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Western Animation / Filmation's Ghostbusters
aka: The Ghost Busters

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"Let's go, Ghostbusters!"

Just to set the record straight, these guys came first... mostly. (The Bowery Boys' 1946 film Spook Busters was made under the Working Title of Ghost Busters.)

In 1975 Filmation created a series for CBS called The Ghost Busters, starring F Troop veterans Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch, as well as Bob Burns in a gorilla suit (yeah, this show was kind of odd). For this low-budget live-action series, Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch and Bob Burns played Jake Kong, Eddie Spencer, and Tracynote  who would receive a message from the mysterious, unseen "Zero" who would inform them that some spook or other was up to mischief, and the Ghost Busters would have to stop it. Hijinks would ensue as the Busters and the Ghosts would use every trick you could think of (and even some you wouldn't) to outwit each other. For fifteen episodes the show ran on a rather "random" style of humor and was finally laid to rest, reportedly out of a desire by the studio to devote their efforts to the popular The Secrets of Isis.

Fast forward to 1984. Columbia Pictures wanted to make a movie about a team of "paranormal investigators and eliminators," which they wanted to call, surprise surprise, Ghostbusters. The characters, setting and unique aspects of the storyline were completely unrelated to the Filmation series, but well into production, Columbia learned that Filmation already held a trademark on the name. After some negotiation, Columbia was able to license the name. With the movie going on to become a massive blockbuster, they decided to cash in with an animated series. At the time, Filmation had become an animation powerhouse thanks to their successful He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) and She-Ra: Princess of Power cartoons. They were very close to striking a deal to work with Columbia on the project, but when that didn't pan out, they thought they could cash in with their own show.

So we got the animated Ghostbusters. A sequel to the live-action series, this starred the sons of Jake Kong and Eddie Spencer (who have the same names as their fathers). Tracy is back too, though he neither looks nor acts anything like his live-action counterpart. Nevertheless, dialogue indicates that this is the same gorilla.

The new series followed the premise of its forebear and had the same style of humor, but there were significant alterations: the setting had changed — the Ghostbusters now worked out of "Ghost Command" in which they kept some ghosts as pets, had technology that verged on the blatantly magical such as a talking car that could fly through space and travel through time, and even a backdoor to some sort of alternate dimension, which they went into in every episode to "get into uniform." The biggest change, though, was that they now had a nemesis, a sort of ghost-robot thing named Prime Evil, who operated out of "Hauntquarters" — an elongated house situated at the end of time or something — and commanded a legion of paranormal baddies. The mysterious "Zero" from the 1975 series was never mentioned; instead usually the GBs would either be contacted by someone (usually their reporter friend Jessica Wray) or else just realize something is up and take initiative.

Like its forebear, Ghostbusters animated only lasted one season. This time, the cause for failure was clearer: kids tuned in thinking that this was the show with those four guys with the Proton Packs, and it wasn't (that was The Real Ghostbusters). Also, like the live-action series, Ghostbusters runs on a "random" style of humor, which isn't to everyone's tastes.

Even so, there is a small following of people who love this series, and even consider it "the True Ghostbusters." You can find a haunt for such people here.

Both the live-action series and the cartoon are available in their entirety on DVD.

"Let's trope, Ghostbusters!"

Tropes common to both series include:

  • Bag of Holding: Tracy's Ghost Kit contains whatever our heroes need to deal with the ghosts.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Ghost Dematerializer zaps ghosts and sends them back to the great beyond.
  • Historical Domain Character / Public Domain Character: Both generations of 'busters have had encounters with spooks of this ilk, including Count Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein and his monster,The Canterville Ghost, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Headless Horseman, Merlin, Morgan Le Fay, The Red Baron, Billy the Kid, the crew of the Flying Dutchman, among others.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The first show had villains like ghost vampires, a ghost werewolf, a ghost mummy and a ghost yeti. The cartoon had "ghost robots," whatever that means, like Scared Stiff and Prime Evil, who's also a ghost-robot-wizard. Then there's Scarechrome, who's a ghost-pirate-cyborg...and there was almost Tex Hex, a ghost-cowboy.
  • Screeching Stop: They do this all the time, especially on their way to the Transformation Sequence.
  • Silly Simian: Tracy the Gorilla is one of the heroes, while also providing some slapstick thanks to his primate naturenote .

Tropes particular to the live-action series include:

  • As You Know: If you go into the first episode expecting some backstory, don't. The series has Spencer, Tracy, and Kong already established, and the formula of the first episode is virtually the same as the last. We don't even learn Kong's first name, and we only know Spencer's is Eddie because he uses it when introducing himself to Dr. Frankenstein in the second episode.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The last episode featured the ghost of the Abominable Snowman.
  • Birthday Episode: "A Worthless Gauze" took place on Kong's birthday and had Spenser and Tracy plan a surprise party for him.
  • Black Box: Nobody understands how the Dematerializer works.
  • Casting Gag: The Phantom from "The Dummy's Revenge" was played by actor Tim Herbert. Much like his character in this episode, Herbert was active as a vaudeville performer in the 1930s.
    • Also, the roles Tucker and Storch play are similar to the ones they played in F Troop.
  • Character as Himself: "Tracy 'trained by' Bob Burns".
  • Defanged Horrors: All of the ghosts and monsters our heroes faced were severely nerfed in some way: Dr. Frankenstein is saddled with an incompetent monster; the Wolfman acts like a big puppy when transformed; the Mummy sprays dust everywhere and is deathly afraid of moths. Not so much "defanged" as "had all of their teeth pulled out."
  • Demonic Dummy: The Phantom of Vaudeville had one named Elmo that was not at all threatening or even scary. In a cute plot twist, the Phantom himself turned out to be the dummy, and Elmo was the real Phantom.
  • Diagonal Billing: Played with. While Tucker gets listed first as: "Starring Forrest Tucker as Kong," Storch comes right after with the same billing style of: "Starring Larry Storch as Spencer."
  • Disintegrator Ray: Their standard ghost-busting gadget, the Dematerializer. Amusingly, none of them really knew how it worked.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Yes, that's Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch singing the opening theme.
  • Eldritch Location: Two of them: the graveyard where the ghosts materialized and the nearby castle which they'd then use as their base of operations.
  • The Fool: Spenser, to the point where the ghosts revolved their plans around him. For example, Dr. Frankenstein planned to make his monster more obedient by granting him the brain of "the world's most gullible fool."
  • Ghostly Goals: Fulfilling these is the main motivation of the ghosts the Busters deal with. Unfortunately for all involved, said goals tend to be unethical at best and malicious at worst.
  • Glamour Failure: The Witch of Salem attempts to trick Spenser using a spell to appear as a gorgeous woman, but the glamour doesn't appear to work on animals since Tracy only sees her true, ugly witch form.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Dear God. Sometimes they were genuinely (so bad they were) funny; sometimes they were groan-inducing. Example: when faced with Count Dracula, Kong muses that they'll need a stake to defeat him. Tracy reaches into the Ghost Kit and produces a steak. Kong says, "No, a wooden stake." Tracy raps against the T-bone — it is, in fact, a wooden steak.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: Is it "Spencer" or "Spenser"? The opening credits have it the first way, but the door on their office has it the second way (For what it's worth, the actor whose name the gag comes from had it the first way too).
  • Jekyll & Hyde: A very weird example in the form of Jekyll and Hyde showing up as separate ghosts. Hyde is represented as a boorish caveman.
  • Last-Name Basis: (Jake) Kong and (Eddie) Spenser. The former's first name wasn't even given in the original series.
  • Lethal Joke Character: While the Mummy was in no way lethal, the dust he spewed from his bandages could diffuse the Dematerializer's beam. In addition, any touch from the Mummy could mummify anyone else, leading to hijinks.
  • Once per Episode: The show had a very strict formula so naturally some gags recurred every week.
    • After the theme song plays, the show opens with a comedy bit at the Ghost Busters office. Spenser and Tracy will eventually do something to anger Kong, who will send them to go pick up their next assignment from Zero...
    • ... along the way Tracy's atrocious driving will cause some kind of hijinks...
    • ...and the message will self destruct in Tracy's face.
    • Spenser trying to fight the temperamental filing cabinet to get a mission critical file. Actually factored into the Wolfman episode as the titular Wolfman tried and failed to obtain an amulet from the ever shifting drawers.
  • Only One Name: Kong and Spenser usually refer to each other by last name. Kong's first name is only given in one episode, and Spenser is never actually referred to by first name. It isn't revealed until the cartoon sequel, where their sons, Jake Jr. and Eddie Jr., go by their first names instead.
  • Only Sane Man: Kong is portrayed as a straight man to the more comedic and ineffectual Spenser and Tracy.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: The criminal Mr. C from "The Canterville Ghost" spies on our heroes through a portrait with eyeholes.
  • Special Guest: Perhaps the best way to describe this show is Supernatural In the Style of the 1960s Batman TV show.
  • Theatre Phantom: The villainous "Phantom of Vaudeville" and his ventriloquist dummy, Elmo, may be a reference to the Phantom, as both are masked, and, as Kong notes, "the only way to send a Phantom back is to unmask him."
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Zero is somehow able to respond to Spenser's remarks even though he only contacts the Ghost Busters through recorded messages.
  • This Page Will Self-Destruct: Spenser and Tracy would go to a store to pick up a secret message from Zero, once the message was played, it would always blow up in Tracy's face.
  • Two-Headed Coin: Spencer tries to win a coin toss with Tracy on who drives in one episode with one. Tracy wins by flipping Spencer into the wall.
  • The Voice: Zero is only heard from the recorded messages informing the Ghost Busters of their assignment and never appears physically. Who he is/what he represents (Like, is there a nationwide organization of Ghost Busters and this is just one group?) is never gone into either.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: A corollary to the Defanged Horrors aspect. Played with in the Phantom of Vaudeville: our heroes get rid of him by unmasking him, but this also means that the Dematerializer doesn't work on him.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: Oddly enough, the original 1975 series isn't the Trope Codifier. Our heroes received messages from their boss, Mr. Zero, in a parody of Mission: Impossible.

Tropes particular to the animated series include:

  • 65-Episode Cartoon: The cartoon lasted 65 episodes.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Ghost Gummer, Spectre-Snare, Bubble Blaster, Fright Freezer are all weapons with bizarre ammunition.
  • Adaptational Badass/Intelligence: The fathers sure aren't the slapsticky duo they were ten years before. Kong can be seen all-but-effortlessly hefting a steel beam to make Scared Stiff crash on a mine cart — In the very first episode.
  • Alliterative Name: The weapons listed above in Abnormal Ammo are all alliterations.
  • All Trolls Are Different: "Father Knows Beast" has the ghost of a troll king break free of his can and plot to convert the people of Scotland into an army of trolls to conquer with. They're depicted as monstrous humanoids with disproportionate features like giant noses, hands and feet complete with warts. Tracy is even turned into one.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The purple-skinned people of Futura's era.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Tracy the gorilla was a scientific genius in this series, when the original live-action show was average by human standards at best.
  • Amusement Park: The episode "Rollerghoster".
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: "Pretend Friends" has Ansabone receive a call from the President of the United States. Ansabone infers that he doesn't believe the President is who he says he is when he retorts that he is the King of Transylvania.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Taken somewhat to extremes, even for a Filmation property. Each episode would end with a lecture, which would then be repeated (sometimes verbatim) in the moral at the end of the episode.
  • Animated Adaptation: This cartoon is based on the 1975 live action series.
  • Anything but That!: The ghosts sometimes say this to Prime Evil's punishments.
  • Awesome Backpack: The Ghost Packs, which commonly served as Bags of Holding.
  • Bad Boss: Most of the head honcho-type ghosts are pretty abusive and harsh to their minions.
  • Badass Boast: Jake gives one to Prime Evil at the end of "That's No Alien".
    Jake: You don't scare us, Prime Awful. We'll be ready for you past, present, or future!
  • Badass Normal: John Guardian in the episode "The Looking Glass Warrior".
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Belfry the bat doesn't wear shoes, unlike his fully clothed siblings.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the Halloween Episode, Kong and Spencer recall how cute their sons were as kids and say they wouldn't mind seeing that again. By this point, though, the boys and Tracy were turned into children by a witch working for Prime Evil.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me:
    • In "Prime Evil's Good Deed," Belfry stands up for Prime Evil when Ansabone and Shock Clock make fun of the ghost. In return, when Big Evil attacks Ghost Command, Prime Evil demands that he leave Belfry alone, and even attacks Big Evil with the Bubble Blaster (said act being the good deed that restores his powers).
    • In "Belfry Leads the Way", two of the mole people are spying on the Ghostbusters to determine whether they're good or evil. When one of them falls from her perch, Jake tends to her injuries, convincing her that he and his comrades are trustworthy.
  • Be Yourself: The Aesop of the episode "The Way You Are" - Eddie's wish of being a smart and strong hero is granted, but upon learning that his friends are worried sick about him, he decides that he'd rather be himself than some unknown hero.
  • Big Bad: Prime Evil is the main villain.
  • Black Magician Girl: Apparitia and Mysteria fight using magic. Futura counts as one too, when the writers remember she's also a magic-slinger.
  • Bowdlerize: One episode takes everybody back to the Salem Witch Trials. Instead of being burned at the stake or hanged, the punishment for being accused of being a witch is that the person is tarred and feathered and chased out of town.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Even if one does not regard Belfry as such, Brat-A-Rat is professedly one. Corky, Jessica's nephew, is another one of these.
  • Broad Strokes: The continuity is not very consistent, both internally and with the 1975 series. For instance, Jake and Eddie's fathers the original Ghost Busters are shown to have a Sentient Vehicle of their own in "Father Knows Beast" in spite of having an ordinary car in the original live-action show, while Belfry is shown to have relatives living in present day in spite of the Five-Episode Pilot establishing that he's from 100 years in the future. Somewhat justified in that the Ghostbusters can travel through time.
  • Bubble Gun: A favorite in the boys' arsenal of weapons is a gun that shoots bubbles.
  • Butt-Monkey: Eddie on the 'busters' side frequently suffers misfortunes, Scared Stiff for the ghosts.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Eddie gets one in "The Way You Are":
    "Stand back, creatures of darkness and night, here comes the hero of Blackstone to make all alright!"
  • Chained Heat: "The Bind That Ties" sees Eddie handcuffed to the ghost of the week. Since the handcuffs were made by Tracy explicitly to use on ghosts, they're stuck with each other until Tracy can finish making a key. Through this, the two reach an understanding.
  • Chekhov's Gun
  • Comical Angry Face: Prime Evil often does a humorous glare whenever he's vexed at his minions' incompetence.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Prime Evil regularly inflicted these on his minions. He'd blast Scared Stiff to pieces, chain up Sir Trance-A-Lot and pour water on him to make him rust, force Apparitia to sew Airhead back together, or stuff Haunter into his pith helmet.
  • Cool Car: The Ghost Buggy is a sentient car that can turn into a plane.
  • Cool House: Ghost Command. Also Hauntquarters.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Smythe, the human villain in "The Battle for Ghost Command".
  • Covers Always Lie: In the back cover of the 2016 DVD "Ghostbusters Prime Evil", Jessica Wray the reporter is portrayed as a Sixth Ranger to the Ghostbusters and is seen using a Ghost Dematerializer which she only used once in the episode "The Sleeping Dragon".
  • Cowardly Lion: Eddie was never as eager to fight Prime Evil's minions as Jake or Tracy, but he was always there when they needed him. He was also something of a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, as in at least one episode he wreaks so much havoc on Hauntquarters by himself that Prime Evil promises to call off his current Evil Plan if the other Ghostbusters will come and get Eddie.
  • Creator Cameo: As in most other Filmation cartoons, Lou Scheimer voiced several characters, most notably Tracy the gorilla. He also voices Ansabone and Fibface.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Eddie. There are many episodes where he shows that he can be a good Ghostbuster, especially when Jake isn't around. Indeed, this could also be said about the ghosts, who are much the same way when Prime Evil isn't breathing down their necks.
  • Crying Wolf: In "The Girl Who Cried Vampire", a young futuristic girl fakes a ghost attack to amuse herself, but it results in nobody but Eddie believing her when she says the two new people at the colony are vampires. Luckily, the other Ghostbusters realize that maybe she's telling the truth, and save the day.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Mr. Squid, an Affably Evil ghost from beneath the sea. Despite his appearance, he sounds like Droopy from Tex Avery's cartoons.
  • Cyborg: Prime Evil has some cybernetics on his ghostly self, and it's presumably where the static in his voice comes from.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Father Knows Beast" for the fathers. An old enemy of theirs (Slort the troll) escapes captivity and wants revenge. With Jake and Eddie on the ropes, the original duo saddle up.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ghost Buggy was constantly making insulting remarks, usually about Tracy. Their answering machine, "Ansabone" would likewise always make some remark every time it took a message.
  • Dem Bones: "Scared Stiff" was a skeletal robot ghost — and, of course, Prime Evil, at least from the neck up, was an example.
  • Depending on the Writer: Lots and lots of things. For instance, in "A Friend in Need" the ghost Big Evil is Prime Evil's rival. In "Prime Evil's Good Deed" he's written as Prime Evil's boss.
  • Detect Evil: Jake's ghost-sniffin' nose twitches whenever a specter is near.
  • Deus ex Machina: Seemingly spoofed with Fuddy, Merlin the wizard's sidekick, who Jake can mystically ask for help during the night of the full moon. Fuddy's still an apprentice after 150 years, and Jake never gets what he asks for. Sometimes it turns out to be useful anyway, though.
  • Do Androids Dream?: Scared Stiff is a "robot ghost." Whether that literally means he's a robot who died and became a ghost is never addressed.
  • The Drag-Along: Eddie frequently tries to chicken out of missions, only for the others to drag him with them against his will.
  • Dress-O-Matic: The Transformation Sequence involves one, as Jake and Eddie go through a machine that puts them into their Ghostbusters clothes.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: "Statue of Liberty" seems to have been one of the first episodes finished: The voice track sounds exactly like a recording in places (even on the DVD release!), and Apparitia's character and appearance hadn't been quite nailed down (she has an oddly Estelle Winwood-like voice rather than the Mae West characterization she usually shows). It even opens with the boys testing a "new" weapon that'd been established as existing in the first episode, before they even knew about stuff like their transformation chamber and talking car.
  • Elevator Gag: Continually with the Skelevator.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Haunter, the "Bwitish", British colonial hunter ghost.note . Mocked by Prime Evil in one episode when Haunter claims that Prime Evil had interrupted his "midnight tea bweak".
    Prime Evil: TEA BWEAK??!!
  • Enemy Mine: On more than one occasion do the Ghostbusters have to team up with Prime Evil to defeat an even eviler ghost, Big Evil.
  • Episode Title Card: The cartoon had title cards for the episodes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In "The Princess and the Troll" when one of Gimghoul's minions asks if he will put a spell on Princess Gwendolyn with his scepter in order to force her into marrying him, Gimghoul replies, "I find such crude methods distasteful."
  • Evil Brit: Haunter, again.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In one episode Prime Evil has to team up with the Ghostbusters to defeat his rival, Big Evil. He can't wrap his head around the idea that they'll just help him against a bigger threat without being extorted into it, or backstabbing him while he's vulnerable, because that's what he'd do. And that's what he does.
  • Evil Is Petty: Several of Prime Evil's evil plots revolve around taking out perceived sleights to his and other ghosts' image.
  • Evil Overlord: Prime Evil clearly falls into the category of being a villain obsessed with conquering his opposition.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Prime Evil is also a villain with magic powers.
  • Expy: Dracula is suspiciously similar to Drac on The Groovie Ghoulies, as is Victor from "The Girl Who Cried Vampire." Corpulon, from "Laser and Future Rock," is one for Jabba the Hutt.
    • Brat-A-Rat is somewhat similar to Imp from She-Ra: Princess of Power, being an obnoxious, blue lackey constantly hanging around the Big Bad and mocking the underlings. However, whereas Hordak was protective of Imp, Prime Evil has no problem abusing Brat-A-Rat.
  • Expressive Mask: Prime Evil's face is amazingly flexible for a skull.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: At the end of the opening, Brat-a-Rat slaps Scare Stiff away and the screen fades to black, showing only his teeth as he laughs.
  • Fat and Skinny: Eddie and Jake are respectively obese and thin.
  • Fight Dracula: The Ghostbusters take on the infamous vampire in "Shades of Dracula".
  • Five-Episode Pilot: The series began with a five-part episode.
  • Flying Saucer: A fairly common feature on the show. Haunter's pith-helmet could expand to the size of a VW Beetle and function as one of these.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: To be expected in a show where the writers basically made things up as they went along, but this even extends to the guys' signature weapons at times! For instance at the end of "Maze Caves" Scarechrome shows up and blocks the way out. Instead of just taking him out with one of their various anti-ghost guns, Jake decides the best thing to do is break off a stalagmite for an impromptu sword fight.
  • Fountain of Youth: "Back to the Past" had Jake, Eddie, and Tracy made five years old as part of a scheme to scare them into not wanting to be Ghostbusters once the spell wore off and they became adults again.
  • Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Belfry's siblings.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tracy invents all the team's equipment. Yes, Tracy the gorilla.
  • Ghost Planet: A staple of the series.
  • Ghost Ship: As sailed by Long John Scarechrome.
  • Ghost Town: Shows up once or twice, most notably in "Eddie Takes Charge."
  • Giant Spider: Apparitia creates one to attack Belfry in "Belfry Leads the Way", complete with web.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Jake and Eddie are seen in boxers with ghost-face patterns on them in the process of the Transformation Sequence.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: The Ghostbusters' Manual. Infuriatingly, it is never mentioned again after the first episode.
  • Great White Hunter: Haunter is the ghost of a stereotypical British safari hunter.
  • Green Aesop:
    • Surprisingly, averted in at least two episodes. Though oil is a plot point in each, conservation of oil isn't the aesop. Especially bizarre in the episode about a "ghost" dragon that fed on oil, was melting the North Pole, and was defeated by his fire being extinguished. That episode's aesop? A complete non sequitur about fire safety.
    • "The Bind That Ties" played it straight. Construction workers are tearing down trees in a jungle for a resort, so a ghost guardian emerges and attacks them. Eddie ends up in Chained Heat with the guardian and while he does sympathize with him after learning his motives, he still chastises him for endangering lives. Eddie proposes a compromise: build the resort among the trees, so that they can be preserved, the workers can do their jobs, and any visitors can learn to appreciate trees.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Tracy the gorilla wears pants.
  • Halloween Episode: The episode "Back to the Past" took place during Halloween.
  • Haunted Headquarters: Both Ghost Command and Hauntquarters.
  • Haunted House: Again, both Ghost Command and Hauntquarters.
  • Haunted Technology: Nearly all the equipment in the office was some form of haunted skeleton, although the effect is much closer to Pee-wee's Playhouse than Poltergeist. The live-action series had this too, with a TV that sprayed water when a nautical-themed show came on and a filing cabinet with a mind of its own.
  • Headless Horseman: Obviously, the episode "The Headless Horseman Caper." Subverted in that he isn't headless — he does have a head, but Prime Evil thought he'd be scarier if he were, so the Horseman stuck his head into his costume. When the head does pop out, it resembles a green-skinned, orange-haired Edgar Allan Poe.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In "Second Chance", the Tooth Scaries change for the better and decide to stop being trouble-making punks.
  • Hellevator: The Skelevator, again.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The slimy Mr. Smythe, owner of a waste processing plant, is on the business end of this trope in '"The Battle For Ghost Command." He and his people have been illegally dumping toxic waste into the sewer that not only drives ghosts crazy with hunger but also causes the Ghostbusters' equipment to go completely haywire. When the ghosts come to eat the plant and all of its waste, all of Ghost Command's equipment (including the phone) is so thoroughly bonkers that the Ghostbuster don't learn about Smythe's situation until after they manage to clear out the waste causing the trouble. And by that time, the attacking ghosts have reduced the waste processing plant to rubble.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The episode "Knight of Terror" involved this.
  • Humiliation Conga: Prime Evil often suffers humiliating defeats, but "Outlaw In-Laws" might have been the worst of it. He had Belfry kidnapped in order to amplify his sonic scream so that it could be used against humanity, but then his obnoxious sister and even more obnoxious nephew arrive for a visit. They not only prevent him from completing his plan, but they reveal an embarrassing nickname to his underlings, the nephew keeps pulling pranks, and they cause Belfry to get free (which ultimately results in the bat getting into the amplifier and trashing most of Hauntquarters).
  • I Choose to Stay: "The Looking-Glass Warrior" has Jessica's uncle, professional soldier John Guardian, fighting insect-like robots called Invertroids who kidnap humans into their "Lost Dimension" in order to possess their bodies and invade the Earth. In the end, John decides to stay in the Lost Dimension to explore it and prevent the Invertroids from trying to reach Earth again.
  • I Don't Like You And You Don't Like Me: Never said, but certainly implied between Jake and Headless in "The Headless Horseman Caper." Justified, too: Many years ago, Headless and other ghosts caused the failure of Jake's great-grandfather's gold-mine.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: "Little Big Bat" had Prime Evil trick Belfry into using an amulet to shrink Jake, Eddie, and Tracy.
  • In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: By Futura's time it looks like "purple" has become the single ethnicity.
  • In Name Only: This cartoon had no connection with the 1984 movie, though the popularity of the latter inspired the Revival of the 1975 series in animated form.
  • Inept Mage: Fuddy.
  • Inside a Computer System: "Cyman's Revenge".
  • Intrepid Reporter: Jessica Wray.
  • Jet Pack: The Ghost Packs can transform into jet packs called "Buster Thruster Packs." And no, that's not code for anything.
  • The Klutz: One of Eddie's primary traits; he just keeps causing accidents left and right. This proves to be a major source of irritation for Prime Evil when Eddie is kidnapped and brought to his headquarters. Jake fully expects Eddie to cause havoc, and Eddie ultimately decides to run with it.
  • Large Ham: Prime Evil, of course.
  • Laughably Evil: Prime Evil and his bungling minions can be prone to humorous antics at times, Depending on the Writer.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: In "Belfry Leads the Way", Belfry repeatedly charges in to get the bad guys without any preparation or backup, forcing his teammates to go after him.
  • Leotard of Power: Futura wears a red one showing off her legs.
  • Losing Your Head: Scared Stiff often had his head fall off.
  • Magic Knight: Sir Trance-A-Lot could put his opponents to sleep with his magical Trance Lance.
  • Magic Music: Floatzart.
  • Malicious Misnaming: There's mud-slinging on both sides.
    • Heroes: Prime Awful; Prime Weevil; Prime Juicehead, etc.
    • Villains: Ghostbunglers; Ghostblisters; Ghostbummers, etc.
  • Meaningful Name: Futura lives in the future.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Subverted. Schaper's toyline didn't last as long as that of The Real Ghostbusters; also, every single thing that was made as a toy also appeared on the show (however, several things that appeared on the show didn't make it into the toyline).
  • Minion with an F in Evil: The Headless Horseman, who was so not-scary Prime Evil came up with the headless thing trying to make him moreso. He still only enjoys scaring people if it means they're having fun.
  • Mirror-Cracking Ugly: In "The Princess and the Troll", the prince who's been turned into a troll at one point causes a mirror to shatter after looking at it.
  • Monster of the Aesop: Occasionally subverted — an oil-drinking dragon melting the polar ice caps is not called out as a Monster of the Aesop, making it technically the subtlest Aesop in the series.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Futura. And then some.
  • Musical Assassin: Floatzart, again.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: There are a ton of gimmicks at the heroes' disposal which activate more or less at random and have somewhat unpredictable effects (invisibility also conferring immateriality, for instance). The most powerful and reliable weapons — like a ghostbusting tactical nuke — only show up once.
  • Nerf: The Dematerializer is a bit downgraded from its original form, since it has zero effect on certain ghosts (namely Prime Evil) and the Busters also deal with living or inorganic villains working with the ghosts from time to time.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Most if not all of the ghosts are mashups of one or more different concepts.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Tracy's inventions are so unique that it's impossible to recreate them. Originally, this was to have been the case for the Dematerializer, but in the series proper, all three Ghostbusters carry Dematerializers!
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Belfry the bat (and a boatload of haunted appliances) fills the position of a sidekick of a different species for the heroes, Brat-A-Rat for the villains.
  • No-Sell: This is why Just Shoot Him doesn't work on Prime Evil. The Busters try using the Dematerializer on him in their first encounter, but he ignores the shot entirely.
  • Old Faithful: Featured in "Belfry Leads the Way". During their attempt to conquer a race of mole people who live underground, Prime Evil and Apparitia wind up standing directly beneath the geyser. The Ghostbusters defeat Prime Evil by maneuvering him into getting caught up in the blast. Also used as the setting for Belfry's epilogue.
  • One-Winged Angel: The octopus form of Apparitia (from her Shapeshifting powers), as mentioned here. Not to mention that Toon Physics obviously comes into play here, for Rule of Funny purposes.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The "ghosts" included a werewolf ghost and a robot ghost. Most of the enemy "ghosts" behaved an awful lot like corporeal monsters or regular animals, such as dinosaur "ghosts" and a few dragon "ghosts."
  • Outside-Context Problem: The villains in "The Looking-Glass Warrior" are robots instead of ghosts, so the Dematerializer has no effect on them.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: The Ghostbusters had to deal with the likes of Long-John Scarechrome, a cross between this and a Space Pirate. Heck, any ghostly pirates seen in the show embodied this trope.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: The Dematerializer could take out most of the villains with one shot, which became a little problematic with the Genre Shift from slapstick-comedy more to action-comedy. For that reason it tended to get broken, lost or flat-out forgotten so all the problems weren't resolved in thirty seconds. Moreover, what it did and didn't work on was kind of fuzzy. Generally if a villain were one of the main group of bad guys, he could be dematerialized (Fangster and Scared-Stiff, werewolf and robot respectively, are both ghosts). If the villain were a non-ghost and showed up only once, he was safe. Prime Evil was an exception, as he was simply too powerful for the Dematerializer's blasts to affect.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Prime Evil's "Usual Gang of Idiots".
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Ghostbusters to most of the kids (and quite a few fellow adults) on the show. If their parents say "there's no such thing as ghosts," they know instinctively that there are grownups who know that ghosts exist and will take them seriously. Interestingly, the Filmation and Columbia Pictures franchises share this in common: in the '84 movie, the police turn a possessed Louis over to the Ghostbusters.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: In "The White Whale", Time Hopper initially refuses to see Captain Ahab as anything but an evil ghost, even though he has long set aside his grudge with Moby Dick and become friends with the whale. She comes around eventually.
  • Retired Badass: After the Five-Episode Pilot, Kong and Spencer have left the business to their sons, but on occasion, they show they still have their busting chops.
  • Reused Character Design: The vampires Victor and Vampra from "The Girl Who Cried Vampire" are blatant reuses of the character designs for Drac and Bella La Ghostly from Sabrina and The Groovie Goolies. Drac's bat transformations from Groovy Ghoulies are reused as well.
  • Revival: This cartoon was a continuation of 1975 series, more or less.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: As featured in the Transformation Sequence. Tracy was also fond of these.
  • San Dimas Time: Seems to be in effect, if only because there's only one "future" the heroes routinely travel to.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • The series begins with Prime Evil being trapped in a cave by our heroes after encountering Eddie, Jake, and their fathers. After being stuck there for 100 years, he tricks Belfry into releasing him and starts using time travel to plan his revenge against our heroes.
    • "Father Knows Beast" has a boy in Scotland accidentally free a ghostly troll king named Slort, who had been imprisoned in an urn by Jake and Eddie's fathers 40 years prior to the episode's events.
  • Secret Legacy
  • Sentient Vehicle: Both Ghost Buggy and Time Hopper.
  • Sequel Series: The cartoon is a continuation of the 1975 live-action series.
  • Serious Business: For Prime Evil the idea that humans can derive pleasure from being scared is enough to make him fly of the handle of the Hauntquarters and short-circuit. For him fear should be genuine submission and only a means of enforcement and domination.
  • Sexy Slit Dress: Apparitia wears a red dress with slits up both side of the skirt.
  • Shout-Out: The Ghostbuggy's overall shape, red paint job and incessant backbiting and bellyaching owes more than a passing debt to My Mother the Car. Its transformations, though, are pure Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  • Sick and Wrong: There's an episode in which Prime Evil must do one good deed in order to gain his powers back. Upon hearing this, he muses, "How disgusting."
  • Sidekick Ex Machina: The Ghostbusters would be completely screwed without Tracy around.
  • SkeleBot 9000: Scared Stiff — and Prime Evil, at least from the neck up, resemble skeletal robots.
  • Sonic Scream: Belfry's "Belfry Blast".
  • Space Whale Aesop: Dispose of your trash properly or your equipment will be devoured by ghosts!
    • A literal one in the form of an episode featuring the ghosts of Captain Ahab and Moby-Dick, who had become friends in the afterlife. Y'know, 'cause Moby-Dick is now...a ''space whale''.
  • Spin-Offspring: Two of the protagonists (Jake Kong Junior and Eddie Spencer Junior) are sons of protagonists (Jake Kong Senior and Eddie Spencer Senior) of the series it spun from.
  • Stable Time Loop: In "Frights of the Roundtable", the Ghostbusters borrow Excalibur from King Arthur. In "The Secret of Mastodon Valley", they go back to prehistoric times. In order to defeat the Ghost of the Missing Link, they place the sword in a mountainside to cause an avalanche. In doing so, the Ghostbusters accidentally place the sword in the stone that King Arthur pulls it from.
  • Status Quo Is God: The Ghostbusters get rid of evil spirits with a gun called the Dematerializer that sends ghosts to limbo...for a while, so they can be back whenever another script calls for them to be around.
  • Stealth Pun: Jessica's last name is Wray, and she's the Love Interest for Jake Kong. Not only that, one of the other major characters is a gorilla.
  • Stock Footage: Footage of minor scenes are frequently reused. The Transformation Chamber sequence is a particularly notable example.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Tracy still never gets out a proper sentence, but in this show he can suddenly manage to growl out a basic "no problem" or "okey dokey".
  • The Stool Pigeon: The posture that is most often seen employed by Brat-a-Rat is pointing with his pointer finger towards whoever of the unfortunate souls of his cohorts, that managed to upset Prime Evil in some way.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Prime Evil's minions probably became ghosts because they were Too Dumb to Live.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: One of Jake's favorite tactics when fighting a villain too powerful to just zap away: taunting them until they get so mad they make some kind of fatal mistake.
  • Team Pet: Belfry the bat serves as a mascot of sorts for the heroes.
  • Taken for Granite: "The Sleeping Dragon" featured a dragon with stone soldiers who turned people to stone. Medusa of course also does this when she shows up in "A Friend in Need".
  • Tempting Fate: "He Went Brataway" had Brat-A-Rat lie to the others about being left in charge while Prime Evil was away, which led to (among other things) a good chunk of their base being destroyed. When Scared Stiff explained what happened, Prime Evil left to go punish Brat-A-Rat. Scared Stiff expresses relief for not getting abused for once, only for Prime Evil to come back and zap him for listening to Brat-A-Rat in the first place.
  • Time Travel: A recurring plot point thanks to Futura, the purple-skinned Ghostbuster from the future, and her Time Hopper vehicle is that the heroes travel through time.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Time travel is safe, common, and highly resilient to change. Traveling back or forward in time is about as casual as going out of country. This is all because the Ghostbusters are paranormal gunslingers: they show up, get rid of the ghost, and get back to their normal time period before they can do any damage.
  • Title Theme Tune: The complete lyrics: "Let's go, Ghostbusters! Let's go! Let's go, Let's go!"
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Prime Evil kidnaps Eddie to use as bait to trap Jake and Tracy. Jake, however, knowing Eddie very well, decides not to act. At Hauntquarters, Eddie's natural klutziness causes severe problems for all the inhabitants there. It got so bad that Prime Evil wound up calling Jake and begging him to take Eddie back.note 
  • Transformation Sequence: The boys getting on their ghostbusting gear. One of Filmation's favorite methods for avoiding new animation, and pretty long even for them; unedited the sequence lasted over a minute and a half in a show with 22-minute episodes. Mind you, it was a pretty kickass sequence.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Ghost Buggy, aka GB.
  • Undying Loyalty: When Big Evil briefly overthrew Prime Evil, Haunter was the only one to stand with his old boss. Puns aside, considering Haunter's the only rival Scared Stiff has for sheer volume of Bad Boss abuse, that's pretty impressive.
  • Verbal Tic: Prime Evil punctuates his speech with what sounds like radio static.
  • Villain Respect: At the end of the Five-Episode Pilot, Prime Evil begrudgingly admits that the boys are worthy adversaries. Of course, it makes him hate them even more.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Prime Evil tends to fly into a rage whenever his plans go south.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: A standard approach for shows like these: villains hatch a scheme, protagonists find out about it and try to stop it. "Witch's Stew" sees Prime Evil actively trying to exploit this. He sets up a haunting solely to lure the team into a trap so that he can steal and destroy the Dematerializer.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Prime Evil is a powerful cybernetic sorcerer ghost, but his voice sounds more like Dan Backslide's senile father than anything intimidating.
  • Voice Changeling: Belfry's cousin Beauregard is able to imitate people's voices. He demonstrates this by mimicking Prime Evil's voice in "Country Cousin" and Jake Kong's voice in "Whither Why".
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Tracy never wears a shirt.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Count Dracula's accent in "Shades of Dracula" wavers between Transylvanian and Italian.
  • Worth It: When Prime Evil's sister dropped by for a visit, an annoying nickname for him ("Itchy") was revealed. Scared Stiff laughed himself silly and used the nickname to Prime Evil's face. He got blasted to pieces, but he said it was absolutely worth it. It's the happiest he ever was in any episode.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In "Father Knows Beast", Slort wants revenge against the Ghostbusters, but Jake and Eddie have no idea who he is. Because time travel is so frequent on this show, Jake initially thinks they've fought him at some point in the future, and he's come back for revenge. It's only when told Slort fought the Ghostbusters decades ago that Jake realizes he means their fathers.
  • "YEAH!" Shot: The heroes do this on a regular basis.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Eddie often has to learn not to sell himself short.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Eddie and Jake's fathers are supposed to be Spenser and Kong from the original live-action series, but they have some noticeable inconsistencies in appearances. For instance, their clothes are completely different colors, Kong, Sr. has an 8 on his shirt instead of a 5note , and they both look a bit younger than they did in the live-action show.
  • You Have Failed Me: Prime Evil says this to his flunkies quite often. He also acts on it on a regular basis, whether by blasting Scared Stiff to pieces or stuffing Haunter into his Pith Helmet.
  • You No Take Candle: Air-Head Mummy talk this way.
  • You Will Be Spared: Two kids unwittingly release a ghost bent on revenge against the family of one of them. He spares the kid as thanks.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Ghost Busters, Filmations Ghostbusters


Futura In The Pillory

Filmation's Ghostbusters has a scene with a pillory.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / StockPunishment

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