The Creepy Commercials Countdown!
October 24th, 2012: “Real Ghostbusters Super Weapons!” (1990)
In an earlier Countdown entry, we looked back at some old Real Ghostbusters figures, representative of the line’s incredible creativity and awesome characters.
But the RGB collection was more than just action figures, boasting some of the best “pretend play” toys ever known. It made sense, too. Every kid who saw the movies or cartoon wanted to be a Ghostbuster, and cheap plastic replica equipment went a long way in helping us achieve that goal.
When people reflect on those toys, they usually stick with the ultimate classics, like the Proton Pack. Less celebrated but perhaps even more interesting were the later additions to the line – such as these three “Super Weapons.”
While every Real Ghostbusters toy was technically rooted in the cartoon, some of these were more directly associated with the live action movie, Ghostbusters II.
Included were the Ecto-Charger, Ecto-Blaster and Grab-A-Meter. The commercial will give you a good impression of what each did, but as was always the case with RGB equipment, the big thing was shooting chunks of foam at anything that moved. It was all a bit Nerf-like, but without the illusion that you were playing anything resembling a sport.
I don’t recall owning any of the three featured here, but I had my share of similar RGB toys. Most of my friends did, too. Those things really brought the monsters out of us. It’s hard to explain, but whenever we pretended to be Ghostbusters, it amounted to running really fast and crashing into everything. The toys, to their credit, were durable enough to withstand the punishment.
One odd thing about this commercial, though:
The weapons-enhanced kids spend thirty seconds chasing a classic “white sheet ghost” around the house. It turns out to be the family dog. A conceit like this would never fly today, because even if it wasn’t explicitly shown, it’s no huge leap to imagine the boys pegging that poor pup with assorted foam bullets.
Hey, we were all stupid kids once. I remember chasing our old dog around the house endlessly with my Kenner lightsaber — never actually hitting her, but certainly taking months off of her life. Children didn’t need encouragement to be mean to pets. Covering a dog with a bed sheet only to chase it around the house with an assortment of real working weapons? Yes, I think that’s pretty mean.
You were supposed to shoot other kids with those things. Not dogs.
Okay, maybe you weren’t supposed to shoot other kids, either. But at least they could tell on you.