The movie was remade, so why not the toys?!
Released in June of 1984, the original GHOSTBUSTERS was a smash hit at the box office, going on to become the second highest-grossing film of that year and eventually spawning a media franchise that has continually become more and more popular in the past 30+ years. But long before finding itself on the remake chopping block, and even before the sequel blasted ghosts up on the big screen, an animated series came along and introduced a whole new audience to beloved heroes Ray, Peter, Winston, and Egon – and Slimer too, who was recast as the gang’s beloved pet.
Airing from September 13, 1986 to October 5, 1991, THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS was the franchise’s inaugural foray into the world of animation, and it quickly led to the creation of a toy line that allowed kids to play with the titular characters for the very first time – at the time, the movie itself didn’t actually spawn a toy line. Put out by Kenner, the line lasted the duration of the animated series (late 1986 to 1991), and it included ten different waves of action figures, vehicles, playsets, and weapons.
There was even Slimer toothpaste, but that’s a whole different post entirely!
It’s the fifth wave of THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS toys that we’re here to talk about today, as it was perhaps the coolest series of them all. Hitting store shelves in January of 1989, this particular wave saw Kenner (unofficially) tapping the Universal Monsters well, whipping up six different action figures inspired by popular big screen monsters. It’s interesting to note that none of those monstrous characters actually appeared in the animated series, though it would’ve been cooler if they did.
Check out a vintage commercial below, previewing the wave!
The monster line of REAL GHOSTBUSTERS toys, a staple of my childhood, brought Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Quasimodo, and a nameless zombie into the GHOSTBUSTERS universe, and each figure was equipped with a character-specific action feature. Those features were activated by pressing the legs of each toy together, which exposed Dracula’s fangs, raised Frankenstein’s arms, dropped off the Mummy’s mask and arm, opened the Wolf Man’s mouth wide, spread Quasimodo’s arms enough to break free from his shackles, and spun the Zombie’s eyeballs around.
That zombie totally deserves a name, by the way. Let’s call him Eugene.
Nearly thirty years later, the Monsters sub-line of Kenner’s GHOSTBUSTERS collection is still fondly remembered by fans, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve either held onto the ones from your childhood or re-purchased them by now – I was lucky enough to find Wolf Man and Dracula at a yard sale a couple years back, and I gladly took them off the owner’s hands for 50 cents each. Over on eBay, you can grab them loose and in good condition for around $10 apiece, so what are you waiting for?!
What’s that? You’re waiting for these vintage bad boys to come back to life? Well, considering the fact that Kenner’s Alien and Predators lines were recently given makeovers (by NECA), and so too were many of Playmates’ classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, I suppose there’s always the possibility that some of the REAL GHOSTBUSTERS toys will eventually get remakes of their own. I wouldn’t ask you to hold your breath, but I do come bearing a little treat today that’s sure to make you smile.
An artist by the name of Phil Postma recently set out to imagine a world wherein those REAL GHOSTBUSTERS monster toys were indeed given modern day re-releases, and though he didn’t go so far as to modify the actual toys themselves, the brand new packaging art he whipped up is more than enough to make us want to live in that world. Over on his blog Minion Factory, Postma shared his fresh takes on the classic toys, which breathe new life into our monstrous childhood friends.
Check out the fun concept art below!