There are films that are so part of me that I must watch them a couple of times a year – doing so I enjoy them just as much as when I first was able to catch them in the theater or Drive-In. Nearly all of these films are genre pictures or fall into the cult classic category – off the top of my head there is Phantom of the Paradise, Phantasm, Alien, TRON, Blade Runner, and of course 1984’s Ghostbusters. Those naturally are only a few of the ‘older’ films that popped into my head – entering the auditorium to catch the 35th Anniversary Ghostbusters screening – thanks to Fathom Events – I realized that I was all of 12 years old when I first saw Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson suit up and save New York City from supernatural threats. It was the absolute perfect time to see the film too, I was able to appreciate nearly all the humor and I was dazzled by the equipment the Ghostbusters employed in their bid to become the forerunners in the field of supernatural eliminations. The thought of strapping on an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on my back is still a dream that is yet to come true. Or using a proton pack and tracking down all those things that used to scare me… those ghosts and goblins that lurked in the dark of the woods beside my house. When I walked out of the Malco Twin theater on June 9th of 1984 – with that wonderful Ghostbusters theme song by Ray Parker Jr. blasting in the auditorium – I had found my true calling in life… I was going to be a Parapsychologist!
How serious was I about becoming a Ghostbuster? Enough that when I was spending the morning and afternoons at my Grandparents that Summer I was able to round up some neighborhood kids to start up a business. We had bikes with hand drawn ‘no ghost’ symbols taped to them as well as backpacks filled with all manner of items to protect us from spirits and other forces of darkness. Plus we had taken plastic machine guns and thanks to a kindly neighbor who donated an old garden hose – chopped it up and with electricians tape and some imagination we had our proton packs. We then set about trying to get money from everyone in the neighborhood – now to be fair to show potential clients the dangers of ghosts we brought along my Fisher-Price movie viewer theater and Mickey Mouse’s Lonesome Ghosts cartridge.
I’m not sure we earned money that Summer from people in the neighborhood just getting a laugh at how earnest we seemed – donating pocket change over the following weeks – or possibly they saw themselves just buying some peace and quiet. Although the showings of Lonesome Ghosts seemed to go over quite well. It all came to a crashing halt when the Police stepped in though – one day we were peddling down the street and an Officer pulled up beside us with lights and siren blaring. We junior Ghostbusters were wide-eyed with concern and when the very kindly long arm of the law began to explain that since we didn’t have a business license to legally bust ghosts in the neighborhood we had to shut our little operation down. Of course years later I would learn that this Officer was actually related to a Woman in the neighborhood who wasn’t upset about us knocking on her door asking for money but she was concerned about our safety – going into houses of folks we might not know.
All of these memories flashed through my mind as I was able to catch the 35th Anniversary screening of Ghostbusters last night with some of my co-workers from the arcade – two of which had never had the pleasure of seeing the film on the big screen before. Thanks to Fathom Events before the movie started proper we were treated to some alternate takes from Ghostbusters and the one that made the auditorium roar was a reply from Egon (Harold Ramis) in the Mayor’s office. I am not going to ruin that moment because I’m pretty sure that it has been included in the recently released Blu-Ray collection. And while I have seen Ghostbusters hundreds of times I still broke out in laughter at all of my favorite scenes – like when Egon, Ray (Aykroyd), and Peter (Murray) investigate the disturbance at the New York Public Library.
Video Provided by Nathan St. Jacques‘ YouTube Channel.
While the dreams of my youth of becoming a parapsychologist might have fallen by the wayside – that feeling I had 35 years ago upon first seeing Ghostbusters was still there as we left the auditorium last night. Piling into my vehicle to drive back to the arcade, we were all chuckling as we shared our favorite parts of the film with each other. I did not however share my own experiences of attempting to be a Ghostbuster with my friends as I wanted to wait and let them read about it in this article.
So a very happy 35th anniversary to 1984’s Ghostbusters – thanks for so many wonderful years of laughs and supernatural cinematic thrills. A big thanks to Fathom Events too for giving us the opportunity to see the movie on the big screen once again or in the case of some of my co-workers – for the very first time!