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Film > Ghostbusters > Home Video > Ghostbusters 1999 DVD - Video Commentary
Ghostbusters 1999 DVD
"Live" Feature-Length Video Commentary

When Ivan, Harold, and Joe were seated watching the film, they did not hear the film's audio track (not even in little earpieces -- which is what I thought). This becomes apparent in the scene where Janine tells Peter that "there's a man from the EPA here to see you." Ivan remarks, "I don't even remember what they're saying here." Obviously, if he was hearing the film WHILE he was watching it, he'd KNOW what they were saying.

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: The team working on the 1999 DVD did not implement this feature properly.  The video commentary only works if you have your DVD player set to 4:3 mode.  If you have it in 16:9 widescreen, you will be shown a message telling you that the feature is unavailable. That problem could have been avoided if the DVD team had implemented the feature twice: one silhouette subtitle track for 4:3 screens and another one for 16:9 screens. It should be noted that the Men in Black 1 Limited Edition DVD has the same issue, but Sony corrected that in 2008 when they properly ported over the video commentary for that film's first Blu-ray release (included in the Trilogy set).

Sony dropped this feature from all future disc releases, though they retained the audio portion of the commentary. For what it's worth, it's no great loss because the silhouettes hardly moved.  Only one time, when they were going up the Shandor building stairs, did Ivan actually move and point out something (the matte painting area).


Here are some of my favorite segments of the video/audio commentary. The screenshots you see below were done by me back in 1999 with my old analog DVD player. If I wanted to redo the screenshots now, I'd have to get out that old analog DVD player (which doesn't even have HDMI outputs), connect it to my computer's video capture card, and play the DVD in letterboxed 4:3 mode - and the highest-resolution I'd be able to get out of it would be 640x480 (more like 640x270 once the top and bottom black bars are removed).  Honestly, it's just not worth it.

People in silhouette from left to right: Joe Medjuck, Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman.

Ivan: Hi. I'm Ivan Reitman. I was the director and producer.
Harold: Harold Ramis, writer and actor.
Joe: Hi. Joe Medjuck, associate producer.
Ivan: And welcome to Ghostbusters, the original.

Ivan: Now, the part [of Louis Tully] was originally written for John Candy. Do you remember that? We called up John and said, "John, you gotta be in this. You know, Harold's in it." Harold and John had worked together in SCTV up in Canada.
Harold: And we'd done Stripes with Ivan and Bill.
Ivan: And all of us worked in Stripes and it was only natural that he should be in this film. And John didn't understand this part. He kept coming back and saying, "Well, maybe if I played him in German, with a German accent, then he would have Rotweillers." And I said, "You can't have dogs. We have too much other dog imagery in the movie." And he finally passed on the film. Rick Moranis, who had been sent the script by his agent, was waiting patiently in the wings, and was very happy when John passed.

Joe: How did you pick your name, "Egon"?
Harold: Egon Spengler. The "Egon" came from Egon Donsbeck, who I went to school with, who was a Hungarian refugee. And "Spengler" was from Oswald Spengler.

Joe: The building actually exists at 55 Central Park West. Then, I think we added one number so to misidentify it. And then John DeCuir decorated it a bit, and then optically added that top.


Harold: What's interesting about this kind of shot is when the movie is panned and scanned for TV, I'm always cut out.
Ivan: That's right. There is no more Harold Ramis. So be happy you bought a DVD, so you can see it in the proper format.
Harold: So, you can see me in every shot.


Ivan: This is the first shot we ever shot in the movie. Bill Murray had just arrived from France on an airplane, immediately got taken down to midtown Manhattan, put on one of these outfits, and boom, we were shooting on Madison Avenue. I had an amazing shiver when I saw the guys in their outfits. I knew, there's something special here.


Ivan: I actually do the voice, the deep voice of ...
Harold: You do?
Ivan: Yeah, that's me.
Harold: Kids find that very scary, too.
Ivan: Yeah, I did Slimer and I did the voice that comes out of her here.
Joe: The Exorcist voice.

Ivan: I think this will be a big player during the upcomming millenium celebrations.
Harold: Yeah, if the world doesn't end.
Joe: If the projectors work, if the TVs work.
Harold: If the world does end, all that money people are spending on DVDs is really wasted.

Joe: This is, this is ...
Ivan: a matte painting.
Joe: Yeah, there's one or two stairs and everything up there's a matte painting.
Ivan: This was actually shot at the Biltmore Hotel. I think everything above this line is phony.


Joe: This is "The Wild Bunch" shot.
Harold: Yeah.
Ivan: Well, I thought that the mythology of the Westerms had a part to play here in terms of, again, how the shots were layed out and the bravery of our heroes.
Harold: But no Western ever faced a villian ... as menacing ... as the Yugoslavian fashion model. What's her name?
Ivan: Oh, God.
Joe: Slavitza.
Ivan: Slavitza.
Harold: Slavitza. There she is.

Harold: But, you animal lovers should know that no Terror Dogs were actually killed or injured in the making of this movie.

Joe: Hey, Loverboy. Smile.
Ivan: This is about all we have left of the relationship between the two ...
Harold: ... the shot. But Rick gets her in the next film, I guess.
Ivan: Yeah, we made a shift in the story.
Harold: Made more sense.
This is the full text transcript of everything that Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis, and Joe Medjuck said while watching the film back in 1999. The transcription was done by MrMichaelT.

IVAN: Hi, I'm Ivan Reitman. I was the director and producer.

HAROLD: Harold Ramis. Writer and actor.

JOE: Hi, Joe Medjuck. Associate Producer.

IVAN: And welcome to Ghostbusters. The original.

HAROLD: Columbia lady. Hm.

JOE: The old Columbia lady.

IVAN: Now we--we actually shot this in New York with the real public library, unfortunately there was scaffolding up everywhere because they were cleaning the building and, uh, part of the look of the film was to use the gargoyles of the City.

HAROLD: But these people are animatronics. [Joe laughs]

IVAN: They're not real are they?

HAROLD: Nah.

JOE: This is the New York Public Library. Upstairs in it. They let us in until 10 in the morning. So we had to work really quickly. And this handsome young man is me 15 years ago crossing the screen.

IVAN: And through the magic of cinema, as she walks down the stairs we are now shooting, of course, in the Los Angeles Public Library.

JOE: And we're about to see--

HAROLD: A very expensive special effect coming up. [Joe laughs]

JOE: Any second now.

HAROLD: This will knock your socks off.

IVAN: It actually knocked my socks off when I watched it. It looked real real fun. Here we go.

JOE: Look, here it goes.

HAROLD: Books on a wire.

JOE: [laughs] That's right. Everybody thinks it's an expensive optical--

HAROLD: $250,000. [Joe laughs]

IVAN: You could see the rig right above the stacks right there. That was very impressive. All this stuff was not done optically. None of this was done optically. All of it was done practically.

HAROLD: Now this is, this an incredible shot.

JOE: Chuck Gaspar.

HAROLD: She's walking past. The wall is fake. Behind the wall are technicians who push these drawers open and they're using copper tubing, they're blowing air through drawers to blow the cards out. One at a time.

JOE: And it worked most of the time.

HAROLD: Worked very well. Picking up cards after every take... [he and Joe laugh]

IVAN: That was the most fun watching.

HAROLD: A little time consuming.

IVAN: A big group of people running in. But it's amazing. Sometimes the most simple and most practical stuff is the most effective.

HAROLD: And I wrote that moment. Thank you. Thank you very much.

JOE: Just as is? There she goes. But we used the steadicam on her.

HAROLD: Wow. That was good.

JOE: More air blowing. Lot of air blowing in this movie.

HAROLD: [laughs] That's true.

JOE: There it is.

HAROLD: Da da da da...

JOE MEDUCK: You'll notice yet another statue. Statuary as Ivan was saying, Gothic statuary all over this movie.

IVAN: Yeah, it was the iconography of the movie.

JOE: Here we are. There's no Weaver Hall but this is Columbia University.

IVAN: And even this was at Columbia, wasn't it?

HAROLD: Venkman, burn in Hell. That was--that was also in the script.

IVAN: Did you write that one, too?

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: How about the maid thing?

HAROLD: No, that—that was dressing. Set dressers.

JOE: And this was based on a real experiment, wasn't it Harold?

HAROLD: This scene we based on the Milgram Experiment which was to, uh, psychological subjects in a psychological study were instructed to give electric shocks to people trying to learn lists of words but they were really testing was the people's willingness to give electric shocks to other people. [Joe laughs] So I thought--

IVAN: Hard to absorb an electric shock I think.

HAROLD: Right. So this wasn't—this scene was about testing the audience's ability to accept their hero giving electric shocks [laughs] unfairly to his test subjects. About how far would they let Bill Murray go.

IVAN: Yeah, Bill really liked it. He liked doing it I think.

JOE: I let Bill go a long way. And this was actually a room at Columbia University, we should have... we were planning to shoot it on the set but were moving so fast in New York that we went to our cover sets that John De Cuir, I think, aged it but otherwise it's in the basement somewhere in Columbia.

IVAN: What I love about this scene is it really you know uh set Bill's character so well right off the bat. This sort of very ironic, slightly shady guy who doesn't really believe in any of the real powers and science that the other Ghostbusters develop.

HAROLD: A self-serving charlatan. [Harold and Joe laugh]

IVAN: Geez, where'd that come from?

HAROLD: I think these kids were great.

JOE: Yeah.

IVAN: Yeah. I think that the first time they worked, Jennifer Runyon, uh, the actress, uh, ended up starring in a number of films after this.

[Joe laughs] HAROLD: Oh, when he spits his gum out. [Harold laughs]

IVAN: There was a lot of conversation, I remember, about just when the spitting of the gum moment should occur. [Harold laughs] Should it be on the first? The second? The third shot? We used it as a climax moment.

HAROLD: Keep the five dollars. I will. [All laugh]

JOE: It's comedy timing. When does the gum get spit out.

HAROLD: Uh-huh.

JOE: It's Mr. Romeo, himself.

IVAN: I think Bill does very well with women.

JOE: Oh, Dan. Whoops.

IVAN: And our star, Danny Aykroyd.

HAROLD: The heart of the Ghostbusters.

JOE: That's right.

IVAN: Speaking of heart, I mean, one of the things we talked about during the writing sessions was how did the five, the various functions, you know – the philosophy, the feelings, the emotions of the three guys – and, uh, Harold, this was the brains.

HAROLD: I was the brains.

IVAN: That was the brains. And Danny was the heart. Danny was the heart. And of course, the mouth-- Bill was the Murray. [Joe laughs]

JOE: And buried the needle.

HAROLD: Dan loves speeches like this. This is good.

JOE: Danny would write these for other people and they'd come in and couldn't read it. He'd say, "What's wrong?" He'd take it and he'd read it. It sounded absolutely fine.

IVAN: And y'know, Danny insisted on this spectacular haircut of his, as well.

HAROLD: Right. Full torso vaporous apparition. [Joe laughs] FRVP. Free roaming vaporous phantasm.

IVAN: We, uh, we all went up to, um, where was it?

JOE: Martha's Vineyard.

IVAN: Martha's Vineyard! The story of the making of this movie actually, uh, has... it all happened very quickly. Danny Aykroyd wrote a 40 page treatment. That happened over years and years which I was fortunate to get sent to me and, uh, I think he originally wrote it for he and--

HAROLD: John Belushi.

IVAN: That's right. He and Belushi and unfortunately John Belushi passed away before they could make that movie. When I read it, y'know, it took place in the future with tons of...

HAROLD: Wait, wait. My entrance.

IVAN: Oh, sorry. Sorry, I don't want to interrupt. [Joe laughs] I'll come back to that.

HAROLD: It's not an – I'm discovered.

IVAN: Oh, there he is.

JOE: Oh, there he is right there.

HAROLD: We'll talk about my haircut later. [Joe and Ivan laugh]

IVAN: You invented that haircut, didn't you?

HAROLD: Nah, nah. The French hairdresser---the French Moroccan hairdresser you found. [Joe laughs at gag] Peggy Semtob!

JOE: Peggy Semtob!

IVAN: I know but I noticed you started going with that look for quite a few years.

HAROLD: I liked it. Yeah. Tall hair. It was – it was pretty big for awhile.

IVAN: And it became very popular – the sort of punk set right thereafter.

HAROLD: Yes. Punk intellectuals. I was always stopped for autographs by guys with wire rim glasses and real tall hair.

JOE: I remember some guys in New York City saying to you, "Yay, Brainiac!"

HAROLD: That's right.

IVAN: I think it was, "Yo, Brainiac!"

JOE: [laughs] "Yo, Brainiac!" Yeah. Oh yes, this is still the same day shooting. Upstairs in the New York Public Library.

IVAN: All before 10 'o clock.

JOE: All before 10 'o clock. [overlaps with Ivan]

HAROLD: People love this interview scene with her now. "Are you, Alice, currently menstruating?"

JOE: Yes. [laughs] "What's that got to do with anything?"

HAROLD: It's like a T-shirt line. "Back off, man, I'm a scientist."

JOE: It was a T-shirt line.

HAROLD: Oh.

JOE: This--

HAROLD: This movie probably had more T-shirt lines than almost anybody.

IVAN: I knew we were a hit actually when the second weekend of release when I was walking through Manhattan. There were sorta of... kiosks at every corner with guys selling illegal black market T-shirts with sayings [Harold – Yeah.] from the movie and the logo on it.

IVAN: This piece of equipment, only Harold got to learn how to use it. [Harold laughs] He had a sort of... had a secret way to use the three buttons that were on it that made the little wings rise and fall.

HAROLD: That's what acting is all about really. Funny hair and props.

IVAN: This next special effect, this one right here I thought was pretty spectacular.

JOE: Now, Ivan, this was your idea was your idea. You were driving to the set and you got to the set, you told them to do this, I remember.

HAROLD: Then a lot of this dialogue is improvised.

JOE: Vertical stacking.

HAROLD: Danny's Symmetrical bookstacking. [Joe laughs]

IVAN: Always in character. This is the first time we see the three Ghostbusters before the fourth one joins. Y'know, working together and it really sets the tone for the whole movie.

HAROLD: I love the timeless look of the wardrobe. The lighting. You know, there's something out of time about the movie.

JOE: Of course, the slime! [Harold laughs]

IVAN: The slime came in a very large bucket that a few of the grips would walk around and pour judiciously on various things. Never enough

HAROLD: It's methylcellulose. Chinese food starch.

JOE: More slime. More slime. That was the call on the set.

IVAN: It was this moment when Billy gets some on his hand and we had—I remember the first screening, the audience starts going, "Ooo" and freaking out, and that's when I knew we had a hit.

[Joe and Harold laugh at slime getting on Peter's face]

IVAN: One take. "One Take" Bill.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: You wanted more slime. Ah, this was great.

HAROLD: Love to tell the story of how we all came together.

IVAN: I'll continue that story you interrupted with your entrance [Joe laughs] but, uh, the But this, um... this first moment of seeing the Librarian and the Librarian shift. I remember our first screening. Our first test screening was only three weeks after we finished shooting. We edited the movie very quickly. It really came together very nicely and we didn't have many of our special effects but we had this one here, actually not so much this one but the one that's coming up – the transformation and when we screened it for this audience, of about 200 people at Columbia Studios, they just freaked out. Both screamed and laughed at the same time and--It was a sense of how the movie was going to work. Both truly scary and also really funny.

JOE: Now the-- I noticed the sides of the, uh, stacks John De Cuir put up there. Aged them. Even though there were real stacks, they weren't real enough for him so he was adding to them.

IVAN: John De Cuir, the production designer.

JOE: Yeah.

HAROLD: I have to point out, we—we improvised a lot of the time but it doesn't mean totally ad-lib. We worked around the script for a lot of these moments.

IVAN: And-and just play into the characters that were sort of very strongly delineated.

JOE: And when you get together, the three of you, Ivan, and work on the lines, before the cameras started rolling is when you--

IVAN: Yeah.

HAROLD: Often we would.

JOE: Sometimes you'd do it.

IVAN: Sometimes perhaps not. [all laugh] I would say, "Well, do something different, Harold." "C'mon, Bill, just something. Anything."

HAROLD: Ivan was very good at the – understanding the improvisational process and y'know, being a part of it.

JOE: You worked--You worked with Bill in Chicago, hadn't you?

HAROLD: I worked with Bill in Chicago and in New York. On the Lampoon show.

JOE: Oh, right.

HAROLD: Now that effect of her uh lunging out and turning grotesque was even worse wasn't it?

IVAN: You mean more horrible?

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: No, that's about as horrible as we could make it. Actually the u--

HAROLD: I thought you had to pull back a little bit.

IVAN: No.

JOE: Now, this was first day of principal photography. Now it was one thing that scared the little kid, it was actually the scariest thing in the movie. And uh...

HAROLD: I thought Bill was the scariest. [chuckles] In the making of the movie.

JOE: In the making of the movie. [they laugh]

IVAN: So going back to that, uh, the development of the story. When I read that very first sort of treatment, it took place in the future. There were many groups of Ghostbusters, the Marshmallow Man came out on page 20 and was 1 of 50 large scale monsters. Frankly, if I was going to make that particular script, it would have cost $300 million in 1984 and—but there was this one fabulously brilliant idea which was there was a group of men who work much like firemen who could catch ghosts and I remember sitting down at a deli with, uh, Danny and saying, "Look, this is a great idea but you should work on it some more and why don't you get Harold Ramis involved because I think, he outta be a Ghostbuster as well. He's great, he's got just the right sort of brilliance to him and let's bring Billy into it at the end." And he went with it and about a month later, we were making this picture.

JOE: That's right. You were writing it.

HAROLD: Dan's idea --

IVAN: No, we were making it. We were writing it and making it. [Harold laughs]

JOE: That's true. We had special effects on it...

IVAN: I went to Frank Price who was head of Columbia's Pictures office and, uh, I said, "Okay, we're going to do this movie. It's called Ghostbusters. This is sorta what the story is about." Because we, of course, didn't have a script at that time, and, um, he said, "Uh, what will it cost?" And I said, "$30 million." It was just a number off the top of my head because that was more money... three times as much I spent on my last movie and he, uh, he said, "Fine. As long as you have it out by June." And that was exactly 12 months from that moment. We had no script, no special effects team but we had three willing actors. [Harold laughs]

HAROLD: And, uh, and a contract. [Joe laughs] And we, uh, Aykroyd said, "Why don't you guys come up to Martha's Vineyard? I'll rent houses for you." And he had a place up there. So we got there, there were groceries in the refrigerators, cars in the driveways. We wrote for three weeks I think. Every morning, we went to Dan's bunker. Under his house.

IVAN: Y'know, Dan always had this wonderful sort of service mentality. Always wanted to make us feel very comfortable and the full fridge was the first step of everything. I remember back fondly to those three weeks as one of the most fun time I ever had in the film business.

HAROLD: It was great.

IVAN: It was really great. We would go out to dinner with our families every night and then we would sort of hide in this basement all day long sort of trying to come up with this story we had to start shooting in two months.

HAROLD: Dan. Dan. On the way up to his house, there's a military checkpoint and then his basement was painted camouflage. [laughs]

JOE: I remember because we finished in the library at 10 am then we went outside. Took a break. Went outside and shot the outside of the library and shot this same scene at the end of the day.

HAROLD: I should point out also in Dan's original script, there was no development of the Ghostbusters as parapsychologists working in the university. Staring up the company. All this stuff was Ivan and I both had the idea we wanted see the Ghostbusters got to be the Ghostbusters.

IVAN: Yeah, I always thought the movie should be a 'going into business' story. It's three really smart guys that go into business. Just a very unusual business. So I like the idea of them going to a bank, getting a place, dealing with a Realtor, fixing the place up. I thought these were all things an audience could relate to.

JOE: More creative geography, this is an actual old firehouse in Los Angeles but the exterior is an actual in use Firehouse in, uh, New York.

HAROLD: Coincidentally built the same year, 1912. Both firehouses. So that's why one reason it was such a good match up, too.

IVAN: And it's true, as soon as we did see this pole, Danny said we have to use it. It wasn't just a moment in the movie.

HAROLD: One thing about starting as in a university setting, eh, I think it helped bring the audience from a place of what's [Ivan - Reality] real to unreal. Credibility was established in the beginning.

IVAN: We used to call that the domino theory of reality. [Harold laughs] As long as you took the people step by step through a series of credible choices, they would start to believe this sort of stuff can happen.

HAROLD: Fantasy rooftops.

JOE: This is not a real--This was added optically. This gargoyle. More of the Gothic architecture we were adding to New York.

IVAN: Ah, Sigourney Weaver.

JOE: Aw. Yay.

IVAN: Now Sigourney Weaver really wanted to be in this film. She really wanted to do a comedy. Up until this point, she had played only in serious—serious roles in film. And uh, actually ca-- was a fairly large star. I think she had already done "Alien."

JOE: Yeah.

HAROLD: Mm-hmm.

IVAN REITMAN: And, um, actually agreed to audition for the part. She came into my office and not like I'm giving anything away saying she turns into a dog at some point in this film and, uh, I remember her getting up on the couch and actually auditioning as a dog and I knew at that point she had to be in the film. [Harold chuckles]

HAROLD: Uh-huh.

IVAN: And our good friend, Rick Moranis.

HAROLD: Yeah. Rick brought so much to this part.

IVAN: Now the part was originally written for John Candy. Do you remember that? We called up John and said, "John, we got you to be in this. Harold is in it."  Harold and John had worked together in SCTV up in Canada.

HAROLD: And we'd all done "Stripes" with Ivan and Bill.

IVAN: And all of us worked in "Stripes" and it was only natural, he should be in this film. And John didn't understand this part. He kept coming back and saying, "Well, maybe. If I play him in German. He'll have a German accent and have Rottweilers. I said you can't have dogs . We already have too much dog imagery in the movie. And he finally passed on the film. Rick Moranis, who had been sent the script by his agent was waiting patiently in the wings and—and couldn't wait --was very happy when John passed.

JOE: But we changed the character a lot. Rick really helped create this character.

HAROLD: Oh, he wrote some fine speeches for this character, too.

IVAN: And I think chose the wardrobe. [Joe laughs]

HAROLD: This hallway is a set. It's a great John De Cuir Art Deco set.

JOE: Oh, I love this. This is where Harold looks for his mark. [all laugh]

IVAN: Now that wasn't the – that was actually comedy thing.

JOE: Yeah, acting. That was comedy acting. I didn't -- This is an interior set with the world's biggest backdrop around it.

IVAN: This is actually one of my favorite moments in the movie because it uh it sort of combines the comedy of this sort of phony TV ad which just had this wonderful sense about it and the start of something truly scary right over here.

JOE: Now, you have to notice what she took out of her bag were Stay Puft Marshmallows.

HAROLD: What a nice detail that was.

IVAN: Thank you.

[Joe and Harold overlap]

JOE: "I'm in front of 'em.

HAROLD: I'm blocking 'em.

JOE: There again.

HAROLD: Stay Puft Marshmallows.

JOE: Here's the eggs.

HAROLD: And Stay Puft. There's the man. You will see him later.

IVAN: Again, another natural effect. Today, y'know, all this sort of stuff would be done digitally. We had to figure out how to do this in a very sort of practical way. The art of special effects was really just at the beg—Star Wars had come out and made amazing leaps. But we were still at early stage.

HAROLD: Eggs cooking themselves on the counter top.

IVAN: That counter was really hot.

JOE: Fortunately, Ivan had produced it. "The Magic Show" and directed "Merlin" on Broadway so he knew a lot of these tricks.

HAROLD: I-I ate a lot of fried eggs, so... [Joe laughs]

JOE: Here's the famous refrigerator.

IVAN: At that very first screening we talked about, this next special effect was not available and so when the first audience that saw this test screening, it went to that shot and it only said, "Scene missing" and they just freaked out. It was the best response we ever had to the screening. I always thought we had taken this crappy effect shot and leave the scene missing.

HAROLD: Dan and the ambulance.

JOE: Oh, wow. The amazing thing about this ambulance was, I don't know...

IVAN: Did Danny buy it, finally?

JOE: I don't know. No.

IVAN: No?

JOE: But we only had one of them, and I would, you know... No one making a movie would only have one of a kind that's this old and isn't liable to run. I think it finally broke down in one shot crossing a bridge in Ghostbusters II.

HAROLD: Dan is a vehicle freak and has many police vehicles, fire vehicles. He has amphibious cars. He's got everything. Lots of motorcycles.

IVAN: Annie Potts. Annie Potts. This is prior to her success as a television star. One of her first acting roles. Was a great addition to the cast.

HAROLD: Yeah, she was very funny.

IVAN: Her sort of real dry deadpan sense of humor played so well against Bill and the rest of the guys.

HAROLD: [chuckles] His attitude with her is great. [Joe chuckles]

IVAN: You keep making these surprise entrances.

HAROLD: This was supposed to be the beginning of a romantic line between the two of us, which never quite materialized. It was a little mock-ish and kinda, a little too sappy. But there are... intimations of something is gonna happen between us that at least got a couple laughs.

IVAN: But you believed it in your heart.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: How did you pick your name, Egon?

HAROLD: Egon Spengler. The "Egon" came from Egon Donsbach who I went to school with, who was a Hungarian refugee, and Spengler was from Oswald Spengler. [chuckles] Now, when Bill leaps over the rail, he almost doesn't make it. You'll hear his foot click on the railing. [all laugh] If he'd fallen, he would've been dead. Remember?

IVAN: And perhaps someone else as well. He would've taken a few people with him.

HAROLD: Here he comes. Here he comes, get ready, listen for the click.

JOE: Great entrance. Here he comes. He's gonna make it. Almost... Whoa! [Harold chuckles]

IVAN: And he really was out of breath. [all chuckle]

HAROLD: She elevated the tone of his acting I think tremendously. I think she helped, you know, get his performance up to there.

IVAN: Absolutely. She brings a great sense of reality to everything she does. We did all this live, as well. There really was something attached to her that caused this solarization effect. It's kind of a cheapo effect, but it kinda worked.

HAROLD: And once again, funny hair, funny props, I'm telling you. It's the key to great acting. Olivier understood that. [all laugh] Brando knew it. [all laugh]

IVAN: This is the start of the other romantic relationship in this film. And Bill really took to it. Sigourney always thought of herself as the "Margaret Dumont" of this story. She thought of the other Ghostbusters as the Marx Brothers and that her job was sort of to keep the realistic center of the film and the story.

HAROLD: Yeah, her credibility really helps, tremendously.

JOE: [laughs] Yes. This top is an optical. The building exists, but it doesn't have a top.

HAROLD: Let me say something about the rooftop. We were thinking about where--what would be the center of the disturbance and where the different kinds of buildings or places all over the city. And I don't know if this is how it occurred to everyone, but I remembered a rooftop in St. Louis, which was a replica of a temple. And we started talking about the rooftops of New York.

IVAN: Oh, right, right.

HAROLD: And someone produced a coffee table book called "Rooftops of New York."

IVAN: Gargoyles and rooftops.

HAROLD: And we saw all these interesting temples on tops of buildings, and strange Gothic structures and they went with that as a design concept. Very interesting I thought.

JOE: The building actually exists at 55 Central Park West. Then I think we added one number so to misidentify it, and then... John De Cuir decorated it a bit and then optically added that top.

IVAN: The prop department--I asked the prop department to come up with various real objects that are used to detect various gas leaks and things like that. And Bill went up to this sort of  prop table and chose his sort of favorite, most comedy inducing prop.

HAROLD: It's a sniffer.

IVAN: It's a sniffer. It's what it's really called.

HAROLD: We had actually had a consultant come up from, I think, Caltech or someplace. And we posed the question to him, "if ghosts really existed, what scientific methods would there be for detecting their presence?" And he talked about changes in electromagnetic fields, possible odors, kinetic disturbances of all kinds. So, there's some logic behind what we're doing here. Not that Bill understood or cared. [laughs]

IVAN: But that was the character he was playing.

HAROLD: That's right. I love when she says, "Are you sure you're using that thing right?" He says, "Well, I don't know. I think so." [all laugh]

JOE: Danny, of course, is really interested in the paranormal.

IVAN: Yeah.

JOE: He did a lot of research.

HAROLD: Well, Danny's a card-carrying, psychic aficionado.

IVAN: And I think a member of the... What's the society called?

HAROLD: American Psychical Society or something. And has a show in Canada, doesn't he?

JOE: Yeah.

HAROLD: "PSI Factor." Documentary show.

JOE: This was when Columbia was owned by Coca-Cola.

IVAN: Yeah, they made us put that thing there.

JOE: That's why Bill said something nasty about what's in the fridge. "Look at all this junk food."

IVAN: Sigourney really was a great sport during the making of the film because, for the very scenes that we're gonna see coming up, she really had to undergo an enormous amount of hardship. When she's floating around or when she's covered in soot and marshmallow and dog stuff.

JOE: And she would go off into a corner to prepare herself for a scene, and Bill would sneak up behind her and tickle her or something. Bill would like to be in mid-sentence before he stepped onto the set and...

IVAN: Or lift her up. He likes lifting women.

HAROLD: This is actually a key scene.

JOE: Yes.

HAROLD: I was real pleased when I saw it. I wasn't there when you guys shot it, but I thought you worked out something great with them. His decision to commit to solving her problem to make her like him in spite of everything.

IVAN: I think it's important because it--And again in terms of this sort of stepping stone of reality. So that we're gonna, as an audience, believe in the future of this story and care about it, you really have to buy into this relationship and his--Bill's subtle shift from being a total dolthead to a scientist who's gonna get involved.

HAROLD: And him announcing, "I'm gonna solve your little problem," that really worked for me, you know.

JOE: Who came up with the talk show host line?

IVAN: Actually, that was hers. That was Sigourney's line.

HAROLD: We had a line, "You're more like a used car salesman" in the script. She said, "You're more like a game-show host." [chuckles]

JOE: Locking himself out of his office.

IVAN: Out of his...

JOE: Or apartment, yes.

IVAN: And this is a big moment also in the film which is first time we're gonna see the Ghostbusters in their uniform and in action as Ghostbusters.

HAROLD: This really was fun. This was also back in LA. We got to slide down the pole. One thing about the movie, we only did three weeks in New York.

IVAN: Uh, four or five weeks. Yeah, four weeks at least. But, yeah, four weeks in New York. But I really--I think New Yorkers really take it as one of the great New York movies. [Harold - Yeah] And because it really captures both the spirit and the feel of the city.

JOE: "We got one." Here's where our song by The Bus Boys begins.

IVAN: I always thought that if the movie was gonna be successful, the moment that the Ghostbusters walk into this hotel, that's the first time we really see them in full regalia... that in a perfect world, the audience should applaud. And wonderfully enough, that really happened at most of the screenings.

JOE: But I remember also, Ivan, the first time you saw the three of them together walking down the street in New York in their outfits.

IVAN: Yeah, well, we'll talk about that when we get to that shot. Oh. The Sedgewick Hotel. This is actually right up here. The Biltmore Hotel, very popular shooting spot in Los Angeles. In fact, I used this moment right here in "Dave," when he exits as the supposed president of the United States.

HAROLD: What's interesting about this kind of shot is when the movie is panned and scanned for TV, I'm always cut out.

IVAN: That's right. There is no more Harold Ramis. So, be happy you bought a DVD and see it in the proper format.

HAROLD: You can see me in every shot.

IVAN: And for me, this is where the movie really kicks in and really sort of hits its quirky center and energy. I loved you guys getting in the elevator with that couple coming up right here.

HAROLD: These packs weighed about 30 pounds fully loaded. We had different versions of them. Some were rubber for when we did stunts. Some had no batteries when we weren't firing the guns. The fully loaded with batteries were about 30 pounds.

IVAN: They were a killer. I must say on your behalf, Harold, you were the one who complained the least.

HAROLD: Oh, no. I never complained.

IVAN: That's right. Guess who complained the most. [all laugh] Not gonna mention his name. I can't remember that gentleman's name, but he was a fine old--Murray Bloome. Great old character actor.

JOE: I think it was Murray Bloome.

*Transcriber's note: It was Murray Rubin.

HAROLD: Yeah. Each of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear reactor on his back.

IVAN: That's a great Ramis line.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: I once read a review in some intellectual British magazine that explained this was the key moment 'cause it's really about nuclear energy.

HAROLD: Someone sent me, actually, from a graduate school in environmental science... They took the premise of Ghostbusters, our relationship to the EPA, and did a whole long dissertation on it. About what is says about the EPA and its role in society, based on Ghostbusters.

IVAN: [chuckles] I just love the wanton destruction of this sequence. Just like, sort of, trigger-happy cops, they start shooting at everything that moves. [laughs]

JOE: Sorry. Sorry. They're so apologetic too.

HAROLD: Setting up Bill's line, "Let's split up." "Yeah we can do more damage, that way."

[all laugh]

JOE: There was a lot of work done on the sound effects of these backpacks, the guns, turning it on. I remember Ivan was always wanting more bass--more bass and more bottom to it.

HAROLD: Of course, the studio set hallways.

IVAN: All this equipment, like, you know this, his eyepiece up over there was sort of an amalgamation of real items and fanciful ones. And here's our more--most famous ghost, Slimer. Got his own TV show.

HAROLD: That was married and divorced twice in Hollywood. [all laugh]

IVAN: Danny Aykroyd always used to refer to Slimer as the ghost of John Belushi.

HAROLD: The gluttony of the ghost was a tribute to John.

IVAN: He's just a party guy looking to have a good time.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: There's little bits of slime after he goes through, I thought it was a great effect.

IVAN: I wish that we had the technology that we have now to do some of these scenes 'cause it wasn't really possible to quite get the kind of realistic look that we can get on a ghost right now. But the point was comedy, and this certainly was a big favorite moment.

HAROLD: It looks good enough. And I think the audience was just delighted. I think a slight cartoon quality of the ghost helped.

IVAN: I think the important thing here is that Bill is actually frightened. Or at least playing frightened in the film. It's a real shift from what he plays in the movie up to this point. And that sort of emotional shift also adds, even though it's done for comedy, kind of a secondary emotional quality that then, sort of, again, builds in our investment in the movie.

HAROLD: Big line here. "He slimed me." We take credit for turning slime into a verb. [all laugh]

JOE: When Ivan and I saw this in Germany, dubbed in German, and he says something like "lch bin geslimed" or something. Sounded even better. Got a huge laugh.

IVAN: Amazingly, they got it. [all laugh]

HAROLD: And this is pure Marx Brothers.

JOE: Yes.

IVAN: Yeah. Right down to the placement of the heads as they come through the door.

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: One of my least favorite special effects.

HAROLD: [chuckles] Him going around the chandelier?

IVAN: Yeah. That was a really lousy effect. This was actually done in the ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel which had the spectacular ceiling, uh, to which we added, of course, this chandelier that we ruined. And we ended up shooting I guess in the hotel for about three or four days on this sequence. And I remember the guests going by just outside in the hallway wondering what the hell we were doing.

JOE: I think that room isn't there anymore. They subdivided it or something. It's a shame. It should be a historic landmark.

HAROLD: This was the famous "don't cross the streams" dialogue which a lot people have interpreted in all kinds of ways that are too scatological to go into. [all laugh]

JOE: And what was it you had in mind?

HAROLD: I... Just we were looking for some out. [all laugh]

HAROLD: For setting up something later for the movie.

IVAN: That's right, you're trying to make sense out of what's coming.

HAROLD: People thought it had something to do with urinals. I won't go into it. [all laugh]

JOE: I haven't heard--This was fun, blowing up all the cakes.

IVAN: Again, it's a mixture of optical effects and...

JOE: And acting.

IVAN: Acting, of course. And physical stuff. So, we have real explosions going off.

HAROLD: The Neutrona Wands which is the thrower actually had a flashbulb at the end. So, when we triggered them, the special effects guys had something to cue the start of the stream from.

IVAN: It helped the actors too. It sort of told you...

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: Isn't that great? We're really shooting now.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: This is the closest you've been to a Western, Harold, I think.

HAROLD: Yup. The hotel manager's a good actor too. I forgot his name. [Joe - Michael] Michael something. I've seen him in numerous other things. Our first trapping experience was very important for setting the technology for the audience. Which just seemed to fascinate a segment of the public. I got so many requests. Kids would send me letters, "Could you please send me a proton thing?"

JOE: [chuckles] They finally manufactured the...

IVAN: We, of course, then, sort of...

JOE: But Danny had designed a lot of these himself before the movie...

IVAN: Actually, in that three week period that we were up in... I keep forgetting.

JOE: Martha's Vineyard.

IVAN: Martha's Vineyard. They... He actually showed us three very key drawings, one of which was the no ghost symbol.

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: Um... Which, of course, is now being imitated on everything.

HAROLD: The drawings were done by a guy named John Deveikis.

JOE: The Viking.

HAROLD: The Viking. A friend of--A friend of his from Canada. An old biker friend. Yeah.

JOE: And then, I think, Mike Gross redesigned a little bit of shape of the ghost. But the basic idea was always--

HAROLD: We had to stay away from Casper. I remember it was a big problem.

IVAN: By the way, that trapping was always a very big applause point. You notice I remember all the applause points. For me as a director that's very, very important.

JOE: Because even though it's a comedy, they want these guys to triumph. I remember that scene where Bill comes up and says,"We came. We saw. We kicked its ass." The three of you, the three actors sat there and you kept saying, Ivan would say, "Do it again." You wouldn't tell him what you were gonna say. You'd stand together, think about it, go in. I think we shot it about ten times. About eight of them are really funny.

IVAN: We were looking for different--

HAROLD: We're making up the prices of what we're doing. [all laugh] Looking for different announcements.

IVAN: Yeah, different announcements. What's the best...

JOE: What's the best entrance?

IVAN: What's the best finisher?

HAROLD: And one great thing about all the movies we worked on together with Bill is the amount of invention we were allowed. And how much time we would actually spend on the set. Not worrying about marks or stuff like that, but just worrying about making every moment play. That's why I think these movies deliver for the audience.

JOE: This guy in the background is not an extra. I remember he wandered onto the set. [all laugh]

IVAN: And this montage, I remember getting permissions. I still have a few of these magazine and newspaper covers.

HAROLD: I was very impressed when I saw the movie put together.

IVAN: [laughs] You liked that?

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: And is this the first time we hear the Ghostbusters song? I think, yeah. The Ray Parker Jr... I knew we needed a great, kick-ass song.

JOE: Danny Aykroyd is actually driving the car in most of these shots. We shot it all in one day after we'd been up late the night before. We went off with just the car and a... The guys chasing here is not an actor. He was really chasing. That's me again.

IVAN: [chuckles] Yeah. the guy chasing was really someone from...

JOE: Rockefeller Center.

IVAN: 'Cause it was illegal to shoot there.

HAROLD: When we shot all this stuff in all these different locations around the city, that's when people in New York started seeing this ambulance driving around--

IVAN: This is the first shot we ever shot in the movie. Bill Murray had just arrived from France on an airplane, immediately got taken down to midtown Manhattan, put on one of these outfits and boom, we were shooting on Madison Avenue. I had an amazing shiver when I saw the guys in their outfits. I knew there's something special here.

HAROLD: But the legend over those weeks started to grow 'cause people would see this ambulance tearing around the city. They'd see us in uniform. "What the hell is that?" "Ghostbusters." And that's all we'd say.

IVAN: And then we used that as part of the sort of pre-publicity for the movie. We start sticking up the no ghost sign without any other words with nothing and a date. And it started building the word for the movie.

HAROLD: Now, this is the only sex thing in the movie.

JOE: The dream sequence.

IVAN: We cut most of this out, actually.

HAROLD: Yeah. There was a long sequence set at an old fort.

JOE: Oh... It's funny. I remember shooting it, but it's not in...

HAROLD: The sequence isn't in, just this dream.

JOE: Succubus, I think, is this part.

IVAN: And just this one little moment here.

HAROLD: I couldn't explain to my kids. [chuckles]

JOE: It wasn't originally meant to be a dream sequence. And here comes Ernie.

IVAN: Our fourth Ghostbuster, Ernie Hudson.

JOE: Yay.

HAROLD: Winston Zeddemore.

JOE: Get his credentials here.

HAROLD: She's giving him the test.

JOE: It's, "Do you believe it?"

HAROLD: In the script, he used to say what his credentials were. He was way over qualified for this job.

JOE: Had been a Marine. He's a PhD. Now they just want someone.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: That's nice.

IVAN: We, in the movie, of course, needed someone to explain things for the audience because obviously the three experienced Ghostbusters were supposed to know...

JOE: How everything works.

IVAN: ...what was going on, and, just from a storytelling standpoint, we needed someone to say, "Well, what does this mean?"

JOE: It's interesting. One of the things that places this movie in its time is people smoke all the time.

HAROLD: Yes.

JOE: By the time we did Ghostbusters II, the Ghostbusters never smoke on camera.

HAROLD: No, we did ecstasy. [all laugh]

JOE: Here he is. Timothy Carhart.

HAROLD: I think the other thing about Ernie is that at this point, the Ghostbusters have kinda degenerated into ghost-janitors. Which is sorta where Dan's original script kicked in.

IVAN: That's right.

HAROLD: That's where it started. We were already bored. The ghosts were very mundane to us. The tone of it.

IVAN: In fact, the second Ghostbusters really picks up on that tone as well which is "you've done too good a job."

JOE: I've always presumed that this is who Sigourney married when she has a child in the second one.

IVAN: Yes, yes, the violinist.

JOE: The violinist. This is actually the Lincoln Center, of course.

IVAN: Our sound man...

JOE: Went nuts.

IVAN: Just went nuts when he saw that we were gonna shoot here and he kept saying, "Well, can we turn off the fountains?" And they wouldn't let us turn off the fountains at Lincoln Center.

HAROLD: Sound men are always going nuts in New York, though.

IVAN REITMAN & JOE MEDJUCK: Yeah.

IVAN: I think this is one of the few scenes we had to loop.

JOE: This is where he's giving her the history of the building.

HAROLD: History of Zuul I think.

JOE: Of Zuul.

HAROLD: She looks so pretty.

JOE: Yeah.

IVAN: I also think Bill looks very handsome here.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: It's a very romantic scene.

HAROLD: He does that wonderful turn at the end. Was that his idea or...

IVAN: Can't remember.

HAROLD: Any pirouettes? There's a skater out there doing it. He mimics the skaters.

IVAN: I can't remember. I'm sure it was my idea.

JOE: [laughs] Sure, Ivan.

IVAN: You said it was wonderful, right? [Joe laughs] All right.

HAROLD: It's a very lyrical moment.

JOE: It is.

IVAN: It's part of my oeuvre.

HAROLD: Your oeuvre.

JOE: Moving to music. I like the balloons. Very nicely set up there. This is one of those romantic New York movies at that point. Beautiful day at Lincoln Center.

HAROLD: He sees the guy turning and he turns.

JOE: He turns. There he goes. Whoops.

IVAN: This is the first time we see what they do with the ghosts. This is really an explanatory scene in terms of what's really going on. Danny just loved this.

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: And actually worked out the technology of all this. And consulted on the props and on the set. And...

JOE: Great sounds too. Almost a flushing sound.

HAROLD: Light turns green, the trap is clean. [Joe laughs]

IVAN: I don't even remember what they're saying here.

JOE: I think he's being visited by the EPA.

IVAN: Oh, right.

HAROLD: Oh, no, she's complaining about us. And he says, "I think there are many openings in the food service industry." [all laugh]

JOE: You've seen this movie. You showed this to your kids recently.

HAROLD: I remember dialogue. Anything I've written I remember very well.

JOE: Fifteen years--

HAROLD: Ah, Walter Peck.

JOE: Walter Peck.

HAROLD: William Atherton.

IVAN: Yes.

HAROLD: Very good guy. Very odious in this movie, though, isn't he?

IVAN: And it's set up immediately with the--that handshake. The--I ran into Atherton about a year after this film had come out. I was expecting him to, sort of, greet me with open arms because of the success of the film and he became quite famous from the movie. And he was genuinely pissed. He came up to me and he said, "You know, I can't walk into a bar without people wanting to pick a fight with me." [Joe laughs]

IVAN: "Kids scream at me and make fun of me wherever I go."

HAROLD: Well, the worst is... I'll tell it now. Later in the movie, Danny calls him "dickless."

JOE: Yes.

HAROLD: Atherton told me that he was walking down the street in New York and a busload of teenagers yelled at him. And he turned and smiled and waved, and they all went, "Yo, dickless!"

IVAN: So, let me just go on record. I'm sorry, William.

HAROLD: He's a good actor.

JOE: Fine actor.

IVAN: You're an extraordinary actor, and you deserve better.

HAROLD: What a good nemesis he was for Bill, though.

JOE: Now, I didn't have children when we made this movie, so when you guys wrote the line, "What's the magic word?" I had no idea what you were talking about. I kept saying, "What is this line here?"

HAROLD: The magic word is "please." It always is.

JOE: It's very intense. It's great. I think in comedies as in dramas, the secret is strong villains.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: You don't want a villain--Bill could walk over so many people if they weren't tough.

HAROLD: But he's not overplayed, you know. He's very credible. One thing that always disturbed me a bit, I have to say, about "Animal House"... [chuckles]

IVAN: You can say it.

HAROLD: I thought John Landis overplayed the villains a little bit. I can say this 'cause Ivan produced it and I co-wrote it.

JOE: I always thought of this as a Howard Hawks moment. People are lighting cigarettes for each other.

HAROLD: Not me, you notice.

JOE: I know.

IVAN: And this is an extraordinarily important speech, and I can't remember the genesis of the Twinkie speech. Do you, Harold?

HAROLD: No. No, no.

IVAN: But I know it came at Martha's Vineyard. And we were trying to think of a very practical way of demonstrating to the world...

HAROLD: Just how dangerous things were getting.

IVAN: Yeah. And, sort of, deal with it very quickly.

HAROLD: Yeah. We also had this notion that Spengler snacks constantly.

JOE: I noticed that. He gets offered a chocolate bar at the beginning and...

IVAN: One more cheesy special effect.

JOE: Special effect.

HAROLD: Not a great one.

IVAN: Yeah, well.

HAROLD: That's an actual painting, isn't it?

IVAN: Yeah.

JOE: Here's the set. The famous set.

IVAN: Now, just a word about John De Cuir, the production designer. When he made this film, I guess he was in his what--70s you think? We couldn't really tell how old he was. The rumors were anywhere from 70 to the late 80s. Um... He was the designer of "Hello, Dolly," that extraordinary location where he changed the back lot of 20th Century Fox. He did "Cleopatra." I think he was nominated or he won eight Academy Awards. And he's just a real--one of the great geniuses. And he knew exactly what a lens can do, how wide a set can be. And that set was built on the largest set at Columbia, which I think was the largest set in Hollywood at that time.

HAROLD: Very tall stage. It's a 360-degree cyclorama of the city, the backdrop.

IVAN: Which was painted in the old manner and then had to be lit by László Kovács. And we used every generator that was available for rent in the city of Los Angeles when we had to light the damn thing up.

HAROLD: Fire marshals on the set round the clock.

JOE: And the set filled the stage. There was virtually no room on either side of it.

HAROLD: It was very high off the ground too. It was almost dizzying when you were up there, about three stories off the ground.

IVAN: So that I could get really low angle shots to create that perspective of being at the top of a building.

JOE: And I remember we came out of New York ahead of schedule. You guys had been shooting like crazy. And probably doing 15, 16 set-ups, at least, a day. And we got onto the set. We did one set up.

IVAN: That was the first day of shooting in Los Angeles. It was really daunting.

HAROLD: I remember the word on John De Cuir. People would say, "He built Alexandria three times." And I thought that didn't bode real well for the budget. [all laugh]

IVAN: But amazingly enough, the budget, as I said earlier, was $30 million and I think we finally made the film for about $31 million. It went slightly over budget, so...

HAROLD: Now I actually think this next thing that happens to Sigourney is probably one of the scariest things in the picture, at least for kids.

JOE: It's probably because she's vulnerable, she's taking clothes off. I mean it's...

HAROLD: Not enough in my book, but... [all laugh] But I had to explain to my kids, because they'd been on movie sets. I had to explain that these arms they're, you know...

IVAN: Right.

HAROLD: These are special effects guys wearing gloves.

IVAN: Those are real grips. Real grips in the... Who are actually in a trap door underneath this chair with their hands just below.

JOE: It's a wonderful ominous mood, too. You know something's gonna happen. The camera's running around there. You think it's gonna come from there.

HAROLD: Just this cheap thing of a light behind a door.

IVAN: I know. I said, okay. Well, I'd seen "Close Encounters" and I said, "if Spielberg can do those lights, I can do those lights and we'll do it in a kind of different way."

HAROLD: The door bending, of course.

IVAN: Yes, that was a rubber door.

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: We're giving away all the big ones. It's amazing how effective--

HAROLD: Ooh. The hands, yeah. That would scare a kid.

IVAN: Yeah, sure.

JOE: But I remember, we didn't think this movie was really for young kids.

HAROLD: Yeah. I was actually advising people to not let their kids under eight see it.

JOE: Then again, kids were really frightened by the "Wizard of Oz," too. The flying monkeys and things.

IVAN: Sigourney loved doing that scene.

HAROLD: Yeah?

IVAN: She loved it.

HAROLD: The good news was that teachers were writing to me, saying that kids were playing Ghostbusters at recess and before and after school. They loved it. The teachers liked it because it wasn't a competitive game. They loved it. The teachers liked it because it wasn't a competitive game. The kids all got together and fought ghosts instead of fighting each other, which was good.

IVAN: And they didn't use guns.

HAROLD: He improvised most of this party dialogue, which I think is brilliant.

JOE: And it's one cameraman. Watch, this is amazing. I think you did coverage Ivan, but never used it, just in case. You basically did it in one move.

IVAN: Yeah.

HAROLD: He's telling him the price of the smoked salmon.

JOE: [laughs] Yeah, that's right. He is an accountant.

HAROLD: And he gets it deducted 'cause he invited clients instead of friends. [all laugh] Casey Kasem's wife.

IVAN: That's right. Making a fine entrance.

HAROLD: Jean Kasem is that her name?

JOE: Jeanie.

IVAN: Yeah, Jeanie.

JOE: Goodness, look at them dancing. [chuckles]

IVAN: All the same shot.

JOE: All the same shot, amazing.

HAROLD: Ted and Annette. [all laugh] They have a small dry cleaning business.

IVAN: And he just keeps pumping.

HAROLD: Yeah. I have to take some credit, I helped Rick on some of this stuff.

JOE: This is funny.

HAROLD: This is a big moment.

JOE: This is great cause it's... [all laugh] It's always good to diffuse the--

HAROLD: This is an odd sequence of effects. This next one, he's optical, clearly.

IVAN: And very badly done.

HAROLD: Not that great.

IVAN: Very badly, didn't seem to matter.

HAROLD: That's real.

IVAN: The puppet work was wonderful.

HAROLD: That's odd when I say to my kids, "That's real." My little one--my four-year-old, says, "It's real?"

JOE: Can I get one of those?

HAROLD: "It's a real puppet," I said to her.

JOE: I love this woman.

IVAN: And... And then taking this sequence out into the street was great fun.

JOE: This was shot before Harold or Danny were around. Besides, Bill was still in France.

IVAN: Was this in October?

JOE: This was when we went a week early.

IVAN: That's right.

JOE: We shot for five days, most of this.

IVAN: Thank you for reminding me. Yeah, I remember because of the amazing schedule we were under, which was that we started writing in May or June of '83. And the movie was gonna be out in June of '84.

JOE: Another statue that was added by us, this is the real...

IVAN: And that... So I decided I would do, just arbitrarily, three days of shooting without the main cast in October, when actually we started shooting the principle photography in November.

JOE: This is the real Tavern on the Green.

IVAN: Yes. Amazingly they let us shoot there. This is kind of scary for kids, I think.

JOE: But again, people's reactions.

IVAN: And a New York moment.

JOE: Yeah, everybody just goes back to what they're doing, so.

IVAN: And this is, I think, the street that we created... on the back lot at Columbia.

HAROLD: Right.

IVAN: At the Columbia studios.

JOE: The old Columbia ranch.

HAROLD: Was it on the ranch?

JOE: Yeah.

HAROLD: It would be the Warner Ranch?

JOE: It's now the Warner Ranch. We did it so we could do the earthquake there.

HAROLD: Right. The street opening up.

HAROLD: This is a great scene.

IVAN: Yeah. The-- In fact... I did this show "Merlin" on Broadway with Doug Henning and he had a flying... He had a flying trick in the show. And that's where I learned how we could do this sort of 360-degree turn, which is a very tough thing to pull off live. So this next sequence is all live, there are no special--no optical effects in it at all. It was all done... And I think it's what allows the actors to both improvise... and respond to the reality of that situation in a way that you can't when you're, sort of, pretending with optical effects.

JOE: He is the Keymaster. There was a Keymaster and a Gatekeeper.

HAROLD RAMIS:: I am the Gatekeeper.

JOE: I'm the Gateman. There's something sexual about that too, isn't there?

IVAN: Well.

JOE: Yes. Wow, great shot.

HAROLD: Everything in life is either sexual or political, so... Take your pick.

JOE: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

HAROLD: That's right. [Joe chuckles]

IVAN: This is one of my favorite scenes in the movie, I think... I actually do the voice, the deep voice of the--

HAROLD: You do?

IVAN: Yeah, that's me.

HAROLD: Kids find that very scary too.

IVAN: Yeah, I did Slimer and I did the voice that comes out of her here.

JOE: "The Exorcist" voice.

HAROLD: Some of this dialogue, "Do you want this body," "ls a trick question?" and stuff like that. And she says, "I want you inside me," and he says, "I think there are enough people in there already."

IVAN: Yeah. That's a great sequence. And that was written. A lot of people think that that was improvised.

HAROLD: No, Bill has good sense to do a line as written when it's really strong. [all laugh] Everything else is up for grabs.

JOE: There's another one about "I never in get involved with clients... Maybe I'll make an exception."

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: Everything's up for grabs. If it's working, no. He knows when it's working.

HAROLD: Yeah. Most actors seem to have that instinct.

IVAN: Yeah.

JOE: Sometimes, not always.

IVAN: There are some exceptions.

HAROLD: But nobody improvises like Bill Murray, I have to say. Give the guy credit.

JOE: Sigourney's having a great time here. And she's really good.

IVAN: Now she's got a full body cast on to take the weight--her weight... as she starts to rise. And it's on a pivot. It's got a built-in steel band around it that pivots around an arm that...

HAROLD: Hidden in the drapery?

IVAN: Hidden in the drapery that you can't see because of the camera angle. I always kept the level of the camera at the same level as the horizontal pole, so that you can't see it on film.

HAROLD: This is the scene she auditioned with, right? The panting scene?

IVAN: She did this and then she actually became, I mean... It's a little different than this.

JOE: Now we had to re-shoot this scene. Because we're sitting in dailies saying how good it was and Shelley, I think, said, "Look over in the corner," and you could see a shadow of the arm.

IVAN: No, it wasn't the arm. No, you saw a guy. There was a guy in the shot. Yeah, I think he was sitting way over there, in the far corner.

JOE: No one was looking at him, except the editors.

IVAN: Everybody was looking at the sequence.

JOE: We had to go back. Nowadays you go optically to take it out.

IVAN: We didn't have video replay then either. Most of this film was done...

HAROLD: That's true.

IVAN: We didn't have video replay, so everything was being done live. And this is it, I mean, you would do this optically.

JOE: Nowadays.

HAROLD: Now you'd float her easily.

IVAN: Yeah, but she's there and she's turning and he had all this to play with. And he could touch her.

JOE: And if there was something showing, you just erase it later. We couldn't do that in those days.

HAROLD: That's true.

JOE: This is Sixth Avenue, isn't it?

HAROLD: Yeah, it was between the two Ghostbusters that the digital revolution happened. Which Richard Edlund, who did the effects for this picture, he said the whole industry in special effects was expecting the change from optical to digital to be a slow dissolve he said. Instead it was a hard cut.

IVAN: That's right. Vhoom.

JOE: This is in the middle of the night, near Central Park, I remember.

IVAN: This is a stand-up comedian who was so nervous about working on this movie. He could barely get his lines out in the initial shooting.

HAROLD: He does a great Rodney Dangerfield.

IVAN: That's right. He's done great since then. [chuckles at asshole line]

JOE: I love her line, "Pick up or delivery?"

HAROLD: "Dropping off or picking up?"

IVAN:With that great voice.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: You were the best dressed Ghostbuster.

HAROLD: Well, I still have suit.

IVAN: He still wears it.

HAROLD: Wish I could get into it. [all laugh]

IVAN: And an interesting story point that starts happening here is you get the sense of how the city is involved officially or unofficially with the Ghostbusters, where they look to them for help and... Another great prop.

HAROLD: Of course it's a colander. [all laugh]

IVAN: It's a colander with a lot of fancy wires on top. We figured the sillier, the better.

JOE: We figured the Ghostbusters had to manufacture their own equipment, so...

IVAN: The idea that they were hobbyists who made things from their own materials...

IVAN: It's another bit of sleight of hand we did here while we shot live instead of optically where we used that same machinery that we saw on Sigourney and as the camera moves across, Rick ducked out and we put the head of a—head of one of those rubber dummies of the Terror Dog in, so it would appear like... as if that was what's inside of him.

JOE: You worked with Rick in Toronto in SCTV, didn't you, Harold?

HAROLD: Uh, no, we didn't overlap there. He came to SCTV after. But I directed Rick in "Club Paradise," of course.

JOE: [Joe chuckles] Oh, God. How romantic.

HAROLD: This is the failed romance.

JOE: All this furniture would be very valuable now. It's all come back into fashion.

HAROLD: The plot's starting to heat up. We've got the Gatekeeper. She's the Gatekeeper. And we've got the Keymaster.

JOE: Did you notice? This water's boiling.

IVAN: That's right. [all laugh] A great deadpan take from Harold.

HAROLD: Well, just for you acting buffs out there. I'd made a decision not to smile in this entire movie. That's about as close to a smile as I get. For you Spengler fans, he was described in the script as a New Age Mr. Spock. I tried to play him that way.

JOE: This was the shot that we--

IVAN: I think our one and only helicopter shot that we were able to use.

JOE: This is where the car died at the end. I always loved this scene. It's very quiet. There are no jokes.

IVAN: Well, it's again...

JOE: It's very serious.

IVAN: Now that we're, sort of, coming close to the millennium, interesting conversation.

HAROLD: Yeah, that was a key piece of dialogue.

IVAN: Really, right from the heart and head of Danny Aykroyd.

HAROLD: I think connecting it to the Bible was an idea we'd talked about.

IVAN: And later on in the mayor scene, you can see how... People keep quoting that. That material really did hit a nerve.

JOE: Disaster of biblical implications.

HAROLD: Mmm-hmm. Biblical proportions.

IVAN: Proportions.

JOE: Biblical proportions.

IVAN: It's the cats and dogs--

HAROLD: Dogs and cats living together.

IVAN: Which is I think the line that seems to hold. [all laugh] A nice scene for Ernie, who unfortunately didn't get much of an opportunity, what with the other three guys.

HAROLD: Ernie and I were reunited in the movie Airheads.

IVAN: Oh, really? Didn't know that. I'm sorry, I missed that one.

JOE: Me too. Oh, that's...

HAROLD: Duncan Fraser... Hey, what's his name? Hey, what's his name?

JOE: Adam Sandier?

HAROLD: Adam Sandier. Come on, Steve Buscemi, me.

JOE: Hey, why not Ernie?

HAROLD: Ernie?

JOE: Beautiful shot.

HAROLD: I had a cameo. Ernie was featured. That is a great shot of the Brooklyn Bridge. I think Godzilla ripped you off on that one.

*Transcriber's note: Manhattan Bridge.

IVAN: They all did. Over the years. [Joe laughs]

HAROLD: I always like the low angle on this too. This was good.

IVAN: And this is where it sort of you're--This is my comment on bureaucracy, you see.

JOE: My memories of this guy was that he had been a cop.

IVAN: Yes, I believe so. He is one of the famous New York cops.

HAROLD: That was one of those great Aykroyd lists.

JOE: Yes. [Ivan chuckles] Catalog. The Danny Aykroyd catalogs of... Look how Rick's sniffing behind you. It's Igor.

IVAN: He loved doing it.

HAROLD: I always liked the guy who played the Con Ed guy.

IVAN: Yeah. He's actually a fine comedian.

JOE: [laughs] Look at Rick over there while you're acting your lines.

IVAN: He's in his own movie. [all laugh]

HAROLD: I would've been doing the same if I'd been upstaged. [all laugh]

IVAN: He had no lines, he had to work. How about the cop fighting for the light. [all laugh]

HAROLD: This is a good moment. I always thought this was very strong.

IVAN: It's strong, because this is a--Because Bill plays it with not a trace of irony and it's one of the few times in the movie he does that, a few times in his career that he does it and plays it absolutely straight. And I think it takes on a lot of, sort of, real weight.

HAROLD: Pencil neck, he calls him.

JOE: Yeah. Uh-oh.

IVAN: Boom. [all laugh]

JOE: Look at him, he tries to sneak out.

IVAN: And all this inter-cutting is kinda cute. Again, we did most of this practically. We're just using lights and a lot guys shaking individual bricks from behind. And dust and wind.

HAROLD: The great thing about practical special effects is these guys have done everything. You tell them you want a fire a cinder block across the room--

JOE: Oh, yeah, that one. This is enough to go obviously.

IVAN: And, all this we were just...

JOE: Throwing stuff from the cranes.

IVAN: Throwing stuff from a crane down.

HAROLD: Coming in there.

JOE: I remember this stuff coming down. Someone ran out from the wardrobe department and said, "Egon's suit, it's the only one we have. Don't get it wet."

IVAN: [chuckling] That's right.

JOE: What's in this liquid? The car and Egon's suit were one of a kind.

HAROLD: And of course my hair.

JOE: That was one of a kind.

HAROLD: I got married after the second Ghostbusters and my hair was still tall and big and Bill was always giving me trouble about my hair in this movie. [laughs] So as I'm walking down the aisle to meet my new bride, uh, Bill says, loud enough for all the wedding guests to hear, "Your hair is perfect." [all laugh]

IVAN: And it was wonderful to see you actually get physical at that moment. The man, the brain man, you know, suddenly having to sort of take and fight.

JOE: I love this shot.

HAROLD: This is a great shot.

JOE: This was taken from next door to 55. I remember we went up, Ivan, to the apartment building next door to 55 Central Park West and got as high as we could to photograph the city here. This might've been from your hotel room.

*Transcriber's note: It was the top of the RCA Building.

IVAN: It could have been.

JOE: One of them we went to your hotel room and photographed. Great shot.

IVAN: Now, uh, we actually did this next sequence live. Not with the ghosts over here. This is all part of that very early shooting that we did back in October, as I remember. And... But the sequence of Sigourney at the window and it all exploding out.

HAROLD: Ghost cab driver.

IVAN: Also, from the first week of shooting on Madison Avenue.

JOE: Stunt. This was Broadway, I think.

IVAN: Ghostbusters was the first movie I shot in New York. And, you know, people are telling me how rough it is to shoot there. But I actually fell in love with the experience, because... You know, the whole it's a cliché, but the whole place is like an extraordinary set and the people are... The extras give you so much more than you'd get anywhere else.

JOE: This is the one you shot.

IVAN: This is an actual set, that we sort of cut in. And Sigourney actually stood there, through this following explosion.

JOE: She's there.

IVAN: She's there and I've got a big tight lens, at about 300 or 400mm on her for this close-up... in slow motion, because I had the sense that if we could capture... in slow motion, because I had the sense that if we could capture... her like that, it would be very powerful.

HAROLD: This is a jail in Lower Manhattan.

JOE: This is one of Danny's friends.

IVAN: Yeah, this gentlemen, right over here. [all laugh]

HAROLD: This is Larry Bilzerian, right here, ladies and gentlemen, smoking the cigarette in the motorcycle jacket.

IVAN: I'm not sure about all the other guys.

JOE: Yes, this was a real jail, deserted I believe. And Danny--

IVAN: Was this Rikers?

HAROLD: No, it was in the middle of... like around--

IVAN: Yeah, we were in Manhattan somewhere.

HAROLD: ...14th Street or something?

JOE: And Danny claimed it was haunted and our film got scratched. We had to cut around a...

HAROLD: The building explanation is coming up.

JOE: Yes. Your girlfriend--

IVAN: Do you remember the genesis of that... I know there were some famous stories from the turn of the century about weirdness in New York. [chuckles] And I wish... We should ask   Danny Aykroyd again.

HAROLD: Pretty much me and Dan making it up. [all laugh] Dan and I had a lot of fun working on this--the pseudo-science of this thing.

IVAN: These are actually blueprints to my new home. [all laugh]

JOE: You're almost smiling here, Harold.

HAROLD: Well, with cynical delight because we're talking about the evil rituals they performed.

IVAN: Right. I think this will be a big player during the upcoming millennium celebrations.

HAROLD: Yeah, if the world doesn't end.

JOE: If the projectors work. If the TVs work.

HAROLD: If the world does end all that money people are spending on DVDs is really wasted. [all laugh] Uh, just a side note, Larry Bilzerian, the guy in the black leather jacket has a great clothing store on Martha's Vineyard called Take It Easy, Baby.

JOE: This is when Bill's singing 'you better watch out.'

HAROLD: And the policeman, Reggie VelGleeson? VelJohnson.

JOE: VelJohnson.

IVAN: Yeah, this was his first movie.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: Then he went on to do movies and a television series. Comes in and says, "Okay, Ghostbusters, the mayor wants--" Here he is. Reggie.

HAROLD: Nice guy, too. Ivan, you fired an extra on this day. Do you remember that?

IVAN: Oh, yeah. It was some guy sort of mouthing off.

HAROLD: He mouths off.

IVAN: I said, "You, out. Don't ever come back."

HAROLD: He thought you were kidding and you said, "No, I'm serious, get out." [all laugh]

IVAN: Yeah, well, it was a police station, things can get out of control.

HAROLD: All right, now I should say here--All right, now I should say here, that when the--

IVAN: Pretty neat shot, if I do say so myself.

HAROLD: I'll save the explanation of what happened when we shot the big scene.

IVAN: Well, okay.

JOE: I remember. It's a beautiful shot there. Rick's actually a bit of a clothes horse. He likes good clothing, but he says he never wants to keep any of his costumes.

IVAN: And Sigourney doing what comes naturally.

HAROLD: This is so funny.

JOE: The Gatekeeper and the Keymaster.

IVAN: And I remember doing this dolly in and zooming out thing as they walk forward. It wasn't quite the cliché it has become since then. Um, sort of to create the kind of weird effect of...

HAROLD: Scorsese ripped you off.

IVAN: Yeah. Goddammit.

JOE: This is actually the...

HAROLD: Actually City Hall.

JOE: Yes, which no one knows where it is in New York. Everyone thinks the courthouse is City Hall, but this is the City Hall.

IVAN: We were given amazing access actually by the filming group in New York.

HAROLD: I think part of it too is that Bill and Dan are like folk heroes in New York, just because of their "Saturday Night" years and... They're really beloved there.

JOE: This is I believe, Elizabeth Holtzman's office, if my memory...

*Transcriber's note: It was City Council President Carol Bellamy's office.

IVAN: Not the actual mayor's office.

JOE: It's a twin to it, which is the other side of the building.

IVAN: That's another favorite of mine in terms of the scene. Both the biblical wrap and the dogs and cats.

JOE: We brought the mayor back for Ghostbusters II, of course.

IVAN: He's--David Margulies is the mayor. And he's become quite famous playing the Mayor of New York in quite a number of other movies.

HAROLD: I think I just saw him in "Celebrity," Woody Allen's movie.

IVAN: Was he the Mayor?

HAROLD: No. He was an artist or a writer or something else.

[all laugh]

HAROLD: A fine moment.

IVAN: Especially that cutaway reaction shot. I think, uh, I like this scene because it, sort of, tries to imagine what this kind of meeting would be like with all the, sort of, heads of the various departments and bureaucracies in a large city like this.

HAROLD: A particular resonance for Bill, who comes from a big Catholic family, is that there was a Murray archbishop of New York.

IVAN: Yes.

HAROLD: Yeah, in their family.

JOE: That's right. Ernie gets to be the resident nerd.

IVAN: Yeah. This is a very fine moment for him, I think. This sort of acting style and the, sort of, whole tone of the movie, we should talk about for a moment because it's not given--the actors are often not given enough credit, I think. It's easy to do things in a silly style, and it's also pretty easy to do things dead natural in romantic comedies and play oneself. There's a heightened reality, of course, that goes on in this whole movie. And just finding the right acting tone and level for the performers and for the director is kind of a very tricky and delicate thing. And in a scene like this where it's very easy to get really silly with it and push it way over bounds, and, at the same time, underplaying doesn't quite give it enough humor. It's just finding that middle ground that sort of delivers the goods both comedically and emotionally, and from a story standpoint.

HAROLD: Well, Bill has an undeniable reality. He can't do anything that's not real. He resists it.

IVAN: And what really helps the comic actors in this scene are--is the reality of somebody like David Margulies who's the mayor or William Atherton, really fine, dramatic actors.

JOE: This is a great shot 'cause my memory is you go up and... that was a Steadicam operator ran around and then got on... This one got on a--No, it's a later one where he gets on--

IVAN: I think that's in Ghostbusters II, isn't it? I can't remember. How confusing.

JOE: I've never seen it before. This is where Ivan told the National Guard they're a bunch of pussies. [Harold laughs] Get them going.

IVAN: That's right. "You call yourselves soldiers?" And one more cheesy special effect.

HAROLD: They were hard to do in those days.

IVAN: Some of the really bad special effects in this film really caused some of the movie critics to wonder whether it was a deliberate style choice. [Harold laughs]

HAROLD: All right. So, this is at 65th and Central Park West. So, what happens is, there's the east-west cross through the park at 65th and 66th. Columbus Circle is just up the street. Columbus Circle is just up the street. So, when we were shooting this scene for three days, we stopped traffic here which shut down Columbus Circle, which shuts down 8th, Broadway, 7th and 59th Street.

IVAN: No problem.

HAROLD: Shut the east-west pass through the park. Traffic started backing up to Times Square, then to Harold Square, then to Union Square. East side, all the way to the river. They told us at one point, we'd shut down about 60% of Manhattan doing this shot.

IVAN: Yeah, but it was worth it. It looked great. And that was a great location.

HAROLD: [Laughs] So, we're taking a break one day and Danny and I are standing at 65th and Central Park West. And Danny sees Isaac Asimov--

JOE: I remember that... who lives in the neighborhood.

HAROLD: Danny was so excited. He was one of the great science fiction writers of our age. "Mr. Asimov, Dan Aykroyd. We're shooting the Ghostbusters movie here." He says, "Are you the ones responsible for this?" [all laugh] Dan says, "Yeah." He says, "it's disgusting." And he walks away, he couldn't get home.

JOE: We were all living at the Mayflower Hotel, a bunch of us. I was living at the Mayflower Hotel. It was just down the street. And people would come out and say, "What are they doing here? They're wrecking the city. Who are these people?" And I'd say, "it's Francis Coppola. He's making The Cotton Club." [all laugh]

IVAN: Yeah. I remember there was a guy who was trying to get through, a really obnoxious guy in a car in the area. And he started giving the policemen who are working on the film some real grief. They just pulled him out of the car and arrested him.

HAROLD: All right. Here's a great switch from the real Central Park West to the backlot. This is all in the back lot now.

IVAN: Right. All these effects. John De Cuir basically recreated the street in front.

HAROLD: The first two floors of the building.

IVAN: Actually, three floors, so I could get wide enough for the shot. And these were all on hydraulics underneath so that we could redo it over and over again. And they would re-paste a little bit and there's...

HAROLD: Then in New York, where that police car just slid into the street, they took a police car and just literally cut the front half off the car and laid it into the hole in the street. A fake hole in the street.

JOE: And they had the fake sidewalk on top of the real pavement. And I was having a breakfast meeting with someone who came by and said, "Aren't you guys supposed to be shooting up the street?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "I don't think you're gonna be able to. Like, there's been a car fell through the ground there." [all laugh]

IVAN: Yeah. It's a really wonderful mix. I think this was shot in New York. I can't even remember now. This certainly is in New York.

HAROLD: Climbing out is New York.

IVAN: That's right.

JOE: Just the actual break up was in LA, and then all this was New York again.

HAROLD: I was amazed when we came back to LA and saw that set, how accurate it was.

IVAN: But again, getting back to how good the New York extras were, I mean, they really love doing this. You get so much color and variety in the characters and what they're willing to do.

HAROLD: Big comic moment, all that energy. Let's go and get 'em. Crowd cheering. Cut to us. Walking up the stairs. [all laugh]

IVAN: Yeah. This is a matte painting.

JOE: Yeah. There's one or two stairs and everything up there is a matte painting.

IVAN: The--I think this was shot at the Biltmore. I think everything above this line is phony.

JOE: So, you didn't really have to carry all the equipment up there, Harold.

IVAN: They still complained. Climbing.

JOE: Oh, another great shot.

HAROLD: Back on the big stage. Stage 14 I guess, right?

JOE: 22, isn't it?

HAROLD: Is it? No, I think--

IVAN: 18.

JOE: 18. Okay.

IVAN: Who cares?

HAROLD: It's 14.

JOE: It's one of those. Harold says it's 14. I don't think he's right.

*Transcriber's note: Stage 16.

IVAN: Sigourney loved wearing this dress. This outfit, a lot went into that design.

JOE: But the designer was Theoni Aldredge.

IVAN: Great Broadway designer who I had worked with, actually, on "Merlin." [Joe – No, "Merlin"] No, on-- On Merlin, yeah.

HAROLD: And Gloria Gresham did the second one?

IVAN REITMAN AND JOE: Yeah.

JOE: In the second one, you were talking about extras, I remember we shot at Union Square and after take one, all the students came out of the housing in the shot. So, we suddenly went from like 300 extras to 600 extras.

IVAN: To about 4,000 by the end of the evening.

JOE: Oh, beautiful. Now, that's not an optical. That's the...

HAROLD: Back-lit backing.

IVAN: The whole rooftop sequence took us a few weeks to film. It was all on the stage. The Ghostbusters are actually in there in that shot in that hole. When you get closer, you can see the guys walking around in there.

HAROLD: "Where do those stairs go?" "Up." [all laugh]

JOE: Now, this is where I remember someone was saying you guys work so well together that you would argue over who was gonna get the line. Everyone offered it to someone else. [Harold laughs]

IVAN: Yeah. What's wonderful about this group of actors is that there was really not a competition for who was gonna say the line. Although, there was some competition over who could come up with the best line. There was a lot of very easy give-and-take in terms of who should take it. Most often time, the person who came up with the line offering it to somebody else.

HAROLD: I have to say that Second City training which, you know, one of the mottoes of Second City is, "if you concentrate on making the other person look good then everyone looks good." So, that's the way we work. And also, Danny and I felt we were there as writers.

IVAN: Yeah, well, there's an extraordinary advantage for a director to be able to work with the writers on the set, both as performers or just to have them there.

HAROLD: Well, actually, Dan had--Rick had directed a picture by them. I directed--

IVAN: Danny was going to direct.

HAROLD: And Danny used to say, "Three directors, no waiting." [all laugh]

JOE: Billy directed after this.

HAROLD: Yes, he did. Co-directed.

JOE: Yeah, co-directed. That's true.

IVAN: Actually, he had directed prior to that. He had done "Razor's Edge."

JOE: No, he didn't direct that.

HAROLD: John Byrum did.

IVAN: I thought he'd co-directed it.

JOE: This is the Wild Bunch shot.

HAROLD: Yeah.

IVAN: Well, I thought the mythology of the Westerns had a part to play here in terms of, again, how the shots were laid out and the bravery of our heroes.

HAROLD: But no Western ever faced a villain... [Joe chuckles] ...as menacing as the Yugoslavian fashion model. [chuckles] What's her name?

IVAN: [chuckles] Oh, God. Come on. Slavitza.

JOE: Slavitza

HAROLD: Slavitza, there she is.

JOE:There she is, Zuul.

HAROLD: She was awesome.

IVAN: She was great because, one, she had to where these silly red contacts. They've made them much more comfortable right now. But they're very painful for her. She was always harnessed up so she could flip around any way we needed to. Again, someone who really took this part extraordinarily seriously and had a wonderful grace in her movement. And really had a sense of what she had to do.

HAROLD: Remember you offered it to Anne Carlisle, who was like a punk rock singer at the time?

IVAN: Big mistake, Anne. [all laugh]

HAROLD: Her complaint was the, "No, the women--the chicks in this movie are just to be had!" [all laugh]

JOE: There's Danny giving one of his--

IVAN: One of my favorite speeches.

HAROLD: Cease and desist, return to your...

IVAN: That's right. I remember telling him, "Okay, just play him like a cop right here."

JOE: This is his early Jack Webb imitation.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: It's before he did "Dragnet."

IVAN: Look at that blinking.

HAROLD: "Are you a god?"

JOE: "No." U--

HAROLD: A lot of people remember this moment.

JOE: Wow. You guys got thrown around a bit.

HAROLD: Remember you offered Sandra Bernhard Annie Potts's role?

IVAN: Yes. Bill was really acting on this day. It's all the digging up and climbing.

JOE: Has she said, "Choose or perish" yet? "Jews or berries."

HAROLD: [chuckles] "Jews or berries."

IVAN: Yes, there was a long improvisational sequence involving Jews and berries... Being misunderstood as "choose or perish," from choose or perish.

JOE: Here's the real Western.

IVAN: We left that out in the cutting floor.

JOE: "Make 'em hard."

IVAN: This is a little bit from our Stripes experience.

HAROLD: It sort of helped that we had so much history going into this movie.

IVAN: Yeah, absolutely.

HAROLD: For those of you who don't know that history, Ivan produced "Animal House," which I co-wrote. And then "Meatballs," I worked on the script which Ivan directed and Bill starred in. Then "Stripes," Ivan directed and produced, and you also, right?

JOE: Yes, I was there.

HAROLD: And I co-wrote and co-starred with Bill and that was all prelude to this. It's like all our early work...

JOE: But you had in fact met when Ivan produced the "National Lampoon Show" on Broadway. Which was Harold--

IVAN: I have a good story. At first--I remember going to the first, sort of, audition. Now, the "National Lampoon Show" precedes "Saturday Night Live," and it starred Harold and Bill, as well as Bill's brother Bryan and Gilda Radner and John Belushi. And I came, it was New York and it was a cold wintry day. And I showed up at one of the first rehearsals. And I did--This extraordinary group of talent, the likes of which I'd never seen in my life coming from Canada. And they did this first scene, and I was sitting in the corner laughing my ass off and then I had the temerity to sort of stand up and say, "You think you could"--And I can't remember what it was. I sort of made some very minor suggestion about what to do. Everybody stopped and looked at me like I had crawled in from some other place. Bill Murray walks over to the hook where my coat was, picked it up, put it around my shoulder, patted me on the back and said, "See ya later." [all laugh]

HAROLD: I remember he walked you to the door, he actually put your scarf on and opened the door for you.

IVAN: Just to give you a sense of the bravery that it took to deal with these guys in those days. The wonderful thing about, actually all--particularly Bill was... and John Belushi, I remember from those days, uh, was they knew they were gonna be stars. They were making $300 a week doing this goofy off Broadway show. But they thought of themselves as stars. Even then, they had the knowledge of their ability and their talent.

HAROLD: And I knew they were gonna be stars, too. And I made a vow never to leave these guys. [all laugh] Just stick with them as close as you can.

IVAN: I always thought one of the most fortunate things that ever happened to me was that Harold Ramis, of all the rest of the cast of this show, was not chosen to be on Saturday Night Live. So I was able to go to Harold and say, "You know, we ought to make a movie out of this show." And that movie eventually became "Animal House" and really started our careers in the movie business.

HAROLD: Yeah. That was great. Well, you had quite a head start in the movie business.

IVAN: Yeah, making those horror movies.

JOE: Now, this was in Dan's original script. It's one of the few scenes that's exactly--And I--we were always worried. What are people gonna think?

IVAN: I was frightened about it. This was the, sort of-- Remember the domino steps of reality. I thought this was an extraordinarily large step that may not work.

HAROLD: Wow.

IVAN: And at that very first screening, three weeks after shooting that we had, this was the thing that I was the most concerned about. And we fortunately had one marshmallow shot. We didn't have this one that we're looking at now. But we had the one previous where you just saw the head going through the buildings and maybe one other. And I was sitting there, and the screening had been going extraordinarily well, people cheering and stuff. And when he first appeared in the head shot, they just went nuts. We all--Frankly, we had no other way to go. I remember talking with you, Harold, about what we were gonna do when this didn't work.

HAROLD: No, that the response was phenomenal...

JOE: It's a great idea.

HAROLD: You know--The rendering, the design work on him is so good. He is so appealing and yet so menacing at the same time.

JOE: But you described him that way in the script. I remember it said, "One of the great American icons."

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: You're friendly, but at this size.

IVAN: I think eventually, they actually made a marshmallow brand with him on it.

HAROLD: Everyone should know, the water coming out of there is actually sand because water will not miniaturize. So, they use sand. It looks great.

JOE: All these people in New York were being told what was coming down the street.

IVAN: Yeah. It's a wonderful--

HAROLD: "Mother puss bucket." [all laugh] Invented obscenity.

IVAN: That's right. That last shot is so badly rendered that, in fact, he is walking through the church that is right next door to the building.

JOE: Aw, look at him cry. You feel bad for him, though.

HAROLD: "Nobody steps on a church in my town." [all laugh]

JOE: There's a lot of New York chauvinism in this. There we got burnt marshmallow.

IVAN: You know, the whole crossing the stream thing, I think we invented. I don't remember that in the screenplay. I think we got there at the top of the building as we kept struggling with how we were gonna get to a finish.

HAROLD: Right. [all laugh]

IVAN: And, I mean, how are we gonna kill this guy once and for all. I think the crossing streams had come up in the screenplay but this whole scene I remember working out on the stage.

HAROLD: Yes.

JOE: Why not? It would be bad.

HAROLD: The door swings both ways. That was the idea. "But you said it would be bad."

JOE: Yes.

[all laugh]

JOE: What will happen?

IVAN: Like a young child coming to its senses.

JOE: Yes.

HAROLD: I said, "There's definitely a slim chance we may survive."

JOE: "I love this plan."

HAROLD: Yeah. I think one of the nicest reviews we got for this movie said that the whole film was like a perfectly told joke. [all laugh]

JOE: But this is beautiful. This is, like, from a Western. You guys look at each other, ready to go do it.

HAROLD: Yeah. Butch and Sundance. [Harold and Joe laugh]

JOE: Did it ever bother you having the air things blowing in your face all the time?

HAROLD: No, actually, even today, I have a guy walking around with a little Mole-Richardson fan. [all laugh] It looks good to have your hair blowing a bit.

JOE: I know what that is. It was always smoke it up and then get the air from the fans going, great shot.

HAROLD: All the pyro shots now.

IVAN: Yeah. The pyro was decent. So, let's talk about these marshmallows. What it really is, is shaving cream. Big laundry bags or garbage bags full of it... That we dropped on everybody, first here in New York for real. And then later on in our back lot set, including this spectacular one.

[Harold laughs]

JOE: It's beautiful.

IVAN: Just before we were gonna shoot that, William Atherton came up to me and said, "Look, is this gonna hurt?" I said, "You know, I don't really know." [all laugh]

JOE: But I'm not gonna try it.

IVAN: You better try it out.

HAROLD: No one's ever dropped 2,000 pounds of shaving cream on an actor before.

IVAN: And so, I thought, "Well, I better try it out on a stunt guy." And it was no problem and we finally dropped it on him.

HAROLD: No one noticed, though, that they used menthol shaving cream. Someone, I can't remember, had a bad reaction to the menthol.

JOE: Oh, no.

HAROLD: It burned their skin a little bit.

JOE: I always loved the tactility of breaking up--

HAROLD: This was a little conceit here that we were just covered, head to toe, every inch. And Bill was gonna come out with one little fleck on his shoulder.

IVAN: That's right. But this was too much of an inside joke, I think. Because people actually told me later that they didn't find this part realistic. There was no problem with the marshmallow man but the fact that he didn't get any.

HAROLD: We thought that was highly ironic.

IVAN: Yes. I think he just didn't wanna get it on his hair.

JOE: This set was so big that I remember from one of the shots, I think we've passed it, we had to open the doors of the stage and put the camera outside.

IVAN: Yeah, to get back far enough.

JOE: I think one of the shots was inserted into a matte. I always love the tactility of this.

IVAN: Yes. Um... I also buy Bill's sincerity here.

HAROLD: Yeah. And here she comes.

JOE: Roasted Terror Dog. She's inside the Terror Dog.

HAROLD: I remember there was a little bit of hurry up to this 'cause she was actually sealed inside that thing.

IVAN: That's right.

HAROLD: And we had to move rather quickly.

IVAN: And there's just so much that this could take. Although, in the cutting, actually, I increased how long it took to get her out by repeating shots on angles.

HAROLD: Right.

IVAN: The rebirth metaphor.

JOE: And here's Rick. Yes.

HAROLD: But you animal lovers should know that no Terror Dogs were actually killed or injured in the making of this movie.

IVAN: Rick Moranis just kept scoring one after another in this area. He just won one great line after a silly line.

HAROLD: "We're the Ghostbusters." "Who does your taxes?" [all laugh]

IVAN: He had Bill out of the way 'cause he was in a romantic mode. So, he got to play front.

JOE: More New York talk here. Ernie's last line.

IVAN: Danny Aykroyd loved the shaving cream more than anybody else and kept asking for more.

[all laugh]

IVAN: Just load us on.

HAROLD: And for me, from my vanity, it's not the way you wanna finish a movie, covered with shaving cream, you know.

IVAN: And, of course, this sequence was shot long after the end of the movie.

JOE: This is our New York. This is obviously in New York. Not quite as much shaving cream.

IVAN: We shot this at the end of shooting in New York. And I had this wonderful feeling while we were filming this sequence.

HAROLD: Ivan Reitman.

JOE: Ivan Reitman right there.

IVAN: And that kiss was very sincere.

JOE: One of the writers.

HAROLD: They got along very well, Bill and Sigourney, I have to say.

JOE: The heart of the Ghostbusters.

IVAN: The Marlboro man.

HAROLD: Yeah. [all laugh]

JOE: There he is.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: Hey, another hug. The smile.

IVAN: This is about all we had left of the relationship which was shot.

HAROLD: But Rick gets her in the next film I guess.

IVAN: Yeah. We made a shift in the story.

HAROLD: It made more sense. "I'm an eyewitness. I was up there. Doesn't anyone wanna interview me? I wanna go with them."

IVAN: I like movies that end this way too, where you get a chance to see the characters as they come out of what they've done and get a sense of where they're going.

HAROLD: You again.

IVAN: Yeah, well, I worked hard.

HAROLD: You did. You really did. I was so impressed when I saw the movie cut together.

JOE: The late John De Cuir, the master builder. Sheldon Kahn has been working with us ever since.

IVAN: Yeah.

HAROLD: David Blewitt.

[Joe laughs]

HAROLD: All right. Bernie Brillstein. Really put his heart and soul into it.

JOE: [laughs] Hey, Joe Medjuck and Michael C. Gross.

IVAN RETIMAN: A lot of people keep talking about this guy. I actually got a letter from him.

HAROLD: We were already selling the T-shirts.

IVAN: We knew those T-shirts were gonna be sellers.

HAROLD: Richard Edlund did a great job and I worked with Richard subsequently on the "Multiplicity." He did all the effects on it.

IVAN: You know, Elmer Bernstein is, sort of, under credited in this film. Because of the popularity of the Ghostbusters song, people tended to overlook the score, which I think is really wonderful.

JOE: I remember we got one chance at this shot because the light came down just as we were doing the shot. And they said it was the 65mm camera. So they could do that last shot. And they said they could only do one take because they lost all the light immediately.

HAROLD: And, you know, we should mention that Ray Parker song was a big hit.

IVAN: It was the biggest hit of that year.

HAROLD: It was on Court TV, I think. [Joe laughs]

HAROLD: Bob Stevens. Good camera operator.

JOE: Yeah. Chuck Gaspar and Joe Day, they came back and did Ghostbusters II.

HAROLD: John De Cuir Jr. as art director.

JOE: Who's gone on. He did--

HAROLD: Jack E. Ackerman, remember? One of the great prop men.

IVAN: Yeah, we used him many times.

HAROLD: Yeah.

JOE: It's one of his best.

HAROLD: Len Engelman.

IVAN: That was really one of the great experiences of my life. And I wanna thank you.

HAROLD: Thank you, Ivan. It was great, really.

JOE: It was good, yeah. We had a secretary? [laughs]


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