I’m interrupting my regular planned feature today for this little special. Sure, it was spur of the moment and I wound up having to stay up pretty late to write it and do the photo shoot, but considering the occasion I think it was worth it. If you follow me on Facebook, I posted a short piece yesterday about Harold Ramis passing. Being a child of the 70’s and growing up in the 80’s Ramis was involved in so many of the movies that I loved during that curious transition from adolescent to teenager. Whether behind the camera or in front of it, Ramis was a genius at writing, directing, and even delivering comedic dialogue. He knew what was funny and yet the often crass comedy of his films almost always hid a message of inspiration for the underdog. I loved this man’s work and it had a huge influence on my formative years, helping me to grow into the smart-ass that I am today. But this blog isn’t about movies, so I thought it fitting to give him a tribute FFZ style by looking at one of his action figures. While the bulk of Harold Ramis’ work did not dabble in science fiction, the nerd and geek community nonetheless adopted him for his role as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters, and so let’s check out that character today, immortalized in plastic.
It seems oddly appropriate to point out today that Egon was actually the very first of the Ghostbusters to get the 5-inch treatment from Mattel. He appeared as a Slimed Variant Exclusive released at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con. Later he would get a wider release without the slime and yet again he was released as the figure we’re looking at today. While this line has had its share of critics, it’s hard to knock the presentation here. Egon comes packaged, along with the Library Ghost, under a huge bubble against a carded backdrop of the Stay Puft Marshmallowman. The Ghostbusters emblem is on the top and the bubble is flanked by the Keymaster and Gatekeeper. The whole package is big enough to sit right on your shelf and it looks good enough to leave in the package and display it as is. But y’all know me… let’s rip this baby open.
The “Ready to Believe You” variants come from the commercial shown during the original Ghostbusters movie. All three of the original Ghostbusters got the “RtBY” treatment, but none seem more at home in their lab coat than Egon here. I own all three of these figures, but if I were only going to pick up one it would certainly have been Dr. Spengler. The underlying buck is the same used for the Ray Stantz figure that I featured here last year. It’s a solid enough figure, complete with black slacks, belt, and white dress shirt. The tie is even a separate piece, sculpted in soft rubber. It’s a pretty lean body, which works much better for Egon than it did for Ray. The lab coat is the usual vest-style overlay with sculpted arms to look like sleeves and the illusion of this being a full coat works fairly well. Egon’s coat features a newly sculpted pocket computer, attached to his pocket, and white painted buttons, besides that and the blue tie, this figure is identical to Ray from the neck down.
The portrait is the same sculpt used for the previous Egon figures. Whether that’s good or bad is a matter of personal taste. I think it’s a decent likeness of Ramis although it definitely errs more toward being a caricature than a straight up likeness. A lot of that comes from the ridiculously high bangs that were so gloriously emphasized in his Real Ghostbusters animated counterpart. The glasses are rather thick, but they are sculpted as a separate piece, include plastic lenses, and are permanently attached to the figure. I give Mattel props for the glasses. No, they don’t look perfect, but they can’t be easy to get right in this scale, so I’m willing to be rather forgiving.
The articulation here is pretty standard for the line. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have the DCUC-style hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. Egon can swivel at the waist and he has a generous ball joint in the neck. Egon is by no means super articulated, but it’s not exactly crucial to the character and I think what’s here is fine. He’s at least limber enough to hold a Twinkie while using it as a metaphor for the frighteningly elevated levels of supernatural activity within the Greater New York area.
Egon comes with three PKE meters, each one in a different stage of detection. You get one with the arms all the way down, one with them partly up. “Listen! Do you smell something?” And one with them at full on ball-to-the-wall “Oh shit, there’s a ghost here!” mode. The inclusion of even one PKE meter was a very nice accessory, considering it was conspicuously absent from the first Egon release, so getting three really made buying this figure worthwhile.
What else made this figure a very worthwhile purchase was the inclusion of the Library Ghost, or Eleanor Twitty if you prefer, from the beginning of the original film. This free-roaming vaporous full-torso apparition is beautifully recreated in partially translucent plastic. The face sculpt is awesome right down to the swept back grey hair and messed up ghoul teeth. I really dig the paintjob on this figure too. The mix of matte purple with the translucent parts makes for a pretty eerie effect. She features three points of articulation, which includes a rotating head and rotating shoulders. Twitty also comes with the same clear plastic stand that all of the ghosts featured. So far, this is easily my favorite of all the bundled ghosts in the line.
All in all, this set is a well-rounded package. The causal collectors can probably do without Peter or Ray in their lab coats, but as I said earlier, it seems a must to have Egon in his “doing science” outfit. The inclusion of the PKE Meters and one of the most iconic minor ghosts in the franchise makes this deal all the sweeter and I definitely recommend anyone collecting this line pick it up. It may seem trivial to some to honor Harold Ramis’ passing with a look at one of his action figures, but the fact that this figure exists celebrates part of the legacy he left behind and a character that lots and lots of people loved. I know I’ll be celebrating his life for the rest of this week with some of his movies and trying to remember him with smiles and laughter because I think that’s what the way he would have wanted it.
Godspeed, Harold Ramis… and thanks for all the laughs!