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Early Real Ghostbusters Peter Venkman Bill Murray Design

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 23, 2015 at 8:13 PM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters
In the early stages of production on The Real Ghostbusters, the Peter Venkman character was designed to look more like Bill Murray (the movie counterpart) than what was seen in the final show. You may have noticed this if you saw the original promo pilot that's included with The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection DVD Box Set.


What you may not know is that a few pieces of early promotional artwork feature a different Peter Venkman design; one that looks even more like Bill Murray than what was seen in the promo pilot. Let's take a look at two pieces of this early promo art. First up is the classic and oft-used "Guys in Ecto-1 Zapping Slimer" art. Here's the version we all know and love, followed by the original version.

(click to enlarge)


In the original, Peter has a more rounded and fatter face, with flatter hair that sticks out more in front.


As has been pointed out to me by "Snakewise", because I completely overlooked it since I was concentrating solely on Peter, the original artwork also has an early Ray design, too. Early Ray had long, dark straight hair and a long face, while redrawn Ray has short, curly brown hair and a fatter and rounder face.


The original artwork appeared as a black & white image in the September 1986 issue of "TV Movie Jr." magazine. A color version showed up in the Promotional & Development Art Gallery in Volume 1 of Time-Life's The Real Ghostbusters DVD set. James Eatock documented his work on the DVD interviews and bonus materials in California, and provided me with an exclusive Behind The Scenes Photo Diary. James took a close-up photograph of the early Peter in that artwork, and it's what I used for the comparison image above (if you click on it, you'll see the complete full-size close-up).

Moving on... Another well-known piece of Real Ghostbusters artwork is this group shot of the guys which has appeared in a few places, such as on the back cover of Diamond's Real Ghostbusters sticker album. Of course you know the final version (first), but have you ever seen the original (second)? Now you have.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

What's interesting here is that not only have they redrawn Peter's face, but they also redrew his body as well. Besides that, the uniforms went from beige (to match the movie) to the character-specific colors we're all familiar with. For whatever reason, they never fixed that weird-looking PKE Meter in Egon's hand.


The original artwork appeared as a black & white image in the September 1986 issue of "TV Movie Jr." magazine. A color version was published in the Fall 1986 issue of "Barbie Magazine". A watercolor variant (seen below) was published in Starlog #111 (Oct. 1986).

(click to enlarge)

Thanks to Flickr user "katherine of chicago" for scanning in the Barbie magazine, to Lanny White for finding it, Matthew Jordan for telling me about it, and to myself for cleaning it. Also, thanks to the Ghostbusters Wiki for the image of Peter from the series used at top right.

On an unrelated note, over the past several weeks I have been making lots of updates to the Los Angeles Firehouse page. If you were following the Spook Central Facebook page, you would have already known that I added images from these movies, TV shows, and music videos:

• Knight Rider Season 4 Premiere Promo (September 13, 1985)
• Big Trouble In Little China (1986)
• U2 - "Where The Streets Have No Name" (1987)
• Poco - "Call It Love" (1989)
• V.I. Warshawski (1991)
• Buffy The Vampire Slayer: "Faith, Hope & Trick"
• Enrique Iglesias - "Lloro Por Ti" (2008)
• Body Heat (2010)

Plus placeholders were added for lots more to come at a much later date.


Comment from: Snakewise [Visitor]

Cool to see the different Ray design in the original “zapping slimer” design too.

Jul. 24, 2015 @ 16:19
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks, Snakewise. I completely overlooked it since I was concentrating solely on Peter. I just updated the article with a Ray comparison pic. - Paul

Jul. 26, 2015 @ 16:50
Comment from: Luke Howard [Visitor]

Who is the artist name who did the Guys in Ecto-1 Zapping Slimer” art?

Jun. 21, 2018 @ 07:30
Comment from: Riccardo [Visitor]  

This art has been created by three artists:
Kevin Altieri (draft)
Gaby Payne (drawing)
James Gallegos (painting)

you can read how this picture was born, following this post on Facebook:


Feb. 15, 2020 @ 05:55

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