Egon Spengler (Maurice LaMarche), Winston Zeddemore (Arsenio Hall of late-night stardom), Janine Melnitz (Laura Summer), Dr. Ray Stantz and their pet ghost Slimer (both voiced by Frank Welker).

Due to likeness rights issues, the characters were dramatically redesigned from their movie counterparts (so, as a result, the GhostBusters barely resembled their movie counterparts). Everything from the movie was well represented on the show in some form or another. The head writer for the first two years was J. Michael Straczynski. During his run the series had a dark tone not often seen in Saturday morning cartoons, and even had a prime-time special. However, the producers began to realize the child appeal of (at the time) background character Slimer.

In 1988, the series was retooled and renamed "Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters". The show now featured an hour-long format with a typical Ghostbusters episode leading into a more kid-friendly Slimer-centric one. The animation was more cartoony and the storytelling more simplistic. As the series progressed, the regular Ghostbusters episodes started to become lighter in tone so as not to frighten the growing child fanbase. More changes went on behind the scenes as well with the departure of Straczynski. Dave Coulier of Full House fame would come on to fill in the role of Peter, Buster Jones would take over Winston and Kath Soucie took on Janine.

Slimer's adventures gave him his own supporting cast separate from those of the regular Ghostbusters. Amongst his friends were Fred the Dog and Bud the bellboy (both from the Sedgewick Hotel where Slimer was busted in the movie, more on that later), Junior Ghostbusters Donald, Catherine and Jason, ice cream truck driver Chilly Cooper, Italian chef Luigi and schemer Rudy. But what are friends without enemies, and Slimer had those to spare. Amongst them were grumpy Sedgewick Hotel manager Morris Grout, Luigi's boss Rafael, a despicable alley cat named Manx, and Professor Dweeb and his poodle Elizabeth whose life goal it was to capture Slimer and experiment on him.

After "Ghostbusters II" hit theaters, the character of Louis Tully was introduced to the show and voiced by Roger Bumpass. This was far from being the only movie tie-in on the series. The Stay Puft Marshmallow man made numerous appearances and as the focus of the movie made within the cartoon universe, a nod to the originating motion picture. The uniform change and Slimer's residency with the Ghostbusters was explaned in the season two episode "Citizen Ghost", which was told in flashback at the time right after the movie's events. Human nemisis Walter Peck also made an appearance in the later Slimer! episodes.

During this period, the series spawned a popular toy-line by Kenner and two comic series published by NOW Comics.

It also created two new Ectomobiles; Ecto-2, which was a combination morotcycle and helicopter, and Ecto-3, a motorized unicycle and side-car that slips into Ecto-1's rear fender.

In an attempt to revive the franchise, another short-lived cartoon called "Extreme Ghostbusters" was started. It featured a group of new Ghostbusters being led by Egon and Janine, but it failed to capture the magic of the original. Most Ghostheads give "The Real Ghostbusters" the credit of fleshing out their favorite characters in a way the movies never could.



Dr. Peter Venkman - Lorenzo Music (seasons 1-3), Dave Coulier (seasons 4-7)

Dr. Egon Spengler - Maurice LaMarche

Dr. Ray Stantz - Frank Welker

Winston Zeddemore - Arsenio Hall (seasons 1-3), Buster Jones (seasons 4-7)

Janine Melnitz - Laura Summer (seasons 1-3), Kath Soucie (seasons 4-7)

Slimer - Frank Welker

Louis Tully - Roger Bumpass (seasons 5-6)

Rafael - Charlie Adler

Professor Dweeb - Jeff Altman

Mrs. Van Huego - Fay DeWitt

Catherine - April Hong

Jason - Katie Leigh

Donald - Danny McMurphy

Morris Grout - Alan Oppenheimer

Chilly Cooper - Cree Summer

Luigi - Danny Mann

Rudy - Jeff Marder

Bud - Danny Mann


The abbreviation for the show title is RGB.

Ecto-3 was only featured in one episode, however the name was given to a couple of vehicles. In the comic series, Egon invented a time-distortion jet-like vehicle called Ecto-3, but when the actual Ecto-3 made its appearance on TV, the name was changed to Ecto-4. And while Ecto-3's TV form never made it into the toy line, a go-cart with the name did.

In one episode of The Real Ghostbusters, the "boys" (Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore) have just finished destroying the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man at the climax of the film. Several episodes later, they are supervising the production of a film based on that incident, lending credence to the story that the animated series shows the "real" Ghostbusters, and the film is an adaptation.

"Elementary, My Dear Winston" was the only episode to briefly feature nametags on the Ghostbusters' uniforms like their movie counterparts.

Quotes from the series

Winston: (reading the cast list for the movie based on their adventure) Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis. Sounds like a law firm.

Egon: I have a plan.
Winston: No electric shock, Egon.
Egon: I have another plan.

First Client: (after an unsuccessful capture attempt by TRG) Next time, let's call the Real Ghostbusters.
Second Client: But...I thought those were the Real Ghostbusters!

Professor Dweeb: (trapped in his own ghost capture net with his poodle Elizabeth)
Elizabeth...did anyone ever tell you you have...doggie breath?

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