With the new GHOSTBUSTERS reboot now in theaters, yours truly has been fondly reminiscing about the Ghostbusters of old. In my youth I obsessed over the two original feature films (I still recall the excitement of seeing GHOSTBUSTERS II on the big screen opening weekend!), drank my fair share of Ecto Cooler, and watched the animated “Real Ghostbusters” TV series religiously. I was an old school Ghosthead, and still am to this day!
Now believe it or not, I am trying to keep an open mind about the new film (despite the terrible trailers and the awful theme song cover by Fallout Boy), but I can’t help but pine for the Ghostbusters I grew up with. So in anticipation(?) of the rebirth of the franchise, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and share my top ten episodes of this long-running animated series.
The Real Ghostbusters (later changed to Slimer! and The Real Ghostbusters) was a successful animated show that ran for seven seasons and spawned a Slimer spin-off series! The stories were typically interesting, and the voice cast (particularly in the first two seasons) was pretty spot-on. But even after Lorenzo Music (Peter Venkman), Arsenio Hall (Winston Zeddemore), and Laura Summer (Janine Melnitz) left the show, the quality was still there.
There are dozens of great episodes, but only a small number of them managed to embed themselves deeply into my scattered thoughts. So without further ado, here are my top ten episodes of The Real Ghostbusters!
Note: Please keep in mind that these are just personal favorites, and are listed in no particular order!
#10: ROBO-BUSTER (Season 4, Episode 5)
A sleazy businessman named Paul Smart dates Janine Melnitz in order to steal trade secrets from the Ghostbusters. Smart then unveils a new weapon in the war on paranormal villains: Robo-Buster! The robotic hero quickly becomes a public sensation as it beats the Real Ghostbusters to the punch time and time again, and seemingly destroys numerous spirits with its wrist-mounted proton beams.
However, it turns out that Robo-Buster wasn’t actually destroying spirits. Now an enormous, amorphous mass of angry apparitions is on the loose and looking for revenge on Paul Smart and his creation. Only the combined efforts of Robo-Buster and his human counterparts will be enough to stop the growing ghostly menace in NYC!
#9: POULTRYGEIST (Season 4, Episode 3)
Egon’s too busy tinkering with his weather balloon to do his chores. This annoys the rest of his fellow Ghostbusters, so they go out on a call because a “were-chicken” is terrorizing a farmer. Though Venkman and Winston Zeddemore are dubious about the existence of such a creature (even after finding a huge egg), Ray insists that it’s real. While Winston and Ray deal with the evil Were-Chicken, Venkman and Slimer bring the egg back to headquarters, where it ends up hatching.
The resulting offspring bites Egon on his ass, then runs off and grows into a enormous monster that tries to turn the Empire State Building into its nest. Between curing Egon of the curse of the Were-Chicken, and defeating the kaiju-sized poultry beast, the Ghostbusters really have a time of it in this episode.
#8: WHEN HALLOWEEN WAS FOREVER (Season 1, Episode 8)
As Halloween draws near, the Ghostbusters become extremely busy incarcerating troublesome spooks and spectres. But their problems grow ten-fold when a pair of goblins let loose a spirit named Samhain. This ancient master of darkness uses his powers to stop time, which allows him to make Halloween night last indefinitely.
With a legion of spirits at Samhain’s command, and their proton packs mainly useless, the Ghostbusters must find his weakness, or get used to it being Halloween forever. (Not such a bad thing, right?) When all seems lost, our heroes do find a way to weaken and capture Samhain, thus saving the day. But this victory would be temporary as the king of Halloween would return in a later episode (HALLOWEEN 2 1/2 in Season 3), and turn the Ghostbusters firehouse into an impenetrable fortress!
#7: ROLLERGHOSTER (Season 2, Episode 8)
While on a stroll around New York with Janine, both she and Egon discover a carnival and decide to have a look. Egon is immediately angered by the unlicensed use of the Ghostbusters’ names and likenesses on a roller coaster, and threatens to take action. The carnies are unperturbed and ignore Egon’s promises of a lawsuit.
But the tables are turned when the attraction comes to life and takes a group of thrill seekers hostage. Tearing itself free from the ground, the titular “Rollerghoster” morphs into a giant, dinosaurian construct made up of steel beams. But in an interesting twist, the ghosts causing this bit of chaos are the spirits of dead animals. (Gorillas, elephants, lions, tigers, and bears! Oh my!)
Apparently a traveling circus went up in flames decades earlier, on the very spot the Ghostbusters ride was constructed, and all of the animals died. Now they are having their ahm… revenge…. I guess? Some quick thinking on Venkman’s part saves the day in this episode (not a frequent occurrence), and everyone (including Ray Stanz, who tried to be a negotiator) is rescued when the ghosts are scared out into the open by some fake pyrotechnics and captured.
And as icing on the cake, the infringing carnival attraction is completely destroyed, so Egon and the gang don’t even have to bother with a lawsuit!
#6. NO ONE COMES TO LUPUSVILLE (Season 2, Episode 25)
After a mysterious gentleman named Gregor visits the Ghostbusters’ firehouse, the guys pack up their gear and drive to very secluded village called Lupusville. You see, Gregor and his people are under attack by vampires, and he is hoping that the Ghostbusters (who for some reason seem to not believe in the existence of the undead, even though they deal with supernatural forces every day) can help.
But all is not as it seems, and soon Ray, Egon, Peter, and Winston are stuck in the middle of an ongoing war between two vampire clans. Their proton packs prove to be mostly useless (until Ray tweaks his a bit), and things start to look grim. To create a diversion, our would-be heroes release the original imprisoned inhabitants of Lupusville, who are all, unsurprisingly, werewolves!
While the various factions are duking it out under the full moon (biting each other, and becoming “vamp-wolves” and “were-pires”), the Ghostbusters make their escape and seal off the only exit to town. (Apparently vampires, much like the Ghostbusters, can’t cross streams? I thought that was a weakness exclusive to demons?)
#5. KNOCK, KNOCK (Season 2, Episode 40)
A group of subway workers unwittingly open a door that literally tells them “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL DOOMSDAY!” Hundreds of ghosts pour out of the portal, and begin spreading throughout New York City’s subway system. Subway trains are morphed into monstrous snakes and worms, and help spread the ghost apocalypse throughout the city.
Egon and company surmise that the portal is slowly morphing everything into a spiritual realm, and if not stopped, NYC and the entire world could become one massive ghostly graveyard. Just as things begin getting really bad, the Ghostbusters push their proton packs (and technobabble) to the limit to save the day!
#4. COLLECT CALL OF CATHULU (Season 2, Episode 28)
The legendary Necronomicon is being showcased at the New York Public Library, until it is stolen late one dark and stormy night by tentacled terrors. The Ghostbusters are called in to investigate, and soon find themselves in the NY sewers battling Cathulhu spawnlings. The creatures regenerate, and manage to chase the Ghostbusters off.
Further investigation by our heroes reveals that there is a Cathulhu cult operating in the area. They have stolen the book, and plan on reciting passages to ressurect the Great Old One. Several chases and a Shuggoth attack later, the Ghostbusters (and Alice Derleth, a Cathulhu expert who can cast spells) arrive in time to see the mighty Cathulhu rise from the ocean depths.
The proton packs prove useless against the monstrous god, but Ray recalls a weakness being mentioned in an old issue of “Weird Tales.” It turns out that a bolt of lightning is the only way to defeat Cathulhu, so a plan is quickly engineered to zap him back to his eons-long slumber to save humanity!
And yes, before you inundate my inbox and social media pages with comments, I know the appropriate spelling is Cthulhu.
#3. STANDING ROOM ONLY (Season 4, Episode 4)
Venkman decides to invent a machine to attract ghosts so that they can easily be stored away in the Ecto Containment Unit. (Somehow he thinks this will make he and his friends instant millionaires.) While the rest of the team scoff at his plans, Peter puts together a machine that does…. something.
While Egon investigates the crudely constructed gadget, ghosts begin showing up in the firehouse by the hundreds. But it turns out it isn’t Venkman’s machine that’s causing this phenomenon, but an ancient ghost-devouring monster called Mee-Krah. This creature awakens every thousand years to eat ghosts and recharge the ole batteries, but by doing so has created all of the Earth’s major deserts (e.g. Death Valley)!
And since all of the ghosts are desperately trying to get into the Ghostbusters’ containment unit, they are drawing Mee-Krah directly to New York City. As the enormous cyclopean monster prepares to make New York into an arid wasteland, Egon discovers that Venkman’s machine may just be the only thing that can stop it!
#2. THE REVENGE OF MURRAY THE MANTIS (Season 2, Episode 36)
During a parade through the steets of NYC, a balloon of a fictional kids show hero, Murray the Mantis, begins acting strangely. Before the balloon can become a danger to air travel over the metropolis, Pete Venkman blasts it with his proton pack. The resulting explosion unleashes the evil spirit hiding within, and it instantly transforms into a gigantic, rampaging mantis monster.
It turns out that a ghostly force snuck into the balloon when it was filled within a warehouse that once housed a mortuary, and according to Egon’s PKE readings, the mantis’ power level rivals that of Gozer! “Murray” proves to be way too big for the Ghostbusters to handle on their own, therefore they hatch a crazy plan to release the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from their containment unit.
Slimer leads Mr. Stay Puft to Central Park to have a brawl with Murray the Mantis, while the Ghostbusters lay a trap to defeat the giant insect. With the combined might of the marshmallow giant and their proton beam weaponry, our heroes pull off a major win and save The Big Apple yet again.
#1. DROOL THE DOG-FACED GOBLIN (Season 2, Episode 46)
When I was growing up, my folks bought me a VHS tape that contained several episodes of The Real Ghostbusters, including DROOL, THE DOG-FACED GOBLIN. This episode was always one of my favorites, as it featured a cool villain, and a misunderstood creature that ends up becoming a hero.
In this adventure, the Ghostbusters visit a traveling carnival sideshow because they were tipped-off that one of the attractions is an actual goblin. Seeing as how two such creatures have repeatedly unleashed Samhain upon the world, it’s understandable that they’d want to look into it. They discover that there is in fact a disgusting, shapeshifting monster at the carnival, but he’s apparently part of the show.
After a carny named Madam Ruby stops them from trapping “Drool,” the team ends up staying overnight at a nearby village when the Ecto-1 breaks down. It is here that they all experience strange phenomena, and come under attack by a vicious shapeshifting spirit. It morphs into various creatures and terrorizes the intrepid Ghostbusters.
After they survive the ordeal, they decide that Drool must be the culprit, and head back to the carnival. But as they are just about to ensnare the little goblin, they discover that he is totally innocent. A much bigger and badder shapeshifter appears and takes a group of people hostage. Unable to fire their proton streams at the ghost, Drool ultimately sacrifices himself to save the day and allow the Ghostbusters to defeat their opponent.
Poor Drool…. we hardly knew ye.
Well, those are my top ten episodes of The Real Ghostbusters Vault Dwellers! Having revisited all of them (and more) I can safely say that this show still holds up relatively well. Also, in retrospect, it seems that the majority of my favorites involve giant monsters, which makes sense because I’ve always been a big fan of kaiju cinema!
Thanks for reading gang, and be sure to share and discuss your favorite episodes below in the comments section!