“I ain’t afraid of no ghost!” Something I never said, but Ray Parker Jr surely tatoo’ed this emphatic catch phrase into the ribs of pop culture. In fact, I would deathly be afraid of wondering spirits, vapors, apparitions, creatures, entities, or energy wondering formless with ability to manipulate the physical world. I clearly remember being a kid, my mother would buy the cardboard cut out Halloween decorations, the ones with the articulated arms and legs, and she would tape them to the atrium/doorway of our home. One was Dracula, the other Frankenstein, and these cutouts scared the sh*t out of me. These were cardboard cutouts! My sister loved them, I hated them, I guess my inability to close within 50 feet of our front door prompted their removal. My mother’s position, either the cutouts have to go, or we’ll never get our kid back inside. The floating head at the Haunted Mansion was too much to set eyes on. I clearly remember my mother, and sister getting in line for the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland, I couldn't have been more than 5 years old, and as the story goes I tugged on my Dad’s shirt sleeve, looked up, and promptly asked “Why would mom go in there if she was going to die?” I hadn’t quite matured the nuances and fun of it all.
When I was 10 my parents went to a viewing party for the midnight unveil for Michael Jackson’s new video epic, directed by John Landis, some Night of the Living Dead saga for a song called “Thriller”. It was at the Chorak’s place, somewhere in Tustin Hills. The Chorak’s were a fun, lively bunch, threw great parties, and had a son just a year or two younger then me. I loved going over there, they had a joie de vie, and we're sort of reckless, the mother (Mrs. Chorak) eventually shot her other husband (another man not named Chorak) in the ass with a gun in a fit of passion/rage, and the two made up in jail, the man still with a hole in his a$$, and not the one you’re thinking of! Dropping charges, embracing, all-the-while balancing on one butt cheek. The same night no less. Side tracking, back to Michael Jackson; everyone waited up to midnight, to watch this epic video production. Michael Jackson was huge. Different times, no Game of Thrones, no Breaking Bad… a video release, and the “making of” could bring folks together by the tens of millions to lay witness to synchronized jazz dancing, and werewolf special effects, played to an up-tempo R&B song with the squeal of a church organ, “It's Thriller! Squeeeal!” People loved it. The lead up was all hyped too, an hour of interviews, public interviews, interviews with John Landis, and eventually, the debut – “Thriller” in curdling blood spilt font dripping down the screen, then enter Michael Jackson, and his date. All sorts of scary ensued, the werewolf transformation, cut to the dancing zombies, even the twist at the end. I thought, man, it would suck to be buried, decay, and be set to rest in crappy grave clothes. I had a full blown existential moment at age 10, “Thriller”, a Michael Jackson pop song, and good-humored video set me off into Sartre land, knowing I was going to die one day, and decay into the earth. That was heavy for a 10 year old.
All things said, “Heck yeah, I’m afraid of a ghost.”
I remember seeing Ghostbusters in the movie theater. A rollercoaster ride of playful terror, suspense, and the final exhale as the Ghostbusters freed Gotham, exalted from the evil clutches of Gozer, the Gozerian, a gender neutral demon dimension hopper, and destroyer of worlds. The scenes were peppered with sexual innuendo, harassment, ghostly foreplay, and madcap nonsense, under the backdrop of Armageddon. Quite a flick! I still put my hands over my eyes for the first ghostly encounter in the basement of the New York City Public Library. I remember being in the theater, with my dad, sitting to my left, and him jumping, banging his knee into the arm rest, then laughing in relief as the three idiots scramble through the front doors, out on to the steps, and back in to daylight, “Get her Ray!” I was a fan, even though parts of the movie linked back to those Michael Jackson existential moments; that, I too, will one day decay, dirty, earthen, and passing into the unknown. What a trip.
Until then, and being still alive in the here and now, TLS has done our best to bring the best characterizations of your favorites; Winston, Venkman, Spengler, Stantz, Dana, Janine, Slimer, Gozer, Zuul, and, of course, the character, and subsequent moment that saw my father jumping from his chair, the “Angry Librarian Ghost”. Separately, we have a 5” Stay Puft Marhmellow Man, the “Destructor”. The articulation is better, better range of motion, better construction, tons of great sculpt details, ghost traps, EKG readers, Walkies, Proton packs, a collection of accessories, great collector character cards, rare chase figures, Club 28, and a Gold Slimer!
So, when someone asks you, “Are you afraid of no ghost?” You can reply, “I know a guy who is!”
Happy Hunting, and Happy Holidays!
PS I have a couple more blog posts to go til the year is up, I’ve been off the Blog for the past three weeks, partially because we are slammed with tradeshow season looming, CNY just about to break, and sharing our insane 2020 calendar with our Distributors, and reps. Sneak peeks ahead, including info on the Fox Animation pack (looks like this one is going to be a hit), a recap of Singapore, and of course my end of year recap, and lookout to 2020! It’s been a wild ride this year! Looking back, I’ve written a modest novella via the Blog this year, nearly 90 pages, not bad! I hope the reads have been fun, I’ll keep it up, and hopefully it’s worth a continued read. Just now, as I put the last period in the previous sentence, looking down at my desk to rest my eyes, to the left, none other than a Zuul prototype with his head cocked to the side looking up at me. Strange, indeed.