Monday, February 27, 2012

LA's Ghosts of the Past

“WE CAME, we saw, we kicked ass!” said Bill Murray’s character Dr. Peter Venkman in the 1984 Ghotstbusters thriller as they leaped into the Ghostbusters car with their freshly captured ghost. This random threesome of paranormal doctors paired up to create the “largest paranormal removal company in America,” while capturing audiences everywhere.  These men and their ghosts remain icons today.  The men, the car and the song are rhetorical masterpieces of the 1980’s film industry.  But what is the car without the actors, the songs, the ghosts and the magic that encompasses the giant flat screens of the theatres? Alone, the car is just that, an ordinary car.

The appeal came from the red streaks along the side and the ghost containers and trackers that lined the top.  But the real icon was in the red circle with a ghost inside and a red streak slashed through, slapped in the middle of the diver’s side door that symbolized the end to paranormals and for ghosts to BEWARE.  It zipped through the streets of “New York City” capturing all of the ghosts in sight.  It’s new home, however, is within the white lined rectangle of the third parking spot outside of the Judy Garland building on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City. The Ghostbusters Mobile is no longer any use for the three paranormal hunters. What used to transport ghosts captured in giant vacuums by three nerdy scientists is no more. Outside of the movies, it is stripped of its magic. Its “ass-kicking” abilities have been reduced to nothing more than an old white car from the 80’s. It was the means to which those brave men captured not just ghosts, but audiences everywhere, and yet, its only friend now is the black Green Hornet Cadillac and the occasional fan walking past on a tour from the lot, who stops to take a picture on their iPhone. 

Seeing the car is like seeing a faded outline of a woman who used to captivate men and women from the big screen or an ordinary man, who we used to watch scale buildings, dodge bullets and get the girl.  The movies will build you up, but once the lights in the theatre are turned back on and shine on the cracks within the surface as the glitter in the air fades away; it breaks you down to nothing more that tin metal in the shape of a car.

Denise Hamilton said, “LA makes promises it can’t keep.” This lonely Ghostbusters car is just one of Hollywood’s many victims.  It has become the outcome of Hollywood’s forgotten dreams and the realities of the movies, without the magic.

-- Elise Fornaca
 -- image via


  1. All the glamor (cars on film) is only an illusion; everything looks more spectacular in the movies.

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  2. I really like this post and it really does ring true. I remember I used to work at a Coffee Bean on Sunset Boulevard and one day Chris Noth of "Sex and the City" fame came running across the street barely dodging cars. He huffed in, hair a mess and looking like a slob and as if he was on drugs. He ordered a Chai Latte, which we happened to be out of and then ran back across the street disappointed. All the glamor is a Hollywood illusion and most ordinary people cannot keep up with that facade, and neither can cars it seems.