Column: The Private Sector – Ode to the Imagination

Before I dive into this week’s column, I just want to take a moment to address a particular reader who felt slighted by “Giving Props Where Due”…

Mr. Cyland Props – I’m sure your contribution was and continues to be a great asset to the fan community, but the purpose of the 11/4 column was to give thanks (like the holiday tie-in? Hallmark sends me a cutback, it’s part of the whole selling out persona) to ALL of the propmakers in the community. The handful of names I mentioned were the guys that personally let me into their workshops, fed me beer, sent me parts, and lovingly handed me safety goggles and a mask and told me to man up for being afraid to use power-tools I hadn’t touched since junior high woodshop. That particular segment of the column was intended to be indicative of the generous nature of the prop folks to teach and share the love as a handful of people had done for me. If you’d have bought me a beer and yelled at me for spray-painting your curb black (as I did to Mr. Sean Bishop’s, for which I continue to apologize), your name would have made it into that sentence. But instead you now get a whole paragraph at the top of a column. Plus I’ve asked everyone on all the message boards to hug you uncomfortable long and incredibly awkwardly the next time they see you in person. I hope it makes up for it.

Now, onto business at hand and the reason they pay me the big bucks to write this column.

I used to scare the bejeezus out of my parents every night that they came home from work. I’d come home from school and set Kenner Ghost Traps throughout the house, in an effort to eradicate any pararnormal activity before my parents would return. Traps would be hanging from the open-backed stairs leading up from our garage, “ghost bombs” (read: Nerf balls) would line the front door to protect the perimeter, and I would sit in the darkness clutching Kenner’s obnoxiously loud Ghost Zapper at the ready, itching to send loud shrieks of the toy’s “aah aah aah aah” wail echoing throughout the house.  You can imagine the turmoil that ensued the moment an unsuspecting and exhausted parent entered the house. My parents have high-blood pressure now and yet I wonder why.

The funny thing is that before this hard Ghostbusting preparation would begin, I would change out of my school clothes and into Winnie the Pooh footed pajamas that were long since about three sizes too small for me.

Why? Because you were a Ghostbuster. You needed the jumpsuit to complete the ensemble.

There was something that didn’t make the imaginative transition from Troy Benjamin, five year old kid who still can’t even spell Ghostbusters correctly, into full-fledged, afraid of no-ghosts, paranormal investigator and eliminator complete without putting on the uniform. And since I wasn’t cool enough to own anything resembling screen accurate Air Force coveralls back in the day, Winnie the Pooh had to do.

I’ve noticed that I’m not alone when waxing nostalgic with fans about when they were kids, mainly because a jumpsuit costume wasn’t easily available until the release of Ghostbusters II well into 1989. I’ve seen everything from racecar driver suits (co-host of Ghostheads Luke, I’m looking at you) to wearing Osh Kosh overalls. Whether you were fortunate enough to own Kenner’s Proton Pack toy, or had made your own from a backpack and a flashlight (as I did until my parents sprung for the real deal one Christmas), it was equally important to a lot of us as kids to sport the uniform and to feel like we were wearing the Ghostbusters jumpsuit. No matter what color gray it was.

I’m curious as to what forms of jumpsuits fellow fans out there had, where they’re imagination filled in the missing nametag and no-ghost patch on the shoulder? Or were your parents kind enough to sew together something for you? Or were you lucky enough to own one of the official released jumpsuits? Let’s hear it in the columns ladies, gentlemen, and Houses… and if you’re even daring, link to a picture or two.

Really quick to wrap up this abundantly lengthy entry in The Private Sector, a reader question… Rodie (any relation to the dude that used to submit fan art to Ghostbusters HQ?) asks:

“I’ve been following GB3 ‘news’ for about 10 years now. Besides now, the closest it ever was to happening was probably around 1999. My worry is that perhaps it is too late for a Ghostbusters 3.  Maybe 1999 would have been a better time for it. Knowing what you know now and everything that has happened between 1999 and now would you rather have seen Ghostbusters 3 made then or now?”

Wow, that’s a great question. I think I’m personally of the mindset that would have loved to see what the original iteration of Ghostbusters III (then set to star Chris Farley) would have been like. Though the argument has been made that the cast originally being considered might have been too broad for the “Ghostbusters-style” of humor, I still would have loved to have seen a vehicle with the old and new SNL alumni teamed up while both somewhat in their prime.

But that said, especially with the rumors that the “new cast” is going to be a group of relative unknowns, I think I’m more excited at the prospect of going into Ghostbusters just as I did J.J. Abrams’ new Star Trek film. I think the new Star Trek is a great model for how a reboot can keep things fresh, but still embody the spirit and life that made the original so great and so popular. And I hope that a new Ghostbusters film would follow in such footsteps. No matter when it’s released.

[The Private Sector is a weekly syndicated column written by Troy Benjamin presented every Wednesday on GB Fans, Proton Charging, and as an op-ed look at the goings on in the world of the Ghostbusters franchise. Learn more about Troy at]

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