Ghostbusters – Extra Egon!
This week has been very Ghostbusters-centric for me. Firstly I, along with much of the internet, was VERY excited by Jason Reitman’s surprise Ghostbusters sequel teaser. It’s always been exciting to speculate how a sequel, with the original cast and characters but set an appropriate amount of time later than the original to allow for the passage of time for the actors, might look and (to borrow from the first film) “now it looks like it may actually happen!”
Secondly, a routine visit to Gobsmack Comics in Horsham revealed a new line of toys <ahem> collectibles that I was unaware of. Although I’ve collected the Diamond Select Ghostbusters figures from the original film, I didn’t know they’d expanded the range to cover the Real Ghostbusters cartoon. After a whole day of self restraint, I decided to take the plunge and bought the new Egon figure. Having collected the four Ghostbusters from the first set of figures I’d thought I was done. (I didn’t go in for the “collect all the figures including the ones that are the same character but with a different hat” option. There’s only so much shelfspace in anyone’s house – not to mention money in the wallet!) However these new figures mean (to borrow from another very famous film) “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll stretch to getting all four Ghostbusters again – my “Ghostbusters” shelf is already overfull, but it’s hard to resist such a well made model of my favourite character. As a child I saw the first film slightly after its original release. A lot of “pester power” finally persuaded my mother to take me to see it at a local municipal hall (of the sort that showed films a little while after their cinematic release was completed.) I really enjoyed it and subsequently video recorded it from the television on its first Christmastime broadcast. It got a LOT of rewatches! Then when the Real Ghostbusters cartoon came out, it actually took me by surprise. For whatever reason I missed the first episode (and didn’t even know about the show at all – no internet spoilers or hype in those days!) When my friends wanted to play Ghostbusters on the playground the following day, I was only too happy to join in, but was surprised that they wanted to be friends with “Slimer.” As far as I was concerned the Sedgewick Hotel ghost was called “the green gog” and was a baddie! (To this day I’m not sure WHY I thought that was its name, but it was the accepted term amongst my friends before what had been known as “onionhead” during film production was rechristened “Slimer” by the cartoon.) Eventually it was explained to me “hadn’t I seen the cartoon yesterday?” The pieces fell into place and I soon caught up, videoing many future episodes and enthusiastically rewatching them whilst collecting the toys as best I could. (In those days, one had to visit different toystores in the hope of them having the Ghostbuster you sought in stock. Many times Argos let me down when the code I took to the till came back “out of stock.”) It was always Egon that I related to the most, with his scientific ways and slightly detached attitude (although if I’m honest, I am probably closer to Venkman in personality!) It’s interesting that, despite his apparently calm and rational personality, it is Egon who gets angry and attacks Walter Peck after Peck shuts off the containment unit in the first film. (Perhaps Peck’s assertion that Egon’s equipment caused the explosion was too much of a professional insult?) Harold Ramis himself stated that this was a deliberate character point and it does show that the character has real depth in just the same way as the “emotionless” Spock in Star Trek.
The new Egon figure from Diamond Select shares the features from their other models in being exquisitely detailed and having many, very accurately realised accessories. The proton pack, PKE meter and ghost trap have been redesigned to reflect the cartoon props and of course the character sculpt has been redone too (although close scrutiny does show that the upper torso is a repaint of the existing Egon figure – you can make out the outline of where the original has the “Spengler” nametape, not present in The Real Ghostbusters.)
I have quite a few Egon figures although a check in my parents’ loft prior to shooting these photos revealed that I sadly no longer have my original Real Ghostbusters toys, seemingly a victim of a rare clearout probably in my late teens.
It’s great to see how much detail goes into the accessories for all these figures, even the Playmobil figures for younger children. You can see a comparison of Proton Packs and PKE meters below.
I can’t talk about Ghostbusters here without also mentioning the 30th Anniversary playing card deck released by my friends at Albino Dragon five years ago. (That’s right, it’s the 35th Anniversary this year – I’m excited to read the accompanying IDW comic books for the event.)
Before the deck was even announced, let alone drawn, I recall a conversation with company owner Erik about which characters would suit which face cards in a Ghostbusters deck. It was exciting to then see the deck come to life. They’ve since also brought out a card game which I am hoping to get hold of a copy of soon. (Sadly the distributor for the game don’t ship internationally.) Officially licensed products often have to abide by some very strict, and sometimes very dull, “style guidelines” regarding how images look, so the stylised art for the deck is an interesting contrast to the strict “art that looks like photos from the film” or worse “stock film stills pasted onto playing cards” approach that licensed decks sometimes have.
Finally, it’s amusing that this collection of figures has yielded a not-at-all-disturbing bag of dismembered Ghostbuster hands, from the various different pose options for each figure. I’m sure they’ll come in handy for something…