Who You Gonna Call?


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Produced by Charlie Todd and Matt Adams / music by Tyler Walker

For our latest mission, we brought the movie Ghostbusters to life in the reading room of The New York Public Library at 42 Street. The 1984 movie begins with a scene in the very same room, so we figured it was time for the Ghostbusters to make an encore appearance. Enjoy the video first and then go behind-the-scenes with the photos and report below.

Shot by: Matt Adams, Brian Fountain, Erik Martin, Caleb Heller, Kristopher Knight, and Ariane West
Photography: Katie Sokoler and Brian Fountain
Ghostbusters: Kevin Hines, Rob Lathan, Justin Purnell, Alex Scordelis
Ghosts: Ben Rodgers, Amos Vernon, Tyler Walker


Agents Hines, Purnell, Lathan, and Scordelis

The New York Public Library approached us about a month ago and asked if we would want to stage an Improv Everywhere mission on their property. The library is facing serious budget cuts, and they thought having us do something awesome there might serve to remind people of how great the NYPL is. We couldn’t say no to the opportunity to do something in their gorgeous, 100 year-old Rose Main Reading Room.


Panoramic photo by David Iliff

It actually wasn’t the first time we staged something on the NYPL grounds. Back in 2002, we held a ridiculous protest claiming to be a group called Writers Against Piracy. That mission was, of course, unauthorized. It was nice to get invited by the library this time around and to have their permission to set up our cameras. When brainstorming ideas for the mission, I immediately thought of Ghostbusters. The NYPL is heavily featured in the beginning of the movie, opening with a crane shot of the lion statue outside and cutting to the reading room. The thought of bringing the Ghostbusters back to the library 25 years later cracked me up.


Agent Lathan and his binocular glasses


Agent Purnell puts on his fake mustache


Showing the ghosts a map of the reading room

We met on the steps out front and got organized. Agent Adams came up with a plan to spread our team of six camera people discreetly around the room. Most of our operators used DSLR cameras, which allowed them to blend in perfectly with the constant stream of tourists taking photos of the historic room. I went over all of the blocking and timing with the actors. They then headed inside to a staging area and got into costume.

Agent Rodgers was the first ghost to enter. He grabbed a book off of a shelf on the way in and started heading for a seat. He was quickly stopped by a security guard, who had no idea what was going on.

Guard: Sir, what are you doing?
Rodgers: Um… haunting the library.

The guard allowed him to take a seat, and then went over to the information desk to laugh about it with another employee.


Rodgers takes his seat. Notice the girl in pink’s reaction (behind the girl in white)

The first ghost got some nice reactions from the folks he sat by, but they eventually went back to working when it became clear the ghost was just going to sit and read a book. That is, until ghost number two entered.


Agent Walker enters as the second ghost
(note the same guard reacting in the background)


Ghost working in the middle of the crowd


Closeup of the ghost’s computer screen

After about five minutes, the final ghost made his entrance. He walked down the aisle and headed over to the dictionary stand.


Agent Vernon

With three ghosts spread out in the reading room, who you gonna call?


Ghostbusters surveying the room


Tourists and library patrons take notice (and photos!) of the Ghostbusters


The first ghost reads, unaware of the danger he’s in

As soon as the Ghostbusters spotted the ghosts, Agent Lathan shouted, “Get ‘em!”


The ghost leaps to his feet

All three ghosts leapt up and immediately started running around and making ghost noises.


Agent Hines finds the computer-using ghost

While the ghost-phase of the mission was pretty low-key, as soon as the chase started the room came alive. The room full of library patrons and tourists all started laughing, smiling, and frantically getting out their cameras and camera phones.

It was cool to see tables full of people taking off their headphones and laughing with each other.


Agent Scordelis follows a ghost out the door

The whole chase lasted less than a minute, as we didn’t want to be too disruptive to the people trying to get their work done. The Ghostbusters weren’t able to get their hands on the ghosts and ended up following them out of the reading room. After they left, the room broke out in applause.

The Ghostbusters chase wasn’t quite over yet. They followed the ghosts down the stairs and out the front door of the building!


The chase continues down Fifth Avenue

The Ghostbusters rounded the corner onto 42nd Street and disappeared out of view in pursuit of the ghosts. My guess is that they were successful, as the Ghostbusters were spotted later in the day in good spirits posing for a photo with a young fan.

Mission Accomplished


OTHER RESOURCES:

Watch other Movies In Real Life episodes:

- Episode 1: Rocky In Real Life
- Episode 2: Indiana Jones In Real Life
- Episode 3: Lord of the Rings In Real Life
- Episode 4: The Matrix In Real Life
- Episode 5: Back to the Future In Real Life
- Episode 6: Jurassic Park In Real Life
- Episode 7: When Harry Met Sally In Real Life
- Episode 8: Harry Potter In Real Life
- Episode 9: Spartacus In Real Life
- Episode 10: A Christmas Story In Real Life

- Agent Sokoler’s Flickr Set

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Comments

comments

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236 Responses to Who You Gonna Call?

  1. Marty says:

    how abnornal! people watching at its finest

    • me says:

      I guess I have to point out that the Library scene only has 3 Ghostbusters in it because its before Winston is hired and they all went in civvies as it was pre getting the uniforms or proton packs as well.

  2. the yellow tooth hawk says:

    best one ever

  3. Liza says:

    Bravo Charlie and company.

  4. jorge says:

    Nice way to break the routine and have unexpected free fun!

  5. Chelsea says:

    AHHH, JEALOUS. Haha, wish even more than usual that I’d managed to witness this. Fantastic idea, and it looks like it was enjoyed by all!

  6. Shannon says:

    So wonderful! And great publicity for the Don’t Close the Book on Library Campaigns:

    http://dontclosethebook.nypl.org/

    (Maybe you could put a link in the text?)

    I love you guys!!!

  7. JimC says:

    FABULOUS. My heartiest congrats and applause! Dang, I wish I lived in NY. Or, you know, within 6000 miles of it.

  8. Paul L says:

    From Rhode Island: love it….love it…love it!! Thanks for making us all take a break in our day to just sit back and laugh!! Keep ‘em coming.

  9. Steph says:

    This is one of the best yet :) Hilarious!

  10. Louise says:

    You guys are the Best!! You always have me smiling & cracking up even when I’m not in NY. Thank you!

  11. Crystal says:

    OMG hysterical! Love it <3

  12. Marc says:

    Greate Mission!

    Though I have to admit, I was kind of waiting for silly string or water guns and a line about crossing the streams once I saw the chase go outside…

  13. lex says:

    dude. i laughed, then swooned with admiration, then when the ‘don’t close the book on nypl’ came up i actually cried. way to go!

  14. Pete says:

    Nicely done! Were any librarians menstruating?

  15. Katrina says:

    Dear IE- I love you.

    My favorite part was at 0:35 when the little girl was seriously concerned about the ghosts. =D

    • Rachel says:

      ME TOO! She was pointing and was like MOM!!!!! :) man that was so funny….i live in New York…I only wish I could see you guys live one day

  16. Al says:

    Great mission guys. Speaking from the UK, if you did this in one of our main libraries you’d probable be arrested for terrorism – seriously.

  17. Emily says:

    I laughed out loud at the photo “Closeup of the ghost’s computer screen”!

  18. Bobbi says:

    FTW! Great way to promote the library!

  19. Hooger158 says:

    Fun mission – I’d love to hear the original audio with everyone cracking up!

  20. Jessica says:

    :D
    I love you guys…. <3

    I wish I lived in New York…