Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.
MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A scene featuring Slimer at the end of “Ghostbusters II” was cut from the film.
An interesting phenomenon in the world of popular culture is when people’s collective memory convinces a bunch of people that they saw something that they did not actually see. We’ve addressed this a few times over the years, like whether there was an end scene cut from U.S. prints of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, whether “Star Wars” was originally titled “Episode IV” in the opening scroll and whether “Back to the Future” originally ended with “To Be Continued…” People will swear that they saw something in a film that they never actually saw. However, sometimes films really do cut scenes from the original print of a film (a famous example is “The Program” cutting a sequence because people died trying to re-enact it), so it can be difficult to figure out whether people actually saw a scene that was cut from the film or not.
One of these possibly mythical scenes is the longstanding rumor regarding Slimer at the end of “Ghostbusters II.”
Slimer, the green glob of a ghost, appeared at the end of the original Ghostbusters, flying towards the audience.
As the story goes, the original ending of “Ghostbusters II” had Slimer repeating his flying towards the audience trick, only this time flying out of the restored Statue of Liberty (the Ghostbusters borrow the Statue of Liberty to defeat the bad guy in the film). However, Bill Murray was adamant about not doing another “Ghostbusters” sequel, and the theory was that ending the second film like the first one would suggest that they were going to make a third one. That’s the rumor. When I mentioned this on Comics Should Be Goo a while back, multiple people wrote in to say that yes, they saw that scene when they saw “Ghostbusters II” in theaters back in 1989.
But DID they?
It does not appear that way, no.
The scene was definitely written, as seen on Spook Central’s page for “Ghsotbusters II” deleted scenes, which has a more elaborate ceremony celebrating the return of Lady Liberty to her perch on Liberty Island, including the following at the end:
They all look up at the Statue.
EXT. STATUE OF LIBERTY – HEAD OF STATUE – DAY
Slimer flies out one of the observation windows, THEME MUSIC KICKS IN and the CAMERA PULLS UP and AWAY FROM the island TO a HIGH SHOT of the Statue, lower Manhattan and the shining sea beyond.
It does not appear as though this scene was ever actually filmed, though. Slimer scenes were tricky in “Ghostbusters II.” They had to film his appearances separate from the rest of the film at times because of the special effects needed to create Slimer. Slimer appears in the closing credits of “Ghostbusters II” as a cast member, but the scene his closing credit sequence came from did not make it into the finished film (it was part of a deleted scene involving Rick Moranis’ Louis character).
No one has ever showed the Slimer ending of the film, and many deleted scenes from “Ghostbusters II” have appeared over the years. So right there, just based on that, I would almost be willing to rule this as false. I wasn’t quite there yet, though. Luckily, reader Adam M. saw my question to the crowd on the Comic Book Legends Revealed installment and wrote in about his experiences with “Ghostbusters II.” I asked Adam to elaborate a little bit, and here is what he had to say:
I worked as a projectionist from 2007 – 2014 at a small, one screen indie theater in a suburb of Pittsburgh, called The Oaks Theater. We did two screenings of Ghostbusters II in July 2010. Back then, the theater was mostly still doing 35mm film prints, which helped us stand out from the others in the area, who were switching over to an all digital format.The screenings were part of a summer long festival that we did every year, called the “Moonlit Matinee” series. My personal pick that year was Ghostbusters II, because I had never seen it on the big screen, as I was too young to see it at the time it originally premiered in 1989.
I did a private screening of it for myself, once the film print (which was an original print directly from Sony’s vaults) was ready to be watched. I had always heard the rumor about Slimer appearing in the final scene at Liberty island, so I was anxious to see if that were true or not. I had a great time seeing it on the big screen, the print was in really good shape, but when it came to the final scene, there was no Slimer to be found. I gotta admit…I was a little bummed that it didn’t happen, because so many people have sworn that they saw that in the original release. I chalked it up to memory being a slippery thing…
That cinches it for me.
So I’m going with the legend as…
Thanks to Spook Central for the Slimer scene from the screenplay and thanks to Adam M. for the great piece of information!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.