The Ghost Busters
The Ghost Busters is a 1975 supernatural sitcom series produced by Filmation for CBS. The show follows the exploits of a low-budget band of ghost hunters as they deal with unwanted apparitions.
The Ghost Busters - consisting of the bumbling Spencer, the level-headed Kong, and the sapient gorilla Tracy - are a team of paranormal detectives who (as the title suggests) seek out ghosts and bust them. Each episode of the series features one or more ghosts who have materialized on Earth to carry out their unfinished business, requiring the Busters to investigate and send the ghost back to the netherworld using their gadgetry. The cast of "ghosts" they go up against include paranormal creatures, historical figures, and literary characters.
Why It Rocks
- Catchy theme song sung by the two main leads. The incidental music isn't half bad either.
- Good chemistry between the main characters. Spencer's foolishness plays well with Kong's straight-man personality, and Tracy serves as a middle ground between the two.
- Outlandish costume designs and character decisions that lend themselves well to comedy - seeing Mr. Hyde as a literal caveman is a unique take on the Jekyll/Hyde formula.
- Works with its budgetary limitations to create an very effective sitcom. The low-budget nature is even reflected on the Busters' operation, their headquarters being a run-down office building and their car being a beat-up buggy on its last legs.
- Decent set design helps to elevate the show.
- The humor of the show, despite its cheesiness, still manages to hold up today.
- Although it follows a strict layout, some attempts to vary how the characters approach situations are present such as Tracy retrieving their informant's message and the filing cabinet scenes.
- Good use of "one-hit KO" devices - the Ghost Busters' main weapon, the dematerializer, is often prevented from being used until the team gets around the ghost's ability to disable it.
- Received an animated "sequel" series in 1986, following the human Busters' kids (and Tracy) in a more action-oriented show. While not as good as the 1975 original, it still manages to be on the higher end of Filmation's animated library.
- The show follows a formulaic structure and visits the same locations every episode, likely due to budgetary restrictions.
- The portrayal of characters can get too silly for their own good.
- As WIR 6 briefly touches on, the comedy can be extremely cheesy at times.
- The Ghost Busters was successful, achieving the #2 spot in national network ratings and a second season being greenlit by CBS. However, Filmation chose to invest more resources into The Shazam!/Isis Power Hour, the show directly ahead of The Ghost Busters in ratings, so this second season never materialized.
- Bob Burns, the actor for Tracy, got his role by acquiring a gorilla suit from a show he previously worked on at CBS and wore it into producer Lou Scheimer's office. He is also credited in the opening credits as Tracy's "trainer".