Name: The Real Ghostbusters
From: ABC Television Network (1986-1992)
Classification: The continuing adventures of the Ghostbusters, only now animated.
When thinking about todays Monstrous Monday I knew I wanted to showcase one of the imaginative creatures/monsters/ghosts from the Saturday morning cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters. I was having trouble figuring out which one I wanted to talk about, and to be honest most of the creatures/monsters/ghosts from the show only appeared once and lacked any real substance. So after thinking about it for far too long I decided to compile a list of five of the best creatures/monsters/ghosts to appear on the show.
1. The Dark Rider
In the silly, sloppy world of cash grab cartoons it is a few and far between thing to find an episode with an amount of gravity. In episode 40 of the first season of The Real Ghostbusters we met a character named Mr. Quegg who lived in 1887. Mr. Quegg was a selfish and brash man of some wealth that lived in Providence. After an argument with an Inn Keeper, Quegg sets out for home during a storm and vows that “only the devil could stop him from returning home.”. After his horse and buggy leave the inn, lightning strikes and within the cloud of smoke The Dark Rider sits atop his horse.
A hundred years later in 1987, Ray happens to meet Quegg while on the side of the road during a dark and stormy night. Quegg asks how far it is to Providence and becomes agitated at Ray’s answer. Panicked, Quegg quickly leaves because he says The Dark Rider is right behind him. Intrigued, Ray and the Ghostbusters find Quegg and his horse and buggy further up the road. Wanting to help the man/ghost that has been searching for home for a hundred years, Ray tries a plan that accidently backfires on him and traps him within the buggy while freeing Quegg.
Not wanting to wait until another stormy night to save Ray, Egon seeds the clouds in the area (with the forever insufferable Slimer) to make it rain. This creates the perfect conditions for Ray and the horse and buggy to appear, but also The Dark Rider. Telling Quegg he has to help, Ray and the ghost try the one thing that has never been done over the past 100 years, confront The Dark Rider. When they do, they notice that the Rider looks like Quegg under it horned helmet (cowl?). Knowing what must be done, Quegg pushes Ray from the buggy and charges headlong into the Rider.
As the storm ends, Quegg is seen coming up the road. Appearing more calm and gentle, Quegg explains that The Dark Rider was the darkest parts of himself and he was doomed to run from himself forever. Thanking Ray for giving him the strength to finally face himself, Quegg also says he can now finally go home. Quegg and his horse drawn buggy quietly continue their finally journey towards home as the episode ends.
2. Night Game
According to Native American lore, every 500 years the spirits of good and evil play a game to decide the fate of one human soul. In the episode “Night Game” the forces of good and evil arrive to their predestined site to find that it is now a minor league baseball field. Having to use their surroundings to play their game, they decide to play baseball. The stadium becomes warped and dangerous with the diamond transformed into rock and suspended above a primordial and magic pool of liquid.
The soul that has been chosen in this game is Winston’s. Not wanting to be merely a spectator in his own fate, Winston joins the good spirit team. With the other Ghostbusters unable to help, Winston’s eternal soul’s fate rests in his team’s and his hands. But it’s not as easy as playing a good game as the bad team is allowed to be as bad as the want to be and cheat. Of course the final run comes down to Winston and he wins. In a dream like haze the stadium returns back to normal as the sun rises on the “Night Game”.
“Night Game” was the 20th episode of the second season of The Real Ghostbusters. An episode like this one feels very unique because the designs for the spirits of good and evil were all solid. In other episodes where a large collection of creatures/monsters/ghosts get together, they either use stock footage or lazy and silly designs to populate the scenes. Out of the two teams the “Good Team” had designs that looked to be more inspired by nature and South American native design, which adds a sense of “realness” to the episode.
3. The Collect Call of Cathulhu
Who would have thought that The Real Ghostbusters would have an episode with the Necronomicon, Cultists, a Shuggoth, and the mighty Cthulhu itself? But that is exactly what happened in the 45th episode of season 2. The episode “The Collect Call of Cathulhu” originally aired in 1987 and at 11 years old I had no idea about the H.P. Lovecraft mythos of Cthulhu, but recently I’ve been watching the episodes with my kids and this episode stopped me dead in my tracks.
How freaking cool is it to (first) think that the Ghostbusters fought Cthulhu, and (second)to think that this aired on a Saturday morning. The writer of this episode, Michael Reaves contributed short stories to Cthulhu themed story collections and his knowledge is in full display in this episode. Many supporting and background characters in this episode have names that either come from the mythos or from people in H.P. Lovecraft’s life, like Robert Howard. Some of the settings also come from the H.P. Lovecraft mythos with Miskatonic University and Arkham, Massachusetts making appearances.
The set-up of the episode is very straight forward with Cultists stealing the Necronomicon from the New York library. when the Ghostbusters track down the Cultists to the sewers and are chased off by Cathulhu Spawn. Knowing they need help they contact Occult scholar Alice Derleth. With her help they defeat the Cultist and their summoned Shuggoth. Needing to track down the remaining Cultists before they complete their ritual to raise Cathulhu (named changed to help kids pronounce it, awesome), the Ghostbusters then head to Coney Island to confront the Cultists before the stars align in the heavens.
Arriving too late, the Cultists were at the right place at the right time to perform the ritual to awaken Cathulhu from his underwater slumber. Not to go into anymore detail, the Ghostbusters save the day and the Necronomicon is once more secured…until another episode in season 6.
4. The Boogieman
One of the few reoccurring villains to appear in The Real Ghostbusters, The Boogieman proved to be a very powerful foe. Based on the world spanning folklore of the Boogieman, the version that appeared on The Real Ghostbusters was indeed a little silly but so damn creepy. Like with the timeless folklore of the Boogieman, this version also haunts the dreams of children, feeds off of their fear, and uses closets as a method of traveling between realms.
Egon first encountered the Boogieman as a child and it was that fateful run-in that propelled Ego into studying the paranormal. The close relationship created by that encounter has tied the fate of Ego and the Boogieman together in several episodes. This even allowed the Boogieman to return from his exile because of an episode where Egon experiences intense fear.
Since the Boogieman is not a ghost, The Ghostbusters can’t trap him, they can only seem to seal him away for limited amounts of time. On many occasions the team has gone into the dream realm to combat him. The Boogieman episodes always have a tone off weirdness attached to them with all of the dream imagery and reality augmentation.
Based on another creature of folklore, Samhain has plagued the Ghostbusters on a few occasions. Samhain is the ghost of Halloween and has the ability to control legions of ghosts, however certain ghosts such as Slimer seem able to resist him to a certain extent. By his side are two goblins that act as his minions, but Samhain relies on his ghost legions to do the work for him.
Bent on world domination and plunging the world into eternal darkness, Samhain first appeared during the 7th century in Ireland. After an unknown amount of time, Samhain was trapped inside of a clock. The clock made its way to a New York museum, and shortly after Samhain was freed by his two goblin minions on Halloween night. He quickly secured a ghost army, but was defeated by the end of the night by The Ghostbusters and trapped inside their Containment Unit.
After his first appearance in the episode “When Halloween Was Forever”, Samhain made many appearances while in the Containment Unit, but only a few as villain and free to roam the city. He has become an iconic part of The Real Ghostbusters Universe due to his ties to ancient folklore and to Halloween.