So my friend Hayden is slightly (and when I say slightly I mean majorly) obsessed with Ghostbusters.
We once drove all the way downtown to a tech convention just to see Ecto-1 parked outside. We stayed just long enough to take pictures and chat with the owner and then left.
Then we got up early and headed to Costco to meet Dan Aykroyd and buy bottles of his Crystal Head vodka a while back.
So when Hayden found out that there would be a special showing of the film at Arclight Theatre with Ernie Hudson and William Atherton showing up for a Q&A session, it was pretty much mandatory that we attend. Events like this are one of the few perks of living in Los Angeles. You’d think there would be more perks, but nope, this town pretty much sucks.
It also happens to be Hayden’s birthday so it was a total score for me since it’s quite possibly the easiest birthday present ever.
I showed up before Hayden did and just happened to run into William Atherton in the Arclight gift shop. This was not my first time meeting Bill (we’re on a first name basis now). I had met him once before in 2005 at the Whole Foods Market in Woodland Hills. We were both grocery shopping and our eyes met. We introduced ourselves, chatted for minute and then parted ways. It was a moment, surrounded by organic, cage-free brown eggs, that I will never forget. Hayden showed up a minute later and we took pictures with him and scored autographs. I had Bill sign my crystal skull which he found highly amusing. Amusing enough to write his note to Dan Aykroyd instead of to me. A note that Danny (we’re on a first name basis now) will probably never, ever see. But whatever. Bill’s an awesome guy and not nearly as dickless as Venkman would have you think.
Watching the movie on the big screen was epic. Let’s just say that I was not old enough to watch it when it was originally on the big screen *ahem* so this was a real, if slightly fuzzy, treat.
Then came the moment we were all waiting for: the Q&A with Ernie Hudson (Winston), William Atherton (Peck), Joe Medjuck (Producer), Steve Johnson (Slimer, Visual Effects Artist), and Billy Bryan (Stay Puft Marshmallow Man). Oh, but wait, Ernie Hudson decided not to show. Or even call to say that he wasn’t going to show.
WTF ERNIE HUDSON???
I know you’re so busy with your thriving acting career and all but really? You didn’t even have the manners to call and say that you were so sorry that you couldn’t grace us with your presence?
The Q&A sans Ernie went smashingly with one exception: the host decided that his questions were far more important than fan questions and only left enough time for TWO questions from the audience. Douche. As my friend Kate would say “That’s soooooooooooo LA…”
All in all it was a great night. And although the kid next to me made a strange clicking noise when he yawned EVERY 30 SECONDS, I had a great time hanging out with the people behind the magic. If they ever do one of these for Star Trek I might just have a joygasm.
Some fun facts learned:
- Exploded Stay Puft was actually shaving cream. Bill found out they were planning on dumping 100 lbs of the stuff on him and insisted they do a test run. The test run knocked the stunt guy flat. Oh, and they accidentally used mentholated shaving cream instead of regular. Ouch. Needless to say, all was rectified for Bill’s shot.
- They filmed at all hours of the night and really pissed off the New Yorkers living in the neighborhood. At one point Isaac Asimov came running out. Dan Aykroyd got all excited and ran up to him and started telling him how huge a fan he was. Asimov just stared and him and yelled “Are you the one responsible for all this???”
- Francis Ford Coppola was filming The Cotton Club around the same time so when people got upset about the lights and noise the Ghostbusters crew started blaming it on Coppola.
- They sometimes filmed without permits. In the montage where they are running around New York catching ghosts, they are, at one point, really running away from a pissed off security guard.
- The part of Venkman was originally written for John Belushi. When John Belushi Graduated they brought in Bill Murray to replace him. They had already created Slimer but completely revamped him as an homage to Belushi in Animal House.
- Stay Puft is missing his tie in the scene where he explodes. Billy Bryan realized this in the middle of the night after shooting and woke up in a panic. Since no one in the screenings ever noticed, they left it as is.
- Stay Puft is the only aspect of the original script that survived.