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The Real Ghostbusters: The Complete Series Unofficial/Bootleg Blu-ray Review

 By Paul Rudoff on Feb. 15, 2021 at 5:07 PM , Categories: Real Ghostbusters, Home Video

Sony recently began uploading full episodes of The Real Ghostbusters to the official Ghostbusters YouTube channel, which I have been documenting here on Spook Central. (Sony's Extreme Ghostbusters episode uploads are being documented here.) This is great news, of course, but what if you want to own all episodes of the series on disc? TimeLife's Complete Series DVD box set is long out-of-print and going for ridiculously high prices on the aftermarket. Sony released most of the episodes on 10 DVDs (reviewed here and here), but that's not all of them. What's a low-income Ghosthead to do? Well, that's where TJ of Monsterland Media comes in.

I've written about TJ's unofficial/bootleg Extreme Ghostbusters: The Complete Series Blu-ray set, his Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue DVD, and his extremely limited Ghostbusters: The Video Game - The Complete Story Blu-ray. He's back with a 10-disc complete series Blu-ray release of The Real Ghostbusters and Slimer! (with Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue). TJ was kind enough to send me a copy as a holiday gift, and I thought I'd share my thoughts on it. Read on to find out more about it...

(click to enlarge)

The set is contained in a standard 10-disc Blu-ray case measuring 5.25"x6.75" and is a little less than 1" thick. The front cover features clip art of the guys and Slimer (taken from different sources) against a background of Gaylord's Joke Shop from the Season 3 episode "The Joke's on Ray". The back cover features an overused piece of Stay Puft clip art against a background of the basement and containment unit.

(click to enlarge)

As you can see from the images above and below, each disc is on its own page (no overlapping, like the original TimeLife Steelbook set). Each disc features clip art from the series' promotional materials, the Kenner toys, and assorted comic book panels. The first two discs feature colored artwork, while the rest are in black and white.

(click to enlarge)

Put in the first episode and you'll see the menu, which is formatted the same on all discs, though the background imagery is different. Each disc features the same menu style, but with different background artwork. Next to each episode title is a small animated thumbnail of the SAME SHOW OPENING SEQUENCE! These thumbnails are absolutely pointless since they are 100% the same as each other. The Play arrow button at the bottom of each menu page is Play All, which has all episodes on one title back to back. The right (and left) arrows go back and forth between menu pages. There are usually 16 episodes per disc. Each menu screen lists six episodes, which means that there are usually three menu screens (the last screen lists four episodes). If that wasn't enough to make navigation a chore, the fact that TJ added a transition animation between screens will do it.

Play Video

This is the same menu style that TJ uses on all of his releases, as far as I can tell. Although I had some gripes about this menu style on the Extreme Ghostbusters Blu-rays, the menus on these discs are WORSE! These menus are slow, with unnecessary transitions (sliding text), and unnecessary motion thumbnails, which are all the same clip from the show opening. All of this seems to eat away at my player's internal memory, which caused frequent freezes and glitches IN THREE DIFFERENT PLAYERS!!! I really wish TJ would just go with menus featuring plain text on a still image, with no video thumbnails, and no transitions. A list of all 16 episodes could fit onto one screen in two eight-episode columns.

Episodes have been upscaled to 960x720, retaining the original 4:3 aspect ratio, pillarboxed (black bars added to the sides) into a 1280x720 (16:9) frame. I really wish that TJ kept the content at the original 720x480 SD resolution, as there is no benefit to upscaling SD content at the "source" level. Let the player or TV upscale at the "display" level.  I hate when 4:3 content is pillarboxed into 16:9, adding blackness when there doesn't need to be any. The content here was sourced from the TimeLife set, so expect to see the same alternate versions, bumpers, lack of "Killerwatt" title card, etc. The alternate-titled episode "Mouse in the House" (without the "A" at the start) is not included. The more completely-titled "A Mouse in the House" is included, and other than the lack of an "A", there is no difference between the two.

Each episode contains only three chapter marks: the default one at the start, one after the show opening, and one before the end credits. The Time Life set, if I remember correctly, also had one at the second commercial break spot mid-way through the episode. Two episodes lack the chapter mark before the end credits: "Chicken He Clucked" (Disc 2) and "The Haunting of Heck House" (Disc 8). The one-hour version of "Deja Boo" (Disc 8) has an extra chapter in the middle, giving it four chapters in total.

There is no episode list included in the case, so good luck trying to remember which episode is on which disc. This wasn't so much of a problem with TJ's Extreme Ghostbusters set since it was only two discs, but with 10 discs, and an order that is vastly different than previous official releases, this is a problem here. At the bottom of this page, after my review, is a full episode list with runtimes! Honestly, I have no clue why TJ ordered the episodes the way he did in the second half of the set, nor do I understand why he broke up the multi-story episodes into individual story episodes, complete with their own show opening and end credits.

The episodes are, basically, in the same order as in the TimeLife set, except for a few episodes at the start of the second season network run (end of Disc 5 and throughout Disc 6), which have been mixed up for some reason. Notable moved episodes include "Transylvanian Homesick Blues" (moved from #79 to #90), "The Grundel (moved from #91 to #87), and a lot on Discs 7 & 8 (and some on Disc 9) because the dual-story episodes have been broken up into individual 15-minute episodes. The episodes still play too fast or too slow since the TimeLife set was the source material. (Corrected versions of some are on Sony's DVDs.) Almost everything on Discs 7 and 8 have different runtimes than the TimeLife set.

The quality is good for The Real Ghostbusters episodes. Using "Ghosts R Us" as a guide, I do see improvements in the image quality due to the application of filters that soften up the rough edges of the original image. However, some fine detail is removed by said filters. I'll leave it for to you to decide if that's a worthwhile trade off. Below are some untouched framegrabs. I left the original TimeLife frames in the DVD's 720x480 format, and did not reformat them into 640x480 (or 720x540) square pixels that your DVD player would when you view the discs. I left the bootleg frames in the 1280x720 (16:9) format and did not crop off the blackness on the sides. When you look at the enlarged original images, bear in mind that the TimeLife set isn't perfect quality, either. Despite the lies in TimeLife's advertising (at the bottom of this page), no restoration or clean-up work was done on the TimeLife set. The episode quality is exactly the same as the original untreated masters, probably a tad worse due to the addition of DVD compression artifacts.

(TimeLife, click to enlarge)

(Bootleg, click to enlarge)

(TimeLife, click to enlarge)

(Bootleg, click to enlarge)

While The Real Ghostbusters episodes look good, the Slimer! shorts are absolutely horrible. They look extremely soft, as if they came from VHS copies (though I know that they didn't), and the rough left and right edges of the frames have been cropped off. I suspect they came from DVD rips that were greatly recompressed before being used by TJ to make this set.

(TimeLife, click to enlarge)

(Bootleg, click to enlarge)

(TimeLife, click to enlarge)

(Bootleg, click to enlarge)

All of the bonus features from the TimeLife set are NOT included here. The only bonus feature is the Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue 1990 television special featuring Slimer. It's the same transfer TJ originally released onto DVD back in 2019, only here it has been upscaled to 1440x1080, retaining the original 4:3 aspect ratio, pillarboxed (black bars added to the sides) into a 1920x1080 (16:9) frame. The special contains 3 chapters: the default one at the start, one placed at the start of the program itself (after the President George Bush intro), and one at the start of the end credits.

If you have the TimeLife set, you don't need this set. While the episodes have been upscaled, and The Real Ghostbusters episodes look better, it's not like it's a big-time restoration effort. If you need Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, you can purchase that separately. That said, there are some benefits to owners of the TimeLife set. This could be a "viewing copy", which is a copy to watch without putting extra wear and tear on your out-of-print TimeLife DVDs. All of the episodes are on 10 discs instead of 25 discs, so you only have to get up far fewer times to change discs. Of course, you will need a Blu-ray disc player, as these discs won't play in a standard DVD player like the TimeLife discs.

The Real Ghostbusters: The Complete Series Bootleg Blu-ray is available for $84.99 and is a reasonable alternative to the out-of-print TimeLife set. Of course, if you have $1,000 to spare, TimeLife's The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection DVD set is the better option with a lot of bonus features. Sony's 10 volume DVD set from 2016/2017 has some alternate episodes, but lacks the complete series, so it's not really comparable.

Since Monsterland Media releases are bootlegs, they are not region-coded. Also available from Monsterland Media: Extreme Ghostbusters: The Complete Series Blu-ray set (reviewed here), Filmation's Animated Ghostbusters: The Complete Series Blu-ray (not reviewed by me), and Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue DVD & Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (DVD reviewed here). Do note that the Cartoon All-Stars Blu-ray release is not needed if you buy The Real Ghostbusters.


-------- DISC 1 (6:17:22) --------

01. Ghosts R Us (original voices) (23:41)
02. Killerwatt (no title card) (23:41)
03. Mrs. Roger's Neighborhood (original voices) (23:51)
04. Slimer, Come Home (original voices) (23:42)
05. Troll Bridge (original voices) (23:54)
06. The Boogieman Cometh (original voices) (23:55)
07. Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream (original voices) (23:53)
08. When Halloween Was Forever (23:46)
09. Look Homeward, Ray (23:51)
10. Take Two (23:51)
11. Citizen Ghost (23:53)
12. Janine's Genie (23:53)
13. Xmas Marks the Spot (23:52)
14. Knock, Knock (Series Music Version) (22:28)
15. Station Identification (22:28)
16. Play Them Ragtime Boos (Tahiti Music Version) (22:22)

-------- DISC 2 (5:59:29) --------

17. Sea Fright (22:22)
18. The Spirit of Aunt Lois (22:29)
19. Cry Uncle (22:27)
20. Adventures in Slime and Space (22:27)
21. Night Game (22:27)
22. Venkman's Ghost Repellers (Series Music Version) (22:29)
23. The Old College Spirit (22:28)
24. Ain't NASA-sarily So (22:28)
25. Who're You Calling Two-Dimensional? (22:26)
26. A Fright at the Opera (Tahiti Music Version) (22:23)
27. Doctor, Doctor (22:28)
28. Ghost Busted (22:27)
29. Beneath These Streets (22:28)
30. Boo-Dunit (22:28)
31. Chicken, He Clucked (22:26)
32. Ragnarok and Roll (22:27)

-------- DISC 3 (5:59:20) --------

33. Don't Forget The Motor City (22:28)
34. Banshee Bake a Cherry Pie? (22:25)
35. Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Ghost? (22:27)
36. Hanging by a Thread (22:27)
37. You Can't Take It With You (22:27)
38. No One Comes to Lupusville (22:30)
39. Drool, the Dog-Faced Goblin (22:28)
40. The Man Who Never Reached Home (22:30)
41. The Collect Call of Cathulhu (22:28)
42. Bustman's Holiday (22:31)
43. The Headless Motorcyclist (22:28)
44. The Thing in Mrs. Faversham's Attic (22:31)
45. Egon on the Rampage (22:31)
46. Lights! Camera! Haunting! (22:28)
47. The Bird of Kildarby (Tahiti Music Version) (21:54)
48. Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster (22:25)

-------- DISC 4 (5:57:33) --------

49. Apocalypse--What, Now? (21:53)
50. Lost and Foundry (22:31)
51. Hard Knight's Day (21:53)
52. Cold Cash and Hot Water (22:30)
53. The Scaring of the Green (22:24)
54. They Call Me MISTER Slimer (22:28)
55. Last Train to Oblivion (22:31)
56. Masquerade (22:27)
57. Janine's Day Off (22:29)
58. The Ghostbusters in Paris (22:29)
59. The Devil in the Deep (22:30)
60. Ghost Fight at the O.K. Corral (22:30)
61. Ghostbuster of the Year (21:55)
62. Deadcon I (22:26)
63. The Cabinet of Calamari (21:54)
64. A Ghost Grows in Brooklyn (22:25)

-------- DISC 5 (6:01:15) --------

65. The Revenge of Murray the Mantis (22:26)
66. Rollerghoster (22:26)
67. I Am the City (22:28)
68. Moaning Stones (22:26)
69. The Long, Long, Long, Etc. Goodbye (22:26)
70. Buster the Ghost (22:29)
71. The Devil to Pay (22:28)
72. Slimer, Is That You? (original voices) (22:30)
73. Egon's Ghost (22:30)
74. Captain Steel Saves the Day (22:27)
75. Victor The Happy Ghost (22:31)
76. Egon's Dragon (22:31)
77. Dairy Farm (22:29)
78. The Hole in the Wall Gang (22:31)
79. Baby Spookums (23:07)
80. It's a Jungle Out There (23:08)
-------- DISC 6 (6:05:47) --------

81. The Bogeyman is Back (23:10)
82. Once Upon a Slime (23:09)
83. The Two Faces of Slimer (23:11)
84. Sticky Business (22:25)
85. Halloween II 1/2 (22:30)
86. Loathe Thy Neighbor (23:10)
87. The Grundel (23:09)
88. Big Trouble with Little Slimer (23:10)
89. The Copycat (23:11)
90. Camping It Up (22:24)
91. Transylvanian Homesick Blues (22:20)
92. The Joke's on Ray (22:55)
93. Flip Side (22:25)
94. Poultrygeist (22:21)
95. Standing Room Only (22:59)
96. Robo-Buster (22:58)

-------- DISC 7 (6:12:29) --------

097. Short Stuff (22:59)
098. Follow That Hearse (22:59)
099. The Brooklyn Triangle (22:58)
100. Transcendental Tourists (14:07)
101. Something's Going Around (24:16)
102. Trading Faces (14:08)
103. Elementary My Dear Winston (24:17)
104. Slimer's Curse (14:07)
105. Partners in Slime (24:14)
106. Til Death Do Us Part (14:08)
107. Three Men and an Egon (24:17)
108. Kitty-Cornered (14:06)
109. If I Were a Witch Man (21:43)
110. It's About Time (13:57)
111. The Halloween Door (23:19)
112. Jailbusters (24:16)
113. Surely You Joust (14:06)
114. Future Tense (24:13)
115. Venk-Man! (14:08)

-------- DISC 8 (6:24:26) --------

116. Loose Screws (14:07)
117. Live! From Al Capone's Tomb (24:15)
118. Revenge of the Ghostmaster (14:07)
119. Slimer Streak (14:07)
120. The Ransom of Greenspud (14:16)
121. Janine, You've Changed (23:23)
122. You Can't Teach an Old Demon New Tricks (23:24)
123. The Haunting of Heck House (23:26)
124. Ghostworld (23:25)
125. Mean Green Teen Machine (23:20)
126. Spacebusters (22:59)
127. My Left Fang (23:29)
128. Russian About (23:25)
129. The Slob (23:56)
130. Deja Boo (half-hour version) (23:35)
131. Deja Boo (one-hour version) (45:27)
132. Afterlife in the Fast Lane (23:25)

-------- DISC 9 (6:12:37) --------

133. Guess What's Coming to Dinner (23:24)
134. Stay Tooned (23:24)
135. Very Beast Friends (23:24)
136. Busters in Toyland (23:24)
137. The Magnificent Five (23:24)
138. The Treasure of Sierra Tamale (23:16)
139. Not Now, Slimer! (23:16)
140. Attack of the B-Movie Monsters (No Bridge Version) (23:04)
141. 20,000 Leagues Under the Street (23:04)
01. Slimer For Hire (8:47)
02. Cruisin' For a Bruisin' (8:49)
03. Nothing to Sneeze At (8:47)
04. A Mouse in the House (8:59)
05. Cash or Slime (8:59)
06. Doctor Dweeb, I Presume (8:47)
07. Quickslimer Messenger Service (8:48)
08. Pigeon-Cooped (8:47)
09. Go-pher It (8:47)
10. Scareface (15:58)
11. Sticky Fingers (8:49)
12. Don't Tease the Sleaze (15:56)
13. Room at the Top (8:48)
14. Tea But Not Sympathy (8:48)
15. Special Delivery (8:59)
16. Out With Grout (15:50)

-------- DISC 10 (3:14:07) --------

17. Dr. Strangedog (8:49)
18. The Dirty Half-Dozen (15:56)
19. Movie Madness (8:49)
20. Slimer's Silly Symphony (8:43)
21. Little Green Sliming Hood (8:48)
22. Monkey See, Monkey Don't (8:48)
23. Beach Blanket Bruiser (8:48)
24. Class Clown (7:28)
25. Dog Days (8:49)
26. Up Close and Too Personal (8:48)
27. Sweet Revenge (15:54)
28. Rainy Day Slimer (8:48)
29. Slimer & the Beanstalk (8:48)
30. Space Case (8:48)
31. Show Dog Showdown (8:47)
32. The Not-So-Great Outdoors (8:48)
33. Unidentified Sliming Object (8:47)
*** Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue (31:35) [1920x1080]



Comment from: Guy [Visitor]

Ok. I’m a bit confused by your review. This part:

“Episodes have been upscaled to 960x720, retaining the original 4:3 aspect ratio, pillarboxed (black bars added to the sides) into a 1280x720 (16:9) frame. I really wish that TJ kept the content at the original 720x480 SD resolution, as there is no benefit to upscaling SD content at the “source” level. I hate when 4:3 content is pillarboxed into 16:9, adding blackness when there doesn’t need to be any.”

Just so we are clear, a 4x3 picture with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which real ghostbusters has, should absolutely have black bars at the sides of the picture, vertical black bars on the left & right when viewed on a 16:9 TV. You also say it’s been upscaled to 960x720 but then also say 1280x720. Which is it?

Feb. 16, 2021 @ 01:08
Comment from: [Member]

Not confusing at all when you read it carefully. It seems like you overlooked the keyword “frame". Also, the framegrabs I posted further illustrate.

Let me rephrase it: The image stored on the disc is 1280x720. Of that, 960x720 is the episode image. The remaining 320 of horizontal image space is taken up by blackness on the left and right. This is blackness that is PART OF THE 1280x720 image on the disc. It is not blackness added by the player or the TV to keep the 4:3 image in the proper aspect ratio.

Does that make it easier to understand?

– Paul

Feb. 16, 2021 @ 01:27
Comment from: Chris Buchner [Visitor]

Just stumbled across this in a Google search. I was amused to see he made use of my original Real Ghostbusters logo I uploaded to DeviantArt a decade ago. Actually, it’s amusing that so many of my logos end up the top search in Google and have appeared on other projects. As good a job as I did at the time, I hope my newer logos soon supplant those! They’re a teensy bit more accurate.

Oct. 3, 2022 @ 10:50

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