No one will ever, ever forget The Real Ghostbusters: the characters were well written, the story-lines were cool and full of happenings, and furthermore, the action figures were so memorable. I can remember, I had a whole bunch of toys from The Real Ghostbusters line - no matter the fact that they were a little cartoon-ish and not at all as serious as, say, the Centurions.
The Real Ghostbusters was fully based on the hit 1984 film, Ghostbusters. The cartoon series ran from 1986 to 1991, and was produced by Columbia Pictures Television, DiC Entertainment and Coca-Cola (that's right, Coca-Cola). The series follows the adventures of those cute and cool paranormal investigators that we oh-so-love, after the conclusion of the live-action movie.
Funnily enough, the cartoon-show's producers began to see the appeal of the character Slimer. The show began to feature him more and more prominently. In 1988, the series was renamed Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters (although I don't really remember this happening). The show became an hour long - with a typical Ghostbusters episode followed by a child-friendly Slimer mini-cartoon.
As the series progressed, the Ghostbusters episodes became lighter so as not to frighten the child fanbase. Additionally, the animation became more like those of Hanna Barbera and all the old voice actors for the show began to be replaced.
No surprise here, many of the older fans disliked the change to a more kid-friendly story. The Real Ghostbusters franchise was slowly starting to fade out of the public eye. The show was ultimately cancelled in 1991 - the fate of all things made in the 80s. However, thanks to those quick-thinking people at Kenner, the action figures have become collectibles.
The debut series of The Real Ghostbusters consisted of the top four heroes themselves, including your friendly neighbourhood Slimer, and the god-like Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. If you think about it, the entire Ghostbuster franchise made Stay-Puft a house-hold name. This first series was release in 1986 and featured the Ghostbusters in their traditional work-gear colors.
Following this first series, more and more revamps hit the market - from Fright Feature Heroes (that had the fab four perform certain facial actions at the pull of an arm) to Slimed Heroes (that featured non-toxic goo, with which to play with your action figure). On top of all these Ghostbuster versions, goblins and ghosts were also designed.
The Kenner toy line, from here, became very action-reaction focused - figures were made with specific mechanical abilities, such as to squirt water, or allow the figure's eyes to bug out. Probably the coolest action figure arcs made at the time were the Haunted Humans line and the Classic Monsters line.
The Haunted Humans line featured different, supposedly human, characters whom, if you tripped a special action or button, turned them into ghoulish, ugly monsters - and some of 'em were down right gross to wonder about.
The Classic Monsters line, although a little comic-ish to see, were very cool. You had your basic movie monsters - Dracula and The Mummy - all able to perform various actions as well. I say with no little pride, that I had the complete set of the Classic Monster line. I dig this line specifically because the theme actually made the set easier to collect.
The Real Ghostbusters came out so popular, despite the fact that it was more kid-ish than all the flash-bang-and-guns cartoons and action figures that came out that era. Of course, as kids, it wasn't simply about the toys, it was also about what the toys represented: stuff that was yours and yours alone.
Please take note: I have not mentioned the names of the four original Ghostbusters; partly because I'm evil and I want y'all to keep on guessing. Check it out for yourself, dear reader (and don't forget that traditional slap on the forehead, when you eventually find their names and remember).
Always get lost when you're walking down memory lane, friends. Sleep tight, and if things go bump, you know who to call - K.D.N.