Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts
I’ve been a Ghostbusters fan for as long as I can remember. The film is in my top four favorite movies of all time (joined by Snatch, Shaun of the Dead, and The Big Lebowski, in no particular order). My favorite Ghostbuster has always been Egon. In hindsight, this was an odd choice because Peter had all the best lines in the flick. Then again, Egon was the smart one and he gets the girl (sort of). This is why I was so saddened to hear that Harold Ramis passed away. Ramis of course portrayed Dr. Egon Spengler on the big screen in both Ghostbusters films. (I don’t care what anyone says, I still like the second one even though it’s inferior to the original.) While Ramis also did a ton of great stuff in show business including writing films like Animal House and Meatballs, directing others like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, and starring in even more in bit parts like Knocked Up, it was his work in Ghostbusters that stood out.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up on the goings-on in Ramis’ life so I was unaware that he was suffering from a disease called vasculitis for the past four years. I didn’t even know what vasculitis is. I still don’t really. I just know that it took Egon away. OK, that was a really lame line. I’m trying to put into words how this has affected me. I said on Twitter that this must be what it must have felt like for Beatles’ fans when John Lennon was shot. Granted, Ramis wasn’t shot by a lunatic, but to have him seemingly die out of the blue for the casual observer came as a surprise. With his passing, so goes a piece of my childhood. I probably won’t feel this way when any of the other Ghostbusters die. I’ll be sad, but outside of maybe Bill Murray, it won’t get much more than the basic reaction of “Man, that sucks.” that I’d give for most celebrity deaths. Sorry Ernie Hudson.
Monica and I re-watched Ghostbusters last night. It had been a few years since I had last seen it, but within moments everything came rushing back to me. I remembered sitting in the living room of my parents’ house watching the film on a VHS tape that we had recorded from a rental from ShopRite. I remembered having a handful of tapes next to the TV in similar fashion including a blank one I had saved to one day record Ghostbusters III. I still have the Proton Pack toy from that era. When my basement is finished it will be hanging proudly on the wall next to my framed Ghostbusters poster.
The film really holds up. Watching it now, I looked for all the little things that are scattered throughout the movie. Monica and I talked briefly about when we would show this to Oliver (formerly known as Egon Raphael). I don’t know when I first saw Ghostbusters as I was born the year it came out. I must have been young. Movies like that were still given a PG rating even though it had things like supernatural violence, language, and references to sexual situations. There are plenty of things that today’s society would frown upon showing a child but I have a feeling a lot of it would go over a kid’s head like it did for me all those years ago. I loved this movie growing up and with each subsequent viewing, I found new things to love and appreciate. That’s a testament to Ramis’ work (and Dan Aykroyd too as he co-wrote the flick with Ramis).
So, thank you, Harold Ramis. You represented a part of my childhood and as a result, a part of the man I’ve become today. You will be missed.