30th Anniversary: Print Isn’t Dead


Note: Originally appeared at my personal site, iRich.

If you’ve long lost track of how many times you’ve seen Ghostbusters in 30 years, you might want to try a different way to experience Ghostbusters phenomenon, through the printed word. That would be physical print, not computerized robot text. When Ghostbusters was in theaters the first domain hadn’t even been registered yet. That wouldn’t happen until the Ides of March in 1985. If you’ve been a ghosthead for three decades or nearly as long, you’ve probably owned a Ghostbusters book, magazine, or comic.

If you were old enough you could have joined the Official Ghostbusters Fan Club (GBI) within a month of Ghostbusters June ’84 release. I wasn’t, sadly missed out, and wouldn’t remember the club until my twenties. Ghostheads which do include myself are trying to get that printed material to put on-line, if it exists. 4,000 years from now we’ll have an answer.


During a trip to a bookstore mall in 1985, I saw The Official Ghostbusters Training Manual by Christopher Brown on display. At first glance it appears to be a children’s book. Its Ghostbusters type humor was written more for adults. If their’s an interest Anitoch Publishing also published a same size picture book showing Ghostbusters plot. I was reading books well beyond my age during the ’80s. It didn’t take much to be handed a fiver (change probably went to a large cookie) to go home with this.

The training manual has 9 lessons, (10 if you include “Graduation Day”) an achievement certificate, and stickers on starting and operating a Ghostbusters franchise. I don’t know what happened to my copy growing up. Early in the 21 Century I found a copy through The jungle’s marketplace. Ooh, it even had the stickers. Besides owning it again for nostalgia sake, I wanted to scan the book, make it like new, and share it.

My scans aren’t exactly the original. Although reversed film shots (either as an artistic choice or by mistake) have a certain charm I made a choice to improve on them by using high res images straight from Ghostbusters. A little surprising at the time I took a little flack for this.

The Official Ghostbusters Training Manual. (Ghostbusters International)

Before movies in a digital format, outside of a first look or press kit (which most people wouldn’t have seen) ghostheads couldn’t have had an in-depth look at how Ghostbusters came together. Someone knew a book about this would be a great idea. Don Shay was just the man to write it. Making Ghostbusters introduces what Ghostbusters could have been about, how it came together, the complete script with notes from Ivan Reitman, Michael Gross, Joe Medjuck, Harold Ramis, and probably Dan Aykroyd. You couldn’t imagine not being able to find any picture of anything on-line today. Making of books with 200 + pictures had to be a big selling point in 1985.

Making Ghostbusters has been regarded as a must have Ghostbusters book. Which still holds up with the DVD and Blu-ray releases. With the dawn of the 21 Century upon us back in 1999 it was time I owned a copy. Prices were and last I checked remain high dollar. A friend and I searched any book store across Jersey and New York City which sold rare and/or used books. Because we cared about it more then a store did, I might have dialed up (depended on the month in 1999) a popular auction site and fortunately came across a copy to bid on. I don’t remember the final bid, it wasn’t mine. Perhaps it was my time to own Making Ghostbusters. The seller had a second copy which I was able to buy at 1985 prices.

I would have liked to have been the ghosthead to share this, it seemed so rare and copies have been expensive. I wouldn’t have wanted to damage this in any way, shape or form, intentionally or unintentionally. About a decade later I decided I wanted to preserve Making Ghostbusters by making a digital copy. Since I was doing so anyway, I would share with the Ghostbusters community. I hadn’t anticipated my then ancient scanner not cooperating, how time consuming it would be, and having to put the project aside for an unexpected move which lasted 4 months. I did begin to get back to the scanning (about 70 pages in) in early 2010. My then new scanner wasn’t large enough to scan the book without taking it apart. I never forgot about it, for personal reasons preserving the book really didn’t matter. I would have liked to have gotten back to it.

A project of this magnitude shouldn’t have been taken on alone. Which is why in years since a handful of ghostheads which include myself have taken out of print material, preserved it digitally, and share it with the fan base. That’s exactly what Mrmichaelt and Matthew Jordan who oversees the Ghostbusters Wiki did during 2012. Raffaele Ruffaldi uploaded MGB to Spook Central, run by Paul Rudoff.

I love that I was young enough to grow up with Ghostbusters. I admit I wouldn’t have minded being older so I could have been part of the fan club, read Ghostbusters novelizations, and plenty of magazines articles about Ghostbusters. I knew when Ghostbusters was more then 10 years old their had been novels adapted from the screenplays. At some point, probably around when I bought the training manual and making of I found Ghostbusters The Supernatural Spectacular by Richard Mueller through the Jungle’s marketplace.

Yeah, I’d like to think Ghostbusters was that good it required not one, but two novels. The same market place also had Ghostbusters by Larry Milne. Larry’s version could have been originally written for an international market.

With Ghostbusters about to celebrate 30 years this past June I began reading Richard Mueller’s version. Other then fleshing out the backstory, some chapters include dialogue or concepts from earlier drafts of the screenplay. Something I’d like to cover for Ghostbusters Inc. in a future update. I’ve never read Larry Milne’s version, I don’t know if his book sticks more closely to the final script and/or the movie. Either way, because of the actors/writer’s comedic backgrounds lines were improvised.

Richard Mueller’s novelization was also something I began to preserve digitally about the same time as making of, except I was doing it manually. Which sounds crazy, my logic was the words would have been cleaner then trying to clean up aged paper. By the time I could have gotten back to it, my mind wasn’t on it. Matthew Jordan provided Ghostbusters The Supernatural Spectacular. Only difference I know from my copy and the PDF is different cover art.

Ghostbusters PDF (Spook Central)

2004 was a different time for Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters into early adulthood was trying to find its identity. No anniversary DVDs, nothing The Real Ghostbusters related, a comic that couldn’t get off the ground, (the business aspect hurts the good with the lasting effect of the comic) and limited merchandise.

For Ghostbusters 20th Anniversary fellow Jersey native, Sholly Fisch wrote the first (and only) in what could have been a series of Ghostbusters novels. Sholly Fisch was tasked with writing (archived interview) the first official Ghostbusters novel away from the films. Ghostbusters The Return literally had a hard time finding its audience. The now long defunct publisher iBooks (sound familiar today?) wasn’t a well known brand combined with Ghostbusters not being “popular” enough for retail shelf space, Barnes & Noble wouldn’t carry Ghostbusters The Return in stores. It may not have been in Borders (also long defunct now) and their affiliated stores. If it had, I would have bought a copy from them. Less then a year earlier, I worked for Waldenbooks. I like most ghostheads ordered on-line, the irony is I ended up ordering from B&N.

I haven’t read Ghostbusters The Return in 10 years. I don’t completely remember the story. As a ghosthead up to 2004 then, it was a must have, a way to support the franchise (for whatever that’s worth) and have something new with Ghostbusters. Because of the circumstances with the way the book wasn’t supported by retailers and iBooks eventually going out of business Ghostbusters The Return became an expensive collectible that sometimes is sought out by ghostheads.

I had thought if I had finished the other Ghostbusters books preservation I would get to “The Return.” At some point a digital copy was available, it was basically just their, not perfect by any means. Around Ghostbusters 25th Anniversary Paul Rudoff was able to use those scans to make a better digital copy.

Ghostbusters II Novelizations

I don’t have any physical Ghostbusters II novels. I would have been interested, in 1989 real life intruded in the most serious of ways. Plus their’s that whole Ghostbusters II didn’t come to northeast Jersey until November thing. Most printed material had to pass me by. In adulthood I didn’t have that much interest in any Ghostbusters II novels. Even in the 25th/30th anniversaries, I’d really want to read and know more about Ghostbusters II’s earlier scripts. I’ve read some supposed ideas, I’ve never seen these earlier drafts on-line. If their’s an interest PDF files of Ghostbusters II novels and related books can also be found at Spook Central.

Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II Magazine Articles

I also don’t have many Ghostbusters related magazines or articles, I decided at least for this blog post, not to include them. Some of them have been preserved digitally and if you’re interested in Ghostbusters magazine articles Spook Central has 18 Ghostbusters magazines and 10 Ghostbusters II magazines. Paul also has related, not just specific magazines or articles related to the franchise.

Happy Summer Reading!🙂

PS: If you run a Ghostbusters site, feel free to use the Ghostbusters Summer Reading graphic I made. I ask in return a link back to either this site or GBI.


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