Nobody ever made them like this! Classic versions of the ’80s line of Ghostbusters action figures are coming back to stores very soon. If you miss the days when your Egon Spengler action figure had crazy blonde hair complete with a little rattail, this is great news. At Toy Fair in New York City, it was revealed that reproductions of the 1986-1987 first wave of action figures based on The Real Ghostbusters will be re-released and sold exclusively at Walmart starting in the spring.
Back in early 1987, Kenner released a line of busters action figures based on the animated series. This meant you could get cartoon versions of Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon, each with removable proton packs and a little plastic ghost which, if you’re my age, you either stuck on your finger or jammed onto the heads of the various busters. Now, those exact action figures are coming back. According to the press release from Hasbro: “THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS Kenner Classics Figure assortment from Hasbro, inspired by the classic figures from Kenner. With original Kenner deco and card backs influenced by the iconic look from the ’80s cartoon series, these retro figures are a must-have for any Ghostbusters fan. Each Ghostbuster comes with accessories inspired by the series: a ghost, proton pack, and proton blaster with stream. Assortment includes Peter, Ray, Winston, Egon, Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and Slimer (Each sold separately)!”
And just so you’re not confused, here’s what the packaging will look like on the new/old figures. Yes, you are officially a little kid again. Cross the streams all you want!
Ever wonder what made the “Real” Ghostbusters of the ’80s and ’90s cartoon so “real?” By implying these cartoon busters were the real ones, there’s an implication that fake busters must exist, right? Well, back in the day, there was a 1975 kids’ sitcom called “Ghost Busters” which later became a cartoon called Ghostbusters in 1986, a full two years after the smash hit film you may have seen once, twice, or three times…nice. The 1975 and 1986 “Ghostbusters” have nothing to do with our boys from the classic 1984 movie, so, when a cartoon was made in the wake of the famous film, the word “real” was slapped on there to make sure you understood this was not the “fake” Ghostbusters that actually preceded the “real” ones.
Though the individual Ghostbusters of the cartoon generally don’t look like their film counterparts, they are, in fact, meant to be the same characters, even though Egon is blonde and Ray eats a lot of pizza. Several storylines of The Real Ghostbusters acknowledge the events of the original films and the episode “Citizen Ghost” (written by J. Michael Straczynski, the dude who wrote for He-Man, created Babylon 5 and co-wrote the first Thor movie) is actually a direct sequel to the film. “Citizen Ghost” also explains why the Ghostbusters in The Real Ghostbusters wear multi-colored outfits and are friends with Slimer. (Don’t believe me? You can watch that episode on Amazon Prime right now.) The Real Ghostbusters also subsumed the continuity of the 1984 movie in an episode called “Take Two” in which we learn that a Hollywood film will be made about the lives of the Ghostbusters. At the end of “Take Two,” we see actual footage from the 1984 film; implying that the movie is “fake” too.
Final fun fact from The Real Ghostbusters: The guy who mostly played the voice of Peter Venkman on the show was the late actor Lorenzo Music, who is slightly more famous as the go-to voice on most of the vintage Garfield cartoons. But, bizarrely, live-action Venkman actor — Bill Murray — played the voice of Garfield in a 2004 “live-action” Garfield movie, which, honestly, is a better movie than the live-action Lion King.
Outside of the vintage Real Ghostbusters toys, Hasbro is also releasing new more adult-oriented toys based on the actors from the classic film. They’re calling these figures the “Plasma Series,” and if you’re into pricey realistic action figures, these are fine.
But, more importantly, new roleplaying buster gear will be available very soon, too. Proton Packs based on the design we’ll see in the upcoming film Ghostbusters: Afterlife will hit stores this summer. Unlike the vintage figures, all the other Ghostbusters toys will not be Walmart exclusives. TL;DR: The Proton Pack IS a toy!
Even if your kids aren’t old enough to strap on an unlicensed nuclear accelerator, we think it’s a good plan to stock up on these new roleplaying toys anyway. The new PKE meter alone is worth selling the childhood house you grew up in.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife hits theaters on July 10, 2020. The various new toys will start rolling out in April.