The Ghostbusters Spooktacular Vault
For whatever reasons, the original Ghostbusters HQ was home to a wealth of material on Universal Studios Florida's "Ghostbusters Spooktacular" show (and its various incarnations after the building was closed down and replaced by Twister). My thinking is that it's because I never got to experience the show first-hand myself and collected as much information and imagery about it as a replacement.
So here's that whole mess of material, including photos and interviews for your enjoyment... not the best way to organize everything quite yet, but we'll get there. And excuse the resolution on many of them, most of it was given to me almost twenty years ago for cryin' out loud.
Interview with James-Michael Roddy - Cast Member by Me on May 24, 1998
TB: Mr. Roddy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. First, may I ask what it was that you did on the Ghostbusters Spooktacular stage show?
JMR: Well Troy, I started out as one of the Ghostbusters in the Show. I portrayed Ray Stantz as well as Peter and Egon. I guess I have a versatile face. Then I was cross-trained into the role of E.P.A. agent Walter Peck.
TB: We know that Universal Studios shut the show down because of "lack of interest," yet the show would draw lines as big, or bigger than the Back to the Future ride. It was definatly a popular attraction, what was an ordinary day like in the suit of a GB?
JMR: For me it was like a dream come true... I have always been a big fan of the first film. The chemistry between the actors as well as the tone of the film and the effects combined into one of the greatest movie experiences...ever. For me It was a wonderful experience, living in that jumpsuit and wearing that unliscensed nuclear accelerator on my back... We usually ended up doing around 14 shows and meet and greets.
TB: Could you tell us a little about the special effects of the show? They were no doubt an incredible feat for a live stage show.
JMR: Well they were tempermental, as with any illusion... Sometimes it actually seemed as if they had a mind of their own...especially Stay Puft. We used an illusion that is referred to as a pepper's ghost where the lasers were reflected onto a glass that was also illuminated from behind where we were....Combined with the Ghosts that were also reflected, it gave the illusion that we were kickin some serious Gozer butt...
TB: What is the cast of the GB Spooktacular up to since the show has been closed down?
JMR: Well Now that I have moved a position of Show Direction and Writing, the concept was given to me to create. With the full support of the original creators, We have the Ghostbuster's Training Camp. Here is the concept...
Peter, Ray, and Egon, have all hung up there suits to pursue other things....Peter is a televison host, Ray opened a lucrative franchise of paranormal themed restraunts, and Egon has his new group of Extreme Ghostbusters... Winston has moved to Orlando, with the same intent. After numerous readings, Egon has found Central Florida to be a hot-bed of paranormal activity. So Winston is in charge of recruiting and training new Ghostbusters to help save the world. He puts his new recruits, who all have various reasons for joining the Camp, through a series of insensitive tests, that include, Nutrana Practice, Ghost Recognition and Entrapment, and of course... Marketing. It really was fun to create, and the characters are all true to the Ghostbusters Mythology...something I am adamant about maintaining...
TB: Okay, we must know- who was your favorite GB?
JMR: I have always had a fondness for Dr. Venkman. He was always my favorite to perform... "So be Good for Goodness sake...Whoa-oh...somebody's comin..."
TB: Thanks for this brief interview Mr. Roddy, we look forward to hearing from you in the future!
JMR: Thank You for the wonderful opportunity. Just remeber when you find a Class Five, Full-Torso, Free-Roaming, Vaporous Apparition in your neighborhood...Who Ya Gonna Call? 1-800-555-BUST.
Interview with Bruce Miller - Effects Artist (Orlando, Florida) by "Dr. Stantz" (best I can figure prior to January of '00)
Q: How did this job come to you?
A: I saw an ad in the Orlando newspaper in 1989 for sculptors for E.T.'s ride. I helped sculpt the scenes of E.T.'s green planet. From there I applied to their Figure Finish Dept. The rides and shows, including the Ghostbusters show were already up & running when I was tasked with maintaining the exterior of the giant ghosts/demons that appear in the show. Within 1 year the skins were turning to goo, so my dept. aquired the molds and remade all the skins, using a more reliable urethane compound.
Q: What pieces did you sculpt in the show?
A: None. They were originally done in California (don't they always get to do all the good stuff)
Q: What was your largest task or most difficult?
A: Probably when I made an experimental silicone skin for Slimer. It turned out ok, with zippers in the back for maintainance access.
Q: How long did it take?
A: About 2 weeks.
Q: What was your favorite effect in the show?
A: The giant Stay-Puft marshmallow figure. Actually it was only it's head, but it was twice the size of Kong's. It traveled up a giant ramp to appear towering over the set, then volumes of LN2 (liquid nitrogen) were realeased to obscure almost the whole set as the Ghostbusters fired their nuetrona wands and the marshmallow man appeared to melt.
Q: Were you a fan of the Ghostbuster films when you started working on this?
A: Very much. It's a Columbia Picture, and Sony has bought Columbia, and the rights for Universal to use it were not renewed, so Universal used that sounstage to house Twister. A sad note: all the molds for the ghost figures that Universal owned were destroyed. A happy note: maybe Sony will build Sonyland California and do something with Ghostbusters!
Interview with Pat Tantalo - Mold/Painter (again, appearing to have been done by "Dr. Stantz" prior to '00)
Dr. Stantz : When and how did this job come to you?
Pat Tantalo : I worked for Landmark/Roboshop, the company that design the entire Ghostbusters show. I was in charge of figure finishing. When I moved to Florida after the show opened. USF wanted a street show as well so we built the animnatronic slimer and rigged the Ecto1 for the Ghostbusters bust Beetlguese street show.
Dr. Stantz : Tell the people what you did for the show.
Pat Tantalo : Originally I was a mold maker / painter. I was lead for mold and skin department working for Richard Ruiz, who was the original Mold maker on the 1st Ghostbuster Film. I was in charge of figure finishing at USF for the installation.
Dr. Stantz : What was your most challenging task?
Pat Tantalo: The schedule. We didnt have any time for mistakes.
Dr. Stantz : Where you a fan of the Ghostbuster films before this job came to you?
Pat Tantalo : Absolutely. It's one of my favorite films.
Dr. Stantz : What was your favorite effect in the show?
Pat Tantalo : Each of the ghosts has a special place for me. But I think I like the Stay-Puft the best.
Dr. Stantz : What do you think was the greatest achievement?
Pat Tantalo : I really think the animatronic Slimer for the street show was a really incredible acheivement. We built Slimer, and all the backpacks and trained the puppeteers and FX assistants in 10 weeks.
CAST AND CREW PHOTOS SUBMITTED FROM VARIOUS FOLKS ON THE SHOW
Personal Photos Submitted from Fans
Apologies if you submitted these photos to me and aren't credited, many of them don't have any metadata or info with 'em anymore. So if you see yourself as a nine year old kid and you want credit for your photo, drop me a line and we'll make it happen.
ORIGINAL UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA WEBSITE
Just before the show shut down, I snapped up all their image files and HTML files from their website to archive. It's pretty simplistic (again, remember it was 1996). But here's what you would have seen had you gone to the USF website at the time.