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Ghostbusters - In Universe Storytelling

In Universe Storytelling

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to Ghostbusters, almost everything in print is written from the point of view that the Ghostbusters. Their adventures and artifacts are "real" things in our universe. Even our own products like our pocket size ESP Test Cards were presented as if they had been a promotional item from the WKRR Chanel 12 series World of the Psychic with Dr. Peter Venkman.

This approach means that the events of the first two Ghostbusters films have "happened" in our own real world. Just imagine having a conversation with your friend about the time the four Ghostbusters battled Gozer on the roof of a building in Central Park West? "Oh, I remember exactly what I was doing when the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man appeared."

You don't see this sort of high concept in-universe treatment much anymore - aside from Ghostbusters tie-ins, and that's a shame. At one point in the 1970s and '80s it was fairly common, and more importantly it was Fun. In-Universe books like The Star Trek Technical Manual, Gnomes, and a whole host of others once made up their own section of the WaldenBooks in your local mall.

Ghostbusters' decades-long institutional love of the in-universe style of storytelling I think, comes from Ray Stantz himself - Dan Aykroyd. His original concept for what was once called The GhostSmashers was filled with so much detail that as Ghostbusters evolved much of that material found new life in tie-ins that were created with the notion that they had just slipped off the movie screen and into our lives. The use of in-universe material appears to be a concept Dan had played around with before as the co-creator, and chief editor of Judith Jacklin Belushi and Tino Insana's best selling book Blues Brothers: Private. That book was a movie tie-in that was presented as essentially a folder of photos, documents, newspaper clippings, and of course police reports. Ghostbusters in-universe tie-ins like The Tobin Spirit Guide, and The Official Ghostbuster Training Manual, Hayne's Ectomobile Owner's Workshop Manual, and others owe their existence to Dan Aykroyd's genius attention to detail.

It's that attention to detail that we aspired to with every Ghostbusters product we've ever made. From the No-Ghost patch, to recreating the specific shapes for the lettering used on the original team's name tapes, to every scratch, dent, and paint chip found on the Spengler Legacy Proton Pack.

Those "perfect imperfections" are hallmarks if you will, and they act as a sort of certification of authenticity. They testify that our Proton Pack was derived directly from the actual Proton Pack Harrold Ramis wore during the filming of the original Ghostbusters film. 

Some of those imperfections, dents in the shell, gouges and scratches found on the 1983 "hero" Spengler Pack in the Sony Archives were physically incorporated into our Legacy Proton Packs. Why? Easy. The point was that we always wanted our stuff to feel like it escaped from the world the Ghostbusters called home, and returned with us to our place of origin in the nearest convenient parallel dimension.


John Cooley March 29, 2021 0 tags (show)