Ah the Ghostbusters. Remember a time when the franchise wasn’t sullied by cheap cash-ins in the form of poorly thought out re-boots that you apparently could only dislike if you harbor misogynistic feelings?
I didn’t experience the initial airing of The Real Ghostbusters animated TV show (1986-1991) as I was born in 1990,. But I do have fond memories of all of the action figures and vehicles that I found at carboot sales as a kid. It was only this year that I finally got around to watching some of the episodes of the series, and I had to admit it was quite fun in an 80s animated kind of way. But not a patch on the original two movies.
The toys however were ‘spook’tacular (sorry for that). They could be picked up really cheaply and always seemed to have action features built into them. I think the Ecto 1 car had an insect that popped out of it, and there was a postman/mailman that turned into a monster as well. I had the firehouse at one point which was massive and served as the HQ of many of my action figures at various times.
So I am going to take a look at a couple of spooky Ghostbusters figures that I own. Though there are probably waaaay better figures in the line out there, these are a couple I definitely remember from childhood and have fond memories of.
Fright Feature Peter Venkman figure
Although Peter Venkman wasn’t really the leader of the Ghostbusters, he was the sarcastic, womanizing glue that held ’em all together. Bill Murray’s portrayal in the original two movies has ensured that the character has gone down in history and remains one of the most beloved icons in popular culture.
In the animated series, the character was at times somewhat like the Bill Murray’s onscreen version, though understandably they did tune down the womanizing aspect. What I did dislike though was that they made the character skinnier and look nothing like the Bill Murray version. Still, as pedantic as I am, I am not going to bitch too much about a toyline from thirty years ago, that did churn out some real good shit.
So this is the Venkman figure I remember owning as a kid. He differs from the usual animated version as that one usually wears dark brown jumpsuit, but being the Fright Feature version of the figure he has is wearing a grey one, which looks closer to the ones in the film albeit that one doesn’t have the yellow tool vest that this one has. Whereas the first version of this character in the toyline came equipped with an easily broken proton pack, the fright feature version has some strange hook device for picking up the twin ghosts that came packaged with the figure.
I like that they went for something a bit different, but it does look a bit like something I have seen people using in parks to pick up dog shit easily. But it is something for Venkman to hold and try and look like a professional.
This is the ghost/pair of ghosts that came with Venkman. It isn’t huuugely detailed but is a nice little addition and comes in a blue mouthwash colour that I associate more with sour candy than mouthwash.
There is a reason why Venkman looks like a ventriloquist dummy. Squeezing his left arm causes his eyes to pop out of his sockets, his mouth open and his hair to look like it’s leaving his head.
It is a neat little feature, but if you are in the business of removing ghosts, I doubt you would actually be scared of them after a while. If you were afraid of rats or wasps, but decided to offer a pest removal service, you would probably get over the fear pretty quickly or quit the job.
But I am being silly. Although a basic figure, it is a fun little gimmick and it you can pick up a complete loose one for a pretty cheap price.
Now it’s time to take a look at the second Real Ghostbusters figure.
Haunted Humans: Granny Gross figure
Now you don’t find many action figure lines that feature old people so this toy gets an approving nod from me.
Now I like old people, and even with my approving nod, I generally don’t find them overly exciting and wouldn’t particularly want to go out and buy loads of senior citizens in toy form. But Kenner did a good job of making this old lady pretty interesting. As a gimmick they could have given her a smell like the He-man or Strawberry Shortcake toys, perhaps of pee and Murray mints, but instead they went for something that’s undeniably awesome. This old lady is actually a monster.
Forget what I said with the previous toy. Even if I worked in the ghostbusting business and had had regular contact with a variety of spooks, I think I would still shit a brick if an old lady’s stomach opened up to be a gaping mouth with teeth and a tongue inside. I think that every generation thinks that their childhood toys were better than the next generations, but I don’t see anything really as interesting as this on the shelves nowadays, even with toys from the new movie out now.
One other little feature is that the old lady’s hat is concealing a giant eye.
They really don’t make old ladies like they used to.
Ghostbusters probably will make a return on here in the future but with a Halloween Countdown, their inclusion was a must.