You’re probably thinking, ‘Hey! That’s not Paulie. “It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.”’ No, it’s me. I’m just dressed this way because…you may not know it but…today is 8/6/16, the 71st anniversary of the 1st of 2 nuclear attacks in the history of the planet – the other taking place 3 days later, on the God-awfullest day on the U.S. calendar, 8/9.
“But why the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, you might ask? Isn’t he the most harmless thing? Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft? Well, you’ve probably seen the movie. It certainly debunked that myth. Stay Puft is New York City’s answer to Godzilla, the monster that first appeared in Ishirō Honda’s 1954 film Godzilla and destroyed Tokyo is a metaphor for nuclear weapons & annihilation. Japan, at the time, was paralyzed with fear of another attack. And the Ghostbusters are the personification of human heroes using technology to stave off the existential forces that threaten our peace & security. It was released in 1984, at a time when the Cold War began to re-escalate: Reagan’s Star Wars Program (Strategic Defense Initiative) was announced on 3/23/83 but his intention to challenge the USSR’s General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev was both well-known & unnerving; filming for the project began in October ’83; and Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis wrote the screenplay over 3 weeks in May & June ’82 in a bomb shelter in Martha’s Vineyard. With Donald Trump possibly perilously close to having the nuclear codes, we have a new generation of Ghostbusters, who, I’m told but have yet to check out personally, lack the originality & comic timing of Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters. But I digress. Ugh! My allergies are killing me. I’ll try not to slime ya though. Aah-choo! ‘Scuse me! My weekly big screen movie tradition began in 2001 when Cindy & I were hangin’ regularly with Flipper Dave keyboardist Glen Nelson. On Tuesdays, we’d all go to the Country Cinema, Watertown for their 7:00 second-run feature. But first, we always hit…CHOO!…AJ’s Main Street Grill for dinner & drinks. AJ’s was a bank decades earlier & their Game Room was in the vault. Legend has it, the bank was once robbed at gunpoint & a teller murdered. One of our first times there, co-owner Anthony said, “‘Have you been troubled by strange noises in the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family actually seen a spook, specter or ghost? If the answer is yes, there’s no need to call the Ghostbusters! Everyone here is ready to believe you! This place is haunted. At least 10 of the staff & many patrons have witnessed a free-floating, full torso vaporous apparition. She’s blown bottles off shelves & scared the socks off my sister Kim!’” We’d regularly hear her stomping around upstairs late at night when she wanted Tony to close up. Once, I even saw her breeze halfway down the spiral staircase & then back up again; her translucent white gown flowing behind her! AAH-CHOO!!!
Of course, Ivan Reitman’s 1984 comedy, Ghostbusters, is also about specters. It stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd & the late Harold Ramis as scientists – Dr.’s Venkman, Stantz & Spengler respectively – researching supernatural activity at never-called-by Columbia University.
Venkman was supposed to be played by John Belushi,
but he died of an overdose on 3/5/82. When the school cancels their program, they open Ghostbusters, a paranormal extermination service. Their first customer is Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver). Rick Moranis plays her geeky tax accountant neighbor, Louis. Soon, New York City is teeming with ghosts & business is booming.
Ghostbusters received 2 Oscar nominations in 1985 at the 57th Academy Awards. Ray Parker, Jr. for Best Original Song for his #1 hit title piece. Huey Lewis turned down an offer to write the theme song and later sued Parker for plagiarizing I Want a New Drug on Ghostbusters. Columbia Pictures settled out of court. Ghostbusters other Oscar nomination was for Visual Effects. That Oscar has an interesting history. The first Special Effects Award, sound & visual, was given in 1940 for films released in ’39. You’d think…well it had to be The Wizard of Oz. Nope! Incredibly, the Oscar went to The Rains Came. The Special Effects Oscar remained thru ‘63. In 1964, 2 Awards – Visual and Sound Effects – replaced the Special Effects Oscar. From ’73 – ‘77, Visual Effects was given only as an Honorary Award. When Star Wars was released, the Visual Effects Oscar was re-instituted. No Visual Effects award was given in just one year since its establishment, 1974. However there were some special visual effects at those Academy Awards. Streaker, Robert Opel, ran across the stage completely naked, flashing everything for the world to see, including a peace sign. As you can see, Opel was a guy so I hope that never happens again. Dude, take a shave! So watch the trailer below, then update you Netflix Queue so that on the very top is Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters. 4 Stars!!! AAAAH-CHOO!!!