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Film > Ghostbusters > Books > Ghostbusters Books - Making Ghostbusters Trivia & Image Captions
Making Ghostbusters
Trivia & Image Captions

This pages contains all of the trivia text and image captions from Don Shay's book "Making Ghostbusters". All of the text was OCR'ed by Matthew Jordan and spotchecked by me, Paul Rudoff. The text is copyright Don Shay. The rest of the book can be found here: Book, Script, Essay, Slime Poem. For more trivia, see the Ghostbusters Trivia page. NOTE: A couple of minor spelling and punctuation errors from the book have been corrected. Pages with no trivia or caption text are not included, so if you see page numbers skipped, that is why.



Edited by Don Shay

With notes, quotes and anecdotes by
Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Joe Medjuck, Michael C. Gross

Four Ghostbusters drafts preceded the final shooting script. The first -- Dan Aykroyd's original -- was completed on 20 January 1983. When Ivan Reitman received a production go-ahead from Columbia in May, Harold Ramis was enlisted as cowriter. The first Aykroyd-Ramis collaboration -- a major rewrite -- was completed on 6 June 1983. Significant alterations were also in evidence in the second collaborative script, completed 6 July 1983. By the time the third draft was completed on 5 August 1983, the structure of the film was already firmly established. The fourth and final version was primarily a polishing draft, incorporating a few rewrites dictated by casting decisions.

It is the final shooting script -- dated 7 October 1983 -- which is being published in this volume, though the text has been retyped in order to provide a clean copy for reproduction. Only the scene numbers have been omitted. These numbers, which normally run down the left and right margins, were deemed expendable in the interest of allowing additional space for annotation. For like reasons, the text was reduced in scale by about twenty percent. Even though the script is complete -- including all changes and insertions made during the production -- it does not correlate precisely with the finished film. Quite the contrary, in fact. Although changes made a day or more in advance of shooting were generally typed up and incorporated into the script, many short-notice alterations were not. Dialogue improvisation and other on-the-set changes account for numerous deviations -- as do deletions and juxtapositions made during the editorial phase. Keeping this in mind, a comparison of the script text to the actual film will provide the reader with an illuminating look at how films evolve and develop during the full production process.

-- Page 16 --

• Exteriors of the New York Public Library and scenes within its main reading room consumed only part of a single day's location shooting. From a logistics standpoint, the interiors were especially demanding since the expansive reading room had to be lit, the action staged and photographed, and then everything cleared away -- all within the few short hours available between the crew's 5 a.m. call and the library's 10 a.m. opening to the public.

• Casting decisions were not always dictated by the script. Ultimately, the librarian was played by a middle-aged actress.

• Although the labyrinthine stacks of the New York Public Library were scouted for possible employment, aesthetic and economic considerations prompted the production unit to shoot instead within the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

-- Page 17 --

Image Caption: The second scene in the screenplay, as rendered in storyboard form by Kurt W. Conner.

Image Caption: In a deviation from the scripted text, the two exterior establishing shots -- designed to introduce the New York Public Library -- were ultimately combined into a single sweeping crane shot in which the camera tilted down the face of the building, coming to rest on one of the edifice's distinctive stone lions. On location, cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs and producer-director Ivan Reitman prepare for the opening shot. Whenever possible, efforts were made -- primarily through visual references involving statuary and architecture -- to suggest a gothic substratum to contemporary New York.

-- Page 18 --

• There is nothing 'final' about a final shooting script. During principal photography, it was decided that the flying books concept was too obvious an effect. At Dan Aykroyd's suggestion, several volumes were instead made to float mysteriously across the aisles, exchanging places while the librarian's back is turned. Then -- since it was determined on the set that her failure to do so would seem unlikely -- when the cards begin spewing from the card catalog, the librarian does notice. Her two lines of dialogue were dropped replaced with screams and whimpers -- and, rather than peering discretely around a bookshelf, she was made to flee headlong through the stacks, eventually coming up face to face with the as yet unseen phenomenon. Followed by rapid dolly moves and interspersed with quick cuts of flying cards, the furiously-paced sequence proceeded with a tone and momentum altogether different from what had been written in the script.

• In the finished film, after the scream, a red background irises in and holds to form a circle around the librarian. Her image then fades out and is replaced by the Ghostbusters logo and title. All production credits were withheld until the end of the film.

• In the first Aykroyd-Ramis collaboration, the graffiti read: 'Venkman sucks cocks in Hell!' -- an amusing reference to one of the shocker lines from The Exorcist. An occasional R-rated expletive -- strictly for humorous effect -- was also to be found in the early Ghostbusters drafts. In the end, however, Ivan Reitman opted to take the high road with regard to language and taste.

• "Most comtemporary comedies are pretty much on the raunchy side -- and because of Animal House, my films seem to be lumped in with all those others. But I don't really see them that way. Stripes was R-rated, but fairly mild; and Meatballs was really a sweet little film. As for Ghostbusters, I thought it would benefit -- both creatively and economically -- from not being particularly raunchy. It has an edge to it, but its the kind of film parents are comfortable taking their five- and six-year-olds to see." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 19 --

Image Caption: Another Kurt Conner storyboard carries the action into the library stacks. Though the long pan shot depicted in the first panel was later deleted, most of the remaining cuts found their way into the film essentially intact. Not every scene in the script was storyboarded -- but particularly where special effects were involved, artists' renderings proved useful in establishing for all concerned exactly how the end product should look. From these drawings, physical effects supervisor Chuck Gaspar was able to construct a special bank of cabinets, rigged internally with air hoses to spew out cards on cue. The card catalogues were then transported to the Los Angeles Public Library where the sequence was shot.

-- Page 20 --

• "Our original concept for the scene was to have the ESP test and Venkman reinforcing the girl by telling her she's getting them all right, even when she's not. Then I came up with the added dimension of having him give shocks to the poor nerd -- an idea that was based on a real experiment, where people had to give electric shocks to test subjects; but the people giving the shocks didn't know that they were the test subjects. The idea was to see how far people would go in giving shocks to other people. I thought that was a very interesting psychological problem, and I loved the notion of the hero of the film giving electric shocks. It has an interesting moral edge for people, and it just seemed like a delightful setup." -- Harold Ramis

• "Though the ESP scene is not vital to the story and involves two characters that we never see again, it did serve its purpose beautifully. First of all, it really speaks volumes about Bill Murray's character and sets him up as the skeptic of the group. And, secondly, it is simply a very funny Bill Murray scene." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 21 --

• As was typical throughout the film, the ESP test was shot essentially as scripted, but with dialogue refinements and added bits of business made either during rehearsal or extemporaneously while cameras were rolling. In almost no instance does the scripted dialogue in any given scene appear verbatim in the final film. With a gifted comedy director at the helm and three seasoned actors trained in improvisation and accustomed to working with one another, the likelihood of strict adherence to any script was remote.

• "We have a whole elaborate technique of improvisation that we've practiced for years. As a result, I think we have a better chance improvising than most comedy writers have working weeks and weeks in an office. I think of it as guided improvisation because you have a strong notion of where you want to go. When you're directing, you have the option of doing six takes on the same line -- hoping the guy will get it funny -- or you can do six different lines. Generally, we would prefer to do six different lines rather than work the same line over and over. The Ghostbusters script was probably our tightest script going in. As a result, it required less improvisation; but at the same time, whatever we could improvise was like a bonus. You always have wild lines on the set -- where nothing is indicated in the script, but as a performer, you know your character can talk at any time. Those are always great opportunities. If you don't get them, you haven't lost anything; and if you do get them, it's one more laugh in the film." -- Harold Ramis

• "When you have a crew of fifty people waiting on you to get a line right, you can't help but feel the pressure of professionalism. But there should be a loose feeling on the set, especially with a comedy. Improvisation improves everything, I think a script should always be in a process of change, right up to when the camera rolls. I don't, and I don't expect other performers, to adhere totally to what's on the written page -- not even when I've written it myself. It has to be adapted and changed and improved as the day goes on, as the feeling for the film progresses." -- Dan Aykroyd

-- Page 22 --

Image Caption: Excerpts from a sequence in the July draft, subsequently deleted from the final shooting script. Though present -- in somewhat differing form -- in all three of the early Aykroyd-Ramis collaborations, Venkman's appearance before a university funding committee was ultimately scratched in favor of the ESP testing sequence. In the July and August drafts, the opening segment with the screaming librarian cut directly to her apparent point of view -- in actuality a ceremonial demon mask being used by Venkman as a visual aid...

-- Page 23 --

• Stantz' speech appears virtually without alteration in the final film, even though his reference to books being blown off the shelves actually relates to scripted events which were subsequently deleted in favor of the more subtle floating effect. However, at the time Stantz' descriptive dialogue was shot in the lab set in New York, the sequence in the stacks -- slated for Los Angeles -- had not yet been finalized or shot. Since the ten witnesses Stantz also mentions were not shown either, it was left to the audience to assume that the incidents cited happened elsewhere in the library or at a later time.

• PKE is an unexplained acronym for 'psycho-kinetic energy' -- one of many technical and quasi-technical terms employed throughout the script. Dan Aykroyd, whose interest in paranormal phenomena extends to membership in several psychic research organizations, was responsible for most of the film's specialized jargon.

-- Page 24 --

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman keeps pace with Steadicam operator Ted Churchill during a run-through in the main reading room of the New York Public Library. The Steadicam -- a flexible, highly-effective camera stabilization system -- allowed for smooth tracking and point-of-view shots under hand-held situations.

Image Caption: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis rehearse a scene in the reading room while Reitman and associate producer Joe Medjuck provide appropriate audience reaction.

-- Page 25 --

• To gauge the success of their comedic efforts, the filmmakers held numerous 'work in progress' screenings during the postproduction period. Based on positive or negative response from the audiences, specific lines and scenes were often recut, rearranged or deleted. A consequent byproduct of this approach, however, was the occasional need to cut a line of dialogue which everyone connected with the production thought was funny, but which for one reason or another never seemed to get a laugh. Though Venkman's "looked at with your eyes" line was a favorite, and even became a catch phrase within the production crew, its ultimate failure to get laughs during previews resulted in its deletion -- along with its setup line. A similar problem plagued Stantz' "multiple high-altitude rockfall" reference. However, since this bit of dialogue was included in a long shot of the actors, Reitman and his editors were able to rerecord the line and insert it into the soundtrack during a postproduction looping session. Dan Aykroyd came up with his own replacement: "Of course you forget, Peter, I was present at an undersea, unexplained mass sponge migration."

-- Page 26 --

Image Caption: Though most of the production was filmed on soundstages at The Burbank Studios, Ivan Reitman and his Ghostbusters team assembled in New York for the initial phase of the live-action shoot. Commencing in late October 1983, first and second unit crews blanketed the island of Manhattan, recording all scenes necessary to adequately ground the Hollywood production in a convincing New York environment.

-- Page 27 --

• Venkman's line was inspired by a bizarre, but thwarted, experiment by John Lilly -- a prominent researcher in dolphin communication -- who seriously proposed drilling a hole in his head to test some higher brain function. Harold Ramis, who wrote the line, piggy-backed on it during the take by responding: "That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me."

• Though written in such a way that it could be staged later in the studio, the low-key interrogation scene between Venkman and the librarian was shot in a caged area inside the main reading room -- all part of the whirlwind shooting session at the New York Public Library.

• Much of Venkman's dialogue sounds so characteristically 'Bill Murray' that many viewers and film critics simply assumed he had written or ad-libbed all his own lines. In actuality, most of them were scripted for him.

• "I've always been able to write well in Bill's voice. And I've had a lot of luck laying groundwork for Bill Murray improvisation because I know certain insane instincts of his. I know the way he processes information and the way he'll reach for an idea. One surprising element in his characters is the way they're always pulling in references that seem way off the wall -- like in Stripes when he refers to Old Yeller. It makes insane sense in a certain way. And it's really kind of a refreshing thing that he does. Bill believes in using everything that he knows. No matter what character he's playing, he always plays to the top of his intelligence. Any character can know anything. Even when Bill is playing a brain-damaged idiot, he realizes that his character is still capable of knowing a lot, and so he'll pull in references to all kinds of things -- from physics to history to sports -- and in that context, its all very funny. So I like putting myself inside Bill's head. Even if I don't get it exactly, it gives him a good, strong anchor to play off of." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 28 --

• To sustain the suspense -- and at the same time reinforce the comedy -- Ivan Reitman felt that the first real ghost sequence demanded a stronger setup than what appeared in the script. So, on his way to the set on the morning of shooting, he came up with the idea of having his scientists discover a single stack of books piled from floor to ceiling. Spengler and Stantz are terribly excited by the find. "Symmetrical book stacking," Stantz exclaims. "Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947." Venkman, ever the cynic, responds: "You're right. No human being would stack books like this." Also inserted into the sequence was Venkman's first involvement with 'ectoslime' --a gooey residue found dripping from an open card catalog drawer. When asked by Spengler to collect a sample for analysis, the squeamish Venkman protests: "Somebody blows their nose and you want to keep it?!" From there, the sequence proceeds, roughly as scripted, with the crashing bookshelf and the ghostly encounter.

-- Page 29 --

Image Caption: A four-part Berni Wrightson concept depicting the library ghost's transformation from a kindly old lady to a hideous demon.

Image Caption: Actress Ruth Oliver appeared as the library ghost in its initial quasi-human form. Since only a semi-transparent torso was required, her scenes were photographed on a stage at Richard Edlund's Entertainment Effects Group facility. The footage was then treated optically and composited into the live-action material shot in the library.

Image Caption: At a crucial moment, the 'live' ghost was replaced with a mechanical replica which transformed into the demon figure.

Image Caption: Mark Wilson sculpts a final, even more ferocious form for the ghost, which was deemed superfluous and never completed, Ultimately, the design was incorporated into a subsequent EEG project -- Fright Night.

Image Caption: Latex librarian arms, fresh from the mold.

-- Page 30 --

Image Caption: The undressed mechanical armature for the library ghost.

Image Caption: Cable mechanisms, operated by concealed members of the 'ghost shop' crew, transform the elderly librarian into a screaming demon.

-- Page 32 --

• In the final film, the ghostly librarian does not materialize on camera -- either in parts, or otherwise. Instead, she is discovered floating serenely off the floor, calmly perusing a book she has taken from a nearby shelf. When Venkman addresses her, she turns and puts a finger to her mouth to quiet him. In point of fact, the spectral figure was nowhere to be seen. Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis were filmed on location at the Los Angeles Public Library, while the actress playing the ghost was photographed on an effects stage at Entertainment Effects Group and then inserted optically in the shots.

-- Page 33 --

• The idea of having the transformed ghost roaring a characteristically librarian "Quiet!" came from an artists rendering prepared by Berni Wrightson. Wrightson, one of several comic-oriented artists hired to produce concept sketches for the transformation, annotated one particularly vivid rendering with a cartoon balloon that read "Quiet!" The gag stuck and was worked into the script -- though in final execution, it was deleted in favor of a simple roar.

• "I think one of the most successful moments in the film is when the library ghost transforms into the hideous, roaring vision. It's the first time the audience gets a real sense of what they're in for. We've played it for the usual laughs up to that point, and then suddenly she turns into this horrible-looking monster. And it's a shock for the audience -- they have no idea it's coming. Everyone is laughing along, then they scream, then they laugh again because they got caught and then they cheer because they had such a damn good time. And it all happens in about twenty seconds. We got that reaction at almost every screening, whether it was an audience of thirty people or a thousand." -- Ivan Reitman

• On numerous instances, certain bits of dialogue were shifted from one character to another. Until just a few days before shooting, Stantz' speech concluded with: "This could be bigger than the microchip. They'll probably throw out the entire engineering department and turn their building over to us. All we've got to do is catch one." It then became apparent that the first two lines would be funnier if Stantz' enthusiasm were replaced with Venkman's cynicism. Ultimately, only the microchip line found its way into the film.

-- Page 34 --

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman jokes with Dan Aykroyd between takes during the New York shoot.

Image Caption: At the end of a long and wearying day on location, Reitman, Aykroyd and Bill Murray all show varying signs of fatigue. Harold Ramis, meanwhile-engrossed with Spengler's ever-present pocket calculator -- seems totally in character.

-- Page 35 --

• Although permission was granted for the production unit to shoot on the Columbia University campus, it was with the understanding that the school not be identified as such in the film. Neither Weaver Hall nor a 'Paranormal Studies Laboratory' actually exists at Columbia. Though the interiors could just as easily have been shot on a soundstage back in Los Angeles, a university building was dressed as a lab set by production designer John DeCuir as a hedge against inclement weather. Thus, if the location film crew -- which cost about $200,000 a day to maintain -- was unable to shoot outdoors, they could readily proceed with the lab scenes rather than lose a day in the schedule.

• The Weaver Hall interior was shot on the first day of principal photography. Apparently, it took awhile for all concerned to hit their stride since seventeen takes were needed to get the relatively straightforward scene onto film. Ultimately, it was deleted during editing.

-- Page 36 --

• The scene was shot, but deleted during editing.

• Remainder of the scene was cut during editing. Stantz' reference to the regents' meeting related to the previously excised sequence in which Venkman valiantly attempted to convince the skeptical university administrators that funding should be continued for the Paranormal Studies Laboratory.

• "In our first draft, the Ghostbusters were tossed out of a small New England college and then go to New York. But we realized that there was something very vital about being in the city, so we began thinking maybe we should start the film there. That's when we came up with the idea of using the New York Public Library for our opening sequence. Prior to that, it had been set in a nice, converted farmhouse where this family has been bothered by incessant knocking that they're unable to trace. So we're in there climbing all over the house, knocking out walls and ripping up floorboards in their nicely remodeled kitchen. And at the end of the scene, all we're able to tell them is, 'Well, you've got a knocking.' 'We know we've got a knocking! What's causing it!' 'We'll have to get back with you on that.' It was a little cruel -- and not very dynamic -- but it sort of touched on the mundanity of some supernatural phenomena." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 37 --

• The Irving Trust bank on Avenue of the Americas eventually became the fictional Manhattan City Bank -- with the sequence being filmed directly across from the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, late in the afternoon of the same day the exterior and interior library footage had been shot.

• The short scene outside the bank served as a concise replacement for a more involved expository sequence inside which had persisted through the first three Aykroyd-Ramis drafts. Ultimately, the interior scene -- in which Venkman, Stantz and Spengler meet with a loan officer to discuss their decidedly nonstandard financial needs -- was deemed essentially unnecessary.

• "Sometimes you write scenes for yourself, to clear up motivations and explain to yourself how the characters get from point A to point B. But often, you find that the audience is way ahead of you. The audience knows they are going to become Ghostbusters. So the longer you attenuate the transformation, the longer you are stalling the audience. Even though the scene was funny, it was extraneous. All you need to know is that they went in for a loan and they got the loan. Things you have written whole scenes about can often be expressed in a moment." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 38 --

• Inflation ran rampant in the film. Between completion of the script and the day the bank scene was shot, Venkman's loan cost escalated from $75,000 to $95,000.

• The firehouse which was to become the Ghostbusters' headquarters was, in reality, two separate buildings -- 3000 miles apart. All of the exterior shots were filmed at an old firehouse in New York, which is still in use, while the interiors were shot in a decommissioned firehouse in Los Angeles, presently employed as an artist's studio. The two buildings were remarkably similar, both in appearance and layout.

• "I made a preliminary trip to New York; and while I was there, I took some photos of that particular firehouse because, coincidentally, it happened to be right around the corner from where I was staying. I thought at the time, 'Now, that's the kind of firehouse we're looking for.' But I figured there were probably a dozen firehouses like that in New York and when we did our location scouting, we'd look at them all. Curiously, that one turned out to be the perfect one." -- Michael Gross

• "The firehouse in Los Angeles is a huge place -- three stories high. And all of the scenes that were supposed to take place in the firehouse were actually filmed in the firehouse. None of that was done at the studio. When the script says 'basement of the firehouse', we are actually in the basement of that firehouse. Though John DeCuir added lots of things to dress the place, most of the essential elements were already there. The building itself happens to be in a really crummy section of town which is used a lot for filming. We were running into the Hill Street Blues crew all the time." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 39 --

Image Caption: Production designer John DeCuir examines a foam core mockup of the firehall -- an existing structure to which he would be adding the enclosed office area at the rear as well as other modifications and refinements. Such mockups were invariably useful in establishing a three-dimensional feel for the sets -- before costly construction or renovation was initiated -- and often proved useful to Ivan Reitman for blocking action and determining camera angles.

Image Caption: The firehall was used, essentially as found, for the sequence in which the ousted academics are introduced to their future headquarters. Once these initial scenes were shot, DeCuir and his staff moved in and made the necessary modifications for later sequences in the film.

Image Caption: Though firehall interiors were shot in Los Angeles, corresponding exteriors employed a similarly configured building in New York.

-- Page 40 --

Image Caption: The gothic-style apartment house which was to become the hub of psychic activity is first viewed across the broad expanse of Central Park. Since the actual structure had a roofline decidedly unlike the one called for in the script, the upper section of the building -- even though ill-defined from such a distance -- was matted out of the live-action photography and rerendered in the form of a painting by Matthew Yuricich.

Image Caption: The next shot had to establish the building as being Dana Barrett's residence and, at the same time, introduce its singular temple-like rooftop. As storyboarded by Thom Enriquez, the original concept was to start at the roof and then pan down the building to Dana as she enters from the street. Since the temple rooftop was not actually on the building, however, the pan would have entailed a very complex matte composite. In the end, the shot was achieved from a reverse angle, with the camera looking down past one of the stone Terror Dogs -- in this case, just a painting -- to Dana entering the apartment building below.

-- Page 41 --

• "Our first choice for the apartment building was 1 Fifth Avenue. Washington Square is close by, and we felt it would have been very dramatic at the end for the Stay-Puft marshmallow man to lumber past the Washington Square monument arch. Also, the building at 1 Fifth Avenue was architecturally interesting. Across the street was another building from which we could have photographed high shots looking down onto the street, wide shots of the building and shots of the park -- it would have provided an excellent point of view for all of those. Plans to use the 1 Fifth Avenue building progressed to the point of design- ing preliminary rooftop sets for it, but were dropped when the co-op committee for the building voted against its use in the film." -- Michael Gross

• "Our second choice -- which we finally ended up using -- was at 55 Central Park West. That building had a great view of the park, but without the additional vantage points for shooting. John DeCuir redressed the building, adding awnings to the front and other things that could be broken off later during the earthquake and explosion. In reality, someone like Dana Barrett could never have afforded to live in that apartment complex, but it looks good in the movie." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 42 --

Image Caption: Blueprints for Dana's and Louis' apartments and the hallway in between. Designed by John DeCuir, the sets were constructed as a single unit at The Burbank Studios. To facilitate effects work -- most especially the Terror Dogs' unwelcomed appearance midway through the film -- the entire structure was built six feet off the soundstage floor so that trained operators could climb underneath and actuate the puppetized party-crashers from below.

Image Caption: After careful planning of anticipated camera angles, some elements of the set design -- such as Dana's bathroom and the patio outside Louis' apartment -- were deemed unnecessary and thus deleted prior to construction.

Image Caption: The terrace outside Dana's apartment was a faithful reproduction of the actual building exterior in New York, enabling it to be used for the scenes in which the outer wall to her apartment is blown away by psychic forces.

Image Caption: DeCuir was careful to specify that no obstructions be placed beneath that portion of the set where hidden mechanisms would be needed to slide Dana's armchair across the floor on concealed tracks.

-- Page 43 --

Image Caption: Wall and door sections within Louis' apartment were designed and constructed for easy breakaway by the rampaging Terror Dog.

Image Caption: DeCuir's first staircase leading to the rooftop temple was rejected by Ivan Reitman who felt that it looked like something out of a Frankenstein movie. On short order, it was replaced by a stairwell more appropriate to the architectural style of the building.

-- Page 44 --

• Dana Barrett's character changed dramatically as the script evolved. Aware that the story needed a love interest, Aykroyd and Ramis decided to write one into their initial collaborative draft. Being more attuned to comedy than romance, however, their first effort resulted in an alien fugitive from another dimension which transforms itself into human female form.

• "Venkman's affair with the interdimensional creature was funny, but not very romantic. He wakes up with her one morning and she is this kind of wart hog -- which we realized was rather lacking in real human connection and love. Also, it became apparent that the Ghostbusters needed a close personal involvement with one of the victims of the supernatural. So we thought 'Wouldn't it be romantic if the love interest was one of their clients?' It gave Venkman an additional motivation for making the Ghostbusters a success -- not only is he out to make money, he is out to rescue this woman and prove himself to her. And, of course, once Sigourney Weaver expressed an interest in the role, we took the character much more seriously. We had made her a model, but Sigourney suggested it would be more interesting if she were a musician. She has such dignity -- there is just no way to treat her as an object. And we liked the subtle class difference she brought to the part. She clearly had better breeding than Venkman did. Writing for women has not been one of my strengths in the past, but with Sigourney's contribution, this character really grew and strengthened." -- Harold Ramis

• In anticipation of getting John Candy for the role, the character of Louis Tully was originally molded to suit Candy's persona. The character makes his first appearance in the June draft as a fellow refugee of the creature which was to become Venkman's inter-dimensional love interest. With a diet cola television commercial for inspiration, one creature transforms itself into a beautiful woman, while the other transforms into a heavy-set man.

• "At first, Louis was a much different character than the one you see in the film. He was similar to the Johnny LaRue character that John did on SCTV. By the time shooting actually began, though, John was no longer available. Fortunately, Rick Moranis was and he really helped to tailor the character. He came up with the idea of Louis being an accountant, and the character really started to evolve from that point on." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 45 --

• The sprawling apartment house interiors -- two key apartments and the hallway between them -- extended over two adjoining sound-stages on the Burbank Studios lot.

• "It wasn't that the set was so big. Technically, we could have fit it all on one stage. But we needed the extra space for Chuck Gaspar and his physical effects crew to do their construction, and we also needed it to enable us to get the camera back far enough for the shot at the end of the film where you see the guys looking out through the hole that's been blown into the wall of Dana's apartment." -- Joe Medjuck

• "Louis' apartment is actually behind the door that Louis comes out of and Dana's apartment is actually on the other side of the door she enters -- which is unusual in filmmaking. Often, its cheaper to piece things together. But John DeCuir likes to base his sets in reality as much as possible. And it made things much easier for Ivan when it came time to shoot. John's entire crew was really incredible. We went into Dana's apartment set the night before shooting and said, 'We want this changed, we want that changed.' The prop people worked all through the night; and the next morning, the entire set was redressed to our specifications." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 46 --

Image Caption: During the film's preproduction phase, Berni Wrightson produced some fifty conceptual illustrations, exploring everything from Terror Dogs and ghosts to transdimensional portals and beyond. Working under short deadline, Wrightson would sometimes respond to the tension with a momentary lapse into whimsy -- letting his cartoonist's instincts get the better of him, as in this comic rendering of a ghostly barbershop quartet.

-- Page 47 --

• The television commercial, as written, was never filmed -- partly because no one was able to come up with an appropriate jingle in time for principal photography. Substitute scenes, shot in New York, featured the Ghostbusters awkwardly delivering their own pitch -- in the worst tradition of do-it-yourself advertising -- intercut with a few quick shots of them supposedly in action.

• "After the film was out and doing well -- just to keep the phenomenon going -- Ivan came up with the idea of taking a 'junk-buy' cross-country on late-night TV and running the commercial just as it appeared in the film, only with the superimposed phone number changed to an 800 number. Then people could call in and get an answering machine with Danny's and Bill's voices saying: 'Hi, were the Ghostbusters. Were not in right now -- we're out catching ghosts...' Well, they did that, and they got a thousand calls per hour, 24-hours-a-day for six weeks." -- Michael Gross

• "At one point, we planned to do a second commercial for the film -- one that we could work into the montage after they've become famous. I was going to do it as an elaborate MTV music video, with the guys singing the 'Ghostbusters' song -- which we later could have actually played on MTV. Unfortunately, we didn't get the song we liked until late in postproduction, and by that time it was too late to go back and do it." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 48 --

Image Caption: Special effects foreman Joe Day makes last-minute adjustments to Chuck Gaspar's self-frying egg mechanism. Well in advance of photography, selected egg shells were scored with a small electric saw. Each minute cut was filled in with plaster, then sanded smooth and painted. During the scene, air was injected into the eggs from below, causing the shells to split along their prescored paths and the insides to pop out and onto the countertop -- surfaced with teflon-coated aluminum and heated from beneath with two propane burners.

Image Caption: Sigourney Weaver reacts to the unexpected phenomenon. Flanking her egg carton is a package of Stay-Puft marshmallows.

-- Page 49 --

• Among the groceries that Dana unloads is a package of Stay-Puft marshmallows -- a sly introduction to the Stay-Puft marshmallow man that went unnoticed by most filmgoers.

• "The Stay-Puft marshmallow man appears several times in the film, because we wanted to build a continuity of his presence. In fact, at one point, we considered either ending or beginning the Ghostbusters commercial with a Stay-Puft spot -- complete with a little stop-motion marshmallow man dancing around on a countertop like the Pillsbury doughboy. We discarded that idea, though, as being a bit of overkill." -- Michael Gross

• "In our previous draft, there was another effect besides the self-cooking eggs. Also on the counter was a loaf of bread in a plastic bag. We wanted to have the bag puff out and steam up to the point where it started to peel away. Then, one by one, the pieces of bread were going to heat up, turn brown and fall over as toast. But Ivan thought the eggs really sold the scene, and he didn't want to go to the time and expense of having a loaf of bread toasting itself." -- Harold Ramis

• Dana's 'chilling' discovery was revealed in two separate shots -- complex optical composites pieced together during the final stages of postproduction effects work at Entertainment Effects Group. Assembled from elements generated primarily for other scenes in the film, the hellish Gateway encompassed bits of footage taken on the gigantic Gozer temple set, stop-motion and full-size articulated Terror Dogs, plus various smoke and flame elements.

-- Page 50 --

• At one point, another scene was to follow Dana's departure. As soon as she left the kitchen, every metal appliance and utensil in sight was to fly across the room and stick to the refrigerator door. After discussing numerous ways to achieve the effect -- the most likely being attaching the implements to the refrigerator and then yanking them away with invisible wires as the camera recorded the action in reverse -- the idea was discarded as unnecessarily difficult. In the final edit, the entire sequence cuts immediately after Dana slams the refrigerator door.

• Preproduction was well underway before anyone realized that Filmation had produced a short-lived Saturday morning children's show called The Ghost Busters during the 1975-76 television season. Columbia promptly entered into negotiations with Filmation to secure rights to the title; but the talks bogged down, and through most of the New York location photography, Reitman and company were uncertain as to what their film would eventually be called.

• "We were about four weeks into shooting before we knew for certain that we could use the name. Because of that, we had three different signs made up for the carpenter to hang over the firehouse door -- each with a different name on it, although the only other serious contender was Ghoststoppers. Finally, we struck a deal with Filmation that allowed us to stick with our original title." -- Joe Medjuck

• In all previous drafts -- including Aykroyd's -- the basic vehicle from which the 'Ectomobile' would evolve was specified to be a 1975 Cadillac ambulance, secured for a bargain basement price of only $600. By the time the final script was written, the price had escalated to $1400 -- for an even older 1959 model. During filming, inflation struck once more, and the pricetag was upped to $4800.

-- Page 51 --

Image Caption: Three panels from a Thom Enriquez storyboard illustrate Dana's confrontation with the unimaginable presence inside her refrigerator. So unimaginable was it, in fact, that at the time the storyboard was rendered, even the filmmakers had no real idea of what Dana would find -- hence the empty refrigerator and totally blank panel.

Image Caption: In an effort to fill in the blanks, Berni Wrightson was given carte blanche to render a series of illustrations depicting possible approaches to the refrigerator imagery -- ranging from rather literal-looking temples to fiery visions of Hell.

Image Caption: Overleaf -- Another Wrightson concept for the sequence.

-- Page 54 --

• Though the script suggests a secondary love interest between the romantically-inclined Janine and the blissfully out-of-it Spengler, the budding relationship is barely in evidence in the film's final cut.

• "Most of the Janine and Spengler scenes were shot but, ultimately, their romance was not really close enough to the crux of the film for us to spend a lot of time on it. I think the audience got a slight hint that there was something going on between them and that was enough." -- Harold Ramis

• In the July and August drafts, Dana's appearance at the firehall is preceded by a scene in which Winston Zeddemore -- armed with enough references to nail down a job as security chief for the White House -- presents himself in reply to a trifling 'help wanted' ad for a guard. The inclusion of Winston was in clear response to a perceived notion on the part of the filmmakers that the team needed to embrace a fourth member who could serve as the on-screen voice of the viewing public -- a no-nonsense professional, with a major streak of skepticism when it came to the avowed objectives of his employers. On further reflection, however, it was decided to delay Winston's introduction until after the Ghostbusters' first big score when, conceivably, they could really begin to need some augmentation.

• "As writers, we'd never done a black character. Nor had we ever written women very well. The Writers Guild sends out letters about this regularly -- 'let's see more women and more minorities.' So when we wrote Winston, I think we had our own little reverse backlash going. We bent over backwards to make Winston's character good and in doing so, we made him so good that he was the best character in the movie. We looked at it and said: 'Jesus! He's got all the good lines.' At the same time, everybody was saying Bill's character was a little weak. So, little by little, we started shifting Winston's attitude to Bill's character -- which made perfect sense -- and we also ended up delaying Winston's introduction until much later in the film." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 55 --

• Dana's reference to her zodiacal sign, Spengler's matter-of-fact response and Venkman's all-too-obviously motivated interpretation were deleted prior to shooting. In general, Venkman's tendency toward lecherous behavior was toned down from the script as the on-set dynamics between Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver elevated their characters' relationship to a somewhat more refined and caring plane.

• "As the film progressed, it began to take on a different tone so that Venkman wouldn't come off as just a womanizer. His motivations in the script are clearly sexual, and we wanted there to be more between Dana and Venkman than that." -- Joe Medjuck

• "I met with Sigourney and Bill and we talked about their scenes together -- what their characters' reactions would be to each other. She's gone there, basically on a whim, because she has a serious problem and doesn't quite know what to do. He's not sure he believes her, but he is interested in getting to know her better. The whole idea was to establish the groundwork for a romantic relationship, and yet still maintain a sense of reality -- with Bill and Sigourney reacting to each other as two people probably would if those characters and those situations were, in fact, real." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 56 --

• On the set, Bill Murray ad-libbed a Freudian slip for his obviously smitten character: "I'll take Miss Barrett back to her apartment and check her out." Rolling his eyes in embarrassment, Venkman corrects himself and -- as Dana rises and turns away -- bangs his fist on his forehead.

• Deviating considerably from the written text -- at least in terms of dialogue -- is the scene in which Venkman accompanies Dana to her apartment to investigate her report of supernatural disturbances. Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver rehearsed the sequence with Ivan Reitman the day before shooting, restructuring their interaction and developing numerous ideas that eventually found their way onto the screen.

• "In all the films I've done with Bill, it's always the romantic scenes that change the most. They are the toughest ones for the writers to write, and they always seem to need the kind of input you can only get by working them through with the actors. With Sigourney and Bill, we'd go into a room or a trailer and work the scene in advance -- sometimes weeks before filming, sometimes just the day before or while the lighting was being set up. We'd make additions; we'd take certain things out. I'd suggest a line, Bill would come up with a great new idea. Sigourney came up with a lot of good things on her own. It's not really improv, but it helps create a sense of spontaneity and real interaction that's hard to develop in a script." --Ivan Reitman

Image Caption: A John DeCuir rendering of Dana's apartment building. While a real building in New York provided the requisite lower floors, the upper stories and temple rooftop were added alternately via matte paintings, miniatures and full-size sets.

-- Page 59 --

Image Caption: An aerial view (far left) and ground level view (above) of the actual apartment building at 55 Central Park West.

Image Caption: For long shots in the film, veteran matte artist Matthew Yuricich prepared a series of matte paintings to both heighten the building and crown it with a temple-like rooftop. To accentuate the structure, the taller building behind it was painted out entirely and the one to the left was shortened.

Image Caption: Closer views employed a fifteen-foot miniature constructed under the supervision of Mark Stetson.

Image Caption: Nick Seldon adds painted details to a section of the building.

-- Page 60 --

• Although the finished sequence bears only a cursory resemblance to the script, certain elements were retained --at least in part. Sigourney Weaver suggested that 'game show host' was both more amusing and more apropos of Venkman's persona than 'used car salesman,' and so her line was changed accordingly.

• "While much of the dialogue is different, the mechanics of the scene are the same. The same hooks are there. Usually, you have a relationship that grows through a film and, by the end, the characters say, 'I love you.' But Bill came up with the idea of this guy just blowing it all right up front. 'I'm going to go out on a limb with this -- I'm totally in love with you.' It was a really charming choice and it changed the whole tone of the scene. I think it is the most realistic, romantic scene Bill's ever played in a film. And, partly, the scene changed because of Sigourney's real human quality as an actress. She insisted, without being obnoxious in any way, on making her character real. Often in comedies, you see characters doing all these outlandish things while the people around them are acting like stooges, as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening. And so when Sigourney was able to stand there like a real person and say to Bill, 'You are so odd,' it was totally genuine -- and she came up with that line herself. I loved it, because it let the audience off the hook and allowed them to say, 'Yeah, he is odd.' So I think Bill and Sigourney and Ivan did a great job on that scene. Ivan told me, after he shot it. 'We took a real chance with this one.' But it really works." -- Harold Ramis

• The 'mess' in Dana's kitchen referred back to the shot -- already cut from the script -- in which the utensils fly across the room. Since that particular shot was deleted, so was the resulting mess.

-- Page 61 --

• Though some license was taken as to the type of apartment a struggling cellist might be able to afford in New York, other aspects of the production design were stringently accurate.

• ''John DeCuir approached every aspect of the set construction as if that building really existed in just that form. In his mind, he knew the architecture of the building, the period in which it was built -- and it was always placed exactly at 55 Central Park West. So when you're in Dana's apartment and you're looking out the window at the photo backdrops positioned outside, that's an exact point of view from that floor of that address, as it would be looking out of that particular window. He even went to the extent of going up on the roof and shooting still photographs all the way around the building -- both day and night -- so that we could have them enlarged into just the right backlit backdrops." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 62 --

• Venkman's bruised ego, coupled with Louis' jealousy at seeing another man emerge from Dana's apartment, resulted in a small exchange between the two that took on varying forms as the project progressed. In the August draft -- when John Candy was still being sought for the role -- Louis suspiciously asks Venkman if he is a friend of Dana's, to which Venkman replies: "No, I'm her masseur. She pays me a hundred bucks and I rub the places she can't reach. Has she been after you, too?" Louis responds unconvincingly in the affirmative, and then reenters his apartment muttering: "She's paying for it? I'd do it for free." As shot, Louis runs out into the hallway -- suggesting he has heard Dana's door close and is 'coincidentally' trying to intercept her. Implying a major conquest, Venkman says, "What a woman," and then exits -- leaving Louis crestfallen and, once again, locked out of his apartment. During editing, the Venkman line was cut.

-- Page 63 --

• A major casualty of the editing process was a sequence in the fictional Hotel Sedgewick involving a pair of honeymooners and what was later to become known as the 'Onionhead' ghost.

• "When I shot the bride and groom scene, I thought it was one of the funniest sequences I'd done in the film. And when I looked at the rushes, I thought 'Yeah, this is definitely going to be one of the funniest scenes in the movie.' But when I actually cut it into the film, it just didn't work. It was like a skit out of Saturday Night Live -- funny in itself, but it stopped the movie cold every time. Cutting it was one of the tougher decisions I had to make." -- Ivan Reitman

• "One thing I really appreciate about Ivan is his very concise story sense. He knows how fast he wants his films to move, and he can look at a piece of good writing and still know intuitively that it will not pace very well in the film or that it is somehow superfluous. When you finally look at a film -- no matter what's in the script -- there's a tremendous economy at work. Every scene that was written as a page, ends up being half a page. You need much less than you think to indicate to an audience where they are and what's going on. So even though I'm often reluctant to let go of certain well-written pieces, I know Ivan's got to make the movie he wants to make -- and I trust his instincts." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 64 --

• Although never specifically named in the film, the hotel apparition was to become known within the production unit as the Onionhead ghost -- so dubbed because of the horrible stench which emanated from it, rather than from any physical resemblance to an onion. Though the malodorous aspect of the creature was dropped when the newlywed scene was cut -- primarily because to visually support the notion would have required massive amounts of exacting, hand-rendered animation during the postproduction effects phase -- the name 'Onionhead' persisted among members of the crew.

• "I've read everything in the public domain about spirits and poltergeists. I can name basically all your major haunted houses on the Eastern Seaboard and in New York City -- and there are quite a few. So, in reading the literature and reading about full head and torso apparitions, I found out that it is very rare that you see a full figure -- it is usually just a hint of the former being. The Onionhead is a vapor -- a kind of confluence of stored up psychic energy. He's an accumulation of spirits that haunt this hotel, and he just doesn't want to leave." -- Dan Aykroyd

• As finally edited, the action cuts directly from the takeout Chinese food scene -- with the Ghostbusters discussing their imminent cash flow crisis -- to Janine's fielding of their first emergency call from the Hotel Sedgewick.

-- Page 65 --

Image Caption: A honeymooning couple -- played by Charles Levin and Wendy Goldman -- have a less than blissful wedding night at the Hotel Sedgewick when a foul-smelling vaporous ghost pays a visit to their bridal suite. The sequence -- shot in its entirety and edited into the workprint -- was ultimately cut from the film before release.

-- Page 66 --

Image Caption: To help sell his original screenplay, Dan Aykroyd commissioned an artist friend -- John Daveikis -- to render a few preliminary design concepts. Among them was a proposal for the Ectomobile -- which, in contrast to its written description, was depicted as being white rather than black.

Image Caption: Working with a basic 1959 Cadillac ambulance, hardware consultant Steven Dane designed and modified the final vehicle.

Image Caption: The completed, one-of-a-kind Ectomobile. Although a second backup vehicle was procured as a hedge against maintenance problems, only the primary ambulance was fully converted. In the end, the backup was used solely for early 'premodification' scenes.

-- Page 67 --

• Dan Aykroyd's original Ectomobile was an all-black, rather sinister-looking machine with flashing white and purple strobe lights that gave it a strange, ultraviolet aura. Though kept essentially intact through all the drafts, the vehicle concept -- suggesting a hearse rather more than an ambulance -- was clearly more in keeping with the darker tone of Aykroyd's first draft than with the lighter ones that followed. It was cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, however, who first pointed out a serious problem with it.

• "For practical considerations, we had to get away from the idea of an all-black Ectomobile. In going through the script, Laszlo noted that almost every shot of it was at night. If it had been black, you wouldn't have been able to see it through most of the movie. The Ectomobile would have been nothing more than a couple of headlights driving through the streets. So, keeping that in mind, we decided we'd better go with a white ambulance trimmed in red." -- Joe Medjuck

• "Dan's script was set in the near future and there was much more fantasy in it. In that script, the Ectomobile was able to dematerialize. When we anchored the script more in reality and set the time in the present, that concept had to go. Besides, its funnier to see them in an old ambulance that barely runs." -- Harold Ramis

• "We shot our hotel exteriors and the inside lobby scenes at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. That wasn't our original intent, though, primarily because we assumed from the start that we wouldn't be able to find a good location in L.A. So the plan was to shoot the hotel scenes during our location shoot in New York. One of the spots we considered was the Waldorf Astoria, but their lobby area was too small and it would have been very costly. The Biltmore ended up suiting our purposes very nicely. In fact, it's used a lot for filming because it's one of the few old-style hotels left in Los Angeles. We found one of the advantages of shooting there was that the lobby is huge -- which, among other things, allowed Ivan to do a great tracking shot of the Ghostbusters entering the hotel, with Bill shouting out, 'Hey, anybody seen a ghost?'" -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 68 --

• On the set, Venkman's response to the cockroach line became: "It'll bite your head off." When the elevator arrives, the Ghostbusters get inside, but the guest hesitates. "Going up?" asks Stantz. "I'll take the next one," the guest replies.

• In the July and August drafts, Spengler conducts an early demonstration of the experimental ghostbusting equipment for his comrades at the firehall. Since the self-contained unit is still under development, the existing prototype is plugged into an AC outlet. "An audible surge of power runs from the wall socket along the extension cord to the power pack on Spengler's back. The pack heats up to 550 degrees and kicks the electrical surge back down the wire to the wall outlet which melts. At once, all the lights in the room black out." Compounding the gag, the action then cuts to an exterior of the firehouse as all the lights in and on the building go out, as does the street lamp and the stoplight at the corner. Then the action cuts once again to a long shot of downtown office buildings as they all black out in rapid succession, leaving dark silhouettes against the night sky.

• "The demonstration sequence had some minor jokes in it, but it would have worked against the surprise and humor of the later hotel scenes. I felt it was much better to show the equipment for the first time in a real situation -- in action." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 69 --

Image Caption: Dan Aykroyd's fascination with 'ghostbusting' hardware was evident from his very first draft -- and even in the final film, the technology he conceived remained essentially intact. Among the John Daveikis drawings he commissioned were two renderings of the Stantz character wearing an ecto-visor in both the up and down position. The visor -- which became part of the finished field pack in the film -- was featured in only one brief scene during the banquet hall sequence. The proton packs and nutrona wands were constructed in balsawood and cardboard prototype form by Steven Dane -- with significant input from Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd -- and then turned over to Chuck Gaspar for actual construction.

-- Page 70 --

Image Caption: The Onionhead's film debut, as depicted in storyboard form by Thom Enriquez. Though the ghost design and its essential action were already locked in, these early sketches show Venkman and Stantz discovering the ghost together -- a story point that was altered sometime between the August draft and the final shooting script. Also, since costume and hardware concepts were not fully realized as yet, the boards reflect rather nondescript, generic attire.

-- Page 71 --

• The interior of the elevator and all the corridors of the hotel were actually sets constructed on Stage 12 at The Burbank Studios.

• When cast, the Ghostbusters' first near-victim became a chambermaid rather than a bellboy. All three of them fire upon her, and when the barrage subsides, she peers out angrily from behind her laser-blasted cart --scorched rolls of toilet paper raining down about her -- and demands, "What the hell are you doing?!" As the perpetrators express their sheepish apologies, Venkman comments, "We thought you were someone else." Then, as they move away and Stantz suggests they should perhaps split up, Venkman remarks, "Yeah, we can do more damage that way."

• "I knew that when they blew the maid away with their nutrona wands, we'd get a big laugh. It's the first time you see the equipment work -- and you get the sense that it's the first time they've seen the equipment work. Too often in movies, you have characters using equipment they've never even seen before and suddenly they acquire instantaneous expertise. I thought it would be funnier if the guys were really trigger-happy and nervous -- like rookie cops with loaded weapons." -- Ivan Reitman

• Once the newlyweds' scenes were cut from the film, the Ghostbusters' examination of Room 1210 was deemed superfluous -- as was their expository exchange, included primarily to explain how the ghost was able to move from room to room. Since the vapor later passes through a solid wall with no apparent difficulty, its earlier employment of air ducts seemed pointlessly self-limiting.

-- Page 72 --

• Deleted from the final draft was a scene in which Stantz and Venkman are followed about by an obnoxious ten-year-old boy who -- to their growing annoyance -- thinks they're nothing more than janitors. Meanwhile, Spengler has his encounter with the woman in a towel. Though Spengler's scene remained intact through all four of the collaborative drafts, it still failed to make it into the film.

• "We never even shot it. We had Mary Woronov, from Eating Raoul, cast as the woman. She's a very good actress -- very striking -- but it just came down to time. We had only so many days to shoot and we had to accomplish a certain amount. It was evident that the real heart of the Sedgewick Hotel sequence was going to take place in the banquet room later on; and as we were shooting, Ivan just knew that this little scene with Spengler and the woman would not end up in the film. So he didn't even shoot it. The same was true with the later scene of the hotel guest and his white dinner jacket. As Ivan started to sense the rhythm and pace of the overall sequence, it became apparent to him that little scenes like these were a waste of time. The pay-off was in the banquet room, and he wanted to get his characters there as quickly as possible. When you can anticipate what's inevitably going to be cut, and save yourself shooting time, it's a good way to work." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 73 --

Image Caption: Another Thom Enriquez storyboard for a short scene, which -- although in the script -- was never shot. Ivan Reitman cut the scene on the set, having determined that its inclusion would only disrupt the heightening pace of the hotel chase sequence.

Image Caption: Enriquez -- working under Michael Gross' direction -- was largely responsible for development of the Onionhead. Two preliminary concepts, plus two views of the final.

-- Page 74 --

Image Caption: Steve Johnson adds finishing touches to a miniature clay prototype of the Onionhead ghost. In all, three large-scale Onionheads were constructed -- one for smiling, one for looking frightened and one for use in the drinking scenes.

Image Caption: A miniature Onionhead was fabricated for long shots of it swishing about the hotel chandelier, but was never used.

Image Caption: Sculptor Marc Siegel at work on the terror-stricken version of the Onionhead. Once completed, the figure was cast in the form of a foam latex suit, with facial articulations achieved through cable mechanisms.

-- Page 75 --

Image Caption: During effects photography, the Onionhead suit was worn by Mark Wilson. Full-figure shots required that his legs -- which extended out from beneath the legless torso -- be draped with black velvet for maximum concealment.

Image Caption: Although Wilson provided the major movements for Onionhead, a team of puppeteers -- wearing helmets or behind plexiglass in this food-throwing scene -- produced the more subtle, cable-actuated expressions. Oversized props were used so that when composited with live-action, the ghost could be made to appear smaller than human-size.

Image Caption: Overleaf -- Onionhead mugs for the camera at Entertainment Effects Group.

-- Page 78 --

• After going through an evolutionary design process, the hotel ghost finally emerged as a green, potato-shaped creature -- and it was at this point, in July, that its description as such was incorporated into the script. Prior accounts were less specific, indicating merely that it was an incredibly foul-smelling amorphous vapor.

• "Thelma Moss, of the parapsychology department at UCLA, told me after seeing the movie that one of the classic types of hauntings is known as the 'hungry ghost' -- a ghost who just eats and drinks. We didn't know that when we wrote the Onionhead into our script, but it's a nice coincidence." -- Harold Ramis

• "One day, during preproduction, we were all sitting around talking about the Onionhead concept and Ivan remarked that the character was sort of like Bluto in Animal House -- like the ghost of John Belushi, in a way. Danny, who was obviously a good friend of John's, never argued with that. Even so, we never officially said that and we never mentioned it in the script. It was just one way to look at the character, because Onionhead's grossness is like Bluto's in Animal House. We certainly never expected anyone to recognize him as such, although somehow the word did get out and we received some calls from a few newspapers saying they'd heard we had the ghost of John Belushi in our movie." -- Joe Medjuck

• The room service cart which trails along behind the Onionhead as it flies through the hotel corridors was actually a motorized vehicle, piloted from underneath by one of Chuck Gaspar's crew members. For the scene where it crashes and overturns, the driver was removed and the cart merely pushed into the wall. The ghost itself -- which passes through the solid surface leaving a slimy, dripping residue behind -- was shot on stage at Entertainment Effects Group and incorporated optically in the live-action photography.

-- Page 79 --

• Venkman's line is not in the film. Though not as convinced or enthusiastic as his cohorts, Venkman is nonetheless intent on successfully completing their first mission.

• "All of the hallway scenes were shot on stage. We could have filmed them at the Biltmore, but there were several disadvantages to doing that. For one, it would have taken longer to shoot, since we would have had to go in there and get set up in some very narrow hallways. And for the effects people, the real hotel corridors would have created terrible problems. The Biltmore's floors had a very busy pattern on them; and the walls were all white, which would have made it almost impossible to generate a transparent ghost image. And, finally, we were concerned about damaging the hotel, which was a real possibility. As it was, we could dump things on the carpet and burn up the walls without really worrying about it. Interestingly, the set had originally been built for Rich and Famous and was patterned after the Algonquin Hotel in New York. John DeCuir bought it from M-G-M and cleverly reconfigured it to our needs." -- Michael Gross

• Venkman is suddenly a believer. When Stantz remarks over the radio, "He's an ugly little spud, isn't he?" -- one of several Aykroyd 'potato' references -- Venkman quietly cautions, "I think he can hear you, Ray."

-- Page 81 --

Image Caption: Joe Day applies 'ectoslime' to Bill Murray. In reality, the gooey substance was derived from methylcellulose ether -- a powdered thickening agent used in pharmaceuticals and food products.

• Venkman's "He slimed me!" -- consistently one of the biggest laugh lines in the film -- was instantly assimilated into the public consciousness in the form of bumper stickers, pins and T-shirts. In fact, the prolonged laughter which invariably followed the line generally obliterated both Stantz' immediate reaction -- "That's great! Actual physical contact!" -- as well as Spengler's equally detached, wholly professional: "Save some for me."

• "We knew it would get a good response. I'd had a lot of people read the script, to get their reactions, and everybody loved that line -- even though it was fairly simple. Dan had coined the term 'ectoslime,' and so 'He slimed me' was kind of a natural progression from that. That's often the way things work in a good collaborative relationship. Someone will say one thing, the other person adds to it and, together, you come up with the obvious third thing. The notion of slime was a good one. It led to several funny lines in the script as well as some good physical business." -- Harold Ramis

• Though the hallway action took place on a soundstage, the sequence which follows was shot at the Biltmore Hotel. Modified with a breakaway chandelier and a set of prefabricated replacement walls, the ornate banquet facility was taken over by the film crew and occupied for two days.

• "In order to remain true to the continuity of the script, the banquet room sequence had to take place at night. The Ghostbusters had been sleeping when the call came in and they'd already been at the hotel for quite some time. But for the scene to be really effective, the room needed to be set up for a function of some kind. We needed table settings and wine decanters and food on the tables -- things for the ghost to eat and drink, and things for the Ghostbusters to shoot up and demolish. But how could we justify a completely laid out banquet room this late at night? We finally solved the problem with a single billboard, outside the room, announcing a midnight buffet for a nonexistent theatre association -- the implication being that the group was having a banquet after attending the theatre. I doubt if anyone in the audience ever gave it a thought, but we certainly did." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 82 --

• In the improvisational atmosphere of the set, much of the dialogue in this sequence was changed and/or embellished. When Spengler warns that crossing the streams would be bad, Venkman hesitates a moment and says: "I'm fuzzy on the whole good-bad thing. What do you mean, bad?" Spengler replies: "Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light." "Right, that's bad," Venkman agrees. "Okay. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon."

• "From the time we turn on our nutrona wands to try and corner the ghost, Ivan wanted the scene played as continuous action. So there's not a lot of directional dialogue here, with people saying what they are doing. You see the Onionhead dive behind the bar. My character opens fire on it, completely destroying the bar, and Bill says, 'Hey, nice shootin', Tex." -- Harold Ramis

• Though the nutrona wands employed in the film are clearly rifle-inspired firearms, the high-tech ghost-herding devices of Dan Aykroyd's original concept were indeed wand-like. Attached via thick black flexcords to a back-mounted proton power source, the wands were strapped in place at the wrist -- one on each arm -- and extended out along the palm to a point six inches beyond the fingertips. When fired -- by means of an elbow toggle switch on the backpack -- phosphorescent beams of red and green light issued forth.

-- Page 83 --

Image Caption: In spirited pursuit of the Onionhead vapor, the trigger-happy Ghostbusters open up with their nutrona wands, spraying great arcing swaths into the walls of the Sedgewick's ornate banquet room. Filmed on location at the Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles, the scenes required that Chuck Gaspar and his crew prepare a series of replacement walls, each embedded with fuses and pyrotechnic materials which could be ignited on cue. These fake walls were then erected over the actual wall surfaces in the Biltmore. The incendiary nutrona beams were produced later at Entertainment Effects Group through a variety of animation techniques.

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman confers with Laszlo Kovacs and first assistant director Gary Daigler between setups in the Biltmore banquet hall.

-- Page 84 --

• In the finished film, the action cuts back and forth between the destruction inside and the lobby outside -- with the nervous hotel manager trying calmly, but without much conviction, to assure the elderly party organizer that everything is under control and that the room will be ready by the time her guests arrive.

• At a critical point in the melee, Venkman is seized by an irresistible impulse to try and yank the tablecloth off one of the banquet tables without disturbing the carefully-set china and glassware. He fails spectacularly.

• Overall, the Onionhead entrapment follows -- with a fair degree of faithfulness -- the opening sequence in Dan Aykroyd's solo script. As originally drafted, the Ghostbusters respond to a call from the Greenville Guest House regarding the discovery in the kitchen of gluttonous yellow mist of grotesquely altered human form -- a 'FRVP' or 'free-repeating vaporous phantasm' in ghostbusting lingo. After chasing the apparition -- described as 'onion-headed' at one point -- through the rustic guest home, the Ghostbusters corner it in the basement, encircle it with nutrona beams and maneuver it into a small collapsible trap.

-- Page 85 --

• The scene ends with an ad-libbed variation on Stantz' scripted line: "Well, that wasn't such a chore now, was it?" Venkman's deleted response was at one point to have been spoken by Winston -- as yet not introduced in the final, restructured screenplay.

• In the film, Venkman emerges from the battle-worn banquet hall with an exuberant: "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!"

• "When the Ghostbusters first arrive at the hotel, you don't really know if this is a legit call. Is there really a ghost? Then the payoff comes -- you actually see the Onionhead at the end of the hallway. It's not really doing anything -- it's minding its own business -- which is a totally different approach to movie ghosts. It doesn't want to have anything to do with these guys. It's the Ghostbusters who harrass the ghost -- not the other way around -- and I think the audience starts to feel a little sorry for it by the time it's gasping for air on the ceiling of the banquet room." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 86 --

• In the first Dan Aykroyd script, the Greenville Guest House proprietor balked at a mere $500 fee. By the time the scene went before the camera, however, even the elevated $5000 charge cited in the final shooting script was proclaimed a bargain: "For the entrapment, we're going to have to ask you for four big ones -- $4000 for that. But we are having a special this week on proton charging and storage of the beast. And that's only gonna come to $1000, fortunately."

• The impromptu press conference outside the Hotel Sedgewick was deleted from the film, as was the subsequent exchange between Spengler and the street punk and the spontaneous singing of their commercial jingle -- still unwritten at this point in the shooting schedule.

-- Page 87 --

Image Caption: An extract from script supervisor Trish Kinney's lined script -- a standard shot-by-shot record of the production used for tracking progress during principal photography and for subsequent reference during the editing process. Included in the document are scene numbers and descriptions, dates shot, camera lenses used, number of takes recorded and alternate line readings.

Image Caption: Instructed to cut loose with his imagination, Italian comic artist Liberatore produced a number of extreme, highly eccentric ghost concepts -- none of which actually ended up in the film.

-- Page 88 --

• "I always wanted the Ghostbusters' first big 'score' to be in a very public place so they would become instantly famous. A New York hotel was, of course, perfect for that. What makes the sequence great, though, is that the audience can really empathize with these guys. They're just three people being confronted for the first time with a ghost that they are being paid to catch. They don't know how to work the equipment and they're not sure what they're doing, but they're in there giving it their best shot." --Ivan Reitman

-- Page 89 --

Image Caption: Further ghost concepts as proposed by Brent Boates and Berni Wrightson.

-- Page 90 --

Image Caption: Since the montage featured a dearth of actual ghosts, it was decided that perhaps still photographs could be appropriately doctored and incorporated into the sequence. One such image -- a photo of Stantz and Venkman enhanced with an airbrush rendering of the Chinatown ghost -- was prepared for possible use on the New York Post front page, but was ultimately rejected by Ivan Reitman.

-- Page 91 --

• Following their triumph at the Sedgewick Hotel, the Ghostbusters become instant pop heroes and certified media phenomena. To economically chronicle their rising fame and fortune, the film employed a cleverly constructed montage comprised of ghostbusting activities at various New York locations, television and radio news commentaries and print coverage in newspapers and magazines. The script, though faithful to the concept, was primarily a sketchy outline for what the sequence would eventually become.

• "Most of the montage was shot in one day in New York. We had been working late the night before with the full crew, then got up early in the morning and went all over town with a small crew, shooting stuff. We went to Chinatown, Rockefeller Center, 42nd Street, Saks Fifth Avenue and the United Nations -- all in one day. We didn't really have permits to shoot in any of these places -- we just made quick stops here and there. That's pretty much the way Ivan made movies in the old days -- a small crew, moving fast. We had two small trucks with equipment, and Danny was actually driving the Ectomobile, having a great time. And the crowds on 42nd Street are real. You put Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd on a street corner, and you have no trouble drawing a crowd." -- Joe Medjuck

• More in keeping with its reportorial style, the New York Post headline became: 'Ghost Cops Bust Chinatown Spook.' Other journalistic accounts -- intercut with the live-action -- ranged from the immediacy of U.S.A. Today ('Ghost Fever Grips New York') to the thoughtful analysis of Time ('Ghostbusters -- Supernatural Success Story') to the high-tech reportage of Omni ('Quantum Leaps -- Ghostbusters' Tools of the Trade'), and from the highbrow Atlantic ('The Politics of the Next Dimension -- Do Ghosts Have Civil Rights?') to the lowbrow Globe ('Ghostbusters Super Diet.')

• "Sometimes it's difficult to get permission from actual publications to use their covers in this way. Several wouldn't let us do it at all, and the ones that did had to approve the covers before we could use them. Once permission was granted, though, they were easy to do. I was at National Lampoon during the early years, and we did those kinds of magazine takeoffs all the time." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 92 --

Image Caption: Ghostbusters' fictitious magazine covers and newspaper front pages featured not only mock photographs and headlines, but numerous in-jokes as well. Time's characteristic corner flap bears the image of associate producer Michael Gross, while U.S.A. Today's golf victor is Michael McWillie -- a designer hired to produce the bogus covers. (Time title and format by permission of the publisher, Time, Inc.)

-- Page 93 --

• Arrangements had been made with the familiar Times Square landmark to display the Ghostbusters news flash, but the shot had to be cancelled on the day of shooting due to rain. With their critically tight production schedule, particularly during the New York location shoot, the film crew was unable to return for the shot.

• Since real-life television and radio personalities --including local NBC newscaster Roger Grimsby, radio talk show host Larry King, nostalgia guru Joe Franklin and syndicated disk jockey Casey Kasem -- were used wherever possible, the line between reality and fabrication was often blurred. Man-on-the-street Roy Brady, for instance, was played by an actor, as was the curious passer-by who comes up and peers over his shoulder into the camera.

• "We approached several national newscasters, but most of them turned us down cold. Newscasters, it seems, are very sensitive about doing anything other than real news -- bad for their credibility. Casey Kasem was included at the very last minute during postproduction, In fact, the idea of putting him in came to us the day before we recorded it. We called him up, made the deal, he appeared the next day, read his bit and we cut it into the film -- all in 24 hours." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 94 --

Image Caption: In a scene deleted from the film, a New York policeman makes a nervous attempt to ticket the illegally parked Ectomobile -- which, although unoccupied, keeps him under close surveillance.

-- Page 95 --

• The encounter between the policeman and the Ectomobile is the only scene in the final shooting script which suggested that the vehicle itself had some extranormal powers -- a carryover from Dan Aykroyd's initial draft in which the Ectomobile was equipped with an advanced dematerializing capability that allowed its operators, functioning somewhat outside the law, to readily elude police pursuit. Though the ticketing sequence was shot and cut into the film, it was ultimately removed because it slowed down the break-neck pace of the montage.

• "There was no reason for the Ectomobile to have magical powers. It had been done with the Bluesmobile in The Blues Brothers -- where the car did somersaults and things like that -- and I didn't think it was particularly successful. I don't like movies that have no rules -- where anything is possible. We were already asking the audience to believe that there was a piece of equipment that could trap a ghost. Asking them to accept an Ectomobile with supernatural powers was just too much." -- Ivan Reitman

• The initial exchange between Franklin and Stantz was deleted, but not before Dan Aykroyd, an authority on such matters, raised the point that Hold That Ghost -- a title apparently inserted into the script by Harold Ramis -- was an Abbott and Costello film and not a Bowery Boys film. During one of the takes, Aykroyd responded to Franklin's inquiry about Elvis with: "He's lost a lot of weight."

-- Page 96 --

• Larry King's conversation with the female caller was recorded, but not used in the film. As with most of the other bits in the montage, King's scripted dialogue was reworked on the spot and then later pared to the bone in editing.

• "It was interesting. On the East Coast, everyone kept saying: 'Wow! You're using the real Larry King?' And on the West Coast, everyone said 'Who's Larry King?'" --Joe Medjuck

• Venkman's interception of Dana outside the Metropolitan Opera House -- ostensibly to give her a progress report on her case -- was actually the first scene shot between Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver. As would happen with the earlier apartment sequence -- photographed later in Los Angeles -- the two actors worked with Ivan Reitman the night before shooting to refine the dialogue. Although not always the case, in this instance the modified dialogue developed during rehearsal -- including such apparently off-the-cuff lines as "I respect you as an artist and as a dresser" -- was typed up, virtually on the spot, and inserted into the script in time for shooting the next morning.

• "The Lincoln Center sequence could have been better; but because it was the first scene we shot with Bill and Sigourney, we hadn't yet worked out the relationship between their characters as completely as we would have liked. Aside from the usual embellishments you get whenever Bill Murray is on camera, the scene was shot pretty much as written -- but then we had to fudge a little bit in editing to get it over with as painlessly as possible." -Ivan Reitman

• "For the long shots, we had to loop the dialogue because the Lincoln Center fountain in the background created so much noise. For the closeups -- when the fountain was out of frame -- we were able to have the water shut off." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 97 --

• "Gozer is based on several things. For one, there's a Gozer Chevrolet dealership in upstate New York. A little more to the point, though, is the fact that Gozer was a name that related to a documented haunting in England -- the one Poltergeist was based on, in fact. During this particular haunting, the name Gozer appeared mysteriously throughout the house, written on walls and things. So we figured we might as well take something that had been reported in the public domain as an actual occurrence and use it in the film as our main demon and supernatural force." -- Dan Aykroyd

-- Page 98 --

Image Caption: Outside the Metropolitan Opera House, Sigourney Weaver and Bill Murray rehearse their first scene together. Assistant cameraman Joe Thibo observes from the rear.

Image Caption: Murray, who consistently demonstrated an infallible knack for cutting through tension on the set, clowns around during the Lincoln Center location shoot.

-- Page 99 --

• Unable to keep up with their crushing workload, the paranormal entrepreneurs place a 'help wanted' ad which draws the fourth member of their team -- Winston Zeddemore. Until the final shooting draft, Winston had been seen in the script as a security man for the company. When it became apparent that the Ghostbusters had no real need for a security man, he became instead a full-fledged -- if not altogether convinced -- Ghostbuster.

• "I think the original concept for Winston's character was younger and hipper. At one point, we were talking with Gregory Hines about playing the part. We also considered getting a young, black comedian -- somebody like Eddie Murphy. But, in retrospect, its probably just as well we didn't. It would have been just too much. As it is, there is a nice balance among the four characters. Winston is the moderate character against which the other three can play." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 100 --

• As finally edited, the firehall scene splits at this point. When Janine indicates that Winston has come about the job, Stantz -- reflecting the exhaustion all of them are feeling -- gets right to the point: "Beautiful. You're hired." Then, before Winston can offer anything more than a slightly surprised expression of thanks, Stantz reaches out and hands him two smoking ghost traps. This portion of the scene -- lifted out of its scripted sequence -- was cut into the film between the final shot in the montage and the commencement of the Lincoln Center exchange between Venkman and Dana.

-- Page 101 --

• Scene between Stantz and Winston was cut, so the sequence -- as edited -- flows logically from Venkman's exchange with Janine to his subsequent confrontation with Walter Peck.

-- Page 102 --

• In Dan Aykroyd's first script, the spectral storage facility was not at the firehouse itself, but rather in a deserted Sunoco gas station in northern New Jersey, taken over by the Ghostbusters and surreptitiously converted into a holding cell for wayward spirits.

-- Page 103 --

• As filmed, the initial segment of the basement scene was expanded to a more detailed account of the finer points involved in transferring incarcerated ghosts from their portable traps to the more permanent firehall storage facility. Stantz' demonstration and running commentary --serving to educate both Winston and the audience -- was subsequently excised from the sequence and inserted earlier between the Lincoln Center and Walter Peck scenes.

-- Page 104 --

• The 'Twinkle' analogy was invented by Harold Ramis as a way to explain the enormity of the psychokinetic energy levels Spengler is detecting within the city.

• "We were delighted with the notion that this script could be so 'out there,' and yet still have a scientific and parapsychological plausibility. From a physics point of view, Dan was always talking about things like 'holes in the reality envelope.' Well, I didn't know what that would mean to an audience, so I came up with this 'Mr. Wizard' kind of analogy -- describing the universe as an expanding four-dimensional balloon. And as I was talking, I'd be blowing up this balloon. Then I'd explain, 'If something were to penetrate the envelope of our reality...' -- and the balloon would pop. That then led into the Twinkle' analogy. The whole thing made sense in terms of the plot but it was just much too long, so only the Twinkle survived." -- Harold Ramis

• The script includes a look inside the storage facility that was ultimately deleted from the movie.

• "It would have been a great shot. The inside of the storage facility was conceived as a sort of drunk tank holding cell for lost souls. There would have been hundreds of disgruntled and miserable ghosts, sitting around on benches. Venkman says: 'I can't look anymore. It's too depressing.' And we started to think the audience might feel the same way. Again, we didn't want the audience to feel sorry for the ghosts. Another consideration was that this would have been a major effects sequence, requiring the generation of hundreds of supernatural creatures. We just didn't have enough time left, so the shot had to go." --Michael Gross

Image Caption: John DeCuir's mammoth rooftop set, constructed on Stage 16 at The Burbank Studios.

-- Page 107 --

Image Caption: Prior to construction of the million-dollar set, DeCuir prepared a small foam core study model.

Image Caption: With a makeshift viewing device made from cardboard, Ivan Reitman and Richard Edlund plot out possible camera angles.

Image Caption: Using photos and conceptual illustrations for guidance, assistant matte artist Michelle Moen roughs out one of the rooftop matte paintings. In all, more than forty such paintings were employed in the film.

Image Caption: Overleaf -- Filming on the Gozer temple set.

-- Page 110 --

Image Caption: Foreshadowed throughout the film as the psychic center of New York's ever-rising level of supernatural activity, the gothic rooftop of Dana's apartment building fulfills its ominous promise as the stone Terror Dogs flanking the gated entryway to the Gozer temple slowly come to life. Stagehands make adjustments to the rod- and cable-operated mechanical claw which has just emerged from the breakaway statue.

Image Caption: With an appropriate air of melodrama, the Terror Dogs' emergence from their stone prisons was staged amid a raging electrical storm -- simulated with wind and smoke machines, crackling spark generators and postproduction sound effects.

-- Page 111 --

• During production, it was decided to augment the eerie light effect by having the door actually bulge outward, as though some unearthly force was trying to push through it. To achieve the effect, Chuck Gaspar and his crew constructed a special door frame over which they stretched a thick sheet of latex rubber. Makeshift handles were then attached to irregularly-shaped pieces of foam -- early tests for the standing mounds of melted marshmallow required later in the film -- thereby allowing the lumpy foam shapes to be pushed against the elastic door from behind to create the desired indentations.

-- Page 112 --

• Though the final three drafts of the script consistently described Dana's chairborne assault by two pairs of inhuman hands, it was decided from a practical point of view to limit the total number of hands to two. Curiously, the sequence ended up with three.

• "It was always the intention to have only two, but when Thom Enriquez storyboarded the sequence, he showed the movement of one of the arms by drawing it in two positions, with cartoon-style movement lines in between. This drawing was misunderstood by the guys in the 'monster shop,' so they built three -- and since they had, we used them. When it came time to shoot the scene, Ivan decided to have the third arm come right up between Sigoumey's legs. It really made the sequence much more terrifying and threatening. Originally, each arm was different. One was a human arm, one had a hook on the end of it and one was a green, frog-like sucker arm. Ivan didn't like the sucker arm -- he thought it looked too cartoonish -- so we ended up with two human arms and the one with the hook." --Michael Gross

• "Ghostbusters was different than the traditional kind of comedy I'd done before because it had the added element of terror -- and a balance had to be struck between the terror and the comedy. The scene where the arms come out of the chair and grab Dana is a perfect example. I wanted it to be scary -- and I think it is -- but not so frightening that it takes the fun out of it. In some scenes, I was really treading a fine line." -- Ivan Reitman

• "Articulated puppets take a long time to build -- and we knew the articulated Terror Dog wouldn't be ready until our last couple days of shooting. So all of the shots requiring an articulated dog, such as the one in Dana's kitchen, had to wait until the very end. Unfortunately, by that time, Dana's apartment set had been completely trashed for later scenes in the film -- holes knocked in the walls and floors torn up and that sort of thing. So after everything else was done, John DeCuir and his crew had to go in and put that set completely back together -- for one Terror Dog shot." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 113 --

Image Caption: Dana becomes a victim of long-dormant supernatural forces when an overstuffed chair in her apartment suddenly sprouts arms and propels her into the kitchen for an audience with the Gozer. The arms were constructed in the Entertainment Effects Group 'ghost shop' and were worn as glove appliances by three puppeteers who positioned themselves beneath the chair or otherwise out of camera range. Ivan Reitman coaches Sigourney Weaver through the early stages of the armed assault.

Image Caption: For a closeup as the chair pivots about prior to sliding into the kitchen, both camera and chair -- with arms removed for easier access by the puppeteers -- were mounted on a manually operated rotating platform. The shot, which showed the room whirling behind the struggling cellist, was ultimately cut in favor of an overhead view.

Image Caption: An additional arm concept, rejected by Ivan Reitman as being too cartoonish.

-- Page 114 --

• The 'nerd party' evolved from an idea suggested by Rick Moranis shortly before principal photography began. To retain the comedic flow of Louis' blithering monologue, Ivan Reitman shot the entire party sequence -- up to the Terror Dog's appearance -- as one long take, following Moranis around the room from guest to guest.

• Getting the coats to land on the Terror Dog's head -- a job that fell to effects art director John Bruno -- proved to be more difficult than anticipated, requiring numerous repeat attempts before a successful shot was achieved.

• "The concept of the Terror Dogs changed considerably -- both in the way they fit into the story and in their design. In earlier drafts, they were sympathetic creatures from another dimension -- sort of 'strangers in a strange land' -- who were terrified of Gozer and trying to escape him. They took the form of human beings and went to the Ghostbusters seeking help. By the time the script reached its final form, however, that idea had been completely reversed. Design-wise, they began as rotting, dead dogs -- creatures that had been dug up from the grave. We began to realize, though, that we didn't have to be so literal, or 'earthbound,' in the design. As with the ghosts, the Terror Dogs could be anything we wanted them to be. Ultimately, they evolved into creatures that are not particularly canine, but the name 'Terror Dog' seemed to stick." -- Michael Gross

• Three scenes in the sequence -- the Terror Dog bursting through the bedroom door, then landing on the buffet table and later crashing through the apartment door into the hallway -- were postproduction blue-screen shots utilizing a small-scale stop-motion puppet animated frame by frame. Closeups -- and other scenes where the creature was not required to walk, run or jump -- were achieved on the live-action set using the full-size articulated puppet.

-- Page 115 --

Image Caption: As originally scripted for John Candy, the Louis Tully character was to have had decidedly earthier interests -- best evidenced in the party sequence as it appeared in the August draft.

-- Page 116 --

Image Caption: During preproduction, several artists were engaged to generate literally dozens of widely divergent proposals for the Terror Dogs' appearance, only sketchily described in the script. Among them were a spiny hammerhead creature -- designed by John Daveikis to accompany Dan Aykroyd's original script -- and a lumbering dim-witted creature conceived by Thom Enriquez.

Image Caption: Whether to make the creatures humorous or horrific was a matter of considerable debate -- with some concepts (such as Berni Wrightson's below) attempting to do both.

-- Page 117 --

Image Caption: A few of the early renderings took a literal approach to the Terror Dogs -- depicting them as partially decomposed canines returned from the grave. Robert Kline went so far as to devise separate concepts -- one rather svelt creature which would transform into Dana, played by an as yet unspecified actress; and a short dumpy one which would become Louis, played by John Candy.

Image Caption: A later Kline concept began to take on the appearance of a dragon.

Image Caption: Thom Enriquez prepared the final Terror Dog drawing which was okayed by Ivan Reitman.

Image Caption: From the approved sketch, a preliminary sculpture was rendered by Kurt Conner. Even at this point, however, the filmmakers realized that the concept needed considerable refinement.

-- Page 118 --

Image Caption: After the basic concept was approved, it was delivered to sculptor and stop-motion animator Randall William Cook, who modified and refined it into workable form.

Image Caption: While Cook worked on the small sculpture, other members of the 'ghost shop' were busy scaling up the creature so it could also be produced in full size.

Image Caption: The full-scale Terror Dog, roughed out in clay.

Image Caption: Once completed, the clay sculptures -- both large and small were sectioned off so that plaster molds could be made.

-- Page 119 --

Image Caption: A miniature Terror Dog armature positioned inside its plaster mold prior to injection of the foam latex used to produce the final stop-motion puppet.

Image Caption: A foam latex 'skin' rests unattached on the full-size Terror Dog underskull.

Image Caption: A cable-actuated claw mechanism.

Image Caption: A control box for remote operation of the eyes.

Image Caption: A large-scale, non-articulated Terror Dog -- for early use on the temple set -- nears completion in the ghost shop.

Image Caption: Sigourney Weaver meets her cinematic alter ego during a visit to Entertainment Effects Group.

Image Caption: Bill Sturgeon at work on the cable-operated underskull which would give the full-size dog its range of facial articulations.

-- Page 120 --

Image Caption: All effects storyboards were designed by Entertainment Effects Group art director John Bruno, with final polish by Brent Boates. In order to accurately storyboard the sequence in Louis' apartment, Bruno prepared a rough layout of the apartment and its contents to be certain that he and the main production unit were in strict accordance.

Image Caption: The clumsiness of the Terror Dog was emphasized in some of the early boards, although many of the gags -- including a shot of it sliding into the wall and causing Louis' bookshelves to collapse -- were omitted prior to photography.

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman coaches the Terror Dog in the apartment house corridor. Major motions were made by a puppeteer whose torso extended up through the elevated floor and into the dog. Facial articulations were cable-controlled by a half-dozen operators working independently, but in concert. The video camera in the foreground was used so that puppeteers below stage could gauge the results of their action on monitors.

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman directs Rick Moranis during the Terror Dog's demolition of Louis' apartment.

-- Page 121 --

• In the August draft, Louis' attempted escape into Central Park is preceded by a sequence in which -- having just emerged from the apartment house -- he flags down a passing taxi and jumps inside. Seconds later, the Terror Dog bounds out of the building and launches itself onto the hood of the cab. In true New York form, the driver hurls a few expletives at the beast, guns his motor and speeds away, causing the creature to lose its balance and fall by the wayside. Undaunted, the Terror Dog takes off in hot pursuit, chasing the taxi through the streets of Manhattan.

• Minor characters included in every draft of the script, the two bums -- played by Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd -- nevertheless failed to make it into the final film.

• "The bums were like Shakespearean fools or gravediggers -- a couple of guys who are there just to introduce another level of mundane comment. Bill and Dan were put in makeup and wardrobe, and they played the bums as spinoffs of characters they had done on Saturday Night Live. It was very funny, but it was just too obvious that it was them." -- Harold Ramis

• "As soon as I saw it on the screen, I knew I would have to cut it. The audience would have been left wondering why Stantz and Venkman were dressed up like bums, talking funny. I tried casting it with other people, but no one could make it work the way Bill and Dan had. Besides, we already had plenty of humor, plenty of story and plenty of length -- so the whole thing was really unnecessary." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 122 --

Image Caption: The bums' midnight stroll through Central Park is interrupted by the Terror Dog's heated pursuit of Louis -- another brief sequence cut from the film.

Image Caption: In appropriate makeup and attire, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd played the bums as spinoffs of characters they had developed during their Saturday Night Live days. Ultimately, Ivan Reitman felt that audiences might find the abrupt juxtaposition of roles more confusing than amusing.

-- Page 123 --

• Habitues of the Tavern on the Green were no doubt puzzled to see its entryway flanked by two stone statues -- another bit of John DeCuir set dressing designed to enhance the gothic ambience of the city. Since the Terror Dog was not completed in time for the location photography, the shot of it rising ominously into frame -- the only one in the sequence where the dog is seen at all -- had to be assembled optically.

• "The original idea was for Louis to be trapped by the Terror Dog in a dark corner of the park. But Ivan was scouting locations one day, emulating Louis' moves from the time he runs out of the apartment building -- 'Louis runs here, then he runs here, and then he runs ... there!' And there was the Tavern on the Green -- a logical distance for Louis to have run, and a logical place to seek refuge." -- Michael Gross

• "Once I had the location, it was very easy for me to visualize how the scene should go. New Yorkers are famous for ignoring pleas for help from people who are being shot and maimed right in front of them. So I think it would probably really happen like that -- all of these nicely-dressed people, enjoying a lovely meal; and then outside, this desperate, crazy person, pounding on the windows trying to get in. It was a delicious combination of terror, comedy and ironic social satire." -- Ivan Reitman

• As rearranged in the editorial process, Louis' encounter with the Terror Dog cuts directly to Venkman arriving outside Dana's apartment building. The scene between Vinz and the coachman's horse eventually preceded the police van's delivery of Louis to the Ghostbusters" fireball.

-- Page 124 --

• The exchange between Louis and the horse harkens back to a deleted scene from the June and July drafts in which Venkman and the alien Zuul -- masquerading as human in Dana's body -- leave the restaurant and encounter several carriage horses. Noticing the bridles and harnesses, Zuul inquires if they are prisoners. Uncertain of her reaction, Venkman responds promptly: "No, no. They're volunteers. This is considered a good job for a horse." "They look so sad," Zuul laments, and then kisses one of the beasts with enough genuine emotion to elicit a worried look from the carriage driver. In the June draft, Venkman pulls her away and segues -- ever so smoothly -- into an invitation which leads to his surprise wakeup the next morning: "You know. I was just thinking. No trip to this dimension would be complete without a visit to the Times Square Motor Hotel."

• Because shooting time ran out in New York, Venkman's entrance into Dana's apartment house was not shot at the 55 Central Park West location -- but rather at a facsimile of its ground floor constructed at the Columbia Ranch in Burbank for the later sinkhole sequence. Rather than go to the expense of bringing the New York 'doorman' to Los Angeles, a different, but similar-looking actor was hired for the pickup scene.

• In the film, after his perfunctory greeting, Venkman looks Dana over, pauses a moment, and says: "That's a different look for you, isn't it?"

• "There are several funny lines in the beginning of this scene that never get the response they normally would because the audience is so uncomfortable -- uncomfortable in a suspenseful way. It's not really until Bill and Sigourney start wrestling around on the bed that the audience relaxes and feels comfortable enough to laugh." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 125 --

• In the film, Dana closes the door in Venkman's face. Immediately aware that he has made a tactical error in his response, Venkman knocks again. Dana opens the door and repeats the same question. This time Venkman answers affirmatively, and she lets him in.

• "At this point in the film, Bill's character has gone from a cynic to a real believer -- so he takes this situation seriously and behaves like a professional. He shows real concern for this woman we have come to like and we know he's going to do everything he can to save her. And the audience loves him for it." -- Ivan Reitman

• In Dan Aykroyd's original script, the root of New York's widespread psychic disturbances lay in the fact that a 'Zuul' -- a generic term for the other-dimensional creature which would later evolve into the Terror Dogs -- had somehow strayed out of its rightful time and place and was being held captive by the Ghostbusters' employer, himself a transdimensional being. Unfortunately, the Zuul happened to be a favored pet of the all- powerful Gozer -- absolute ruler of the sixth dimension -- who, it seemed, would stop at nothing to recover it. When this concept was superseded in subsequent drafts, Zuul became a given name for the female Terror Dog, which -- along with her like companion, Vinz Clortho -- is seeking refuge from the Gozer in New York.

-- Page 126 --

Image Caption: Eventually cut from the script was a restaurant sequence which appeared in the June and July drafts. In both, Venkman takes Dana -- an interdimensional alien masquerading as a beautiful woman in the first draft, and a beautiful woman possessed by an interdimensional alien in the second -- to a fashionable New York restaurant. Her unfamiliarity with the finer points of human etiquette becomes apparent when, upon arrival, she observes several ladies removing their wraps and proceeds to follow their example by taking off her blouse. Later in the July draft, Louis Tully -- then a visiting conventioneer, also possessed -- enters the same restaurant...

-- Page 127 --

• In an unusual twist on the directorial cameo, Dana's demonic voice -- reminiscent of Mercedes McCambridge's intonations in The Exorcist -- was actually that of Ivan Reitman. Reitman, in fact, provided all of the unearthly voices in the film, except that of Gozer.

-- Page 128 --

Image Caption: Members of Chuck Gaspar's physical effects team make adjustments to the levitation rig employed to lift Dana off the bed and roll her over in midair. During the shot, Sigourney Weaver was placed in a fiberglass body shell concealed beneath her flowing gown. Attached at the waist was a motorized support bar which extended out through a hidden slot in the rear wall. The effect worked well on the first take -- in fact, not until later in dailies did anyone notice that the support bar shadow could be seen moving up and down the wall. As a result, the shot had to be reaccomplished with a different lighting scheme.

-- Page 129 --

• In the script, Winston and Stantz discuss the higher implications of what may be happening in New York on their way to a job at Fort Detmerring. Since the Fort Detmerring sequence was essentially deleted in editing, the conversation was reshuffled to a later spot in the film, with the two men returning from a job -- exhausted and just a bit fearful.

• "This was one of the few scenes in the film that didn't have any big laughs in it, but we always liked it because it offered a possible explanation as to why the city was suddenly being plagued with ghosts. Also, it was a good scene for Winston -- in fact, this was the scene we used to audition actors for the role of Winston." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 130 --

Image Caption: In a scene deleted from the final film, the Ectomobile arrives at Fort Detmerring -- a standing set at the Columbia Ranch, dressed rather simply with an identifying sign and a guard shack.

Image Caption: A park ranger briefs Stantz and Zeddemore on reports of strange sightings within the old fort.

-- Page 131 --

• As finally edited, the film cuts from Venkman's confrontation with the levitating Dana to Louis' emergence from Central Park and his soulful exchange with the carriage horse. After a verbal altercation with the coachman, Louis runs off, knocking over a bag lady's belongings. The action then segues to the police van's arrival at the firehouse.

-- Page 132 --

• In the film, Janine -- still trying to make points with Spengler -- says: "You are so kind to take care of that man. You know, you are a real humanitarian." With his customary disregard for subtext, Spengler responds, "I don't think he's human."

• During Dana's initial visit to the Ghostbusters, in which she explains what transpired in her kitchen, the young cellist is hooked up to a number of vaguely defined truth verification devices -- the most apparent being a video monitor displaying a real-time digitized image of her as she speaks. Later, when 'Vinz' is quietly interrogated by Spengler, the same background monitor reveals an image of a Terror Dog head, rather than Louis' own. The helmet worn by Rick Moranis during the scene -- a common kitchen colander with various electronic gizmos attached -- epitomized the film unit's definite tongue-in-cheek attitude toward ghostbusting technology.

• "For the most part, we wanted the technology to look plausible, but decidedly low-tech -- something the guys could have rigged together with off-the-shelf parts of one sort or another. When we were setting up the laboratory sequences -- both at the university and at the firehouse -- we brought in a fellow named Will Fowler who's an expert on electronic equipment and who had just come off Brainstorm. He was very excited about the project, and he said, 'I can get you this piece of equipment and that piece of equipment,' and he was just rattling off all this high-tech terminology. And I said: 'Wait a minute, Will. All I want to know is what does it look like.' And he said: 'It doesn't matter what it looks like. It's what it does that's important.' And he spent a whole lot of time trying to convince me that the kinds of things he had in mind were much more authentic than the kinds of things I had in mind. Finally, I had to say: 'Will, we've got guys running around with proton backpacks and nutrona wands trying to trap ghosts. How can we be having an argument about what kinds of equipment they would and wouldn't be using?'" -- Michael Gross

-- Page 133 --

• In the film, by the time Venkman makes his phone call, Dana has settled down to the point where she is sleeping conventionally, rather than floating over her bed. Venkman says: "I'm here with Dana Barrett. It seems the Goz has been putting some moves on my would-be girlfriend." When Spengler inquires how she is, Venkman responds: "I think we can get her a guest shot on Wild Kingdom."

-- Page 134 --

• In the film, Venkman decides that his presence is more acutely needed at the firehall. Hanging up the phone, he kneels beside his sleeping Dana, takes her pulse and says: "Bad news, honey. I gotta go to work. Will you stay here in bed until I get back?" He then kisses her gently on the hand and exits.

• Dialogue between Janine and Spengler was shot as written. Janine's first speech was eventually cut into the film before Venkman's phone call, but the remainder of the scene was deleted.

-- Page 135 --

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman and Dan Aykroyd discuss an upcoming shot in the truncated Fort Detmerring sequence, filmed on a small set adjacent to Dana's apartment on Stage 12.

Image Caption: On stake-out within the reportedly haunted officers' quarters, Stantz finds and dresses himself in period attire, then strikes a few gallant poses for the mirror before succumbing to exhaustion and falling asleep.

-- Page 136 --

Image Caption: Stantz finds his rendezvous with the Fort Detmerring ghost spiritually uplifting.

Image Caption: Playboy centerfold Kym Herrin strikes a hovering pose on stage at Entertainment Effects Group. Her brightly-lit, wind-blown image was later enhanced with optical effects and composited into the live-action material photographed on the Fort Detmerring set.

-- Page 137 --

• Though the entire sequence was shot -- with the ghostly apparition added later by Entertainment Effects Group -- only the core joke of the Fort Detmerring scene was retained in the final film.

• "The plot was moving much too fast at this point to introduce anything even slightly extraneous. The idea behind the scene was to give Dan a love interest -- a woman who's been dead for a hundred years. But the scene was too long and it was in the wrong place in the film. We all loved the notion of Stantz having sex with a ghost, though, and we didn't want to let go of that, so Ivan came up with the idea of treating it as a dream and inserting it into the very end of the montage." -- Harold Ramis

• "We were well into the main plot at this point -- Dana and Louis were possessed, the apartment building was starting to go -- and it just didn't make sense to suddenly cut to this irrelevant scene of Dan getting a psychic blowjob. It wasn't until we realized that we were a little bit short on montage material that I thought about resurrecting it. For the one key shot, Richard Edlund had already filmed the floating ghost element; so even though he was totally overloaded, I was able to talk him into putting it together. Getting the fly undone was just a mechanical trick that had already been built, so all we really had to do there was shoot it. I've done that sort of thing often in my films -- taking material out of its original form and reworking it into something else. Invariably, it seems to work better than originally intended, because in postproduction you can manipulate things until they're just right. So it was a great finish for the montage. If you look carefully, though, you can see that Dan has on a strange costume -- a tip-off that the scene was originally meant to be part of something else. Fortunately, no one seems to notice -- or at least no one seems to care. After all, it is a dream sequence." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 138 --

• A large billboard -- rendered in matte painting form by Matthew Yuricich -- appears on one of the buildings adjacent to the firehall. Featured on it is a representation of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man and the words "Stay-Puft Marshmallows - Stays Puft, Even When Toasted" -- an advertising slogan lifted from Dan Aykroyd's original script.

• "We wanted the audience to be at least subliminally aware of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man, to set up his appear- ance later in the film. We had already introduced the bag of marshmallows in Dana's apartment, and we thought the billboard would be a good way to reinforce it. It was also a way to preserve the line from Dan's script, which he really liked. I don't know if anyone ever notices the billboard, but it's the kind of detail that rounds out the film." -- Michael Gross

• Since the use of a video monitor as a means of seeing inside the storage facility had already been cut, Spengler's invitation to Peck was deleted, as was Peck's snide reply.

-- Page 139 --

Image Caption: A Brent Boates concept for the restless horde of ghostly figures incarcerated within the firehall's basement storage facility. Conceptually, the idea of including such a scene was stunning. Devising a means of achieving it, however, proved most troublesome -- primarily because compositing large numbers of predominantly white, transparent entities on top of one another would ultimately have resulted in a totally washed out image without any real sense of definition. In the end, the shot was never attempted -- primarily because of time and budget considerations.

Image Caption: Berni Wrightson took a more literal 'lost souls' approach to the concept -- one that was considered far too depressing to pursue further.

-- Page 141 --

• Although the explosion of ghosts through the firehall rooftop was inserted optically, a physical effect -- involving blasts of smoke and harmless debris -- was also employed as the building's panic-driven occupants pour out into the street.

• "We were shooting outside the firehouse in New York, And because of the special effects and the fact that we were using three cameras, it took a long time between takes to set up. When everything was ready to go, Ivan would signal for cameras to roll and then wait for confirmation from each before yelling 'Action!' -- which the people inside the firehouse could barely hear. Richard Edlund and his crew were up on the roof of a building across the street; and on one take, when Ivan asked if cameras were up to speed, Richard said, 'No, we're not ready.' So Ivan stepped into the middle of the street and yelled, 'Hold it!' But everyone on the inside somehow thought he'd said 'Action!' The smoke bombs went off, the doors burst open, the cast came charging out into the street -- and there's Ivan standing right in their midst. Everyone was horrified. It was like the worst filmmaking nightmare come true. But Ivan just burst out laughing." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 142 --

Image Caption: An expansive lower Manhattan street setting, rendered in matte painting form by Matthew Yuricich. When photographed, the fireball would be inserted into the undetailed center section as a live-action element. On a neighboring building is a billboard advertisement for Stay-Puft marshmallows.

Image Caption: Among the more unusual manifestations was an idea suggested by Brent Boates (right) for a ghost which floats through the air like an inch worm, leaving little blobs of ectoplasm behind as its body snaps forward to catch up with its head.

Image Caption: A conceptual painting for the 'ghost geyser' which erupts from the fireball once the containment facility is shut down.

Image Caption: The rupturing rooftop was shot in miniature at Entertainment Effects Group.

Image Caption: A few live-action ghosts were photographed for incorporation into the spectral cloud -- predominantly an animation effect -- which sweeps over the city.

-- Page 143 --

• The ghostly multitudes streaming uptown from lower Manhattan would ultimately become the first shot in the 'ghost montage' -- a whirlwind assemblage of scenes featuring supernatural entities of various forms and demeanors running rampant through the city. Background plates for the panoramic view were shot from atop the RCA Building by Richard Edlund and his crew. Spectral imagery -- as with the firehall 'ghost geyser' material -- was generated and added later at Entertainment Effects Group.

• "During the script-writing stage, we didn't concern ourselves too much with what form our ghosts would take. But as the director, I had to start worrying about that during preproduction. To help with the brainstorming process, we hired a number of freelance artists to sketch out ideas -- there were literally hundreds of different concepts by the time they were done -- and from those, I just basically mixed and matched and tried to come up with a delectable assortment." -- Ivan Reitman

• Although a methylcellulose compound had been developed for the ectoslime featured earlier in the film, the ecto shower outside the firehouse was achieved quite simply with water.

• "We had intended to use something very slimy and gooey, and have it pour down on everybody -- which, quite frankly, the actors weren't looking forward to at all. As it turned out, though, Harold Ramis was wearing a suit in the shot that we were going to be needing later. And since we had only that one particular suit, we were afraid of ruining it with our ectoslime. So we had to settle for regular water. Since they had to be drenched in the stuff, the actors were greatly relieved." -- Joe Medjuck

• Spengler's interrogation by police and fire officials was deleted.

-- Page 144 --

Image Caption: The original subway ghost -- as rendered by Brent Boates -- would have been a major rubber-suit assignment for the 'ghost shop,' and was ultimately deemed just too expensive and time-consuming for its minimal on-screen time.

Image Caption: Instead, a small nonhumanoid flying creature -- being sculpted by Steve Johnson -- was devised as a replacement.

Image Caption: To achieve a suitable floating effect, Jon Schreiber maneuvers the finished creation -- cast in a flexible vinyl material -- through a large water tank. The resulting image would then undergo additional diffusion and optical alteration before being composited into the live- action scene shot on location in New York.

-- Page 145 --

• The flying fish-like ghost which flits out of the subway entrance was a mere reminder of a much more elaborate introduction to the montage conceived by Ramis and Aykroyd in their first collaboration. In that draft, rather than making an aerial passage uptown, the ghosts descend into an all but deserted subway station. As a transit cop chats amiably with a female cashier, the subway turnstiles begin spinning unaccountably. Investigating, the officer discovers a huddled mass of ghosts and vapors hovering directly over the tracks. When a speeding express train passes by, the spirits hitch a collective ride uptown -- taking over the cars en masse and sending everyone from motormen to muggers fleeing before them.

• "Some of the questions we debated amongst ourselves were: Where do the ghosts come from? What is this other world? What is the relationship between the ghosts and this vaguely Sumarian god? Is this another dimension? Are these human souls? Even the question of the devil and Hell came up. Finally, we settled it in our own minds that the ghosts were souls of the entire universe. We were therefore working in a much broader dimension -- which, of course, opened up limitless possibilities for what our creatures could look like." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 146 --

• "The hot dog vendor was one of the very first things we shot. It was included because it provided an opportunity for us to reintroduce the Onionhead ghost from the hotel -- again eating and belching. Not only that, we thought, 'How can we shoot the streets of New York without including a hot dog cart?'" -- Joe Medjuck

• One of the many supernatural manifestations encountered in Dan Aykroyd's first script was a skeletal biker who has been terrorizing the residents of a small upstate town.

• "Often, in early drafts of a script, you have one scene with good dialogue, another scene with a great visual impact, and yet another scene that makes an important expositional point. But what makes a really dense comedy is when you can take the good dialogue and the physical business and the raw exposition for all these different scenes and load them into one strong scene with a definite reason for being. That's what happened with the skeletal biker. It was a wonderful concept, but it was too far removed from the main story. With the skeletal cab driver, we were able to save the visual effect from that original scene and put it in a place where it made better sense." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 147 --

Image Caption: While the possessed Dana stands transfixed -- staring out her window as the wave of ghosts sweeps past -- the forces of Gozer blast out an entire wall in her penthouse apartment. To achieve the shot, John DeCuir designed and constructed the set as it was to appear after the explosion. Then Chuck Gaspar and his crew filled it in with balsawood bricks and breakaway glass. Inside, fifteen air mortars were mounted and filled with wet sand -- which when fired under pressure acted like invisible shotgun pellets to blow out the wall and windows.

Image Caption: Pino VanLamsweerde storyboard panels for the deleted 'ghost molester' sequence.

-- Page 148 --

• "Ghost-sex is a classic supernatural phenomenon, so we thought it would be funny and sort of naughty to have an invisible ghost molesting all these typists -- tickling them and goosing them and ripping their blouses open. The more we thought about it, though, the more adolescent and tasteless it seemed. We had much more material than we could possibly use for the ghost montage, and there were other things we liked a lot better, so we never even shot it." -- Harold Ramis

• "The whole idea of the ghost molester seemed like something out of The Invisible Man or Topper -- it just didn't fit into this movie. It probably would have gotten a big laugh, but we didn't need it. More importantly, we didn't have time for it." -- Ivan Reitman

• To sustain the breakneck pace of the ghost montage, the scene between Louis and the Central Park muggers -- though shot -- was deleted from the film.

• "It would have been a good scene to include a little earlier in the movie, because it reveals that Louis, as the Keymaster, possesses extraordinary powers. Unfortunately, there just wasn't time for it at this point in the movie, and it had to go." -- Joe Medjuck

• "I cut the scene between Louis and the muggers before we ever had a screening. Richard Edlund didn't really have time to do the necessary effects; and frankly, I didn't think I'd handled the actors very well in it. But I know if I'd ever screened the movie with that scene in it, I would have kept it in. There'd have been no choice. Louis is a favorite with the audience, and to see him pay back a bunch of scary guys would have been a natural cheering point." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 149 --

Image Caption: Following his spiritual beckoning, Louis makes his way uptown toward Dana's apartment building -- only to be halted by a gang of muggers.

Image Caption: Calling upon his untapped powers as the Keymaster, Louis opens his mouth and emits an unearthly roar -- accompanied by a stream of phosphorescent light to be added later using animation techniques. To achieve an appropriate interactive effect, a small lightbulb was inserted in Rick Moranis' mouth, with a concealed wire running to a battery pack and rheostat operated by John Bruno.

Image Caption: Each special effects shot was storyboarded on a separate sheet of paper -- annotated with effects techniques and special equipment required to complete the shot.

-- Page 150 --

Image Caption: The excised 3-D theater scene as depicted in storyboard form.

-- Page 151 --

• "The theater sequence was in and then out, and then in and out again. We all loved it; and we knew the audience would too. But finally, we decided to cut it. It would have been a major effects sequence -- very expensive and time-consuming -- and the effects people already had their hands full. We did go as far as scouting locations for it, and found an old theater in Glendale that we were going to use; but ultimately, the plates were never shot." -- Joe Medjuck

• The incarceration scene was shot on location at an actual New York prison facility, now out of commission and essentially abandoned.

• "The lock-up was just a terrible place to shoot. It was dark and very crowded, with low ceilings and dirt everywhere. Dan Aykroyd said, when we were shooting there, 'If there are ghosts anywhere, they would be here.' And he was right -- it had a very eerie feeling to it. Later, we discovered scratches in the film that was shot that day, and we were all afraid we'd have to go back there to redo the scene. Fortunately, Shelley Kahn was able to work around the scratches in editing and the reshoot wasn't necessary." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 152 --

• Venkman's line was a last-minute insertion into the script.

• "Some things are impossible to anticipate as you're writing. When we actually got to the jail scene and saw all those brutes standing around us, I suggested to Ivan that they watch us and listen intently to all this physics and technical stuff we were talking about. Then Bill could say, 'Everybody with us so far?' It's a natural. But it's something you wouldn't think of until you got to the actual set and saw the physical relationship between everything." -- Harold Ramis

• In Dan Aykroyd's original script, Shandor was the name of the Ghostbusters' inter-dimensional employer -- a decided eccentric whose walls were lined with mounted trophy heads taken from such challenging big game as bats, rats and lobsters. Though Shandor was invariably to be found sequestered in his darkened office, perched on a swivel armchair and covered entirely by a near-opaque mosquito bonnet, no one seemed to suspect that there might be anything inherently out of the ordinary about him. Shandor was dropped altogether from the first two Aykroyd-Ramis collaborations, but resurfaced in the third -- in name, at any rate -- with an even more unsavory background than that suggested by the final shooting script. As recounted by Spengler in the August draft, Ivo Shandor was a deranged surgeon, architect and Gozer worshipper, electrocuted at Sing Sing after his attempted abduction of a teenage girl led police to his penthouse apartment, furnished impeccably -- if not tastefully -- with stacks of human bones.

Image Caption: Dan Aykroyd on location in the jail cell.

-- Page 154 --

• The production unit filmed for two days in and around New York's City Hall, during which time the office of City Council president Carol Bellamy was graciously made available as a stand-in for the actual mayor's office cited in the script.

• "They usually don't allow film crews to shoot at City Hall, and they probably never will again. As careful and courteous as you try to be, it is still very disruptive." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 155 --

Image Caption: Although it was always the intent to have Gozer appear first in quasi-human form and then transmute into a giant walking ad for Stay-Puft marshmallows, early plans were to have the melting marshmallow man reconfigure itself yet again into a third, even larger and more horrific manifestation. Three advanced Gozer concepts by Berni Wrightson and one (top right) by Robert Kline.

-- Page 156 --

• Dialogue in the mayor's office changed considerably during rehearsals and shooting. In the film, after Peck charges the Ghostbusters with fraudulently staging the psychic disturbances, Stantz proclaims: "Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by 'dickless' here." When Peck responds by accusing them of causing the explosion, the mayor asks, "Is this true?" Venkman promptly replies: "Yes, it's true. This man has no dick." Peck lunges wildly at Venkman, and only after several frantic moments is calm restored to the office. "Well, that's what I heard," Venkman adds quietly.

• "There were several variations of that scene on the set. During one take, Danny called Peck 'wee wienie winkle' and Bill Murray broke up completely -- which is something he almost never does on camera." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 158 --

• In the film, the action cuts from the mayor's office to the rear of City Hall -- actually a building across the street, since the real City Hall had no loading dock. As television crews record the activity and throngs of people watch from behind barricades, police and National Guard vehicles prepare to escort the Ectomobile uptown to the psychic center of the city's paranormal disturbances.

• Ivan Reitman cut the scene with Louis and his apartment house neighbor before it was shot.

-- Page 159 --

Image Caption: In a scene cut from the final film, Stantz and Venkman offer reassurance to the mayor before heading uptown for an all-out assault on the forces of Gozer.

Image Caption: Multiple cameras prepare to record the police motorcade assigned to escort the Ghostbusters from City Hall to Dana's apartment building.

-- Page 160 --

• As shot, the long-delayed joining of Zuul and Vinz took a somewhat different form, and was cut into the film between the Ghostbusters' release from the holding cell and their arrival at City Hall. Since it was decided earlier that a definite link needed to be established between the ghostly disturbances and the apartment building on Central Park West, a scene was added at the end of the ghost montage showing the possessed Dana looking out her window as clouds of disembodied spirits stream up from lower Manhattan. As they swoop past her penthouse apartment, en route to the rooftop temple, the wall between them explodes outward.

• "In the film, the apartment is already demolished when Louis arrives. But in the script, it is the force of Zuul the Gatekeeper and Vinz the Keymaster consummating their passion that blows the place apart. That was their purpose in coming together -- to make love. And then, on a second level, there's the comic irony that under this bizarre set of circumstances -- which neither of them will remember -- Louis finally gets to make it with Dana." -- Joe Medjuck

• The conversation between Venkman, Stantz and the mayor was cut from the film, as was Spengler's subsequent exchange with Janine -- yet another attempt to establish an off-beat romantic tie between them.

-- Page 161 --

• "We had decided we needed a 'go get 'em' kind of line from Bill as he jumps into the Ectomobile. The dailies of that day's shooting were really funny because we had all these takes of Bill jumping into the Ectomobile, yelling a different line each time. Ivan finally settled on: 'C'mon, let's run some red lights!'" -- Michael Gross

-- Page 162 --

• "At the time we were shooting the big arrival outside Dana's apartment building, we still didn't know for certain whether we were going to be able to use the Ghostbusters title. Negotiations were still underway. I remember going to a phone booth on the corner, calling Columbia and holding up the receiver so they could hear the three hundred screaming extras we had tying up traffic, shouting 'Ghostbusters! Ghostbusters!' as the guys arrived. And I said to them, 'You better damn well get that title!'" -- Joe Medjuck

• The exchange between Winston and Venkman, suggesting a hesitance on their part to face the supernatural power within the building, was deleted. Instead, the Ghostbusters seem positively exuberant with anticipation -- particularly Venkman. Acting every bit the game show host Dana had likened him to, Venkman waves and struts for the crowd, blowing kisses, shaking hands and soliciting applause as he introduces members of his team.

• "We didn't think the audience would want to see the Ghostbusters afraid at this point. They're the heroes -- the city's last hope -- and reluctance just didn't seem to be the right attitude." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 163 --

Image Caption: A massive tremor rocks the area around Dana's apartment house, opening a fissure into which both the Ghostbusters and a parked police car tumble. To create the gaping sinkhole, a hydraulically-operated collapsing street was constructed at the Columbia Ranch, backed up by a facsimile of the ground floor exterior of the apartment building used on location -- but without side streets or adjacent buildings.

Image Caption: Since no permanent damage could be done to the streets in New York, the area around the actual apartment house location was dressed with large jutting slabs of simulated asphalt. A police car, cut in half and upended, helped further suggest the presence of chasms in the roadway.

Image Caption: Street traffic was brought to a virtual standstill whenever cameras were rolling.

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman and cast on the Columbia Ranch set.

-- Page 164 --

Image Caption: A Matthew Yuricich matte painting of the apartment building. During matte photography, the camera began in tight on the building's unpainted foreground corner and then pulled back slowly to a full master.

Image Caption: On an identical, but separate, photographic pass, live-action footage of the Ghostbusters peering out through the blown-away wall in Dana's ravaged apartment was rear-projected into the open area in the painting.

-- Page 165 --

• "There was a lot of debate over whether or not the sinkhole effect was worth doing. It was, after all, a very expensive stunt -- about $250,000. The studio didn't want me to do it, and my associate producers both felt it was something we could give up. But I thought it was really important because, up to then, nothing really bad had happened to these guys. They'd had their hair tousled and blown around, but there was no real sense of the threat it seemed to me that prior to the final battle we had to demonstrate -- immediately and simply -- just what they were going up against. The sinkhole effect showed how tough and violent things could get. I was convinced it was a great sequence, so I stuck with it." -- Ivan Reitman

• A sinkhole of much grander scale was included in the original Dan Aykroyd script, when the accidental release of the Ghostbusters' incarcerated spirits triggers a twenty-five-acre sinkhole around their gas station storage facility. The sinkhole, in turn, disrupts a long-inactive fault line which somehow transforms most of northern New Jersey into a blazing inferno. In the first collaborative draft, even though the storage facility was now in the firehall, a similar concept was employed -- with Spengler pinpointing a small community in northern New Jersey as the likely epicenter of major psychic activity, due to its central proximity to three nuclear power plants and a number of chemical waste storage areas.

• The apartment building's 'thirty-five flights of stairs' were, in reality, only two flights of stairs -- filmed at the Biltmore Hotel location used earlier for the fictitious Sedgewick Hotel. The remaining flights were added in postproduction by the Entertainment Effects Group matte department. Missing from the script is the dialogue between the men as they trudge up the stairs -- some of which was improvised on the spot and some of which was added later in looping.

Image Caption: Overleaf -- Ivan Reitman directs Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis on the Gozer temple set.

-- Page 168 --

Image Caption: Dwarfed by the mammoth set, Ivan Reitman gives last-minute instructions to Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver prior to shooting the scene in which their already possessed characters transform themselves bodily into Terror Dogs.

Image Caption: The live-action master shot was later enhanced with a matte painting of the New York skyline -- which also encompassed the upper portion of the apartment building and the temple top. Composited into the final scene were animated lightning effects and turbulent night skies -- produced by injecting clouds of paint into a giant water tank.

-- Page 169 --

• "Rick Moranis was on the set the day this was shot and he remembers someone coming up with the lines: 'Hey, where do these stairs go?' -- 'They go up.' It was a funny exchange; and all four actors, being generous, were trying to give the lines to each other. That was typical of the way things went on the set. No one ever tried to steal the laughs from anyone else." -- Joe Medjuck

• Truer to his ultra-droll style, Bill Murray changed Venkman's line to: "Okay. So she's a dog."

• Though the transformation was achieved via stop-motion animation, full-size figures -- operated from beneath the set -- were employed once the creatures took their positions on the staircase.

• "Stuart Ziff -- whose shop was responsible for building the Terror Dogs -- was always paranoid whenever his creatures were on the set. He'd had bad experiences on other projects with things being broken and shooting being stopped for repairs, and he was always warning all of us to stay away from them. Once we got the Terror Dogs on their pedestals, I assured Stuart that I'd keep everyone away. But the first day we had them on the set Bill Murray walked up to one of them -- who's going to tell Bill Murray not to touch the dogs, right? -- and he said, 'Gee, this is neat' Then he reached out and petted it on the head -- and almost as if on cue, one of the horns fell off, dropped to the floor and shattered." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 170 --

• Appearing before the Ghostbusters as a kind of New Wave demon, the character of Gozer had passed through more drastic conceptual variations than any other creature in the film. Described in Dan Aykroyd's script as looking like Bert Parks, and in later collaborations with Harold Ramis as a Robert Young-type character, Gozer -- in its final form -- resembled neither.

• "Ivan thought it might be more interesting if Gozer was rather androgynous-looking -- someone like David Bowie. That idea led logically to the consideration of androgynous-looking female rock stars -- someone like Grace Jones would have been perfect. Unfortunately, by the time we came up with this concept, it was too late to sign on a big name. We did retain the basic idea, however, which is why Gozer appears in the form of a woman." -- Joe Medjuck

• "I was not convinced that it was going to work -- Gozer in five-inch spike heels and a plastic bubble suit. But considering the fact that Gozer could take any form it wanted, it made sense that it might choose to materialize as this very contemporary figure. And there is something rather terrifying and slightly sadistic in some of these New Wave styles. Ultimately, I think Ivan's instinct paid off. Having Gozer as a woman set up some very funny lines -- things like 'This chick is toast' and 'Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown.'" -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 171 --

Image Caption: Preparing for a wide master of the brightly-lit Gozer temple, the Entertainment Effects Group crew appears silhouetted against the New York skyline -- actually a giant cyclorama which encircled more than three-quarters of the temple set and which could be lit for either daylight or nighttime exposures. Although most of the film's expansive production shots could be taken from a crane, any shot requiring later optical enhancement needed to be taken from a much steadier, rigidly constructed platform.

Image Caption: Overleaf 1 -- Mounted on a Chapman crane, Laszlo Kovacs' production camera is readied for a long shot of the temple.

Image Caption: Overleaf 2 -- A behind-the-scenes view of the upper temple reveals its plexiglass portal and staircase -- over which dry ice fog would be pumped during photography -- and the hollow pedestals from which concealed operators could bring their Terror Dogs to life.

-- Page 177 --

Image Caption: A Berni Wrightson concept for the transdimensional gateway.

Image Caption: As originally conceived, Gozer was to have been a rather nondescript, kindly-looking man. Finding the approach too conventional, Ivan Reitman opted instead for a malevolent highly-contemporary, androgynous-looking female.

Image Caption: Attached to a wire rig, Slavitza Jovan prepares to launch herself into Gozer's double-flip -- a maneuver completed later in post-production by a stunt double.

-- Page 178 --

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman blocks out action for the Ghostbusters during principal photography on the temple staircase. The electrical power required to light the set -- one of the largest ever constructed on a Hollywood soundstage -- was enormous, requiring filming in other parts of the studio to be shut down whenever full illumination was applied.

-- Page 179 --

• Evading the particle streams, Gozer does an impressive double-flip -- executed by a stuntwoman and shot during postproduction at Entertainment Effects Group. In recognition of the gender change, Venkman's comment became: "Nimble little minx, isn't she?"

• In the film, Stantz proclaims: "We neutronized it! Do you know what that means? A complete particle reversal!" Winston's reaction is more gut-level: "We had the tools! We had the talent!" Venkman, meanwhile, chimes in with: "It's Miller time."

• The seismic disturbance was accomplished quite simply with sound effects and bits of rubble released from above by concealed stagehands.

-- Page 180 --

Image Caption: Early brainstorming had the Stay-Puft marshmallow man as but an intermediate form which the Gozer assumes on its way to becoming something truly monstrous, both in size and appearance. Berni Wrightson's exploration of this theme was both surreal and terrifying.

-- Page 182 --

Image Caption: Chevy Chase -- a visitor to the set -- launches into a spontaneous song and dance number with fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus Bill Murray. The Terror Dogs employed on the full temple set were capable of only limited movement, but were manufactured and installed on the pedestals because the fully-articulated creature -- which required considerably more time to produce -- would not be completed until later in the production schedule. The sole difference between the male and female Terror Dogs was that the male had longer horns.

Image Caption: Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Ivan Reitman relax on the set between shots.

-- Page 183 --

• Hundreds of New York extras were pelted with 'cement debris' -- actually harmless bits of styrofoam released from a giant crane extending out over the crowd.

• Due to the actress' Slavic accent, the voice of Gozer was dubbed by Paddi Edwards.

• "Bill did a hilarious take of this scene, playing off the fact that the actress had an accent. When Gozer says, 'Choose and perish,' Bill responded: 'Jews and berries? I don't understand.'" -- Michael Gross

• "We tried for a long time to use the actress' real voice; but because of her accent, I was afraid it might come off as being funny. After that, we went through six or seven different voices. I did one myself, but it wasn't very good. I tried a traditional 'voice of God' approach, but that was boring. I tried an effeminate male voice which was okay on some of the lines, but really sounded silly on others. Finally I decided on a very low Exorcist-type female voice which -- although it had obviously been used before -- still worked out the best." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 184 --

• In all of the drafts but the final one, it is Winston -- not Stantz -- who inadvertently conjures up the Stay-Puft marshmallow man.

• "We had to talk Danny into it. It goes back to his generosity -- he saw it as Winston's big moment. But Ivan and I both felt very strongly that it should be Dan's line. The Stay-Puft marshmallow man was, after all, Dan's creation in reality. So why shouldn't he create it in the film? He resisted for a long time, but finally accepted the notion." -- Harold Ramis

• "Originally, we were going to have the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man rise up out of the river, right by the Statue of Liberty, to give him scale. Understandably, the effects people didn't like the idea -- any effects shot involving water is really hard to pull off. We finally realized that it didn't make any difference where he came from -- he could just appear. The audience assumes that he just materializes." -- Michael Gross

• The area around Central Park West and Columbus Circle looked like a combat zone during the all-night shooting sessions for the grand finale.

• "The city -- particularly the police department -- was wonderfully cooperative. But an awful lot of the local populace was less than happy with the disruption of their daily routine. Even when you're shooting at one in the morning, things are going to get congested in New York. There were times when we had traffic backed up for miles in all directions. We all wore buttons that said 'Ghostbusters Crew' so we could move around the shoot without being stopped by production assistants. One night, just after we finished, I went into a bar down the street from where we'd been shooting. A guy came in really angry, yelling: 'What the hell's going on? Traffic's backed up for miles!' I just sat there, quietly removed my crew button, and hid it in my pocket. Joe Medjuck had his own way of dealing with the problem. Whenever somebody asked him what we were shooting, he told them The Cotton Club." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 185 --

Image Caption: Alan Harding and Neil Krepela line up a tracking shot on a miniature street set constructed for the Stay-Puft marshmallow man's initial appearance. As composited, just the tip of his sailor's hat can be seen bobbing along behind the buildings.

Image Caption: A subsequent teaser shot -- deleted from the film -- was to have had pedestrians and motorists fleeing in panic only moments before a giant marshmallow foot enters the frame and crushes a car.

-- Page 186 --

Image Caption: A John Deveikis illustration for the original Dan Aykroyd script suggested a much larger marshmallow man than was ultimately decided upon. Since one faction within the production unit argued for a 100-foot-tall version while another favored a somewhat larger 125-foot-tall version, Ivan Reitman settled the dispute by declaring that the Stay-Puft marshmallow man would be 112 1/2 feet tall.

-- Page 187 --

Image Caption: The Stay-Puft marshmallow man suit was constructed from pliable foam and featured a fiberglass skull with cable-actuated mechanisms for facial movement

Image Caption: In all, three different heads were needed to achieve the required range of expressions -- from smiles to looks of surprise to grimaces.

Image Caption: A series of marshmallow man concepts by Thom Enriquez. Even an idea which seemed apparently straightforward from the very beginning had to go through the usual conceptualization process to make certain that the 'look' selected was indeed the best.

-- Page 188 --

Image Caption: Entertainment Effects Group stagehands prepare for a bluescreen traveling matte shot of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man's grand entrance. For its accompanying live-action element -- shot in New York -- Laszlo Kovacs and his crew had Columbus Circle and all visible side streets lit up for blocks with giant power-draining arc lights. Five hundred screaming extras stampeded on cue, running headlong through the streets and climbing over cars.

-- Page 189 --

• Venkman's initial reaction to the gargantuan marshmallow man is characteristically droll: "Well, there's something you don't see every day."

• "Mr. Stay-Puft is really just a brand symbol -- like the Michelin tire man or the Pillsbury doughboy -- who has come out of the American consciousness and is then thrown back in our faces by Gozer. It's like: 'You created this white monster to sell your products, and it seems harmless and puffy and cute -- but given the right circumstance, everything can be turned back and become evil." -- Dan Aykroyd

• "In Dan's script, the Stay-Puft marshmallow man was pretty much a throwaway -- just another effect. But it was such a great image that we decided to use it as the manifestation of Gozer the Destructor. We were always nervous about it, though. Would the audience find him cute, or find him stupid? Could he be both cute and terrifying? It was such a big effect -- we knew if we used it, it would have to be the climax of the film. We were very worried about it." -- Harold Ramis

• "Our concern was that the Stay-Puft man would take the movie into an area of silliness that would just discount everything else. All through the writing process, and even into production, we tried to come up with an alternative -- but we kept coming back to it. It just seemed right to go for the laugh at the end. And we had such a good rationale for it -- it would be the first thing that would pop into Stantz' head. So I finally said; 'To hell with it. Let's go.' But that's what I was waiting for at the first screening -- to see how the marshmallow man was going to play. Fortunately, the audience went nuts over him -- applauding and everything. It was a great moment of relief for all of us." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 190 --

• Dialogue between Peck and the cop was deleted.

• In the film, the Ghostbusters rally behind Venkman's battle cry: "Nobody steps on a church in my town!"

• "If you look carefully at the shot where the Stay-Puft man starts to climb up the wall of the building, you see a National Guard truck covered in melted marshmallow. That plate was intended to be used for a later scene -- after the marshmallow man starts to melt. It's an obvious error in continuity but, luckily, most people don't notice it. Another thing that no one seems to challenge is the question of time. The decision regarding the time of day in which the end sequence occurs had to be made very early in production so that the massive temple set could be built accordingly -- specifically the cyclorama. Ivan wanted the sequence set at the magic hour, with a wonderful red rumbling sunset. And yet, when things really start happening on the roof, the kinds of special effects we were planning needed to be done at nighttime. Compounding the problem was the fact that we had to shoot the Ghostbusters arriving at the building during the day. So when you consider the sequence of events, they arrive at the building during the day; they walk upstairs, come out on the roof and it's magic hour; then later, it goes to night. All that you can accept. The problem is when they go back downstairs, it's daylight again. So we said 'Okay, that's the next morning.' And for some reason, the audience seems to buy it. In actuality, the whole night goes by in about fifteen minutes." -- Michael Gross

-- Page 191 --

Image Caption: For scenes of the Stay-Puft man bursting into flame, a special fire-retardant suit was rigged with pyrotechnics and worn by a stuntman scaling the miniature apartment building.

Image Caption: Overleaf -- A portion of Central Park West and the adjacent park was constructed in miniature at Entertainment Effects Group. Cables operating the marshmallow man's facial expressions ran down through a slit in the elevated set to a trolley underneath -- manned by four puppeteers. Cars were either radio-controlled or pulled on wires, and the footage was shot at three times normal speed to enhance the Stay-Puft man's apparent sense of mass.

-- Page 194 --

• In the film, the essence of Venkman's line is uttered by Stantz. Venkman responds with: "We've been going about this all wrong. This Mr. Stay-Puft is okay. He's a sailor. He's in New York. We get this guy laid, we won't have any trouble."

• In the film, Spengler offers more of a rationale for crossing the beams: "I have a radical idea. The door swings both ways. We could reverse the particle flow through the gate." Stantz is ready to comply without question, but Venkman protests. "Excuse me, Egon. You said crossing the streams was bad. You're going to endanger us. You're going to endanger our client -- the nice lady who paid us in advance before she became a dog." "Not necessarily," Spengler says impassively. "There's definitely a very slim chance we'll survive."

• "I was concerned throughout this whole process that the physics of it make sense somehow -- that intelligent people wouldn't look at what we were doing and think it was totally ridiculous. I did a lot of rationalizing when it came to the Stay-Puft man. Morally, no one else cared that much. I was the only one who kept agonizing about what it all meant -- what does the universe really look like and is it possible this could actually happen? As bizarre as it was, I wanted the film to say something about life -- even if it was subliminal. I knew if I could just harmonize it in my own mind, I'd feel a lot better about it. Finally, I found some symbolism in the fact that the whole world of the paranormal seems to represent people's abstract fears -- people need a place to put all that nameless dread and so they put it into ghosts and things unseen. But the real source of that dread is in very real things like violence and death and economic uncertainty. So it seemed to me very appropriate that when our monster finally appeared, it turned out to be marshmallow -- that, literally and figuratively, our biggest fear of the unknown was as insubstantial as marshmallow." -- Harold Ramis

-- Page 195 --

Image Caption: Finally getting his just 'dessert,' EPA administrator Walter Peck is engulfed in a giant blob of molten sucrose. To achieve the gag, two hundred pounds of shaving cream -- employed by physical effects supervisor Chuck Gaspar to simulate melted marshmallow -- was released from a giant plastic bag attached to a crane.

-- Page 196 --

Image Caption: An unscripted addition to the sequence involved a shot of the marshmallow man's hat plummeting to the street after its wearer has been vaporized.

Image Caption: To achieve the shot, an aluminum-reinforced sailor's hat -- eighteen feet in diameter -- was attached to a giant crane and then lowered into the crowd. Though successfully executed, editorial pacing resulted in the elaborate gag being cut from the final release.

-- Page 197 --

• Though present in every draft of the script, the Stay-Puft marshmallow man did not become the Ghostbusters' final encounter until the July rewrite. In fact, in Dan Aykroyd's original screenplay, the Stay-Puft man appeared just slightly past the midway point as but one of several Gozer manifestations. The Stay-Puft confrontation came considerably later in the first Aykroyd-Ramis collaboration; but even in that draft, the Ghostbusters were to regroup in New Jersey for a final battle with the Gozer in its most terrifying form -- a swirling psychic maelstrom topped by a disembodied aphid's head of monstrous proportions.

• "We reshot the final explosion several times, toning it down each time because it was just too big. It's still too big, actually. In reality, nothing on the rooftop could have survived that explosion. But I guess if an audience can believe a hundred-foot marshmallow man, they can accept an oversized explosion." -- Michael Gross

• "Originally, we were going to have the Terror Dogs simply transform back into Dana and Louis -- just like the first transformation. But Ivan came up with the idea of charred bodies that could be chipped away, revealing Dana and Louis inside. It was a much more imaginative way to bring them back and it created some suspense because, for a moment, Venkman and the audience think that Dana is dead." -- Joe Medjuck

-- Page 198 --

• Ever mindful of pacing, Ivan Reitman shortened the rooftop reunion scene -- cutting what he came to realize was an overdose of superfluous dialogue.

• "It was really anticlimactic. The movie was over once the marshmallow man exploded -- and as we edited the film, we just kept making the transition from that moment through to their leaving the building shorter and shorter. There was more dialogue on top -- especially between Louis and Dana -- and we had another sequence in front of the building where there was dialogue. Ultimately, I just cut all that stuff out. It was over. The movie was over -- and the sooner we got to the credits, the better." -- Ivan Reitman

-- Page 199 --

Image Caption: A fire-blasted Terror Dog -- constructed from a very lightweight and fragile foam material -- lies atop a mound of rubble in the aftermath of the temple explosion.

Image Caption: Ivan Reitman coaches Sigourney Weaver on the finer points of extricating oneself from a charred interdirnensional alien.

Image Caption: Overleaf -- What transpired in a matter of moments on film, actually took days to effect in reality. Once preliminary shooting on the temple set was completed, the main unit transitioned to other sets and other stages while John DeCuir and his team moved in and re-dressed the now-demolished structure for its final scenes in the film.

-- Page 202 --

Image Caption: A hand-held camera records the action as throngs of cheering spectators greet the Ghostbusters on their victorious emergence from the apartment building. Since Dana's rooftop costume had not yet been determined at the time of the New York location shooting, Sigourney Weaver was outfitted in a robe -- leaving audiences to assume, had the thought ever occurred, that she had simply picked one up somewhere en route to the ground floor.

Image Caption: A storyboard panel for the final scene in the film. Though the shot itself appeared fairly straightforward, a matte painting was actually employed to insert the blobs of marshmallow seen on the buildings and trees. As an afterthought during postproduction, Ivan Reitman decided to add a last-minute reprise by the Onionhead ghost -- a final audience zinger misinterpreted by many as implying a sequel.

-- Page 203 --

Image Caption: Alternate endings in earlier drafts included scenes within the towering glass and chrome headquarters of Ghostbusters International -- now a high-rolling multinational corporation "recognized everywhere as the first line of defense against interdimensional trespassers." The July draft even attempted to wrap up the romantic loose ends. Venkman and Dana set up housekeeping, Spengler and Janine are married, and Stantz returns to Fort Detmerring for spiritual renewal.

-- Page 204 --

• After viewing his earlier scene with the bums in dailies, Ivan Reitman realized that the concept was not workable, and therefore deleted their final appearance before it was shot.

Photo Credits
Production unit still photography by Gemma La Mana-Wills (Los Angeles) and Michael Ginsburg (New York). Effects unit still photography by Virgil Mirano.

Many thanks to the folks at Ivan Reitman Productions, who first conceived of this project and then solicited for my participation in it. Thanks also to my wife, Jody, who encouraged me to take the assignment -- even when my already overcrowded schedule argued against it -- then worked with me, side by side, to insure that the short-notice deadline could be met. Further thanks to my friend, Adam Eisenberg, who graciously provided me with insights and additional materials available from no other source. And finally, a special expression of gratitude to Helen LaVarre of the Columbia Pictures still department and to Virgil Mirano of Boss Films Corporation for their assistance in assembling the photographic materials included herein. -- Don Shay

Text copyright © 1985 Don Shay
All rights reserved

Established August 1996

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