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Ghostbusters: Behind Closed Doors Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Jun. 4, 2019 at 5:43 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 1, Ghostbusters 2, Reviews & Merch

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, the Reelz channel premiered their two-hour special Ghostbusters: Behind Closed Doors. Since it's not being shown anymore, I thought I'd write up a review to show you what it's all about.

Let me make it clear that a diehard Ghosthead is not likely to learn anything new from this special, but we're not really the intended audience anyway. That doesn't mean that the special is not worth watching. Here's what you'll find:

1. UNALTERED vintage photos, some of which I'VE never seen before. I was SO thrilled to keep seeing those Ecto-1 hood emblems :-) Only two photos had blurred people in the background, and they were two photos we saw blurred before.

2. A bunch of vintage Today Show interview clips from the 1980s through the 2000s. I didn't note all of the footage used.

3. A never-before-seen GHOSTBUSTERS II DELETED SCENE!!!!! Yes, you read that right. Here's the kicker: They probably didn't even know that it was a deleted scene, since it was shown as B-roll. B-roll footage that does NOT appear in the electronic press kit. Yeah, there is still more B-roll out there that has never been made public. You'll have to read the rest of this review to see the clip :-)

Normally when I write a review, I take my notes and transform them into a proper article with paragraphs, and (hopefully) proper grammar and spelling - the latter is an issue because I'm a horrible typist; my English is fine. Since I have a lot on my plate this week - with various other Ghostbusters releases - I'll take the lazy way out and just transcribe my notes as is. So, instead of a formal article, this will be more of a bullet-pointed list. That'll probably make it easier for you to read, anyway.

The special is hosted by NBC's Natalie Morales, not to be confused with the much better-looking actress of the same name (currently seen on NBC's Abby's). New interviews were conducted with the following people (listed in order of first interview appearance):

(click for unmarked enlargement)

  1. Ivan Reitman - at Ghost Corps headquarters by the fan patch display case. I saw my Spook Central patch in there (top middle of the frame); they moved it since the photo they sent me.
  2. Dan Aykroyd
  3. Joe Medjuck
  4. Al Roker
  5. James Andrew Miller (co-author of Live From New York)
  6. Violet Ramis-Stiel
  7. Richard Edlund
  8. Sheldon Kahn
  9. Ernie Hudson
  10. William Atherton
  11. Steve Johnson
  12. John Bruno
  13. Mark Bryan Wilson
  14. Billy Bryan
  15. Owen Gleiberman (film critic at Variety)
  16. Eric Cudworth (NYCGB franchise president)
-- Before we begin, I should also note that the special features a LOT of stock footage and photos (some from the film, some generic stuff), and a LOT of it is not shown in the proper places in regards to the time frame being discussed.

-- Natalie refers to the film as a "horror comedy" in her introduction. Most just refer to it as a "comedy", so it's nice when the general public truly sees it for what it is.

-- Dan on SNL and his family history with the paranormal.

-- Ivan comes aboard the project.

-- Dan denies that his first draft was set in outer space, though Ivan says that it does.

-- Dan credits his old college buddy John Devikis with designing the logo, Stay Puft, Slimer, the car, and the packs.

-- Harold Ramis' career is discussed, which includes an image of his Playboy Club press ID card.

-- His daughter Violet wears the "Spengler" memorial lapel pin in her interview.

-- Harold "grounds" Dan's "fantastical out-of-this-world" story.

-- They have the "heart" (Dan) and the "brains" (Harold), now they just need the "mouth". Bill's career is discussed.

-- The project looks for a studio. They feel obligated to take it to Columbia due to the previous success of Stripes.

-- Dan, Harold, and Ivan write at Martha's Vineyard.

-- Time to find an effects house.

-- Looking for whom will play Dana Barrett. Sigourney Weaver's career is discussed. She's not an obvious choice for a comedy.

-- As Ivan recalls, it was Sigourney's idea for Dana to be possessed by a dog, and to be a musician.

-- Ivan recalls Annie Potts auditioning and being cast as Janine.

-- The Louis Tully character is brought up with John Candy in mind. Storyboards are shown depicting the character looking like John.

-- They need a fourth ghostbuster as an audience surrogate. They thought of Eddie Murphy. In the new interview, Dan says that he doesn't know if the idea was ever brought to him. They hold open auditions, though Ernie Hudson has a hard time booking one. Ernie, who previously worked on the Ivan Reitman-produced Spacehunter, eventually lands the part.

-- Ernie says that Winston was the "soul" of the Ghostbusters.

-- The Walter Peck character is cast with William Atherton, who says that "it was a joy".

-- The effects artists get to work.

-- The taxi driver zombie was a test for artist Steve Johnson.

-- I think the vintage photo shown of John Bruno working on a terror dog stop-motion puppet may actually have been of William Randall Cooke. I could be wrong about this.

-- John Candy wants Louis to be German. Ivan said that he "didn't understand" the script, so he passes on it.

-- Ivan calls his friend Rick Moranis to offer him the part of Louis.

-- Rick created the character. "He always wanted to play a nerd", says Medjuck.

-- Just before filming begins, Ernie gets a new draft of the script; his role is now much smaller.

-- Where's Bill Murray?

-- Clips from Entertainment Weekly's 2014 "Reunions" issue photo shoot are shown with the main cast and Al Roker.

-- A 2002 Today Show clip is shown of Bill Murray and Al Roker outside 55 Central Park West. Bill provides me with a lovely soundbyte for my website when he says, "This is Spook Central right here." (46:50 mark)

-- The film is an ode to New York City. Filming in NY at Rockefeller Center (Medjuck recalls the policeman story) and Lincoln Center.

-- Fans gather on NYC streets, so Ivan talks them into being a part of the movie.

-- Improv on the set.

-- The iconic look of the jumpsuits. Ernie took his jumpsuit home.

-- Proton Packs are discussed, namely how damn heavy they are!

-- Boss Films works around the clock to get the effects done.

-- The library ghost is discussed.

-- The dream ghost is talked about.

-- The effects guys talk about the Dana in chair effect.

-- A shot of Ivan walking outside Ghost Corps headquarters passing by the original Ecto-1 and the 2016 Ecto-1.

-- Ivan's cameo as the voice of Zuul. Natalie asks him to do the voice, but he can't do it without electronic assistance.

-- Slimer/Onionhead is talked about. Dan: "Slimer was always Belushi".

-- Mark Bryan Wilson talks about puppeting Slimer, and all of the food that went down his shirt whilst inside the costume.

-- It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man! Billy Bryan discusses being in the suit and doing the cartoonish "double bounce".

-- Shaving cream dumped on Atherton.

-- Principal photography was completed in February 1984. Only four months left to finish all of the effect and editing.

-- The deleted Central Park bums scene is shown and discussed.

-- Elmer Bernstein writes the score, while Ivan looks for someone to write the theme song.

-- A clip of Ray Parker Jr. being interviewed by Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show in 1985 is shown.


-- The "Ghostbusters" song and music video are iconic.

-- The No Ghost logo is used in marketing instead of pictures of the actors. It becomes iconic and one of the most-recognized logos in the world. Host Natalie Morales credits Devikis AND Michael Gross with designing it.

-- While talking about the logo, photos of promotional use for the 2016 film is shown.

-- The movie opens on June 8, 1984. A clip of Jane Pauley interviewing Bill Murray on the Today Show in 1984 is shown.

-- The movie wins the box office; remains in the top spot for seven more weeks.

-- By August 1984, it surpassed Tootsie as the top movie comedy of all-time.

-- A clip is shown of Gene Shalit interviewing Dan on the Today Show in 1984.

-- A sequel is discussed, but it'll take five years before it materializes.

-- Ghostbusters II is greenlit in 1987.

(click to enlarge)

-- HOLY FORKING SHIRT!!! At the 1:15:58 mark, a new Ghostbusters II deleted scene is shown via a small piece of B-roll footage. Peter talks about opening a "Ghostbusters gift boutique", while Ray and Winston work on the slime blowers in the work area of the firehouse. The more I play this clip, the more I love it. Hearing Peter rattle through his ideas for official Ghostbusters merch is priceless in and of itself, but when he casually mentions "these things" (the slimeblowers) as potential merch, and then asks Ray, "What is this thing?", I nearly lose it.

-- Dan: "There's some really really good stuff in that second movie."

-- Ghostbusters II opens on June 16, 1989. Ivan feels that the movie does poorly at the time because audiences wanted darker movies like Tim Burton's Batman, and not something "light and breezy" as Ghostbusters II. Ivan feels that over time audiences have re-looked at it and found it to be "really a wonderful movie".

-- At the 1:18:04 mark, a small bit of video footage is shown of Peter Mosen's Ecto-1 parked outside the Los Angeles firehouse shooting location in 1989. I asked Peter about this photo, and he had the following to say: "I had met Dan the day before and was invited back to have cast members autograph my new ride. The photo of me with Dan & Bill in 'The Real Ghostbusters' Fanzine article 'King of the Ghostbusters Fans' was taken on the other side of my ECTO."


-- From GB2, the "Ghostbusters universe" expands to include: a spin-off animated series (EGB promo image is shown, no mention of RGB - though an animation cel was briefly shown at the start of the special), comic books (the "Artist's Edition preview" cover of IDW's Ghostbusters Vol. 2 #10 shown), toys (Stay Puft statue from the 2005 DVD Limited Edition Gift Set shown), theme park attractions (GB2016 stage production photo shown [embedded below] - I have no clue what that's all about, no mention of Universal Studios), and video games (still from GBVG shown). All of which stoke rumors of a third Ghostbusters film.

(click to enlarge)

-- Harold dies in 2014. He was sick since 2010.

-- Ivan says they had a script for a third Ghostbusters film, but kept putting off doing it because Harold kept getting sicker and sicker.

-- Violet mentioned condolences sent to her by Harold's fans, who set up an alter to him outside the New York firehouse filming location (photos shown). Then she talks about the memorial "Spengler" lapel pin she's wearing, and a close-up of it is shown. It says "Harold Ramis [Spengler] 1944-2014", with the "Spengler" part looking like the nametag on his jumpsuit.

-- Harold Ramis memorial graffiti is shown.

-- President Barack Obama releases a statement on Harold's death.

-- Mention is made of Violet's book, Ghostbuster's Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis.

-- The 2016 all-female reboot film is brought up. You knew it would be!

-- Eric Cudworth, of the NYCGB franchise (and presumably interviewed to represent the Ghostheads), says that the general populous hated the reboot. The Ghostheads liked it because "it gave us something to be excited about". (Yeah, until we actually saw it.)

-- Dan Aykroyd tows the company line by saying that it's people "living in their parent's basements" that attacked the reboot because women were playing the Ghostbusters.

-- Al Roker says that he could "never understand" the hatred for the reboot. He continues towing that line when he says that it's the hurt "fanboys" who don't want women as Ghostbusters. Al says that "it was a funny movie". (Did he see the same movie we all did?)

-- No mention is ever made of the reboot being full of flat, unfunny "jokes"; humor that was inappropriate for the Ghostbusters brand/franchise; having an insulting story with characters that made both genders look stupid at various times; and that it wasn't dark or scary. No, because Sony doesn't want people to realize that the movie was bad. They'd rather still push this whole "misogynist fanboys" mistruth, never mind the fact that fangirls hate it, too.

-- Al talks about his cameo in the reboot, and gives his opinion on the reboot's legacy: "I think history will bear out Paul Feig's vision and the performances of those women".

-- The Ghostbusters 2020 film teaser is shown, with mention of the new film, and an "all-new animated Ghostbusters film" coming out in the future.

-- Ghostbusters lives on.

-- Lots of photos of costumed fans are shown, while Dan Aykroyd and Steve Johnson mention them. One of the photos - of David Silva from the Massachusetts Ghostbusters and his buddy - was taken outside the BBQ Films event that Raffaele and I attended in June 2016 in Brooklyn, NY.

-- When talking about what he's learned from making the film, Dan says that (and I'm paraphrasing here) you can write smartly for an audience ("pitch up"), and they will get it. You don't have to dumb it down ("pitch down") for them. (Wisdom that has never graced Paul Feig's ears.)

-- In the credits for Archival Footage and Stills, Violet Ramis Stiel's name is misspelled as "Violoet Ramis Stiel".

(click to enlarge)

The above bullet-point list is a text commentary on the 90-minute video below, which is compressed and in DVD-resolution, but does include optional English SDH subtitles. Commercial breaks were present at 13:08, 21:58, 29:45, 39:40, 50:16, 1:02:02, and 1:13:16.

Play Video

Patreon-Exclusive Bonus Feature - Over 200 rare images grabbed from the special + the original 1920x1080 2.8GB MP4 video file.

And that sums up the entire 90-minute (two-hours with commercials) special. Nothing groundbreaking in terms of knowledge for us Ghostheads, but lots of little bits of eye candy here and there that I've certainly never seen before. This comprehensive review serves as extensive documentation of this special on the Internet. I hope that I did the show justice.

[UPDATE 2/19/2022]
This special is included in the Ghostbusters Ultimate Collection 4K/Blu-ray box set. If you were unable to buy a copy before the set went out of print, you will still be able to download a copy of this special, for your own personal private viewing, via my Internet Archive account: BluRip Chaptered 1920x1080 (7.5GB), BluRip Original 1920x1080 (7.5GB), DVDSize 20qual 852x480 (620 MB), Marked Chaptered 1920x1080 (2.6GB), and Marked Original 1920x1080 (2.6GB). The Blu rips have English and English SDH subtitles embedded in them. The "Marked" copy has the Reelz logo in the lower right corner. I also have the subtitle SUP files separately for English SDH (48 MB) and English (46 MB), plus a Chapters XML file (3 KB). That is everything to preserve this program.


Comment from: mrmichaelt [Visitor]

RE the new deleted scene. The excerpt from the Naha novel appears to originate from the 11-27-88 draft on page 53. So it seems at one point, they kept Peter’s line about the boutique but jettisoned the gaudy costumes and added Winston and Ray working on a Slime Blower except now it seems post-montage since Winston is in the charcoal suit and Ray is in the lab coat. It’s not in the Feb. 27 1989 draft. It could be a case it being in another draft in between or one after February 27 - and they weren’t sure so they took it out, put back in, took it out, filmed it since we know’s there a bunch of drafts from December up to February 8.

Jun. 5, 2019 @ 08:13
Comment from: Alex Newborn [Visitor]

[tried to add a screencap of p. 51 of the 11.27.88 script but it got flagged as spam]

I like the original scripted dialogue about slapping the logo on cheap merchandise from overseas, and how the marketing of some breakfast cereal grosses even Venkman out.

Paired with some of their other interview comments from around this time, such as Ramis saying he didn’t believe in sequels back in ‘84 or Aykroyd talking about how they didn’t want to be perceived as sellouts, I have to feel that the original intent of the boutique dialogue was to skewer themselves for becoming exactly what they once deemed ripoffs.

Jun. 5, 2019 @ 12:51
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks MrMichaelT and Alex, for finding the script origin of the scene and the thoughts on it.

I don’t know what the issue is with the image being flagged as spam, but it’s not a big deal. I have the script (obviously) and when I get around to adding it to the GB2 Deleted Scenes section, I’ll convert the script excerpt into text/html and add the scene footage around it as I did for the other scenes that are in the script(s).

At least, for now, the scene is on this page and available for all to enjoy. The new 4K/Blu set is the big thing to tackle at the moment :-)

– Paul

Jun. 6, 2019 @ 01:58
Comment from: Brendan [Visitor]

Thank you, This was a fantastic watch.

Really a shame how Dan talks down to the fans because we hated the 2016 propaganda film.

No I don’t hate a female ghostbuster!!

I do hate feminist propaganda, poor writing, and reboots. I have no problem with a female Ghostbuster but if “I’m a woman” is all you bring to the table.. then see yourself out the nearest exit.

attacking the fans was a disgraceful thing by Dan.

All of the hack actors and their wimpy director attacked the fans and still do to this day and they wonder why we hate it.

I would have still hated it even if it was an all male cast..

Besides that bothering me, the Reels video was great.
Learned something new about the reverse filming on the library ghost. Never noticed it before.

Thank you, sorry for the rant… just gets to me.

Aug. 31, 2019 @ 22:29
Comment from: [Member]

I hear you loud and clear, Brendan.

It makes me sick to hear Dan (and Al Roker) spew the venomous lies just because Sony doesn’t want to admit that the film has a lot of problems, none of which have to do with the gender of the cast.

They like to tow the company line and say that “fanboys” hated it, but what about all of the fanGIRLS who hated it, too? The woman who works at my pharmacy, who’s in her 50s or 60s and isn’t a “Ghosthead", saw my No Ghost Logo hat and told me that she didn’t like the female Ghostbusters movie. I guess Sony doesn’t want us to know that females like her, and the rest who dislike the film, even exist.

What Sony (and Dan) doesn’t realize is that continuing to spew the venomous lies, and insulting their fanbase, actually make THEM look bad. And in turn, makes the film look even worse.

– Paul

Sep. 1, 2019 @ 13:07
Comment from: pferreira [Visitor]

The 2016 movie was an insult to the fans. Putting aside the feminist propaganda that Paul Feig was going after what we all wanted was a third movie. If Sony had got their act together they could have got it out back in 2008 or 2009. Had we had a third movie a female lead movie spin-off would of been fine if moronic. What we got was both moronic and a travesty.

Unfortunately GB Fans.com saw fit to ban me because I didn’t have anything good to say about it. I guess the mods there were toeing the company line as well?

Dan can say I live in a basement all he likes (wish I had one), the point is it was everything Ghostbusters SHOULDN’T have been.


Sep. 15, 2019 @ 20:21
Comment from: Alex Newborn [Visitor]

A 2002 Today Show clip is shown of Bill Murray and Al Roker outside 55 Central Park West. Bill provides me with a lovely soundbyte for my website when he says, “This is Spook Central right here.” (46:50 mark)

I believe that’s Roker’s voice, not Murray’s.

Dec. 14, 2020 @ 12:27
Comment from: [Member]

No, it’s definitely Bill. If you watch the video (46:50 mark), you’ll notice that Bill is replying to a comment Al made:

* Al: “Here we are. This is… this was Spook Central.”
* Bill: “This is Spook Central right here.”

– Paul

Dec. 15, 2020 @ 15:59

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