Before their could ever be episodes of The Real Ghostbusters something had to be created to show how an animated Ghostbusters series would work. What would the characters look like, what about their personalities? How about the environment around them? What would the equipment look like? What would the ghosts look like?

Prior to September 1986 when an animated spin off was a logical progression (or so it would seem) to the blockbuster Ghostbusters a short pilot was made. This promo, (also later used to advertise The Real Ghostbusters for Saturday mornings) began to give us the universe of The Real Ghostbusters with a short story. All in less then 5 minutes.

As this was before a single episode had been made, their isn’t any dialogue. ‘Ghostbusters’ plays throughout.

With September 2016 marking the 30th anniversary of The Real Ghostbusters I revisited the less than 5 min promo, took 71 screen caps, and organized them for Ecto-Containment. They are accompanied by my review.

Something Strange In The Neighborhood

People (and a small dog, not pictured) in NYC see something they know isn’t normal and whatever they’re feeling turns to fear.

They really had no reason to be afraid as its just The Real Ghostbusters “no ghost” logo come to life. If people and their pets had stuck around, they would have seen a large “no” symbol capture it and make an inanimate logo. At least until the series.

Ghostbusters HQ 

With a now inanimate “no ghost” logo still out there, The Real Ghostbusters receive a call, (probably answered by Janine, which we don’t see) and are awoken from sleep. Maybe they were catching up on much needed sleep after dealing with Gozer and rebuilding there Firehouse HQ.

From the angle of the Firehouse, it appears larger then life. Look how tall the building is, the height of the doors, how high up the “no ghost” sign was hung. This rough version of Firehouse HQ didn’t have the familiar and comforting look from the series.

The Real Ghostbusters also don’t have different color uniforms yet. They still wear their khaki uniforms from Ghostbusters. With the exception of Peter, (who has more of a Bill Murray resemblance) their looks, along with their personalities begin to be established.

The Proton Packs have a more of a movie look then what we’d come to know during The Real Ghostbusters. Not quite the best of both worlds yet. Fortunately their wouldn’t be a “boo” sign to accompany the alarm in the series.


For the most part Ecto-1 looks like the 1959 Cadillac its based on. Its somewhat rough around the edges. The ride through NYC brilliantly shows how the characters prepare and act to what’s to come.

Onionhead (With Other Ghosts)

This might be the reason The Real Ghostbusters received a call or one of them. Up ahead is a Stay-Puft Marshmallow truck with its rear doors open, marshmallows blowing around like its snowing. Somehow Onionhead or another unseen ghost is driving the truck like they own the road. Onionhead doesn’t mind as its living life eating a lot of Stay-Puft marshmallows. Ray who is most likely taking this personally does the only “rational” thing, blast a proton stream while at high speed!

This is why Ray would need a ‘gunner’ seat! He gets kicked back, nearly falling off Ecto-1. Peter tries to help, with a new driver on board, they safely fall out the back. Before Winston and Egon can react, Onionhead (somehow) is driving Ecto-1, taking half of The Real Ghostbusters for a ride up into a hotel building! Where they meet up with more ghosts.

Ray & Peter

It doesn’t take long for Ray and Peter to come across another ghost. They run after it where they run into two more, larger Classes of ghosts. The bowtie elephant looking one might be related to Slug from  Ghosts ‘R Us.

That is the least of their problems as the ground breaks up beneath them and they fall into the subway! Before a subway car can get really close to Ray and Peter, they’re scooped up by a 100 foot marshmallow man! This might be the “big guy,” they don’t have a chance to find out as a Red Baron ghost. (in a vintage plane no less) decides to give Ray and Peter a new mode of transportation. Fortunately the low altitude provides the means to the streets.

Tobin’s Spirit Guide: In 1989 during The Real Ghostbusters prime time Halloween special, The Halloween Door the “Red Baron” ghost was part of a special opening sequence.

Winston & Egon

Meanwhile Winston and Egon are running from a “pack” of ghosts, heading downstairs and out the building as quickly as possible. They run into Ray and Peter for a happy reunion. The mood quickly changes when the main ghosts and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man begin to invade their personal space.

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghost

Egon throws out a Ghost Trap, The Real Ghostbusters start up their Proton Packs, and fire out some intense proton streams! Onionhead tries to escape, but The Real Ghostbusters have the tools and the power. Its Coca~Cola time!

That Wasn’t Such A Chore

Somehow the ugly little spud hot dog wasn’t destroyed by the proton streams. With so many ghosts in the Ghost Trap, it goes for its last bite.

We’re The Real Ghostbusters

With the promo completed, a Saturday morning (with weekly syndication) is on its way! The Real Ghostbusters pilot/promo was part of the bonus disc that came with TimeLife’s complete The Real Ghostbusters series in 2008.


The Real Ghostbusters Pilot Restoration by Robert Maxwell Barbieri. Hosted at the official Ghostbusters website!