Sunday, October 21, 2012

Countdown to Halloween: Geek TV: The Ghost Busters!

ghostbusters4Concept: Two men and a gorilla investigate ghostly occurrences, sending ghosts back to the afterlife. These ghosts are always found in a castle outside of town.

Total Episodes: 15

Original Air Dates: September 6, 1975 – December 13, 1975

Original Network: CBS

Geek Factor: 9


Jake Kong (Forrest Tucker): Leader of the team, voice of reason (as much as any of them are reasonable). He appears to be grumpy, but has a heart of gold, and loves a good laugh.

Eddie Spencer (Larry Storch): Zoot-suit wearing member of the team, often not believing what Tracy's attempting. Doesn't take things seriously.

Tracy (Bob Burns): Intelligent gorilla, quite likely the brains of the operation! Seems to have some ability to warp reality when he draws. Fond of hats.

Zero (Voice of Lou Scheimer): Mentor of the Ghost Busters, alerting them when a new ghost appears by leaving secret messages in objects at a convenience store – which explode five seconds after the message ends (and before Tracy can get rid of it).

Geek Guest-Stars:

Lennie Weinrib played the ghost of Harry Albert, a werewolf. Lennie guest starred in a number of geeky shows, like The Twilight Zone, My Favorite Martian, and The Munsters before being cast as the voice of the title character, Seymour Spider, and Ludicrus Lion on H.R. Pufnstuf. He also provided the voices for Roland and Rattfink in the Rattfink cartoons, Sam Scurvy in the Doctor Dolittle animated series, various characters on Lidsville, Moonrock on The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, Stanley on The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, and lots and lots of other roles, especially on Filmation shows of the era, where he voiced Commissioner Gordon, the Joker, the Penguin and others on The New Adventures of Batman. Some may hate him forever for creating and performing the voice of Scrappy-Doo, but he did a lot of other roles aside from that before passing away in 2006.

Dodo (aka Nora) Denney played the ghost of a gypsy named Sophia. She had parts in shows like My Favorite Martian, I Spy, Bewitched, Get Smart, and played Mrs. Teevee in Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Johnny Brown played the ghost of The Fat Man, a gangster. He had been a regular on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, appeared in episodes of Night Gallery and The Lost Saucer, and later voiced Splashdown on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show.

Billy Barty played the ghost of The Rabbit, a gangster. His career began playing Mickey Rooney's younger brother in a series of shorts, played a White Pawn and the Baby in a 1933 version of Alice in Wonderland, a baby in Bride of Frankenstein, guested in shows like Circus Boy, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Get Smart, Pufnstuf (where he was Googy Gopher and Orville Pelican), he played Sparky the Firefly in The Bugaloos and Sigmund Ooze in Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. Later, he was Hugo in an episode of The Lost Saucer, Hugo in Dr. Shrinker, played Gwildor in the movie version of Masters of the Universe, a genie in The Munsters Today, and voiced Hips McManus in an episode of The New Batman Adventures. He died in 2000.

Bernie Kopell played the ghost of Dr. Frankenstein. He'd guested in three episodes of My Favorite Martian, an episode of The Flying Nun, but I'll always think of him as Siegfried on Get Smart. He also guested on Night Gallery, multiple episodes of Bewitched, a Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and later was Alan-a-Dale in When Things Were Rotten, guested on The Six Million Dollar Man, and of course spent ten years playing Dr. Adam Bricker on The Love Boat (which I wouldn't mention except that I know if I didn't, someone would in the comments).
Ted Knight played the ghost of Simon De Canterville, and of course he had a long relationship with Filmation, although before that he'd been in an episode of The Twilight Zone and an episode of The Outer Limits. He was the narrator and voiced Perry White in The New Adventures of Superman, narrator on Aquaman, voiced characters on both Journey to the Center of the Earth and Fantastic Voyage, voiced Commissioner Gordon, the Narrator, and The Penguin on The Batman/Superman Hour, narrator and Ben Turner on Lassie's Rescue Rangers, provided two voices in an episode of the animated Star Trek; appeared in episodes of Get Smart, The Invaders, and The Wild Wild West; and was narrator and The Flash on Super Friends. Of course, he also played this character named Ted Baxter on some obscure comedy show called Mary Tyler Moore, and played a cartoonist in the show Too Close For Comfort. Ted passed away in 1986, but his legacy lives on – when the Golden Age Starman appeared in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, he was voiced as an imitation of Ted, because Starman's secret identity was... Ted Knight!

Kathy Garver played Carla de Canterville, but to millions, she'll always be Cissy Davis on Family Affair. After Ghost Busters, she began working as voice talent, provided voices to The All-New Super Friends Hour, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (where she voiced Firestar), Chuck Norris: Karate Commandos, and more, while still making occasional onscreen appearances. In 1997, she voiced Miss America for three episodes of Spider-Man (1997). I'm not sure why they didn't try to get her to voice Firestar when the character appeared in The Super Hero Squad Show.

Len Lesser played Mr. “E.” His geek credits include episodes of The Outer Limits, Honey West, The Munsters, The Wild Wild West, My Favorite Martian, Mr. Terific, Get Smart, The Monkees (two episodes there, when I get to “Monkees in a Ghost Town,” remind me to talk about him more if I don't do so already, okay?), The Second Hundred Years, Land of the Giants, and The Girl With Something Extra.Later, he appeared in episodes of Wonderbug, The Amazing Spider-Man (1977), Airwolf, and other shows. If he still doesn't ring a bell, he was Uncle Leo on Seinfield – ah, now you place him, don't you?

Bill Engeaser played the ghost of the Frankenstein Monster. He'd previously played a Wolfman in House on Bare Mountain, billed as “Abe Greyhound,” and would play Bigfoot in an episode of Isis.
Philip Bruns played the ghost of Scroggs. He'd previously guested on The Wild Wild West, and would later be seen in episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, Isis, The Twilight Zone (1985), Amazing Stories, and could be seen in the movies Return of the Living Dead Part II and Amazon Women on the Moon. He passed away in 2012.

Stanley Adams played the ghost of Capt. Aloysius Beane. He'd previously guested on Captain Midnight, The Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, My Mother the Car, Honey West, T.H.E. Cat, Batman (he played Captain Courageous in “Batman Displays His Knowledge”/”Catwoman Goes to College”), Star Trek (he was Cyrano Jones in the classic “The Trouble With Tribbles”, and reprised that role in the animated episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles”), Lost in Space, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He died in 1977.

Tim Herbert played the ghost of the Phantom. He'd previously guested in episodes of The Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie, Batman (Whiskers in “When the Rat's Away, The Mice Will Play”/”A Riddle a Day Keeps The Riddler Away”, plus in the unaired Batgirl pilot, he played Killer Moth!), Get Smart, Bewitched, and later, Amazing Stories. Barbara Rhoades played the ghost of Queen Forah. She had previously guested in episodes of Bewitched, Alias Smith & Jones, Mission: Impossible, Night Gallery, and The Magician, as well as appearing in a part in Scream, Blacula, Scream. She later guested on episodes of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Far Out Space Nuts, Six Million Dollar Man, and Tabitha.

ghostbusters2Richard Balin played the ghost of the Mummy and the Abominable Snowman (in different episodes). He later guested on Ark II, Misfits of Science, Starman, Sledge Hammer!, and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Ann Morgan Guilbert played the ghost of The Witch of Salem. She'll probably forever be remembered as next-door-neighbor Millie Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She also guested on I Dream of Jeannie. Huntz Hall played the ghost of Gronk. He is, of course, best known for his role in the East Side Kids/Bowery Boys films.

Leigh Christian played Salem. She had previously guested in Night Gallery and The Six Million Dollar Man, and could be seen in The World's Greatest Athlete and Beyond Atlantis. Marty Ingels played the ghost of Billy the Kid. Best known for playing Arch Fenster in I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, he also guested in episodes of The Addams Family, Bewitched, and voiced Autocat in Motormouse and Autocat. Later, he voiced Beegle Beagle on The Great Grape Ape Show and the title character on Pac-Man. As a bit of trivia, he married Shirley Jones, becoming stepfather to Jones' sons, who included Shaun Cassidy.

Brooke Tucker played the ghost of Belle Starr. She's Forest Tucker's daughter, which may be how she got the part! Severn Darden played the ghost of Dr. Jekyll. He'd previously been seen on episodes of Car 54, Where Are You?, Honey West, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees (he was J.B. Goggins, Jr. in “Monkee Vs. Machine,” which I already reviewed here), and many other roles – see that Monkees entry for more details.

Joe E. Ross played the ghost of Mr. Hyde. If the name sounds familiar but you can't place him, here's a clue: “Oooh! Oooh!” He could be seen as Msgt. Rupert Ritzik on The Phil Silvers Show, Gunther J. Toody on Car 54, Where Are You?, the caveman Gronk on It's About Time, an en episode of Batman. He also appeared in the movies The Love Bug and The Boatniks. He voiced Botch on Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch and Sgt. Flint on Hong Kong Phooey, and later, he voiced Roll on C. B. Bears and appeared in an episode of The Lost Saucer.

Howard Morris played the ghost of the Red Baron. He was a regular on Your Show of Shows, and could also be seen in episodes of Thriller, voiced the title character and other characters on Beetle Bailey (1963), guested on a Twilight Zone, appeared as Mr. Elmer Kelp in the original The Nutty Professor, was Breezly Bruin on The Peter Potamus Show, did a variety of voices for The Flintstones, Gopher in the original Winnie the Pooh shorts, the voice of Atom Ant, Jughead and many others on The Archie Show and the spin-offs; Frankie, Orville Mummy and Wolfie in The Groovie Goolies; the voices for just about everyone on My Favorite Martians, several characters on Mission: Magic!; the title character and his fantasy counterparts on The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty... Yes, the list does go on and on! In the 1980s, he voiced Bogel on The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, was the Prankster on Superman (1988)... he's definitely another of those actors that when I get to some of the other shows, I'll provide more credits for, especially when he's a main character actor!

Robert Easton played the ghost of Sparks. He appeared in an episode of The Adventures of Superman, had a part in The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and The Neanderthal Man, played Sparks in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1961), voiced Lt. Sheridan on Stingray... and also had guest-starring roles on The Munsters, Lost in Space, My Mother the Car, Get Smart, Alias Smith & Jones, and Kolchak: The Night Stalker. He would later be seen in The Giant Spider Invasion, Pete's Dragon, guested on The Bionic Woman, played a Klingon judge in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and many other roles.
Jim Backus played the ghost of Eric the Red. Of course, you know he was the voice of Mr. Magoo, and played Thurston Howell III on Gilligan's Island, but did you know he also appeared in The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World, or that he guested in episodes of I Spy and The Wild Wild West, played Mr. Dithers on Blondie (1968-1969), guested on I Dream of Jeannie, Nanny and the Professor, Alias Smith and Jones and other roles before then, of course also reprising his role as Howell for The New Adventures of Gilligan? And later, he guested on Kolchak: The night Stalker, The New Zoo Revue (Yes, really!), and Ark II?

Lisa Todd played the ghost of Brunhilda. Given her measurements (40-24-38, according to the IMDB), I can see why! She'd previously appeared in an episode of The Wild Wild West, as well as an episode of Kung Fu, but she's probably better known for playing Sunshine Cornsilk on Hee Haw (yes, I can mention it, there was a comic based on it, you know).

Ina Balin played the ghost of Morgan Le Fay. She had earlier guested on episodes of Get Smart, It Takes a Thief, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Alias Smith and Jones. She later guested on The Invisible Man, The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, and The New Adventures of Wonder Woman. She died in 1990.

Carl Ballantine played the ghost of Merlin. Of course, he's known for his role on McHale's Navy, as well as his magician personal billed as “The Amazing Ballantine,” “The Great Ballantine,” and “Ballantine: The World's Greatest Magician.” He had a recurring role on Car 54, Where Are You? Before that, guested on an episode of The Monkees (it'll be a while before I get to that one) and I Dream of Jeannie. Later, he guested on When Things Were Rotten, Blacke's Magic, Night Court, and other shows. He provided voices on a handful of episodes of Garfield and Friends, as well as an episode each of Freakazoid and Spider-Man (1996). He died in 2009.

Ronny Graham played Dr. Centigrade. He later got in with Mel Brooks, making appearances in History of the World: Part 1, To Be or Not To Be, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. But before this, he'd written episodes of The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show, The Brady Bunch Variety Show (I'd imagine he wishes that wasn't on his resume), and wrote Spaceballs as well as episodes of the subsequent animated series.

Geek Pedigree:

Setting aside the usual Lou Scheimer/Filmation stuff... Co-star Forrest Tucker was in The Abominable Snowman, The Crawling Eye (Which was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and reviewed here), and of course was a co-star of F Troop with his Ghost Busters co-star Larry Storch. Tucker later guested on Alias Smith and Jones, Night Gallery, The Bionic Woman, and revisited playing Jake Kong in an episode of the animated version of Ghost Busters.

Larry Storch, aside from also being in F Troop, voiced Koko the Clown in the 1963 Out of the Inkwell cartoons, voiced Phineas J. Whoopee in Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, did voices for several 1960s Warner Brothers cartoons, especially the Cool Cat series; Guest-starred on I Dream of Jeannie and Get Smart, voiced the Joker for The Batman/Superman Hour, provided voices on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Brady Kids, Dracula on The Groovie Goolies, the Joker again in The New Scooby-Doo Movies, guested on Kolchak: The Night Stalker, voiced Amos in Journey Back to Oz,and also returned to voice his animated counterpart in an episode of the animated Ghost Busters.

Bob Burns is primarily known for being an archivist of horror and sci-fi movie memorabilia, but he had also played a Saucer Man in Invasion of the Saucer Men, played Kogar the Gorilla in Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters and Superman Vs. the Gorilla Gang, as well as in Rat Pfink a Boo Boo, and then appeared in The Further Adventures of Major Mars, Superbman: The Other Movie, Robot Monster: The Special Edition, Invasion Earth: The Aliens are Here, and many others. In the 2005 King Kong, he cameoed in one scene, and played a gorilla one more time in 2009's Dark and Stormy Night. He also assisted Paul Blaisdell on It! The Terror From Beyond Space, Invasion of the Saucer Men, and It Conquered the World, and worked on special effects for Not of This Earth, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Harry and the Hendersons, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

DVD Release: Complete series on DVD (out of print)
Website: covers both the live-action and animated version of the show.

Notes: As with many of Filmation's other shows, my siblings and I watched this show faithfully every single week, and could not understand why it wasn't renewed! Of course, after the success of Ghostbusters and that subsequent animated series, this was revived in animated form.

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