What's wrong with this DVD cover?
Where the heck is Ernie Hudson, aka Winston Zeddemore -- fourth and final member of the Ghostbusters team? That's what's wrong with it! And furthermore, Hudson's name is not credited either.
This is the cover art (shamelessly swiped from Amazon) for the 1999 Columbia/TriStar DVD release of Ghostbusters II. It was also among the first additions to my now 300+ collection of DVDs, and initially I resisted buying it because I hated the cover so much. Seriously, where the crap is Winston? And why in the world is he missing from the cover?
But wait...there's more -- an excerpt of the copy from the DVD's back cover (courtesy of Ghostbusters' fan site Spook Central) states: "Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Raimis take up their proton packs once more..."
Now I think maybe it falls into the territory of conspiracy theory, causing one to speculate it was more than a mere oversight. After all, there is always more than one individual involved in the design process. And corporate-types have to approve the image before they could even begin mass-production.
So how could such an obvious blunder slip through?
Did someone at the corporate level decide that Hudson was "less popular" and therefore not important enough to include on the cover art? Were they trying to market to Caucasians only? Was it a covert attempt to make the public forget there was a fourth, non-white member of the Ghostbusters team?
As In Living Color's Homey the Clown would say, "It's just another lie perpetrated by The Man to keep a brother down!"
The history behind this cover art goes back to 1984 and the first Ghostbusters film. Some of the original theatrical posters (seen here on Spook Central) did not include Winston either, which ProtonCharging.com (another Ghostbusters fan site) commented on recently.
And during the space of 15 years (which included the '90s heyday of political correctness), you'd think those at Columbia/TriStar would have made a more intelligent choice for the 1999 DVD release than to omit Hudson yet again, but apparently not. Such an oversight was frankly just plain stupid.
I suppose the omission of Hudson's name from the front cover and copy from the back is...somewhat forgivable. But I'd really like to know why Ernie didn't make the front cover and how it was that no one from Columbia/TriStar noticed a Ghostbuster was missing from the cover art before they released the DVD.
Granted, it's been 10 years since this title was released and fans probably vented over this via newsgroups and fan forums a decade ago and are since done with it. And I got rid of the 1999 version the very day the "Double Feature Gift Set" was released in 2005.
But it still bothers me.
So I ask my fellow "Ghostheads" (that's Ghostbusters fans to everyone else) to join me in the campaign I'm launching against Columbia TriStar Home Video for this travesty. I'm starting a petition, contacting the NAACP, and calling for a boycott of all future Columbia TriStar Home Video releases.
Wait... you say the DVD title itself has since been discontinued and is now out of print? And that in 1994 Columbia TriStar Home Video was renamed Sony Pictures Home Entertainment?
Well, nevermind then!
In related news, Harold Raimis (aka Dr. Egon Spengler) said in a 12.28.2009 interview that Ghostbusters III is "progressing with plans to shoot [summer 2010] and release in 2011":
Dan [Aykroyd] did write a spec GB3 screenplay a few years ago, but no one was motivated to pursue it. Now, 25 years after the original, there seems to be some willingness to proceed and apparently a substantial public appetite for a sequel. We’ll introduce some new young Ghostbusters, and all the old guys will be in it, too. Think Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future.
While I fear the thought of "young Ghostbusters" (and all that that implies), I'm pleased to see the franchise moving forward. I just hope Ernie doesn't get the shaft again.
* Image (idiotic and shameful as it is) courtesy Columbia/TriStar/Sony and Amazon.com.