by Emily Plunkett
WHO ARE WE GONNA CALL NOW?
As the comedy world remembers him for his unparalleled contributions to film, Harold Ramis’ small, but crucial role in geek culture is something we as geeks must take a moment to celebrate.
Born in Chicago, IL, on Nov. 21, 1944, Ramis’ began writing while he was attending college in St. Louis, MI. He landed freelance positions with the Chicago Daily News, which lead to a position with Playboy as a joke editor; all the while, he auditioned for Chicago’s famed Second City, where he would meet John Belushi. Through Belushi, Ramis would meet the likes of Joe Flarherty, whom he would later star and write alongside with on the legendary Canadian sketch comedy show, SCTV, and Bill Murray, who would become a frequent collaborator within movies such as Caddyshack and Groundhog Day. His name would also become associated with National Lampoon, when he contributed to The National Lampoon Radio Hour, wrote the 1978 smash National Lampoon’s Animal House and directed 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Although this resume of comedy classics is enough to make any film buff stop at the news of his passing, it was his co-creation with Dan Aykroyd that plastered Facebook front pages upon the news of his death on Feb. 24 due to complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. Ramis co-wrote and stared as the deadpan and seriously nerdy portrayal of Dr. Egon “Don’t cross the streams” Spengler in 1984’s Ghostbusters and its 1991 sequel, Ghostbusters II.
In the 30 years since its release, Ghostbusters has become a cornerstone multimedia franchise that has included the films, animated television shows, comic books and video games. There have been strong rumours and frequent updates from Dad Aykroyd teasing of a third film that would see a new generation of Ghostbusters enter the official canon. Clubs such as the Ontario Ghostbusters are as dedicated as the Capital City Garrison 501st Legion Stormtroopers in giving back to the greater community through their dedication to Ghostbusters cosplay. The entire idea of a franchise that celebrates both science fiction and comedy was the doorway this author needed to become a geek in her own right.
So, alongside the ‘80’s movie buffs and the sci-fi geeks, I remember Harold Ramis and celebrate my love for Ghostbusters. Because no matter the time of year or the situation, it’s his movies and creations I call when I need a good laugh.
Emily Plunkett is a recent graduate of the journalism diploma program at Algonquin College. As a freelancer, she’s written for the Ottawa Star and the Sarnia Observer. Notorious for being a Beatlemaniac, a record collector and something nobody can really put a finger on, she enjoys a good Sunday afternoon with CBC Radio chatting away, her knitting in hand and her cat, Levon, snoozing at the end of the bed.