The weekend marks the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters. Let’s celebrate with Ecto Cooler!
Yeah, Hi-C Ecto Cooler, something I’ve written about four thousand times before, but never from this angle.
Some friends tipped me off about extremely implausible yet entirely provable Ecto Cooler sightings in movies and television. Feeling an intense need to corroborate their stories, I ordered the DVDs and went through those fuckers frame by frame.
Holy cow, there really WAS Ecto Cooler in an old episode of ALF. And another in The Willies, a little-known kid-targeted horror-comedy from 1990. Yes I am paid by the hyphen.
Regular readers know that spotting real world items in movies and television makes me giddy, so you can just imagine how sky-high I am over TWO SEPARATE honest-to-goodness Ecto Cooler sightings. If everything I’ve ever done online has a spirit animal, and I could get away with calling a beverage a spirit animal… I… I have no idea where I was going with that.
ECTO COOLER, spotted in ALF and an old horror movie! Here’s the proof!
On a tip from Marzo Kalif (via Starring the Computer), I checked out “We’re in the Money,” from ALF’s fourth season. The episode first aired in 1989, and given how much of an ALF mark I was, there’s no way I didn’t watch it.
Sadly, my eagle eye had not yet developed. I never noticed any Ecto Cooler.
In this episode, ALF becomes a finance junkie. He uses Willie’s money to mess around on the stock market, and lo and behold, he’s actually good at it. Of course, no sitcom episode is complete without a dive and a climb, and ALF’s eventual failures leave him a raving addict, begging for one last chance to invest.
(I know that doesn’t sound very exciting, but remember, ALF’s an alien. “Aliens playing stocks” is hilarious.)
Midway through the episode, Willie visits ALF’s usurped office in the garage. By this point, ALF is super serious about his new job. This is evidenced by the pile of trash all over his desk, indicative of a space alien who has not moved in days.
Look close and you’ll see it.
ALF drank Ecto Cooler!
My first assumption was that Hi-C (well, Minute Maid) was a sponsor, but there does seem to have been some rudimentary attempt to obscure the box with crumpled paper and wonky camera angles. All I know for sure is that that’s definitely Ecto Cooler.
Canonically, ALF drinks Ecto Cooler.
Canonically, ALF turns to Ecto Cooler to see him through volatile moments on the stock market.
If learning this doesn’t change everything for you, I don’t know why you read this site.
The second Ecto Cooler sighting was brought to my attention by Fangirl Scrapbook. I’ve been waiting a full year to dish about it, and I think Slimer’s 30th birthday has to be the right moment.
Many of you have probably never heard of 1990’s The Willies, which has been accurately described as “Creepshow for kids.” With an anthology setup, Sean Astin trades spooky stories with a few other kids, and their macabre tales serve as the movie’s “chapters.”
(It’s totally worth seeing, by the way. It has bad lines and flat gags, but the creature effects are amazing in their cheesosity. Think Saturday the 14th, with only a little less reliance on darkness to hide cheap masks and spray-painted pantyhose.)
In one of the stories, Michael Bower (yes, of Salute Your Shorts fame) plays a lunatic kid who spends his afternoons yanking the wings off of flies, and using the disfigured insects to create creepy dioramas. There’s more to the story than that, but I don’t want its grossness tainting my super palatable investigation of Ecto Cooler sightings.
There’s a scene where the freaky bug kid invades the school’s outdoor cafeteria, and it basically only exists so we can watch a girl eat a manure-stuffed cookie. Let’s ignore that and focus on what’s on the bug kid’s lunch tray.
And ECTO COOLER!
There’s no mistaking it, and it had to be intentional. Minute Maid would not have sponsored a movie like The Willies, so someone on that set must’ve been a huge Ecto Cooler fan. It’s almost obnoxiously visible. There were several shots where they clearly went out of their way to make Ecto Cooler the star. This, quietly, is the very best thing about The Willies.
This next part has nothing to do with Ecto Cooler, but I couldn’t help myself:
Michael Bower’s story ends with human-sized mutant flies ripping his arms off. Some say that irony is a dish best served subtly; others insist differently.
When I first published this article, our third sighting hadn’t even happened yet!
In a semi-recent episode of The Goldbergs, young Adam — the kid with the greatest toy collection of all time — breaks his arm while practicing dance moves. Older siblings Erica and Barry insist that he lie about how it went down, predicting that the kids at school will eat Adam for lunch if they hear the truth. All well and good, but here’s the important thing:
Watch the scene closely, and you’ll notice that Barry is drinking something awfully familiar…
Yep, that’s a legit box of Ecto Cooler, no doubt from the personal collection of series creator Adam Goldberg. Troy Gentile, who plays Barry, really took one for the team with this scene. Even if he was only fake drinking, he still sucked air from a 25-year-old Hi-C juice box. That’s pretty method. He deserves a raise.
This episode — titled I Rode a Hoverboard! — aired back in December. It’s worth watching for a dozen reasons, but seeing real Ecto Cooler on a current TV show — albeit one set in the ’80s — has gotta be #1.
Now I’m wondering if I should watch every movie and TV episode from a ten year spread, all on the off-chance that there are other Ecto Cooler sightings hiding in them. If you never hear from me again, picture me in a dark basement, holding a magnifying glass to a tube television and mixing obscenities with pleas to God.