"It's about putting smiles on people's faces," he says, wiping away tears. "Because if you, for a second, can take someone's mind off the pain they have or their problems, it's all worth it. It seems so unlikely that a costume would make a difference in this world, but it can. It gives us a reason. That's what a lot of people don't have."

When they're at an event, the Arizona Ghostbusters usually hand out candy, often treats from the films, like marshmallows (made to look like the Stay-Puft brand from the movie) and Twinkies. Sometimes, they give out buttons and stickers. They pose for photos in exchange for donations, which are given to various charities.

The group members frequently reiterate that they make no profit whatsoever by being Ghostbusters. Every dollar they raise goes to charities. Money for costumes, props, and the goodies they give away comes out of members' pockets. They had custom Arizona Ghostbusters T-shirts and hats made for the group, but they don't sell them. And they don't sell costumes or props. Like other Ghostbusters fan groups, they operate without an official blessing from or affiliation with Columbia Pictures (acquired by Sony Pictures in 1991), which owns the Ghostbusters brand.

Jamie Peachey
Jamie Peachey
Left to right: Neal Tracey, Matt Haynes, Todd Cook, and Matt Sremaniak
Jamie Peachey
Left to right: Neal Tracey, Matt Haynes, Todd Cook, and Matt Sremaniak
The AZ GB’s own Ecto-1
Jamie Peachey
The AZ GB’s own Ecto-1

But they've been well received by two members of the original Ghostbusters movie cast. Ernie Hudson, who played Winston Zeddemore, has met members of AZ Ghostbusters at a few conventions, and they say he's always been courteous and happy to sign Ghostbusters merchandise and take photos. But a bigger moment for the group was meeting Dan Aykroyd in May. (Aykroyd declined an interview for this story.)

Aykroyd was at Sportsman's in Scottsdale, signing bottles of his signature wine and Crystal Head Vodka. The Arizona Ghostbusters showed up in full regalia and waited for three hours while everybody else went through the line because they wanted to have some time with Aykroyd, who was not posing for photos with people or making time for small talk.

Their patience paid off, because Aykroyd was clearly impressed with the group's enthusiasm. They presented him with an Arizona Ghostbusters baseball cap, which Aykroyd said was "really cool," and then he insisted on standing up to get a picture with them while wearing the hat.

Unfortunately, the group didn't have their version of the Ecto-1 at Sportsman's. If they had, Aykroyd might've been even more impressed.

In the Ghostbusters films, the Ecto-1 car is actually a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance. The Arizona Ghostbusters didn't find one of those, but Matt Haynes did find a 1972 Pontiac Bonneville Ambulance Superior that bore an uncanny resemblance. The body of the car's been completely redone to mimic the movie version; now Haynes Rod and Custom is working on the engine. They hope to have the car up and running by Halloween so they can drive it to events.

Lewis would like to have the car at events for the kids. "It's great to see kids, because you look at them and go, 'That was me,'" he says. "When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Now I am. There's not too many people that can say they are."

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
2 comments
Ralph Demark
Ralph Demark

I think its kind of funny that people are actually taking the paranormal serious and for many its a daily job. I've never been real big into believing those things but if there is evidence then I won't doubt it. College Grants For Single Mothers

Tom
Tom

Why do I have the sinking feeling that the scrooge or grinch who actually owns the Ghostbusters trademark is sooner or later going to threaten a lawsuit for copyright infringement?

 

Around The Web

Loading...