Each Saturday morning, we’ll remind you of the time when it was still cool to wake up early on weekends. So whenever the hell you wake up these days, there will be a nostalgic treat waiting for you, reminding you of those old jammies you used to wear and that old television set. They make even less sense now, but that’s half the fun. We hope you enjoy.

The Cartoon: The Real Ghostbusters
Animation Studio: DiC Entertainment
Original Run: September 13, 1986 – October 22, 1991
Aired On: ABC/Syndication
Episodes: 147
Seasons: 7

The Characters:

  • Peter Venkman
  • Ray Stanz
  • Egon Spengler
  • Winston Zeddemore
  • Janine Melnitz
  • Slimer

The Setting:

A New York City quite infested with troublesome ghosts.

The Gist:

Same basic premise and character dynamics as the film Ghostbusters: our foursome of ghostbusters function as paranormal exterminators for hire, with Janine (made extra librarian-sexy here) serving as their dry humored secretary. They snare pesky ghosts with the beams from their proton packs, then suck them into their ghost traps. The ghosts are then transferred to the containment unit in the basement of the ghostbusters headquarters. The gluttonous Slimer now lives with (or haunts, I suppose) the ghostbusters and serves as a lovable sidekick.

The Short History:

Ghostbusters was a colossal hit in 1984, especially with the younger male crowd. So the idea of turning it into a cartoon was fairly natural. Writers Len Janson and Chuck Menville (who had a long partnership in animation, including other shows like The Smurfs and Tiny Toons) were hired to develop the series, with Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski serving as the story editor.

The word “real” was added to the title because of a short-lived live-action television program from the 70’s called The Ghost Busters. FIlmation (owners of the property) had granted Columbia Pictures the right to use the name, but following the success of Ghostbusters, Filmation decided to create an animated TV adaptation of the 70’s show. The two shows ultimately ran concurrently, though The Ghost Busters proved significantly less successful than The Real Ghostbusters.

The character designs for The Real Ghostbusters took a pretty sizable departure from the original film. Most notably Egon was given a blond pompadour, and the ghostbusters uniforms no longer matched. Slimer, a surprise fan favorite from the film, was now turned into a good guy (though there was an episode explaining how this came to be), and if I recall correctly, even the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man became a good guy at some point. In what is now a weird moment of career intersection, Lorenzo Music provided the voice for Venkman; Music was also the voice of Garfield at the time (a role eventually voiced by Bill Murray in the live-action films). Music left the series after season 2 and was replaced by Full House‘s Dave Coulier. Arsenio Hall voiced Winston Zeddemore for seasons 1-3, eventually replaced by Buster Jones. Voice acting legends Maurice LaMarche and Frank Welker voiced Egon and Ray respectively. After the release of Ghostbusters II, Rick Moranis’ character of Louis Tully was added, voiced by Rodger Bumpass (who does Squidward on Spongebob Squarepants).

The show expanded on a lot of the mythology from the film, with the off-handendly mentioned Tobin’s Spirit Guide now serving as a veritable Junior Woodchuck’s Guide all-purpose paranormal reference tool. There was also an interesting episode where the ghostbusters must travel into their own containment unit, which turns out to be kind of a netherworld dimension.

With the series a big success, and with Slimer continuing to be a juggernaut of fan popularity, ABC decided to give the green blob his own spin-off, Slimer!. Starting with the third season in 1988, the show now had an hour-long block retitled Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters. The spin-off featured 2 to 3 short segments, focusing on Slimer’s personal adventures – usually trying to evade being experimented on by the villainous mad scientist, Prof. Norman Dweeb. Slimer now had a tail for some reason too.

In 1997, the show got a sequel series, Extreme Ghostbusters, which featured Egon, Slimer, Janine, and a collection of younger characters Egon recruits from one of his university classrooms.

The Merchandise:

Toys, Happy Meals, comics, you name it.

And of course, the bane of every parent trying to keep a clean house…

And by popular demand…

You Might Have Seen This Commercial:

Previously on Saturday Mornings: