Who ya gonna call??
wait…whaddya mean that’s not the right one?!? Oh yeah, right…*ahem*
Let’s goooo Ghoooostbusters!!
Before Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston strapped on the proton packs to fight Gozer and Mr. Stay-Puft, there was a forgotten 1970s television series that chronicled the adventures of a trio known as the Ghostbusters.
Premiering on September 6, 1975, "The Ghostbusters" starred "F-Troop" veterans Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch as Jake Kong and Eddie Spenser, two bumbling spook chasers who use their "ghost dematerializer" ray to bust ghosts. Joining up with them is their pet gorilla Tracy, played by Hollywood creature effects guru Bob Burns (who admits that he only got the job because he owned a really good gorilla suit). Ghostbusters was one of the few live action shows produced by Filmation.
The 1975 Ghostbusters was essentially a campy kids' show, with emphasis on poorly done slapstick and vaudeville routines. For example, at the beginning of every episode the team would get their assignment via an exploding tape recording a la "Mission: Impossible", except they would never be able to get rid of the tape in time causing the trio to get cartoonishly blown up. After they got the mission the Ghostbusters would call out “Let’s gooooo Ghoooostbusters!” and ride off into danger in their Ghost Buggy.
Unfortunately the exploding tape gag never got a chance to grow old, as the show was cancelled after 16 episodes.
When the Ghostbusters movie that we all know and love made gobs of money in 1984, Filmation decided to cash in by releasing a cartoon spin-off of their old kids show. Premiering in 1986, this new cartoon, initially called "Ghostbusters" but later changed to "Filmation’s Ghostbusters", was about the original Jake and Eddie’s sons (very imaginatively also named Jake and Eddie) working with Tracy the gorilla. The trio are also joined by Jessica (a TV reporter), Futura (a mysterious woman from the future), and Belfry (a talking bat). At their HQ "Ghost Command" they battle the evil spooks of Prime Evil, who are set up at his "Haunt-Quarters." The Ghost Buggy received a major upgrade and can now transport the team through space and time.
The cartoon was a much more action-oriented show than the original and emphasized fantasy more than the pseudo-science of the Ghostbusters movie, fitting it in well with the other major Filmation cartoon at the time, "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe". Like He-Man and most other children’s shows at the time, Ghostbusters had several product tie-ins and a series of action figures.
"Filmation’s Ghostbusters" initially did very well in the ratings, but the numbers began to slip when animation studio DIC came out with "The Real Ghostbusters", which was a cartoon spin-off of the Ghostbusters movie. The show was aptly named because although Filmation had the original ghostbusters, in the minds of the viewers, Peter, Ray, Egon, and Winston were the real ones. Facing competition from the highly popular characters, Filmation’s ratings began to slip and the show was canned after 62 episodes.
As an avid viewer of both the cartoons, and from what I can recall from when I was 6, the "fake" show was just as good as the “real” one and not as much of a cheap cash-in as one would assume. I was a big big fan of the Filmation show and was sad to see it cancelled. It’s a shame that they couldn’t coexist since both had different niches, the Filmation had more fantasy and comedy than the horror-themed episodes of Real Ghostbusters (at least until that show changed its name to "Slimer! and The Real Ghostbusters" and turned to shit.)