When you’re four years old, there isn’t much logic in your system, yet. The only things that seem to make sense are the things on TV, especially if they’re telling you to own something. Like millions of other kids in the 1980s, I fell for just about anything Ghostbusters related. Ghostbusters belt? Check. Ghostbusters sticky ball dart board? Check. Ghostbusters gumball machine? Got it. Although the novelty side items seemed fun at the time, the real show stopper was the toy line loosely based on the animated series.
Here are six Real Ghostbusters toy commercials that screamed “buy me that!”
6 – Ghost Sweeper
“Great new equipment!” = best overacting ever in a toy commercial
When I was a kid, I had to have every Ghostbusters toy there was. I didn’t care if it felt like a rejected vehicle from environmental propaganda toys, I needed it. The Ghost Sweeper had nothing to do with the movies, cartoon, or even coloring books, but it certainly did it’s job cleaning up the gummy snacks wrappers laying around the Ghostbusters headquarters (aka my bedroom).
5 – Granny Gross
What does the kid want for his birthday this year? A haunted grandmother!
The producers of the Real Ghostbusters toy commercials were smart to sell more than one product at a time. Just about every spot was pushing a wacky new figure line, a specialty ghost, and a vehicle. The ghoul in this commercial is Granny Gross, a character whose resemblance was close enough to pretend she was from the episode “Mrs. Roger’s Neighborhood”. It’s funny how some parts of your childhood can stick with your parents forever. To this day, my dad calls every old lady that cuts him off in traffic Granny Gross.
4 – Slimed Heroes
Did you have that one friend who put the Proton Packs on upside down?
We all know the Ghostbusters defeated Vigo by manipulating the Statue of Liberty with a bunch of psychomagnotheric ectoplasm. I don’t, however, recall the part where Louis got invited to the party. The only Slimed Heroes figure I had was Winston because his suit was pretty close to what he sported in the cartoon series. At the time, I was less than impressed with neon jumpsuit Egon. The figures were based on the original line’s mold, so anyone late to the party had a chance to get standard non-spinning head versions of the guys.
3 – Ecto-1
That pizza loving Slimer toy was near impossible to find.
If you wanted the fellas to go on calls, the Ecto-1 was an essential vehicle to get them there. I never did get the string ghost grabber feature to work, but that wasn’t really the reason anyone owned the car. You can tell this is an early commercial because the Ghostbusters figures don’t have some wacky extra action feature. Ever notice he’s not called Slimer in the commercials? It’s because the toys were officially known as Green Ghost.
2 – Highway Haunter / Wicked Wheelie
The car was usually stuck in upright position until your parents hot glued it closed again.
This pair of commercials is by far the scariest. Why? Because they don’t resolve with our heroes winning. Cliffhangers work before a commercial break, but not during an actual commercial. Perhaps, that was the idea. Only children who beg their parents for toys can save the Ghostbusters from Janine’s haunted car (that always broke) or a goblin that shot sparks.
1 – Fire House Headquarters / Gooper Ghost / Fright Feature Heroes / Ecto-1 / Haunted Humans
Tombstone Tackle is a great monster name.
Commercials were always there to sell you stuff, but sometimes they really went all out. This time they weren’t promoting only the second line of figures, but a new ghost line and specialty ghost, as well. On top of that, they were selling the big ticket “must have” items – the Ecto-1 and Fire House Headquarters! If you didn’t own every toy in this commercial, you probably played with He-Man instead.