10: What are your thoughts about the 1986 cartoon?
Bob Burns: I didn’t care much for the cartoon show as I thought it lost the flavour and creativity of our show. The reason they had Kong and Spenser’s sons was so they didn’t have to use or pay Tuck and Larry for the use of their voices. I wanted to do Tracy’s voice but they just wanted to use the voice people that had to double up on the voices. So that was the end of the original trio. Needless to say, It was very sad for the three of us.
11: In 1984 the Ghostbusters film hit movie theaters; did you go see the movie? How do you feel about the movie?
Bob Burns: I loved the film even though it was sort of a rip off of our show. I heard that Filmation got a big settlement for using our title.
12: For years, Sony Ghostbusters fans have hated Filmation Ghostbusters and its fans because some strange reasons. What do you think about this aggressive attitude?
Bob Burns: If you mean the Sony animated show I think it was because the Filmation animated show was a lot earlier and not too many folks remembered our show that much, plus, the movie was very successful and Sony put more money into their cartoon show. I personally didn’t care for the Sony cartoon either.
13: What are some of your best memories about working with the show's guest stars (the ghosts)? Severn Darden, Jim Backus, etc.
Bob Burns: The guest stars were wonderful to work with. Huntz Hall was one of my favorites as we improvised many of our scenes. Richie Ballin was great too. He played the Mummy and the Snowman. The one guest that I was kind of worried about was Ted Knight as he always played sort of ego guys on the shows that he did. Boy! was I wrong, He was just the nicest guy. No ego at all. Severn Darden, Jim Backus, and all of the other guys were terrific. We sort of became like the Batman TV show as all of the character actors and stars wanted to do our show. Unfortunately, with only fifteen shows we just didn’t have any castings left open. If the show had gone another season who knows what might have happened with guest stars.
14: Have you visited our forum? Do you like it? Do you have any message for the Go-ers scattered across the globe?
Bob Burns: I just saw the site for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I think it’s fantastic. I had no idea anyone even remembered our show. they finally released our show on DVD a while back and so very happy about that. I just wish that Tuck was still here to see that happen. I’d would like to thank all of the Go-ers everywhere for helping in keeping our show alive. I really appreciate it so very much. I’ll be sure and tell Tracy about the honor.
15: Can fans contact you for an autographed photo?
Bob Burns: I don’t have any extra copies of photos at the moment but I’ll think about that. Gad! That was so long ago and like I said I didn’t know anyone remembered the show now.
John Bishop: “Mr Burns would you please consider Tiziano’s THE TRUE GHOSTBUSTERS site as a possible recipient of the KOGAR AWARD mentioned on your site? Tiziano is truly dedicated and his superb site is an asset to fans worldwide. Thank you very much for your time and consideration!”
Bob Burns: It will be an honor to do that. I’ll see to it personally. Thank you and Tiziano so very much for interviewing me for your terrific site. It was such a thrill in bringing back all of these wonderful memories and to be able to share them with you and the Go-ers.
Mr. Burns, thank you so much! The interview is a blast (from the past) and we absolutely loved it. You gave one hell of insight into the show, which is an "uncharted territory" still today. You're a living legend, and we're 100% proud to have somehow "reached" you.The spirit of Tracy lives on...
After one month, we submitted to Mr. Burns five more questions, which he kindly agreed to answer. We also got an “official” origin for Tracy, finally.
16: You mentioned Marc Richards as the “creator” of the Ghostbusters and the whole concept behind them. Can you tell us more about it? Where do you think Marc took the idea from? What did you think about the “Ghostbusting” when first they presented the concept to you? Any interesting memories about the series conception you would like to share with the Go-ers?
Marc was a terrific comedy writer. He wrote many of the animated 'GHOSTBUSTERS' in 1986 and also created the live show 'THE SECRETS OF ISIS'.
After I was doing our show I asked Marc how he came up with the concept of a comedy show that featured a gorilla. He told me that he loved seeing gorillas in Laurel and Hardy shorts, the Three Stooges, and in Abbott and Costello. He said that gorillas in comedy situations were always funny and if he could get the right comedy team and the right gorilla it will still work today (1975). He said that with Tuck and Larry he had the right team and just needed to find the right gorilla. I guess that was just my lucky day when I auditioned as I seemed to be just what Marc was looking for. I have a real passion for doing comedy and especially, the gorilla. When Marc presented the concept to me I felt exactly the same way about gorillas in comedy situations so I guess that helped too. I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world.
17: In the end, Tracy was a sort of “mutant” gorilla with a genius mind. Did you like the theory of the missing link took from the past via time travel? I just see hints of ‘Planet of the Apes’ in Tracy. Is there some weird connection? Are you a POTA (PLANET OF THE APES) fan? What are your favourite “cinematic” apes?
Bob Burns: That's a very good thought. Tracy was never talked about where he came from. He sure could have come from the future. That would certainly be the reason that he had an almost human intellect.
I’m a big 'PLANET OF THE APES' fan. Especially, the first film. My favorite “cinematic” apes are 'KING KONG', the gorilla from 'THE MONSTER AND THE GIRL' (Charlie Gemora), 'NABONGA' (Ray “Crash” Corrigan), and 'GORILLA AT LARGE' (George Barrows).
18: In the past, have you got some meaningful opinions about the series?
Bob Burns: Oh! Yes indeed. Most people loved the idea of a gorilla in a comedy series and with Tuck and Larry I suppose it couldn’t miss. I guess it still worked. So Marc was correct. The neatest thing was that I got to be a part of it. One of the funniest things is that Filmation got a lot mail that the gorilla was real and how did that Bob Burns guy train him. I still laugh about that.
19: The 1986 cartoon kinda expanded the universe and added a bit of background. In your mind, how did the Original Ghost Busters band together? We like to explain their “younger appearances” in the cartoon as a “gift” Zero gave them for their patriotic service – artificial rejuvenation.
Bob Burns: As I said earlier in this interview it was never explained how Tracy came to be with Spencer and Kong. I think that in doing the cartoon the way they did by having it more of a ethereal science fiction approach was a great idea. Zero was all powerful so he could have done most anything.
20: What’s your favourite episode and why?
Bob Burns: I enjoyed them all but I do have two favourite episodes. 'The Vampire's Apprentice' and 'The Abominable Snowman'. Billy Holmes was the Count in Apprentice and was just so darned funny. We improvised quite a few scenes and had a ball. The same with Richard Balin who played the Snowman. He got more body english out of that costume than anyone I ever seen. He had no face but you understood everything he was doing. We did a lot of improvising on the show too. The great thing about Filmation was that Marc and Lou would give you a lot of latitude in doing a scene. So if you could improvise a scene that was funnier than scripted they would use it. I just learned a while back that Marc Richards had passed away in November of 2006. I will miss him forever. He gave me the greatest gift I’ve ever had by getting to do 'THE GHOST BUSTERS' series. How lucky I am as some people never even have that chance.
This is why I appreciate the Go-ers so very much in helping keep 'THE GHOST BUSTERS' alive and as a result, me along with it.
Thank you Go-ers.
Compiled and conceived by Tiziano Caliendo a.k.a. Prime Good.
Supervised and graphically arranged by Matthew Jordan a.k.a. Devil of the Ghostbusters/Devilmanozzy.