In Memory of Harold Ramis

Yesterday, the world lost a great talent. Early in the morning, comedian, actor and director Harold Ramis passed away from complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. If you're not familiar with the body of Ramis' work, then I don't know if we can be friends. He's written a number of classic comedies, like Stripes Animal House and Groundhog Day. But to me, his most lasting legacy will be the character of Dr. Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters.

Growing up, Ghostbusters practically defined who I was. It was my favorite movie (still is, in fact), animated series and toy line. I had so much Ghostbusters stuff that I didn't even know what to do with it. In my mid-twenties, I started selling a lot of my old childhood toys in an effort to raise money for a security deposit on my first apartment. I sold my Megazord and Goldar figures (from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for those of you not initiated), a shit ton of baseball/basketball/hockey cards and all of my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures (yes, I do regret that now but that's not the point). But the one thing that I couldn't dare part with?

My Ghostbusters toys. I considered putting them on eBay with the rest of my stuff. Came damn close to doing it, too. But there was that one, tiny piece of me that just couldn't do it.

I felt that I could do without the rest of that stuff but my Ghostbusters collection was irreplaceable. And this wasn't just a plethora of action figures. No, I'm talking about Ecto-1, Ecto-2, Ecto-3 and even Highway Haunter. The Proton Pack and Ecto-Googles. I had the firehouse but that got thrown away through a misunderstanding by my mother. I still haven't forgiven her for that. But regardless, most of my collection remains in tact. (I really, really wanted the Ghost trap but never got it; my cousin had it but he never let me kick it across the floor like Winston did all of the time in the cartoon.)

Ghostbusters brings back so many memories. Good, safe memories of a simple time when you could strap a hollow piece of plastic to your back, wave a long, yellow foam tube around and you had the ability to save New York from a deluge of spirits. They were the first movies that I ever purchased on DVD; I bought them even before I had a DVD player. Every time I watch them, I get a warm sense of familiarity wash over me and it makes me feel calm.

Ramis was a comedic genius. The tone he and Dan Aykroyd set in Ghostbusters was brilliant. Their delivery of the material was spot on and their chemistry perfect. I honestly can't think of a movie that compares in terms of humor and quality and one that holds up so well 30 years after it was released. I can watch that movie over and over and still find it humorous and entertaining. Maybe that's just me being biased toward my all-time favorite movie but I don't think so. It has a strong plot, strong characterization and was licensable as hell. That's the formula for a legacy.

Without a doubt, the loss of Ramis will be felt. For starters, this will likely halt any attempt to make a Ghostbusters 3. For years, Ramis and Aykroyd have been working on a script and campaigning to make the film a reality to no avail. And while I backed them for the longest time, without Ramis, I think the plans should be dropped. It would be awkward to have a Ghostbusters movie without Egon and replacing him would just cheapen its legacy. Not to mention the chemistry would be off without one of the original actors as part of the ensemble.

I feel like I'm short-changing Ramis' achievments by just talking about Ghostbusters but, in all honesty, that's how I will always remember him. That's what I associate the name "Harold Ramis" with. To me, he will always be "Egon Spengler", despite the fact that he made a number of ridiculously successful films during his career. The thing is...I don't think he would mind. He seemed like the kind of person that would appreciate that sentiment, just like Dan Aykroyd does. Funny story... A few years back, I met Dan Aykroyd at a local Joe Canal's for a promotional signing of his Crystal Head Vodka. A number of people showed up dressed as Ghostbusters, sporting all kinds of homemade suits and proton packs. When the signing started, Aykroyd came out and said "All Ghostbusters, come up to the front" and did a meet and greet with all of them. He appreciated that they idolized his characters and took the time to immortalize them. And even though it caused a few people to wait longer (though not by much), it was great to see what he does for the devoted fans.

After that meeting with Aykroyd, I wanted to try and get my Ghostbusters DVD insert signed by the entire cast but now that Ramis is gone, that goal is no longer obtainable. I really feel like a part of my childhood died yesterday and it sucks.

I guess there's not much else that i can say besides rest in peace, Harold. You will truly be missed.

One of the greats.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...