Episode: Killerwatt

Watch It: Disc 1
September 20, 1986

You’ll need a reference: Although this was The Real Ghostbusters second case, it was the I wrote about.

Power failures in NYC have Con Ed employees working around the clock. While checking high voltage lines, one employee reports that the power lines surged with power and the transformer he was working on turned into a “electric ghost.” Before he could react again the power lines around him returned to normal. Looking around, he watched as the power lines in the distance surged, seeming to race towards Manhattan.

You’ll Need A Reference: Consolidated Edison Company or Con Ed for short is NYC’s main utility company. They have been providing energy to New York for more than 180 years.

It Just Popped In There: When Ray is serving his fondue casserole he looks as if he gained weight in a week. Hopefully it wasn’t from the candy factory delivering more sweets.

You’ll Need A Reference: While Egon was waiting for his meal he was reading a book about mushrooms. Mushrooms produce spores and fungus (fungi). In Ghostbusters™ Dr. Spengler informed Janine that he collected spores, molds, and fungus.

Sorry, I Missed It: Killerwatt was the first episode to show, depending on the artist how the Ghostbusters in cartoon form could be drawn and/or animated differently throughout a scene or episode. It was the case earlier with Ray and now with Peter, Egon, and Winston. Especially Egon. ie: faces

Before The Real Ghostbusters could decide on a better meal, the “fire bell” rang. The mayor’s office had called with direct orders to deal with ghosts at Stacy’s department store.

It Just Popped In There: Why would the mayor (or his people) call The Real Ghostbusters to handle ghosts at a department store? Shouldn’t the call have been about Con Ed and those ghostly power lines? Wouldn’t it had made more sense if the employees or management of Stacy’s called about there own store? Unless his honor had a clue about a big pararnormal picture.

You’ll Need A Reference: Stacy’s is a take on the real Macy’s department stores. Which has had roots in NYC since 1858.

You’ll Need A Reference: Before The Real Ghostbusters head out to Stacy’s, Janine blows Egon a kiss. Soon after Slimer kisses Janine with a slimey kiss. This is reminiscent of the opening credits where Janine did the same thing and as a result received a slimey kiss from Slimer. And of course Janine’s feelings for Egon.

It Just Popped In There: When The Real Ghostbusters get out of Ecto-1 by the department store they’re already wearing their proton packs. How did they put them on so quickly? Egon at least wasn’t wearing a proton pack when he originally got into the car.

After arriving at Stacy’s, the building is levitating off the ground and appears to be electrically charged. Egon’s P.K.E Meter registers a major psychic disturbance. They walk up to the building, Slimer goes with them.

You’ll Need A Reference: As The Real Ghostbusters confidently walk to the department store with the crowd cheering and saying “Ghostbusters,” it reminds me of when the Ghostbusters walked into The Shandor Building, ready to deal with those who wanted to play rough.

It Just Popped In There: I’ll try not to include this with most episode reviews from here on and out. Why does Slimer really accompany The Real Ghostbusters on jobs? Yeah, he was helpful during the previous case file. With Slimer around, a job could be more harmful then helpful.

It Just Popped In There: If a building was hovering with a major psychic disturbance (what does that even mean?) would you take an elevator?

Checking around on one floor, an electrical surge occurs lighting up the dark floor, moving around to power tools and major appliances. Egon had suspected that ghosts had gotten into the electrical wiring. His suspicions were definitely confirmed when the power tools and appliances came to life. Even Winston’s flashlight was affected! The haunted hardware surrounded The Real Ghostbusters, grabbing onto them and their equipment. A ghost vacuum cleaner sucked up Slimer while two of the ghostly vacuum cleaners tried to drag Egon into an oven that wanted to cook him! Before it had a chance, Peter fired a proton stream at the oven, pulling the small ghost from it. Egon was then able to roll out a trap and together they caught one ghost. Winston and Ray freed themselves from their vacuum ghosts, drawing them out with their nutrona wands. Just as another ghostly oven and more vacuum ghosts were about ready to attack, The Real Ghostbusters fired again, pulling the rest of the ghosts out. They were then able to contain them all, pulling the rest of them into a second trap.

Sorry, I Missed It: Killerwatt was also the first episode that even equipment and ghosts could be drawn and/or animated differently throughout a scene or episode. In this case a trap is huge and a ghost doesn’t look right.

It’s Technical: It’s unclear how many ghosts can be contained in a single ghost trap. Many were, including Mr. Stay Puft in the opening credits. Which was used mostly for marketing purposes.

Ray, being so into his work figured he’d capture the last ghost, not realizing until it was almost too late that it was just Slimer. (See what I mean?) Ray apologized to Slimer right away. Slimer wasn’t really mad at Ray anyway. Soon as The Real Ghostbusters had dealt with all the ghosts on one floor of Stacy’s, the building returned to the ground with the power on.

It Just Popped In There: All the ghosts in the entire store’s wiring drew major power to just one floor? This was suppose to be a major psychic disturbance. Yeah, the ghosts had control of the electrical wiring. Quantity wise it didn’t seem like that small number of ghosts could control an entire department store. Unless something big was on the horizon. Hmm.

Back from Stacy’s The Real Ghostbusters emptied one trap (weren’t their two of them?) into The Containment Unit, finally ready to eat dinner. No sooner were the multiple ghosts inside when the lights flickered and the power went out. With the power out, The Containment Unit could shut down. Ray was worried, however Egon had things under control because of an emergency generator he had installed.

It’s Technical: I suppose Egon doesn’t have to tell Ray, shouldn’t he tell all The Real Ghostbusters about changes to The Containment Unit? Unless he did tell Ray and Ray forgot because he was worried about the ECU shutting down.

Unfortunately another “electrical ghost” took control of the generator causing it to unplug from The Containment Unit. Without power the ECU can shut down in 60 seconds. This is when The Real Ghostbusters figured out their was more to this case then they originally thought. Before they could investigate, they had to deal with the ECU.

You’ll Need A Reference: When The Containment Unit was shutting down it reminded me of a scene from Ghostbusters™ when The Protection Grid had been turned off by a Con Ed employee.

It Just Popped In There: Yes, if every ghost had escaped from The Containment Unit The Real Ghostbusters would have been overwhelmed with trying to recapture them all. Instead of Egon counting down to 0, shouldn’t at least one of them get some equipment?

It’s Technical: Locomotion is a type of movement. Pedal locomotion is movement controlled by pedaling. ie: paddle boat, bicycle.

You’ll Need A Reference: J. K. Starley was one inventor who pioneered the modern bicycle in 1885. Further innovations ushered in a bicycle craze during the 1890s’.

Ray and Winston removed the generator from ECTO 1 while Peter went to look for a bicycle. Time was of the essence and while the others waited on Peter, Ray installed what was needed for a make shift ECU generator. With the added bicycle and Janine’s help the ECU powered up. Once the problem had been temporarily taken care of, Egon’s P.K.E Meter showed activity in Brooklyn.

It’s Technical: The P.K.E Meter has quite the range. Especially with power going off and on throughout the city. Unless unlike P.K.E meters and cell phones today, The Real Ghostbusters P.K.E Meters pretty much ran on an independent power source.

Driving to Brooklyn The Real Ghostbusters could see psychic turbulence coming from the power lines. A P.K.E Meter registered that readings were growing stronger. Without a generator Ecto-1 couldn’t run 100%. The power was going out from the psychic turbulence on the bridge and in the city.

It’s Technical: I’m not really mechanically inclined when it comes to cars. Why would ECTO 1 use a generator over having more batteries? Unless a car generator is more efficient then having extra batteries. Especially to power all of ECTO 1’s features.

With no generator and a dead battery ECTO 1 comes to a stop by a hill. Fortunately the power plant was close to The Real Ghostbusters location. Before they could go walk to it, Egon and Ray first notice ECTO 1 beginning to roll, because of Slimer. The Real Ghostbusters hold onto ECTO 1 as it speeds down the hill. Peter then climbs into the car, pulling the emergency brake. Just in time before The Real Ghostbusters and their classic car would have driven over the power plant’s safety/guard rail.

The Real Ghostbusters don’t even get a moment to rest when a powerful electrical ghost rises, introducing itself as Killerwatt, the leader of the electrical ghosts! In a move to hurt The Real Ghostbusters, it shoots electricity at ECTO 1‘s Ectoscope (used in this case to draw power to Ecto-1’s dead battery) causing ECTO 1 to change into a big, electrical ghost! The Real Ghostbusters hesitate to shoot their beloved car. Instead they run while it chases them partially into the main power plant.

You’ll Need A Reference: James Avery is the voice of Killerwatt. Mr. Avery is known for his character Philip Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. As well as voicing Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Inside, they see Killerwatt, chasing it. Which isn’t easy with the power plant coming to life. The possessed equipment grabbed at The Real Ghostbusters, moving them to another location inside, right towards Killerwatt! Peter called it out, as usual ghosts have other ideas. Killerwatt went into a large piece of power plant equipment, making it grow very large and powerful. Peter, hearing enough of Killerwatt reacts by firing at it. Egon tried to warn Peter, it was too late as The Real Ghostbusters watched Killerwatt feed on Peter’s proton beams.

While they come up with a plan Killerwatt draws more power from the main power plant, charging the entire facility, causing it to grow larger! The plant grows to a point where its coming down on itself. Which prevents The Real Ghostbusters from accessing the main switch.

It Just Popped In There: One main plug and/or switch controls the power plant which brings electricity to different parts of the city? Seems kinda careless, like anyone could just shut the power off and turn it on. Slimer, who had been hiding is able to unplug the main power source, causing Killerwatt to emerge from his shell.

Without power to feed on, The Real Ghostbusters fire their proton beams at Killerwatt, easily trapping it. With the city safe from Killerwatt and his army, NYC throws a parade of sorts for The Real Ghostbusters as they drive presumably back to the fire house.

It Just Popped In There: Does the mayor’s office always have a parade on stand by to celebrate victories? More importantly did Ecto-1 have enough power to get back to the fire house?

You’ll Need A Reference: The mayor of NYC rides in ECTO 1 with The Real Ghostbusters during the parade. The NYC mayor looks a little like David Margulies, the actor who played the NYC mayor in Ghostbusters.

With all the excitement of a rush parade and to celebrate the emergency being over with, The Real Ghostbusters didn’t try to call Janine who is back at the firehouse, still bicycling the ECU generator.

It Just Popped In There: The Real Ghostbusters wondered if Janine was still pedaling. She should have known the power was back on by seeing the basement lights on. Unless she was really concentrating on not having the ECU shut down!

2 thoughts on “Killerwatt

  1. There is actually a problem, while using a generator to power the ECU which otherwise was powered by city grid, they need to shut down the main switch to prevent shorting out the very different power sources, aka the city power and Generator. Most of the generators or let’s use the term Alternator which I think is most appropriate thing found in cars, is DC, so they would need a inverter to step up the voltage and convert it into AC for the ECU. What happens in ECU is, the voltage will read 115volts rms which would power on the ECU back, but at phase level, inverters output square waves and City grid is a perfect sine wave, which would short out and blow up all the equipment anyway. So if we look at the scene again carefully, we do see Dr .Venkman pulling down a switch. Usually in main switches, pulling down is the switch off position. Then we see Winston switching on lamp saying “It’s working, we have power” and we hear the ever so familiar rumble of the ECU powering up. So the point I am trying to make is, Janine wouldn’t have noticed the power come back on, and she couldn’t risk getting off the bicycle “alternator” to check as the ECU could blow up.

    Oh and about using batteries in ECTO-1. It’s possible to use more powerful Generator to keep the equipment running at all times in ECTO-1 while there is still gas in the vehicle. So for emergencies, rather than using batteries which could die at any time, getting power off of the engine of the vehicle is more viable than batteries especially in the era of 1985 where the batteries weren’t as developed as now. So the entire equipment was riding on the battery of the car while they drove out to the power plant. Which incidentally did kill the battery. But while the Killerwatt zapped the Ecto-Scope the car did turn into a ghost, but notice that the car also cranked and started up, before turning into a ghost, from the mix of electricity and ghost energy shot out by Killerwatt into the Ecto-Scope which allows them to go back to firehouse afterwards.


    • Alok, thank you so much for your insightful and knowledgable post. At the time of my review, I was observing from “quick thoughts.” Then and now with little knowledge about the inner workings of generators for example.

      We know The Real Ghostbusters was meant for a children’s audience. With Killerwatt and other episodes I may never review a lot of thought went into putting the episodes together overall.

      Thanks again!
      Richard aka Spengs


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