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RGB DVD Promo Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Oct. 10, 2008 at 10:00 PM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters, Home Video

Time-Life was kind enough to send an "Advance Promotional DVD" for The Real Ghostbusters DVD set. It's interesting to note that nine years ago, Sony sent out the promo video for the Ghostbusters DVD release in 1999 on VHS, and now promo videos are sent out on DVD. I wonder what format will be used 10 years from now. Anyway, the single disc features:
  • Episode: Take Two (23:51) (4:3 Fullscreen)
  • Episode: The Collect Call of Cathulhu (22:28) (4:3 Fullscreen)
  • The Real Ghostbusters Comic Con Trailer (0:56) (16:9 Widescreen)
  • Featurette: "Something Strange In Your Neighborhood: The Creatures of The Real Ghostbusters" (17:24) (4:3 Fullscreen)
  • Visual Commentary Track - "Take Two" with J. Michael Straczynski, Joe Medjuck and Michael C. Gross; hosted by Andy Mangels (23:46) (16:9 Widescreen)
  • Episode Introductions for "Janine's Genie" by Laura Summer, voice of Janine from 1986-1988; "Ain't NASA-Sarily So," by Dan Riba, storyboard artist; "The Ghostbusters in Paris" by Maurice LaMarche, voice of Egon; and "The Devil to Pay" by Dennys McCoy & Pam Hickey, writers. (2:25) (16:9 Widescreen)
On the promo DVD, the Comic Con trailer, visual commentary track, and episode introductions are all presented in 16:9 Widescreen. In the final set, they're all stupidly presented in 4:3 Letterbox! It's a shame they had to screw it up on the final set.

As I watched all of the above items on the DVD, I jotted down notes, which I will now try to type up into some sort of cohesive review of the individual items. This will act as sort of a preview of the box set, and a mini-review of it as well. Episode: Take Two - Although both episodes look great, it doesn't look like they were cleaned up or remastered in any way as I did see an occasional spec of dirt. So, I don't know why they're being promoted as "digitally restored". They DO look fantastic, so please don't think that they look like crap. They just don't look like what I would think "digitally restored" footage would look like. Anyway, the episodes also sound great. I heard sound effects in the intro that I don't think I've noticed before. However, not all is good in the sound department. The music at the very start of "Take Two" (right after the title screen) sounds awfully slow. I did a comparison with an old copy taped from TV (source is ABC, I believe), which was about a second and a half quicker, and sounded more normal. The rest of the episode didn't sound like it was being played slowly (unlike the copy of "Partners In Crime" on the 2005 Ghostbusters II DVD), so I don't know if it's just a screw up at the beginning or what. There are chapters sensibly placed in the commercial break spots of the episodes, and in those spots you will also find the original bumpers. If you're an ending logo purist, although the old DiC logo is present, you will be saddened to know that there's a new Sony Pictures Television logo at the end in place of the Coca-Cola Communications logo. It's possible that the old Columbia Pictures Television logo will be retained in the later seasons, which is after the Coca-Cola logo was dropped, as this is what Sony did at the end of "Partners In Crime" on the 2005 Ghostbusters II DVD.

Episode: The Collect Call of Cathulhu - For the most part, everything said about "Take Two" applies here as well, save for anything I noticed that's specific to the other episode (like the opening music). In comparing the runtimes of these episodes with the ones on the Sony 2006 DVDs - not the specific episodes, just the generally network and syndicated runtimes - I noticed that this syndicated episode is 30 seconds longer than the syndicated episodes on the Sony 2006 DVDs. I don't know if Sony played their episodes quicker, this episode was played slower, or what the deal is. I'm sure the included bumpers don't take up 30 additional seconds. Maybe this is just a slightly longer episode. I'm not trying to make anything of it. Just an observation, that's all.

Comic Con Trailer - The is the teaser trailer shown at Comic-Con, and given out online a few months ago, featuring the JMS interview clip and bits from the series opening.

The Creatures of RGB Featurette - This is one of several newly-created featurettes premiering in the box set. It's narrated by voice artist Wally Wingert, who (I believe) narrates all of the featurettes. Although I have nothing against Mr. Wingert, I just don't think that his voice fits as the narrator. As I was listening to his voice, it sounded like he was trying to pitch a product, rather than narrate a documentary. In this documentary he's only heard at the beginning, so it's not that bad. Anyway, this featurette, which contains 4 chapters, is a good discussion of the various series villains, with a look at some original concept drawings of them, which are vastly different than the final designs. It features interviews with (in this order): J. Michael Straczynski, David Gerrold, Marc Scott Zicree, James Eatock, Everett Peck, Michael Diederich, Michael Swanigan, Michael Gross, Kathryn M. Drennan, Dennys McCoy & Pamela Hickey, and Joe Medjuck. Almost all of the interviews are conducted in front of a wall of glass bricks (same with the visual commentaries and the episode introductions). However, during the interviews, there are changing colors behind the wall. I think that there is a screen behind the wall playing some episode footage. It's kinda annoying and distracting to constantly see the moving colors. Other than that, and the Wingert narration, I thought that this was a great featurette. Oh, and it brought a huge smile to my face to see my name in the end credits under "Research / Art Materials".

"Take Two" Visual Commentary Track - There are 4 chapters, and it should be noted that the screen elements do NOT move around as was originally described when the screen shots were released a few weeks ago. I found the visual commentary interesting, and I think it adds to the commentary. It's better then just audio, and MUCH better than the Ghostbusters 1999 DVD's visual commentary track. The nice thing about the visual commentary is that you always know whose voice you're hearing because you can actually see the participants speak. I tended to watch the participants more then I did the episode itself in the little window. Here are a few interesting tidbits learned from the discussion:

-- Gross says that when Frank Welker was originally coming up with Slimer's voice, he almost made Slimer sound like one of the voices he did for Gremlins (Stripe, perhaps).

-- A little less than halfway in (at 10:23) JMS asks Gross & Medjuck why there still isn't a Ghostbusters 3. They're at a loss for words what to say. Medjuck jokingly asks JMS if he'd like to write Ghostbusters 3, then Gross says that he heard that the video game is being promoted as if it's the third movie. Personally, I'd LOVE for JMS to write Ghostbusters 3, as long as it features the first season RGB characters (with Bill Murray subbing for Lorenzo Music, like he did in the Garfield movies).

-- The voice actors used to fight over who got to do the voice of the No Ghost logo in the bumpers because they got paid more to do them.

-- Gross says that the choice to have different colored uniforms and give Egon blonde hair was so they'd stand out in the long shots.

-- Gross says that they used two different recording studios (during the entire series run?).

Episode Introductions - Each starts with the No Ghost ghost running up to the circle (in footage taken from a bumper) with a newly-dubbed in line of dialog, "Whew! And now a special message about this episode of The Real Ghostbusters." Then we get the person talking, giving the intro. After that we see the ghost again, upside down and fixes itself right-side up (again, the footage comes from a bumper), with a newly-dubbed in line of dialog, "And now welcome to The Real Ghostbusters." The new voice (I don't know who provided it) sounds very nerdy, and in my opinion, does not fit well with the ghost. I find these ghost segments completely unnecessary. They could have just had the person talking and then showed the episode. The ghost segments come off as lame. I also found them to be very annoying, though in all fairness, on the promo DVD I saw four of the intros with the same ghost segments back-to-back. They won't be shown this way in the box set, though if you watch a few episodes with intros in a row, they might become annoying to you too. Also, I find it odd that the intros are formatted at 16:9 widescreen since the episodes themselves are 4:3 fullscreen.

(UPDATE - 8/13/2015)
Since writing this original post, Hurricane Sandy happened and ruined the case artwork from my copy of this DVD. So, the image at the top of this article has been replaced with a scan done by AJ Quick. Should the original image disappear one day, it has been archived at the Ghostbusters Wiki, where you'll also find a nice article about this DVD that I contributed to.


Comment from: sonofsamhain [Visitor]

This sounds great (for a promo DVD). Hopefully the finalized version will have everything fine-tuned to perfection. I got a notice in the mail today that said:

“Due to an unexpected delay, the estimated ship date for THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS is Nov. 02, 2008.”

The original release date was scheduled for Nov. 15th. So, I called TIME LIFE to confirm this & the sales associate said that the release date is in fact Nov. 2nd! Scratch another week off that calendar. Woo-hoo!

Oct. 11, 2008 @ 01:16
Comment from: [Member]

Hey SonOfSamhain

Although it would be great if the release date WAS bumped up to Nov. 2, I’d bet it was an error. It wouldn’t be the first release date error from the reports I’ve seen.

The release still seems to be Nov. 15th, with Nov. 20th at the latest. The two websites (mini-site and TimeLife.com) both give a ship date of Nov. 15th, while the press release from July gives a ship date of Nov. 20th. Maybe they’ll split the difference and put it out on Nov. 17th or 18th! Either way, I think that it’ll ship WELL in time for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa.

– Paul

Oh, and give my best to your father. I know this is his busiest time of the year :-)

Oct. 11, 2008 @ 03:09
Comment from: sonofsamhain [Visitor]


Yeah, I remember there was an error around July/August that flubbed the actual release date, that’s why I chose to call TIME LIFE last night. I gave the sales associate (a woman) my account number then I asked about the specifics of the notice that is marked October 6th. She said “yes, it has been moved up.” I’m going to call again later on today to double check. Maybe she was just ready to go home or something. lol.

P.S. You bet!@ “my dad.” lol. Today’s actually MY birthday! Happy 26th to me! :)

Oct. 11, 2008 @ 04:27
Comment from: Troy [Visitor]

I still have that SPHE VHS tape somewhere… man, did that make me feel important back in the day. Get writin’, looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Oct. 15, 2008 @ 04:53
Comment from: [Member]

Back in the day I was *SO* jealous of you because you had all of the connections and got all of the scoops. Now Chris over at Proton Charging has all of the connections and gets all of the scoops, so he’s the new object of my jealousy :-)

I still think that you’re wicked cool, Troy.

Oct. 18, 2008 @ 16:54

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