‘Ghostbusters’ First Slimed Us 40 Years Ago & We Dug Up 5 Fun Facts

Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd, 1984
Columbia/Everett Collection

Take a minute and transport your mind back to 1984. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis took on the role of the famous Ghostbusters, protecting the city from ghoulish creatures. It is hard to believe that the iconic film is turning 40 this year and sparked tons of reboots and sequels, including the 2024 Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. In case you’re nostalgic for the original like us, let’s take a walk down memory lane and learn some fun facts about 1984’s Ghostbusters.

The film was inspired by real Ghostbusters related to Dan Aykroyd

Ghostbusters Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, 1984

Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

Turns out that actor Dan Aykroyd‘s great-grandfather and father were interested in the paranormal. Peter Aykroyd Sr. even published a book called “A History of Ghosts.” Aykroyd himself was an avid believer and came up with the idea for the film, originally starring himself and John Belushi. Unfortunately, Belushi passed away in 1982 and Aykroyd had to start over. Ramis was hired to help rewrite the script and the rest is history.

There really was a ‘Ghostbusters’ hotline

Ghostbusters Annie Potts, 1984

Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

When the movie was being advertised, a commercial ran asking people to call the hotline (555-2368). When you called the number, you heard a pre-recorded message from Murray and Aykroyd saying that they couldn’t come to the phone because they were busy busting ghosts! Did you ever call the hotline? For a few weeks, the number reportedly received around 1,000 calls every hour! Unfortunately, it is no longer in service but you can listen to it in the video at the end of this article.

The original title was ‘Ghost Smashers’

Ghostbusters advance poster, 1984

Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

Aykroyd had the ideas ‘Ghost Smashers’ and ‘Ghostbreakers’ before settling on ‘Ghostbusters.’ Initially, the name Ghostbusters wasn’t available because of another movie from 1975 but Columbia Pictures obtained the rights.

Another actor almost played the role of Winston

Ghostbusters Ernie Hudson, 1984

Columbia Pictures/Everett Collection

Before Ernie Hudson was cast as Winston Zeddemore, Eddie Murphy was offered the role. When Murphy turned down the role, they removed some of the character’s storylines and gave him a much smaller role in the film.

Slimer is based on the late John Belushi

Ghostbusters Slimer, 1984

Columbia/Everett Collection

To pay tribute to his friend who passed away, Aykroyd often called Slimer “The Ghost of John Belushi” and confirmed that Slimer was inspired by him.

1980s Top Summer Blockbusters
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1980s Top Summer Blockbusters

July 2019

Celebrate the biggest summer movies of the ’80s, when moviegoing morphed from mere entertainment to blockbuster events.

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