If I had to choose another profession, if I couldn’t be a writer guy, I would want to be a ghostbuster. Even today, as the middle-aged man living in a Stockholm suburb that I am, a part of me is walking around keeping an eye out on sliming ghosts and when nobody can see, I do the Peter Venkman hop on the mike lane to the mall, and in my mind, I tell people to “back off, man, I’m a scientist” even though I’m really not.
“Ghostbuster”, the word itself, didn’t practically exist before 1984, when the movie about three buddies who set up shop to catch ghosts in New York. It opened in the US in June, but as always, us Finns had to wait a little longer to see it.
It had its Finnish premiere on Dec 14, 1984 – 33 years ago to the day.
I didn’t see it then, or the next day, or the day after that. To be honest, I don’t remember where or when I saw the movie, but I know it left a profound impression on me.
There were three movie theatres in town, so I have a pretty good idea where I saw it, if I saw it in a theatre, and – bear with me, this may get interesting – I think I must have.
I must have seen it in a theatre because with a December release date, the movie wouldn’t have been on video until the next summer or fall, at the earliest, and yet, there I was, a high school student, drawing the Ghostbusters logo on blackboards around our school, during recess.
Now, as pranks go, that’s pretty lame, but I never meant it as a prank. (Also, I’ve always been a good kid, and wouldn’t even have dreamed of pulling pranks at school). It was just a fun little thing to do. The doors to classrooms were always open so every now and then I just walked in, took a piece of chalk and drew that logo on the blackboard. Just to cheer people up, man!
Also, that was the year Terry, an exchange student from Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada, lived with us. Every once in a while, Terry got letters from his buddies back home and inside one of them, there was a tape that had Bryan Adams’s latest album, “Reckless”, and in another envelope, another tape, with Bob and Doug McKenzie’s show on it.
The two guys are very Canadian, doing their “show” from the Great White North, drinking Molson beer, and ending every single sentence with an “eh”. Each segment begins with, “I’m Bob McKenzie, this is my brother Doug” to which Doug replies, “How’s it going, eh?”
Bob McKenzie was played by Rick Moranis, who also plays Louis Tully, “the Keymaster” in Ghostbusters, another reason for me to like the movie. And if, Moranis, Dan Aykroyd – who I had loved in Trading Places and The Blues Brothers – and cooler-than-cool Bill Murray hadn’t been enough to make me think that Ghostbusters was an awesome movie, there was the movie poster that Terry had on his wall.
And if Terry thought they were that cool … well, then they were.
It was Terry who pointed out Venkman’s dance to me, and it was Terry who first taught me the “back off, man” line, and it was he who made me appreciate the moment in the movie in which Venkman plays the piano keys, pretending to know what he’s doing, and says, “They hate this. I like to torture them.”
The next fall, Terry went back to Canada and I played the Ghostbusters computer game in my room, thinking of him, wondering what he was doing.
And at school, I kept on drawing those logos on blackboards, because just like bustin’, it made me feel good.
This is the From The Desk of Risto Pakarinen 2017 advent calendar. Behind every door, you’ll find something related to the 1980s