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Friday
Aug292014

Ghosts of Ghostbusters: Harold Ramis

Dear Harold Ramis, Writer and Actor,

You’re in the bottom half of the Ghostbusters hierarchy. Murray and Aykroyd are the names and faces everyone remembers—Murray for his half-there, in-on-the-joke performance as Peter Venkman; Aykroyd for his weird, real-life parallels to his supernatural conspiracy-theorist character Ray Stanz. But that was the place you seemed most comfortable; operating quietly at the periphery.

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Friday
Aug292014

Ghosts of Ghostbusters: Elmer Bernstein

Dear Elmer Bernstein, Composer,

Though you came to it late, you learned a little something, over your long and storied career, about how to score comedy films. In the early 1980s you were already one of the most famous film composers in the business, but John Landis still had to fight with the studio brass to bring you onboard National Lampoon’s Animal House (sure, he was probably a fan—but he also grew up down the street from you and was pals with your kids). They didn’t think you could score a straight-up comedy flick. And, boy, did you prove them wrong.

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Thursday
Aug282014

Ghosts of Ghostbusters: Chuck Gaspar

Dear Chuck Gaspar, Special Effects Supervisor,

It’s the eggs. 

The eggs make me most appreciate your work on Ghostbusters. As special effects supervisor, you were responsible for all of the practical, on-set effects work. The really big set-pieces— proton packs, Slimer, Terror Dogs, Gozer, Stay Puft Marshmallow man, and so on—those were the domain of Richard Edlund, and his visual effects team. Your team had the task of making all of those post-production elements feel real, and appear to interact with the real on-set elements. Chandeliers exploding after a missed shot, a dining cart smashed into a wall by a frantic ghost; that was all you.

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Thursday
Aug282014

Ghosts of Ghostbusters: David E. Blewitt

Dear David E. Blewitt, Editor,

What a weird movie this must have been to edit. Ghostbusters had so many disparate elements to balance. There’s the shambling, semi-improvised comedy in the style of Caddyshack, Stripes, and Meatballs that requires a light touch to get the pacing just right. Then there’s the high-budget special effects extravaganza that forces itself into the comedy, requiring beats more akin to an action movie. And speaking of beats, there’s also the seemingly random soundtrack that mixes all manner of song genres, with each song requiring a moment in the spotlight with its own mini-montage.

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Wednesday
Aug272014

Ghosts of Ghostbusters: Jim Bullock

Dear Jim Bullock, Sound Editor,

I could be in another room, on another floor, in another building while Ghostbusters is on, and even if I only hear ten seconds, I know exactly what’s happening. Maybe that’s because I’ve seen the film at least a hundred times. Or maybe it’s because you transformed what must have been a thousand hours of audio tracks into the soundscape that helped make Ghostbusters one of the most beloved films of the last thirty years.

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