Ghostbusters: 10 Things Only Fans Know About Peter Venkman | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Peter Venkman is the main character in the original Ghostbusters movie but only some will know all these details about him.
Despite making their debut in 1984 and having a number of movies, comics, and cartoons, most of the world doesn’t know all that much about the Ghostbusters. Sure, they know the basics – four people use nuclear-powered proton packs to fight and capture ghosts, saving the world a couple of times in the process – but only the die-hard fans know the deeper aspects of the men for whom busting makes them feel good.
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Take, for example, Peter Venkman. The unofficial leader of the Ghostbusters, Peter is known for his wit, his skills with the ladies, and his love of doing business, but beyond that fans of the movies don’t have much to go on. Thankfully the comics and some behind-the-scenes information help fill in the details of Peter’s life.
Peter Venkman was born in Brooklyn, New York in the mid-1950s, making it unclear why he has a Chicago accent. While not much is known about his upbringing, it is clear that Peter’s father, who may have been a con man, wasn’t around all that often. Peter was quick to realize that his mouth could not only get him out of trouble but could also get him what he wanted. A smart child, Peter rarely applied himself and tended to skate through school and life.
Peter entered Columbia University without a chosen major. Looking for a way to meet women, Peter took a Women’s Studies class, which is where he met Egon Spengler, who had been assigned to the class by accident. Peter also met Ray Stantz that same year in Professor Tonick’s Esoteric Literature course, where Peter first started to become interested in the ideas of the paranormal.
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When Columbia announced its parapsychology pilot doctorate program, Peter quickly signed up, seeing parapsychology as an easy way to make a living since no one in parapsychology ever actually had to prove anything.
Before he joined the parapsychology program, Peter had discussed it with both Egon and Ray. Upon realizing that the two men he knew from different classes would get along famously, Peter finally introduced Egon to Ray and all three decided to enter Columbia’s parapsychology program together. While Ray and Egon had actual interests in the paranormal, Peter continued to see it as an easy way to make a living rather than doing hard work. As Peter saw it, once they graduated, they could get jobs at Columbia teaching the program. Sure enough, Peter’s plan worked.
When audiences were first introduced to Peter Venkman in 1984’s Ghostbusters, he is in the basement of Columbia University with two students performing an experiment on them. In the experiment, the students attempt to mentally read Peter’s mind to find out what card he is holding up and if they get the wrong answer, they get a shock – or at least the man does.
Peter claims that he is studying the effect of negative reinforcement on ESP ability, but actual tests that include negative reinforcement have nothing to do with causing pain or discomfort to participants. They are instead focused on the removal of a stimulus. Essentially, Peter is just shocking students for his own pleasure.
While a major part of Ghostbusters II is seeing Venkman and Dana Barrett get back together after breaking up at some point after the first film, it seems that the relationship may have once again fallen apart.
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In the 2009 video game simply titled Ghostbusters, which has served as something of a third story in the franchise thanks to the inclusion of the original cast and a story developed by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, it is revealed that Peter and Dana have once again separated. In the game, Peter starts a new relationship with Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn. Dana is back in Ghostbusters: Afterlife alongside Peter, so they may have mended the relationship again.
In the Ghostbusters comics published by IDW, Peter found himself displaced from his body when the ghost of a gangster named Fred possessed him. Without a body, Peter’s soul found itself in Purgatory, and after Fred has the other members of the team killed, they end up there too.
Because Peter’s body is still alive, he has supernatural powers that his teammates don’t possess. Peter teamed up with the spirits of Elliot Ness, Jelly Bryce, and J. Edgar Hoover, who were sent from Heaven to take care of Fred, and the souls of the Ghostbusters were soon returned to their bodies.
In another IDW story, the Ghostbusters found themselves separated across time, with Peter ending up in the Old West. While there, Peter built a makeshift proton pack and trap and began to take down ghosts that were troubling a town. Soon enough, Peter had become an Old West legend as he traveled from town to town fighting spirits. It was here where Peter met Rachel Unglighter, the half-sister of Gozer, who was traveling through time in a modified Ecto-1 – renamed the Ecto-10 – to save the time stranded Ghostbusters.
The first Ghostbusters was a box office smash, beating other classic films like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, and The Karate Kid to be the biggest movie of 1984. Following the success of the movie came the animated series, The Real Ghostbusters.
In the first season of The Real Ghostbusters, Venkman was voiced by Lorenzo Music. Yet, he was replaced with Dave Coulier when Bill Murray complained that the voice was too similar to that of Garfield. The reason Lorenzo Music’s take on Venkman sounded like Garfield was because Music also voiced the orange cat. Murray would lend his voice to Garfield for the 2004 film and its sequel.
Created by Dan Aykroyd, the original concept for Ghostbusters was much stranger, with the world being filled with Ghostbuster franchises and the story focusing on two employees who deal with a number of interdimensional problems. Aykroyd had conceived of the idea as a follow-up to the hit film The Blues Brothers, which he starred in alongside John Belushi.
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Had things continued down that path, Belushi would have played Peter Venkman. But Belushi’s death led to a number of changes to the story, including expanding the team from two to four members.
Columbia Pictures, director Ivan Reitman, and writers Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis all wanted Bill Murray to play Peter Venkman. Everyone was sure that if Murray signed on, the movie would be a huge hit. The only person who wasn’t sure was Bill Murray, who kept wavering on doing the film.
While waiting for Murray to finally agree to make the movie, a number of other actors were considered for the role, including Michael Keaton, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, and even Murray’s old Saturday Night Live costar Chevy Chase. In the end, Murray took the role and the rest is history.
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Born and raised in New York, Derek Faraci moved to Los Angeles in 2001 and joined Activision where he worked on many successful franchises including Spider-Man, Tony Hawk, and Guitar Hero. In October 2009, Derek left Activision to join Scientifically Proven Entertainment. Since joining SPE, Derek has worked on Man vs. Wild: The Game, Blood of the Werewolf, and the film Sucker directed by Michael Manasseri. Derek has written more than 500 articles for a number of sites and magazines, including Blumhouse, CBR, Birth.Movies.Death, and Solis. Given the option, Derek would spend all of his time watching movies and reading comics. More of Derek’s work can be found at and you can find him on Twitter at @wh_woolhat.


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