Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History
An exclusive look at some of the images from the new book, Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History
Puppeteer Mark Wilson interacted with oversized props while playing Slimer so that, when the footage was composited into a live-action scene, it would make the ghost appear smaller than a human.
"We tried to have logic," says [visual effects director] John Bruno. "If you’re a ghost, it means you lived once, so what did you do while you were on the planet? For the Onionhead, the guy was a slob and always eating, but because he didn’t exist as a creature anymore, he didn’t have a stomach. So when he’s eating and drinking at the hotel, it’s just going right through him."
Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray
Visual effects director John Bruno recalls the mishap that led to one of the movie’s funniest moments: “For the woman who was playing the maid, they said, ‘OK, push this cart, and at the end of the hallway it’s going to blow up, because they’re going to shoot at you.’ The cart was all prerigged with pyro work. So she pushes the cart out, strobe lights go off, the cart exploded—and it scared the hell out of her. She fell to the ground, looked up, and was like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ It wasn’t scripted. It’s just what happened.”
Bill Bryan, inside the Stay Puft suit, took care of the marshmallow man’s footsteps and body language. “I had a radio headset, so I could get instructions from the FX director Bill Neal,” recalls Bryan. “He would tell me when to pull in my arm so I wouldn’t knock over a streetlight. When I had to look up at the guys, the head wasn’t made to look up, so I had to lean way back. To keep from falling over I sat on [sculptor] Linda Frobos’s back.”
Stay Puft sketches
The look of Stay Puft came from Aykroyd’s friend John Daveikis who provided artistic accompaniment for Aykroyd’s concepts during the pitch stage. "I said, ‘John, I want a brand symbol—kind of like the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy, but he’s the Stay Puft marshmallow man,’” recalls Aykroyd. “John said, ‘Yep, I got it,’ went away, and drew it. I couldn’t believe it when he sent me the drawings and he’d made Mr. Stay Puff a sailor with a sailor hat. I called John and said, ‘You are a genius!’ It was so funny and so cute and so innocent, and yet he’s a villain.”
Harold Ramis and Annie Potts
Annie Potts started the shoot not quite sure about the loose, improvisational approach of her fellow actors, but learned to appreciate the atmosphere by the end. “I was a little stumped at first,” she admits. “I was like, ‘The words that are in the script are pretty good; could we just stick to that?’ I came in and had my lines memorized—I’m not sure Bill even looked at the script. But we all have our methods.”
Ivan Reitman, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Sigourney Weaver
Dan Aykroyd acknowledges the best performances relied on a healthy “winging it” philosophy: “We all came from the same school: Billy, Rick Moranis, myself, Ramis. Second City has a tradition of collaboration. It stresses teamwork in a way that other mediums don’t. When you blend people together there’s always going to be friction, there are always stovepipes separating the talents, but not with Second City, and not with improvisation. Everybody’s thinking of their friends and wanting them to look good. And I think that’s why it works so well.”
Terror Dog sketch
In one draft of the script, the Terror Dogs hailed from an alternate dimension and sought out the help of the ghostbusters to protect them from Gozer. Concepts for the Terror Dogs included skeletal bodies and creatures with drooling, canine behavior.
Harold Ramis and Bill Murray
Ivan Reitman [director] felt that financial risk and bureaucratic paperwork would root the characters in a reality the audience could identify with, despite the company’s outlandish premise. Similar logic informed the team’s purchase of a deserted firehouse as their corporate headquarters.
Pet Lizard sketch
A Thom Enriquez concept for a Stay Puft marshmallow man alternative. Enriquez came up with the idea that this monster could be Ray Stantz’s pet lizard from his childhood.
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