The Real Ghostbusters have already been presented in this blog, and now I will proceed with the story of the Filmation Ghotsbusters, although chronologically, I should have written this first. The Ghost Busters was a CBS live action TV program for children starring Forrest Tucker (Spencer), Larry Storch (Tracy) and Bob Burns in a gorilla suit (Kong). The program was produced by Filmation and consisted of two complete seasons (15 episodes). It was premiered on the 6th September 1975, and aired Saturday mornings in 1975 and Sundays in 1976. Unfortunately, and despite its popularity, no more chapters were ever recorded.
A few years later (around 1984), it was known that Dan Aykroyd was working on a script to make a film based (or inspired) by “Ghostbreakers” from 1940. Due to legal rights, this name had to be changed to “Ghostbusters”, and at this point the executives at filmation thought that it might be a good idea to turn the old TV series in cartoons, but Columbia (that was producing the film that later became so famous) tried to stop it. They filed a lawsuit against Filmation to avoid the usage of the Ghostbusters name in the cartoons. The court ruled in Filmations favour and for a payoff, they accepted to include slightly change the name to “Filmation’s Ghostbusters”, gave permission to the film to use the name as planned, but for licensing, Columbia was forced to use the name “The Real Ghostbusters” in all their licensed products. Maybe because of the term “real”, many children on my age thought at the time, that the Filmation Ghostbusters were a “copy” of the ones we had seen on the cinema, although it was actually the opposite.
The Filmation’s Ghostbusters cartoons tell the story of the children of the characters in the live action series, to prevent any royalties problem.
The figures were produced by Schaper, since no “big” toy company would risk producing toys that could offend Columbia Pictures. Anyway, although the company was not very well known, they got to produce wonderful and qualitative figures: Beautifully sculpted, well finished, with bright colours, correct articulations and even some accessories. They even published a short comic book that was given away with the figures. Even some vehicles were produced.
Schaper was a toy company based in Minneapolis and founded in 1949. It is known for being one of the first toymakers that extensively used plastic in its toys. In 1986, Schaper was acquired by Tyco. This explains why the American blisters are marked with the Schaper brand, while the Europeans are sold under Tyco license, but manufactured by local toymakers like Comansi in Spain or GIG in Italy. Curiously, these same license holders also had in their catalogues the Dinoriders line, also Tyco toy released at the same time than these Filmation Ghostbusters.
The figure I bring today, is, unfortunately, one of the less important figures in this line. The Hunter was one of the evil characters in this series, and the only one I own today 100% complete (it came without any accs.). Due to its scarcity, it is very difficult to find loose figures complete with accs. The three main characters include guns and backpacks that are extremely rare to find.
Information for this article was mostly taken from: Tomart’s Action Figure Digest Nr. 92.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: Haunter
- Alternative Names: Viscid (Italy), Cazador (Spain)
- Toy Line: Filmation Ghostbusters
- Year: 1986
- Company: Schaper, Tyco (U.S.A.)
- Size of the figure: 15 cm.