Many of you are probably familiar with The Real Ghostbusters, the animated series version of the Ghostbusters that ran from 1986 until 1991. It was one of the most popular cartoons of the 1980's and was even nominated for two Emmy Awards. But how many of you have ever witnessed the original short promo pilot that was used to sell the show to the American Broadcasting Company?
Various versions of the promotional pilot have been floating around on the internet for years in varying poor quality. There is also a copy of it on The Real Ghostbusters DVD collection released by Time Warner in 2008. The problem is that all of these version were taken directly from a single VHS copy.
The original film for the pilot was animated in Japan by the now defunct Studio Kuromi and directed by Kevin Altieri. If there were any chance of tracking down an original version of the actual film roll in order to be converted into proper, true HD, you could possibly have some luck with one of the ex-studio executives or animators from Studio Kuromi somewhere over here in Tokyo. But your best bet would be Kevin Altieri, the director of the promo, who still has the original VHS transfer - that's as good as it's going to get for now.
Upon viewing the promo pilot, which is essentially a glorified music video of the theme song, you will notice a lot of similarities between it and the original opening sequence to The Real Ghostbusters animated series that aired on TV. For those of you who haven't had it visually copied into your brains from repeat viewings as kids, I've posted it below for reference :)
However there are also some major differences in the promo pilot version when compared to the official TV series version above. Firstly, it's much longer than the official TV series opening, running nearly three minutes longer. Secondly, the Ghostbusters themselves look a bit... eh... different, especially Peter Venkman. You will also notice that our four main heroes are not wearing the multicolored suits that they normally have on in the animated series, which help to differentiate them and give them more of a cartoon flavor. Instead they are all wearing the same tan colored uniforms that appeared in the live action film.
It's also apparent that several items from Kenner's 1986 Real Ghostbusters action figure line used the promo pilot as a basis for some of their sculpt designs, including the Ecto-1. The inclusion of a chair on the roof of the Ecto-1 is something that does not appear in the original cartoon's intro or initial run of episodes, however Ray Stantz is shown sitting on the roof of the Ecto-1 in the promo pilot, just as Peter Venkman is shown sitting on Kenner's Ecto-1 box art.
Kenner's proton pack designs were also lifted directly from the versions shown in the promo pilot. Notice the 'smiley face' at the bottom of both the promo pilot version and the Kenner version of the proton packs in the image below, while the TV series version has more of a 'surprised' expression. You will never look at a proton pack the same way again ;) There are some other details that separate them as well, such as the placement of the yellow tubing coming from the bottom center in both the promo pilot and Kenner versions - which was changed to come out of the 'nose' on the 'smiley face' in later runs of the action figures - while the TV series version's yellow tubing connects slightly from the right. The TV series version also sports a couple large cylindrical shapes in the center, while the promo pilot and Kenner versions do not.
I could go into detail about all of the many events and occurrences that happen throughout the duration of the promo pilot and post some more choice screen captures for you to study... but I'm guessing at this point you'd much rather just watch the damned thing.
Below I've uploaded a decent copy of the promo pilot that I've cleaned up and edited slightly for enhancement purposes. It's about as close as I could get to a copy of Kevin Alteri's original VHS transfer. I do not make any monetary gain from it, I've uploaded it as a fan, for the fans. So for those that have never seen it, sit back and enjoy :)
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For more info on the promo pilot check out Spook Central's awesome database on it's history. I got a lot of great information from it as well as the photo of Kevin Alteri's original VHS. Spook Central is an all around great resource for Ghostbusters fans. If you've never checked it out, please do!