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Ghostbusters Scribd Finds

 By Paul Rudoff on Mar. 20, 2010 at 11:50 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, Internet, Games
Scribd is a free service that allows anyone to share any type of document (including PDF, Word, PowerPoint and Excel) with the world. A "Ghostbusters" search brings up 45+ pages of results - most of them crap. I spent a few hours skimming through the results to find the best stuff, and here's what I found. (If you want to download any of the PDFs on Scribd, you'll need a free account. You can get some public logins at BugMeNot.) Commodore Game Ads, Reviews, Interviews
A lot of old magazines for the Commodore computer system appear on Scribd. A few of them have mentions of Ghostbusters in them, as the original David Crane computer game appeared on that system. Chronologically, the first one that pops up is the Dec/Jan 1984-1985 issue of Commodore Power Play magazine. Inside on page 7 you'll find the ad below left, and on page 19 you'll find the game announcement seen below right. (Add two for PDF page numbers.)

Power Play's News From The Front

"Ghostbusters" Software
Activision has announced that it will develop and market an original work of home computer software based on the hit motion picture "Ghostbusters." The rights to develop "Ghostbusters" were acquired from Columbia Pictures.

Three issues later, Commodore Power Play magazine June/July 1985, the game is given a full-page review on page 16, followed by a half-page of hints on page 17 (PDF pages 18 & 19).

Image    Image

The review also gives us this interesting little tidbit: Ghostbusters was Activision's first game based on a license.
Ghostbusters, an exciting contest that tests the mind and body, is a special game for another reason. Activision's president, Jim Levy, has always been adamant about his intentions of basing his games only on in-house, original ideas. This latest endeavor, their first licensing, put their reputation on a precarious line. Anything short of brilliance could have jolted them off of their elite pedestal of quality. But, alas, Mr. Levy need not worry. From the opening follow-the-bouncing-ball sing-along theme song to the synthesized yelps of, "He slimed me." as a green goblin flees, Ghostbusters is a sure crowd pleaser.
Four years later in the probably unrelated Commodore Magazine (July 1989 issue) is an eight-page article on the history of Activision (pages 50-53, 71-74) with Q&As from all of the key players involved in the company. This includes a brief Ghostbusters game Q&A with David Crane on page 52, and a sneak peek Q&A with Mark Johnson (an Activision producer) about their upcoming Ghostbusters II game on page 73. (Add two for PDF page numbers.) Rather than downloading the 46MB PDF of the entire magazine from Scribd, you can download a 4.1MB PDF containing just the Activision article.

Some of the interesting Ghostbusters information gleaned form this article...
  • Ghostbusters was (and might still be) Activision's best-selling computer game (or product) of all time.
  • The Ghostbusters license was actually retrofitted onto a game that David Crane was already working on at the time. "At the time, I was in the process of creating an animated city-wide adventure. The player would be able to drive a vehicle, use a map to plot his way and add equipment to the car to give it special capabilities. This program might have evolved into a James Bond-type game if Ghostbusters hadn't come along."
  • Columbia Pictures came to Activision with the game request in May of 1984, and wanted it to be completed by the end of August so that the game could be released before Christmas. (According to the chart at the end of the article, the game was released in October 1984.) This gave David approximately ten weeks to develop the game. "Normally I couldn't possibly program a game in that amount of time, but my new untitled creation could be adapted to fit the Ghostbusters storyline, so I agreed to do the project."
  • In the weeks that followed, David attended several showings of Ghostbusters, seriously studying the movie, taking notes and drawing diagrams. "Later in the project, Columbia (under strictest security) provided me a videotape of the film. They also sent a copy of the shooting script and hundreds of slides and stills from the movie."
There's also this Commodore Ghostbusters game hint on page 94 (PDF page 96):
Ghostbusters: Follow these instructions, and you'll close the gate to Zuul: When buying a car, only buy a Compact. Buy only one trap; you'll have to return to Headquarters every time you catch a ghost, but you'll save money. (You have to earn it back to win.)

It is very important not to catch any green ghosts after the city's PK energy reaches 1000.

If you wait a while without moving your car or catching any ghosts, a screen will appear with the Marshmallow Man jumping from side to side in front of a door. Take your time and get at least two or three of your men to sneak by him one at a time. Get them inside the door, and you'll win.

The ghost vacuum, PK meter, bait, sensor and so on are just for fun. Don't waste your money on them.

Pressing the spacebar will tell you how many men and empty traps you have and how much power is left in your backpacks.
Dennis Haines
Forked River, NJ

Retro Movie Reviews From The Stony Brook Press
The Stony Brook Press is the college newspaper of Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. Someone has uploaded many of the old issues, two of which include reviews of Ghostbusters 1 and 2. Here's the Ghostbusters review from page 11 of the July 26, 1984 issue (Volume 5, Issue 30).
Who You Gonna Call?
By Ron Ostertag

Directed by Ivan Reitman
Starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Signourney Weaver, Harold Ramis
Released by Columbia Pictures

With such comic potential as Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Harry Ramis together in one movie, expectations are bound to be high. While the recent Columbia Pictures release Ghostbusters is funny, it is not the classical comedy some had hoped for. Murray and Ramis repeat their pairing in Stripes while Akroyd is reunited with Murray for the first time since Saturday Night Live. Murray essentially 'makes' the film and, along with the hilarious special apparitional effects, and creates the backbone of this motion picture.

Ghostbusters is a far fetched, silly, film based on the same type of over-produced horror movies which have been so popular lately. Three NYU parapsychology professors (Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis), having lost their research grant, decide to open their own ghost-catching business. Their first customer is Sigourney Weaver, who previously starred in Alien and The Year of Living Dangerously, she eventually becomes possessed by the forces of evil, while Murray pursues her throughout the movie. Her good looking, clean cut violinist boyfriend is depicted as a sniveling wimp, and of course Murray wins her in the end. The Ghostbusters eventually save New York City from the forces of evil in an Armageddon battle, with their unlicensed nuclear accellorators, the only weapon against apparitions and evil. In the end, they win fame, glory, a cheering public, and women.

The screenplay for this motion picture was written by Aykroyd and Ramis. Ramis has also co-written Animal House and Caddyshack. The depiction of women is in the typical Aykroyd/Murray way (feminists beware). There are no great problems with this film for Bill Murray fans, and without him or the special effects, this film would have been a certain flop. Columbia Pictures had originaly produced this picture without the special effects, and after limited and unenthusiastic screening decided to spend the extra money to add them. That choice drew in the largest box office revenues of any film in the company's history. In its first week alone, it drew over $20 million in gross revenue, aided by a massive advertising campaign which last spring bombarded even the Stony Brook campus.

Ghostbusters is a movie which is meant to be silly, somethimes getting carried away, as at the end with a cheering crowd of Ghostbusters T-shirt wearers. It is not the legendary "Great Summer Movie", but it is still good.
Ok, let me have a minute of fun dissecting this review. Generally it's positive, but it's really a backhanded-type of positive. The reviewer says that Ghostbusters "is not the classical comedy some had hoped for" and that it's "not the legendary 'Great Summer Movie'". I think time has definitely proven him wrong on both accounts. What really ticks me off about this review - besides the overuse of run-on sentences, poor grammar and spelling (college students who work on the school paper should know better), and inconsistent spelling of Aykroyd's last name and Ramis' first name (is "Harry Ramis" Harold's brother?) - is that there is a complete and utter lie in the second to last paragraph. Columbia Pictures NEVER produced the movie without the special effects, nor did they ever have any intention to do so. The movie was written with effects shots in mind, and they wouldn't have hired Boss Films to do the effects if they weren't going to use them. Yes, they did early screenings of the film before the effects were complete, but those were test screenings to see how well the movie played to a live audience while they were still working on it.

The reviewer further compounds the lie by saying that the response to these screenings was "unenthusiastic". Nothing could be further from the truth. Ivan stated on the 1999 DVD commentary that even without the special effects (notably the Stay Puft effects), the crowds at the test screenings went nuts. That's when he knew that what they were doing was right.

I get a kick out of the reviewer's line, "Without [Bill Murray] or the special effects, this film would have been a certain flop." No shit! Without the computer-generated dinosaurs, Jurassic Park would have been a flop, too. Same thing for the shark in Jaws, the Alien in Alien, and so forth and so on. The special effects in each of these movies (be they mechanical, practical, or computer) are what allow these non-existant creatures to exist in the film world. Each of those movies needed the creatures, and thus needed the special effects necessary to bring them to life.

Oh, and could someone please explain to me what the "typical Aykroyd/Murray way" of depicting women is? The reviewer warns "feminists beware" as if the women in Ghostbusters are depicted badly, but in my 20+ years of watching the film, I don't see it. Sure Dana is essentially a damsel in distress, and Janine doesn't have much to do, but neither of them are depicted in any sexist mannner whatsoever.

Anyway, here's the Ghostbusters II review from page 21 of the Summer 1989 issue (Volume 10, Issue 15). Let's see if this one is better written.
Deja View
by Joe DiStefano

Sequels to box office smashes are often as successful as the originals, but sometimes fall short because of slavish devotion to the plotlines of the mother film. Unfortunately, the makers of Ghostbusters II didn't want to risk their financial necks on any novel plot devices, instead adhering to the Underdogs Save the World from Certain Doom formula. (Well, gee, it worked the first time.) Although this movie uses the same gimmicks as the first film, it is a spectre of its former self. Our heroes have fallen into obscurity since the last time they were called upon to deliver Manhattan from the gaping jaws of demonic conquest. Once again, the villain is some occult nasty from bygone centuries (this time, a musty old sorceror with an attitude) whose rise to power is accompanied by an increase in the city's ghost problem. Beneath the teeming streets is a river of empathetic slime (resembling a half-set raspberry gelatin) which has been negatively charged by all the "bad vibes" (oh wow, man) of New York's stereotyped nasty attitude. This malevolent jello lures the big baddy who uses it to increases his power, and the movie's moral ground is as flooded with syrupy good will as the city sewers, since, for good to succeed, the boys must get all of NYC to think happy thoughts. Early on, we see Bill Murray moving in with Sigourney Weaver to protect her and her baby from the evil sorceror. Weaver: "Don't try any of those cheap moves on me." Murray: "Oh no, I have all new cheap moves." But all Murray and his merry band have are old ones rendered cheap by the movie's rehashing.
Even if you love Ghostbusters II, I think you could see that this review is spot-on. The only things I find wrong with it are two misspellings of the word "sorcerer" (spell check could have fixed that), an instance where "increases" is used instead of "increase" (I make typos too, so I'll let this pass), and the incorrect statement that Bill Murray's character moved in with Sigourney Weaver's character (it was actually the other way around). So all in all, this is definitely a much better review than the first one.

The Art of Stop Motion Animation
Someone put up a multi-page PDF print-out of pages from the The Art of Stop Motion Animation website. On pages 21 & 22 of this PDF are two photos of Randall William Cook working with the Terror Dog maquettes, which came from this page on the website.

Bill Murray's Legal Papers
Also up on Scribd you'll find Bill Murray's Pre-Nuptial Agreement from 1997 and Divorce Papers from 2008, both from his marriage to Jennifer Butler.

Funniest Thing I've Read All Year
On Scribd there's a preview of the book "When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture" by Paul Boyer (apparently released in 1994). There's one sentence in the book about Ghostbusters, which appears in the search results, but not in the preview. Thankfully, Amazon has the book cataloged for its Search Inside This Book feature, and thus on page 8 of the Prologue one can find this sentence:
In the 1984 hit Ghostbusters, a taxi driver quoted apocalyptic scriptures while Dan Ackroyd and his crew battled sinister supernatural forces.
Can you figure out why this one sentence made me laugh so much? No, it isn't because Dan's last name is misspelled yet again. Think harder. I'll wait... Here's a clue: How many taxi drivers appear in the film and what do they say? If you remembered that there's only one taxi driver in the movie (an undead one) and that he doesn't say a single word (not even "Brains!"), you get the Crunch bar for today.

"But that's not funny," you say - and you'd be right. The funny part isn't that Mr. Paul Boyer is attributing talk of apocalyptic scriptures to the undead cabbie, but rather that he's calling the person who spoke about apocalyptic scriptures a "taxi driver". Yes, ladies and gentleman, Mr. Paul Boyer thinks WINSTON IS A TAXI DRIVER! He apparently saw the scene with Winston driving Ecto-1 while sitting next to Ray, talking about scriptures and the dead rising from the graves, and thought - for reasons known only to him - that Winston was a taxi driver. You know, in spite of him driving a white ambulance/hearse with flashing lights on the top (which could not be confused with a taxi at all), while wearing a Ghostbusters uniform, and also appearing elsewhere in the film in the profession of "ghostbuster".

Without trying to read too much into it, calling Winston a taxi driver simply because he was driving a car might be borderline racist as his skin color could be the only possible way that someone who isn't thinking clearly could come to that conclusion. This reminds me of the nitwit who overanalyzed Slimer and The Real Ghostbusters trying to find themes of gender politics.

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