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The Original Ghostbusters Script Was (Literally) Out Of This World

Everyone knows who to call when ghosts wreak havoc in their neighborhood. "Ghostbusters," the iconic comedy about a team of scientifically minded misfits with an unlikely business, became an instant success upon release — and it's kept audiences laughing for 40 years. Since its debut in 1984, everything about the film seems to have entered into pop culture. In fact, demand remains so high for anything related to the franchise that it's been revived as a 2016 remake as well as a 2021 reboot titled "Ghostbusters: Afterlife."

What makes the original film such a fan favorite? The answer might just come from a complicated path toward production; its recipe for becoming a blockbuster was far from easy to construct. Instead, "Ghostbusters" was plagued with roadblocks, unknowns, and even a tragic loss. As with any film, the script was a key component through it all, and what viewers got was definitely not what the first draft called for.

The original script was on another plane of reality

Cartoons, Halloween costumes, remakes ... everything "Ghostbusters" comes back to a singular idea from Dan Aykroyd. The actor and comedian, a part of the original cast of "Saturday Night Live," has an intense fascination with all things paranormal. It's an interest that seems to run in the family, with his parents, grandfather, and great-grandfather all having been involved in ghostly experiences in one way or another. However, it was an article in the American Society of Psychical Research that inspired Aykroyd to develop a script that relied heavily on the concept that ghosts could be trapped, eventually leading to the "Ghostbusters" we know and love today. But the first draft was set much further in the realm of fantasy than the finished film.

Harold Ramis, a comedy legend in his own right, found that some of the story ventured too far into its supernatural elements, with portions of the second half of Aykroyd's script taking place far from New York, on another plane of reality. "I thought that what really created the comic edge was the juxtaposition of the mundane and the supernatural," Ramis said (via Script). So he and Aykroyd took it in another direction, the results of their work keeping the team's well-known battle against Gozer (Slavitza Jovan) in Manhattan.

Despite being firmly set in reality, however, the supernatural elements of "Ghostbusters" are still present, as are the comedic moments. After all, no other film can boast a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man crushing everything in sight.