Pilot promotional materials (pilot promos) are incredible little things. Typically, they never get distributed outside of the studio ecosystem, because when they’re created, their sole purpose is to convince studio bigwigs to greenlight a project for further advancement. This The Real Ghostbusters promo for instance, is just, basically, an animated music video. The intent behind the video, however, was to demonstrate that the characters popularized by Ivan Reitman’s iconic film series (soon to get an all new reboot) could hold their own in an ongoing weekly cartoon series.
There are a lot of changes made between pilots and full series pickups, and that’s just as evident here as it has been in many other series. This promo portrays the Ghostbusters very closely to how they appeared in the films; matching uniforms, actor likenesses (besides Egon’s hair), showing Slimer the menace and not Slimer the sidekick. For those of us who grew up with this cartoon — side note: I loved this cartoon and all of its wacky sideplots and creepy storylines — it’s very easy to spot the differences, but as Spinoff Online has pointed out, Ghostbusters Wikia has a great side-by-side comparison of the changes. For the pilot treatment, the animators were really working by how they thought things should look instead of by unified design parameters.
In the final production of the show, Venkman, Spengler, Zeddemore, and Stantz all wore differently-colored jumpsuits to help differentiate their characters for younger viewers who might have still been struggling with object permanence. Slimer was upgraded from New York menace to Ghostbuster sidekick-in-waiting. Even Janine and Louis got in on some ghostbusting action in the cartoon, each gearing up in their own uniquely identifiable coveralls. The pilot treatment is a fun look at how the idea of a show can evolve quickly before it airs.
Any fans of the The Real Ghostbusters out there? We want to hear from you in the comments below!
HT Spinoff Online//Comic Book Resources