New York Film Locations

 





Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary

9 June 2014

Ghostbusters celebrates its 30th anniversary this week.

While we have patiently waited for the long-in-development Ghostbusters 3, otsoNY takes a look back at the original 1984 film.

The film starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, three scientists at Columbia University in New York City. When their grant expires, the guys are fired and they go into business as a ghost extermination company called "Ghostbusters". Their first customer is orchestra cello player Dana Barrett, who was scared out of her apartment on the 22nd floor of a high rise apartment building on Central Park West. It seems that Dana's neighbour, Louis Tully, is also being affected by the strange happenings in the apartment building. Armed with proton guns, the Ghostbusters become wildly popular, and they are joined by Winston Zeddmore, who is looking for a job with good pay. Overzealous Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agent Walter Peck thinks the Ghostbusters are frauds, and he has the Ghostbusters put in jail. Peck is forced to believe the Ghostbusters when New York City is put under siege by an ancient Sumerian God named Gozer the Gozerian, who is channelled through the apartment building that Dana and Louis live in, and the mayor has no choice but to let the Ghostbusters out of jail to face Gozer.

Interestingly, in the middle of the film's initial release, to keep interest going, director Ivan Reitman had a trailer run, which was basically the commercial the Ghostbusters' use in the movie, but with the 555 number replaced with a 1-800 number, allowing people to call. They got a recorded message of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd saying something to the effect of "Hi. We're out catching ghosts right now." They got 1,000 calls per hour, 24 hours a day, for six weeks.

Almost none of the scenes were filmed as scripted and, in fact, almost all of the scenes had at least one or two ad-libs. Most of Bill Murray's lines are ad-libs, and the role of Peter Venkman was originally written for John Belushi.

Exterior scenes of the Ghostbusters headquarters were filmed at the Hook and Ladder #8 Firehouse in the Tribeca section of New York City. Inside the firehouse are a Ghostbusters sign and photos taken with the cast and crew. Dana's apartment building actually exists at 55 Central Park West in New York City. The building is actually only 20 stories high. For the film, matte paintings and models were used to make the building look bigger and with more floors. According to the commentary on the DVD, the top of the building is modelled after the top of the Continental Life Building in St. Louis, MO.

All the college scenes were filmed at Columbia University in New York, including the fictional Weaver Hall office/lab interiors. Director Ivan Reitman decided to use an actual on-campus office instead of a soundstage so the film crew could film indoors if the weather turned bad, rather than lose a day's filming. Columbia University agreed to all this, on the condition the school not be mentioned by name on-camera.

The music video for the song "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr., directed by Ivan Reitman, featured a number of celebrities who did not appear in the film. They included Chevy Chase; Irene Cara; John Candy; Melissa Gilbert; Ollie E. Brown; Jeffrey Tambor; George Wendt; Al Franken; Danny DeVito; Carly Simon; Peter Falk and Teri Garr. In addition, the Ghostbusters themselves (in costume) danced down Times Square right behind Parker Jr. Cindy Harrell played the girl in the haunted house.

Find out this month where the film charts in the otsoNY 1980's Top 100 list.





 


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