On the heels of both Bill Murray and Annie Potts being signed to Paul Feig’s new Ghostbusters reboot, the Hollywood Reporter is now reporting Ernie Hudson has also signed on for a cameo in the film. All signs point to Ernie not reprising his original role as Winston Zeddemore, which is a shame, as Zeddemore was deemed a criminally underdeveloped character in the original two films.
Unlike Billy Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and the late Harold Ramis’s characters, Zeddemore was not a scientist. At first, he looked to be applying to become a Ghostbuster simply for the paycheck. But, Winston turned out to be a hero when the chips were down, not only in the original, but in Ghostbusters 2, as well.
However, the films were not the only place these characters appeared. They also had a life on TV, in the ABC animated series The Real Ghostbusters, which ran from September 13, 1986, to October 5, 1991. All four of the original Ghostbusters characters reappeared, along with their receptionist, Janine Melnitz. They were also joined by a sort of mascot, the green ghost who appeared in the original movie, now known as Slimer.
None of the original actors leant their voices to the animated series, despite Hudson auditioning. In a 2012 interview with AV Club, Hudson expressed disappointment at losing out on the Real Ghostbusters role. In the animated version, Winston was originally voiced by Arsenio Hall, then later by Buster Jones. Another well known name, J. Michael Straczynski, served as story editor and wrote numerous episodes. As well as many other projects, Straczynski is well known as the creative mind behind Babylon 5.
It was in The Real Ghostbusters that Winston really got a chance to shine. Rather than being the afterthought he came across as in the first film, he was an integral part of the team. The most physically capable of the four, he often performed dangerous tasks. In one episode in particular, he was left to save the day. The evil Sandman — not the Spider-Man villain but the mythological character — was menacing the team. His magic sand would put its victims to sleep, while their dreams would manifest around them. When Egon Spengler became his latest victim, Winston was left as the last Ghostbuster standing. Racked with self-doubt, Winston bemoaned that he couldn’t stop the Sandman because he wasn’t a scientist or a genius like the other members of the team. An image of Albert Einstein, summoned by Egon’s sleeping mind, helped reassure Winston that he didn’t need to be a scientist to be a hero. Winston rallied and defeated the Sandman and saved his Ghostbuster friends.
The Real Ghostbusters also inspired a comic series and two spin-offs: Slimer! and Extreme Ghostbusters. The series remains well-regarded to this day. When IGN put together their list of the top 100 animated TV series of all time, they ranked The Real Ghostbusters #22. And, while everyone has high hopes for the new Ghostbusters reboot, the original films remain just as appealing today, and The Real Ghostbusters can be enjoyed on DVD.
[Image courtesy of fanpop]