Comic genius and film icon Harold Ramis recently passed at the age of 69. Ramis was famous for writing classic comedies like Animal House and Caddyshack. Among his greatest cinematic achievements was Ghostbusters, a film he re-wrote and starred in as Dr. Egon Spengler.
Believe it or not, Ghostbusters turns 30 in June. To mark the anniversary, Jason Matloff at Esquire spoke to everyone involved with the infamous comedy, including actors Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and the recently departed Ramis. The oral history includes gems about casting, pitching the story of "ghost janitors in New York," and the original idea for the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
Slimers and Marshmallow Men
MEDJUGKI: The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man scene is one of the things that is almost exactly the same as it was in Danny’s original script.
AYKROYD: My old friend the Viking is a great artist, and we just sat down, and I said, “I want a cross between the Michelin Tire Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy, and put him in a little sailor hat.” I swear, we laughed our asses off when we saw the sketch of that f***ing thing.
RAMIS: He looks so benign and then turns so malevolent.
AYKROYD: All those brand symbols are cure puffy little things, but when you blow them up to 300 feet high marching down Broadway, they don’t seem so benevolent anymore.
SHELDON KAHN: I was afraid about the marshmallow man, because reading it in the script I didn’t know if it was going to be something the audiences would moan about.
REITMAN: I was really worried that the audience would be taken out of the movie. But they actually just started screaming as soon as they saw that silly head.
AYKROYD: My father read the script and said, “Don’t put him in there. It just won’t come across.” Thank God I didn’t take his screenwriting advice. I’ll take it for everything else in life.
The piece has everything you've ever wanted to know about Ghostbusters and offers a sad reminder of the great comic mind that just departed this plane. If you've got a few minutes, you owe it to yourself to consume the whole oral history. [Esquire]