Ghostbusters (1986 TV series)

This article is about the 1986 animated TV series. For other uses, see Ghostbusters (disambiguation).
Created by Marc Richards
Based on The Ghost Busters
Developed by Robby London, Barry O'Brien
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 65
Executive producer(s) Lou Scheimer
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s)
Original release September 8 (1986-09-08) – December 5, 1986 (1986-12-05)
Related shows The Ghost Busters

Ghostbusters (later called Filmation's Ghostbusters) is a 1986 animated television series created by Filmation and distributed by Tribune Entertainment, based on Filmation's 1975 live-action television show The Ghost Busters. It is not to be confused with Columbia Pictures' 1984 film Ghostbusters or that film's subsequent animated television show The Real Ghostbusters.[1] When making their film, Columbia Pictures needed to obtain rights to use the name from Filmation.

The success of Columbia's (unrelated) film spurred Filmation to resurrect their own property, producing an animated series based on the characters from the earlier TV show. This animated series ran from September 8 to December 5, 1986 in daytime syndication and produced 65 episodes. The series is technically called simply Ghostbusters, but home video releases used the name Filmation's Ghostbusters to avoid confusion. In the US, reruns of the show previously aired on CBN Cable, The Family Channel, and most recently as part of Qubo Night Owl, which started from 2010.[2][3][4] and currently on the Retro Television Network.[5][6] The series can also be seen on Hulu.[7]


Jake Kong Jr. and Eddie Spencer Jr. are the sons of the original Ghost Busters from the live action series of the same name; Tracy the Gorilla worked with their fathers.

Their headquarters, termed Ghost Command, is located in a haunted mansion nestled between a number of tall skyscrapers (which resemble the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City) They are supported by a number of secondary characters including Ansa-Bone, a talking skull phone; Skelevision, a talking skeleton television; Belfrey, a pink talking bat; and Ghost Buggy, their talking ghost car. They occasionally enlist the aid of Futura, a time travelling Ghostbuster from the future, and Jessica Wray, a local TV news reporter.

Together, they have dedicated themselves to ridding the world of the evil ghost wizard Prime Evil and his cast of henchmen. Prime Evil's headquarters, termed Hauntquarters (which resembles the British Houses of Parliament complete with a Big Ben-esque clock tower), is located in The Fifth Dimension. In a typical episode, Prime Evil uses his magical powers to open up a wormhole to enable one or more of his henchmen to complete a particular scheme that serves to help him take over the world.

Famous guest-star ghosts and monsters that appeared on the show include Count Dracula (who is actually a vampire) and the Headless Horseman (who also appeared in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters written by Jean-Marc Lofficier's wife, Randy Lofficier).

Like almost all 1980s Filmation cartoons, each episode closes with Skelevision (sometimes accompanied by Belfrey) explaining a particular lesson that can be learned from the events that went on during the episode. From time to time, Jake, Eddie Jr or another good character would talk with Skelevison about the lesson. Also some versions would not have Skelevision.

While The Real Ghostbusters had the catchphrase, "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!", each episode of Filmation's Ghost Busters also used a catchphrase: "Let's Go, Ghost Busters!"


When Columbia Pictures started producing the film Ghostbusters in 1984, it neglected the fact that Filmation had already produced a live-action comedy series with that same name in 1975. Columbia agreed to license the name from Filmation for $500,000 plus 1% of the profits (of which there were ostensibly none). Since Columbia did not want to license Filmation the rights to the movie Ghostbusters when they were looking to produce an animated series, Filmation produced an animated version of their live-action TV show. Columbia proceeded to name their cartoon show The Real Ghostbusters to directly distinguish it from the Filmation show.[8]

Filmation had even gone as far as to attempt to work with Columbia Pictures and had completed initial design work for a cartoon to be based on the movie. Columbia changed its mind, deciding not to work with Filmation, and the proposed deal fell through (Columbia worked with DiC instead). Filmation's Lou Scheimer later admitted "We should have asked for the animation rights for their (Columbia's) Ghostbusters as part of the settlement."[9] This prompted Filmation to create the cartoon based on its former live-action series.


Many toys were made by Schaper to go along with the series. The action figures were very good likenesses to their cartoon counterparts and included a small comic with each figure which was a shortened version of the first five episodes of the show. The series of figures included Jake, Eddie, Tracy, Belfrey, Futura, Jessica, Brat-A-Rat, Prime Evil, Haunter, Scared Stiff, Mysteria, Fib Face and Fangster. Jake has a magic backpack and ghost gun. Eddie came with a removable ghostpack and Specter Snare. Tracy came with his removable backpack and Ghost Gummer. Due to their small size, Belfrey and Brat-A-Rat were packaged together with a backpack that could be worn by Tracy or Fangster. Prime Evil had a removable cape. There were also several vehicles and playsets that included the Ghost Buggy, Futura's Time Hopper, Prime Evil's Bone Troller playset, the Scare Scooter and the Ghost Command playset. The following were not made into action figures, playsets, and roleplay accessories: Madam Why, Airhead, Flozart, Long John Scarechrome, Sir Trancelot and Frightmare, Apparatia, Hauntquarters, Jake's Dematerializer, Eddie's Spectre Snare and Tracy's Ghost Gummer. The tagline for the series was "So much fun, it's spooky!"

DVD releases

BCI Eclipse LLC (Under license from Entertainment Rights) released the entire series in Region 1 in two volume sets in 2007. Each set features extensive special features including interviews, commentary, image galleries, bonus episodes and more. Unlike many of BCI's Filmation releases, with the exception of two episodes ("Tracy Come Back", and "Like Father, Like Son"), this DVD release appears to have been sourced from the original NTSC prints. As of 2009, these releases have been discontinued and are out of print as BCI Eclipse ceased operations.[10]

TGG Direct, LLC released a one disc The Best of Ghostbusters DVD that contains four episodes (Mummy Dearest, Shades of Dracula, The White Whale and Like Father, Like Son). The disc was available at Wal-Mart on a cardboard backing.

DVD Name Ep# Region 1
Filmation's Ghostbusters – Volume 1 32 February 27, 2007
Filmation's Ghostbusters – Volume 2 33 July 3, 2007

In Australia the complete series was released on DVD by Shock Entertainment across three, three disc volumes on 1st June 2016.[11][12][13]

The animated series was previously released on VHS by Celebrity Home Entertainment's "Just For Kids" imprint.

Recurring characters







(Note: only the Dematerializer carried over from the live-action series. All other weapons shown here are specific to this series).

Debuted in the episode "Going Ape" alongside the "Ectro-Strobe"


Title Original air date
1"I'll Be a Son of a Ghostbuster"8 September 1986 (8 September 1986)
In the future the Ghostbusters meet Futura, a bewitching Ghostbuster of the future. The Ghostbusters learn of an ancient stone table that has clues of their fathers whereabouts, it takes them to Camelot. But Prime Evil learns of this and sends Sir Trance-a-lot to stop them.
2"Frights of the Roundtable"9 September 1986 (9 September 1986)
3"No Pharaoh at All"10 September 1986 (10 September 1986)
4"The Secret of Mastodon Valley"11 September 1986 (11 September 1986)
5"The Ones Who Saved the Future"12 September 1986 (12 September 1986)
6"Witch's Stew"15 September 1986 (15 September 1986)
7"Mummy Dearest"16 September 1986 (16 September 1986)
8"Wacky Wax Museum"17 September 1986 (17 September 1986)
9"Statue of Liberty"18 September 1986 (18 September 1986)
10"The Ransom of Eddie Spencer"19 September 1986 (19 September 1986)
Prime Evil kidnaps Eddie... but Eddie's constant clumsy antics make Prime Evil wish he hadn't.
11"Eddie Takes Charge"22 September 1986 (22 September 1986)
12"The Great Ghost Gorilla"23 September 1986 (23 September 1986)
13"A Friend in Need"24 September 1986 (24 September 1986)
14"No Mo' Snow"25 September 1986 (25 September 1986)
15"Prime Evil's Good Deed"26 September 1986 (26 September 1986)
16"Cyman's Revenge"29 September 1986 (29 September 1986)
17"The Headless Horseman Caper"30 September 1986 (30 September 1986)
18"Banish That Banshee"1 October 1986 (1 October 1986)
19"Rollerghoster"2 October 1986 (2 October 1986)
20"He Went Brataway"3 October 1986 (3 October 1986)
21"The Looking-Glass Warrior"6 October 1986 (6 October 1986)
22"Laser and Future Rock"7 October 1986 (7 October 1986)
23"Runaway Choo Choo"8 October 1986 (8 October 1986)
24"Dynamite Dinosaurs"9 October 1986 (9 October 1986)
25"Ghostbunglers"10 October 1986 (10 October 1986)
26"My Present to the Future"13 October 1986 (13 October 1986)
27"The Beastly Buggy"14 October 1986 (14 October 1986)
28"Belfry Leads the Way"15 October 1986 (15 October 1986)
29"The Battle for Ghost Command"16 October 1986 (16 October 1986)
30"Going Ape"17 October 1986 (17 October 1986)
31"The Haunting of Gizmo"20 October 1986 (20 October 1986)
32"Ghostnappers"21 October 1986 (21 October 1986)
33"Inside Out"22 October 1986 (22 October 1986)
34"The Sleeping Dragon"23 October 1986 (23 October 1986)
35"The Phantom of the Big Apple"24 October 1986 (24 October 1986)
36"Shades of Dracula"27 October 1986 (27 October 1986)
37"Outlaw In-Laws"28 October 1986 (28 October 1986)
38"Our Buddy Fuddy"29 October 1986 (29 October 1986)
39"Train to Doom-De-Doom-Doom"30 October 1986 (30 October 1986)
40"The Princess and the Troll"31 October 1986 (31 October 1986)
41"Second Chance"3 November 1986 (3 November 1986)
42"Tracy Come Back"4 November 1986 (4 November 1986)
43"Doggone Werewolf"5 November 1986 (5 November 1986)
44"That's No Alien"6 November 1986 (6 November 1986)
45"Scareplane"7 November 1986 (7 November 1986)
46"The Ghost of Don Quixote"10 November 1986 (10 November 1986)
47"The White Whale"11 November 1986 (11 November 1986)
48"Country Cousin"12 November 1986 (12 November 1986)
49"Knight of Terror"13 November 1986 (13 November 1986)
50"The Girl Who Cried Vampire"14 November 1986 (14 November 1986)
51"Little Big Bat"17 November 1986 (17 November 1986)
52"Really Roughing It"18 November 1986 (18 November 1986)
53"The Bad Old Days"19 November 1986 (19 November 1986)
54"The Curse of the Diamond of Gloom"20 November 1986 (20 November 1986)
55"The Bind That Ties"21 November 1986 (21 November 1986)
56"Like Father Like Son"24 November 1986 (24 November 1986)
57"The Fourth Ghostbuster"25 November 1986 (25 November 1986)
58"Whither Why"26 November 1986 (26 November 1986)
59"Cold Winter's Night"27 November 1986 (27 November 1986)
60"Father Knows Beast"28 November 1986 (28 November 1986)
61"Back to the Past"1 December 1986 (1 December 1986)
62"Pretend Friends"2 December 1986 (2 December 1986)
63"The Haunted Painting"3 December 1986 (3 December 1986)
64"Maze Caves"4 December 1986 (4 December 1986)
65"The Way You Are"5 December 1986 (5 December 1986)

Production notes

Ghostbusters was no exception of Filmation's budget trimming methods, using among others, an extensive sequence where they got their equipment and the Ghost Buggy. In the episode featuring Dracula, Filmation used the model sheets and character design of Drac from the Groovie Goolies, and even used his clumsy bat transformation sequence, banging against the floor and ceiling, changing clumsily from vampire to bat. In the episode "The Way You Are" Super Spencer makes a references to He-Man from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe when he punches the door.

Comic book

The Ghost Busters are menaced by a Tyrannosaurus. From Filmation's Ghostbusters #2 (1987) from First Comics.

First Comics published a comic book mini-series in 1987 based on the show. Originally intended as a 6-issue series, only 4 issues were published.[14] The unpublished issues (along with reprints of the First Comics series) were published in a 6 issue set in Germany by Bastei Verlag in 1988.[15] In the UK, numerous issues were reprinted in a hardcover annual called Filmation's Ghostbusters Annual 1987 by World Color Press.[16]


  1. Solomon, Charles (September 18, 1986). "Animated Shows For Kids". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  2. "Qubo To Launch New Slate of Kids Shows". Animation World Network. May 12, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  3. "Qubo to Launch New Slate of Kids Shows Beginning This Summer Through Fall 2010". Business Wire. May 11, 2010. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  4. "Qubo Channel Kicks off Fall 2010 Lineup Starting Monday, September 27". Business Wire. September 14, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  5. "RTV Bringing Back Retro Saturday Morning TV". TVNewsCheck. August 5, 2010. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  6. "TV Listings: KAZTDT2 (KAZT-DT2), October 2, 2010". Zap2it. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  7. "Watch Ghostbusters: The Animated Series Online - at Hulu". Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  8. "Interview: Lou Scheimer: A Candid Conversation with Filmation's Founder". The Trades. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
  9. Michael Swanigan and Darrell McNeil (1993). Animation by Filmation. Blackbear Press.
  10. "Site News – PRESS RELEASE: Navarre Shuts Down BCI, Makers of He-Man, Day Break, Price is Right and other DVDs". Retrieved 2010-05-31.
  11. "GHOSTBUSTERS (ANIMATED) VOLUME 1". Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  12. "GHOSTBUSTERS (ANIMATED) VOLUME 2". Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  13. "GHOSTBUSTERS (ANIMATED) VOLUME 3". Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  14. "GCD :: Covers :: Ghostbusters". Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  15. "GCD :: Covers :: Ghostbusters". Retrieved 2016-03-03.

External links

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