There once was a time when I was a real Ghostbuster. I'd watch the films over and over until the VHS tape wore out. I could also recite the film line by line even though I was too young to place any true meaning behind the words that were coming out of my mouth. I had both soundtracks and knew every song. This was also a time before I knew I was obsessed. My parents certainly knew and they also knew that I loved the Ghostbusters and that there was nothing going to stop me from pretending to be one of them.
It was confusing for me to figure out who I was imitating. I remember reciting lines or actions from the films without actually understanding why I was doing it. I would pretend that I was Peter Venkman trying to lift myself off of the floor after having been tangled and electrocuted by Vigo the Carpathian. I had all the gear – a proton pack, trap, and PKE meter – and my mom even made me a ghost busting uniform with the official Ghostbuster's patch on my arm. I was the new guy.
I would put on the goggles that Ray Stanz wore in the first film while searching for Slimer and walk around the house looking for that giant green butter eating blob of ectoplasm. I even had fake slime that I'd put on my shirt and well, pretend to get slimed.
Even though I'd pretend to be the new guy, deep down I had a favorite Ghostbuster. My favorite toy was my PKE meter that Egon Spengler used. For whatever reason, I felt that he suited me best. I liked that he was scientific, but also, he had all the gadgets and was responsible for creating the proton packs. This was the guy that created the gear that put them on the map (and in jail too). He was the strange one that collected, "spores, molds, and fungus" and he only had "part of a Slinky" that he straightened out when he was a child.
I had no idea who Harold Ramis was when I was a kid, but man, did I ever want to be just like him when I grew up. In fact, I was on a few ghost hunts as a videographer/editor for a ghost hunting group a few years ago, which fulfilled my dream. I got to be the "gadgets guy" during the hunt and felt just like Egon.
I don't have a stronger connection to Harold Ramis than this. He brought to life many characters through his writing and directing since 1980 with Caddyshack, but only one instance of his work has stuck with me my entire life. When I learned that he passed, it was like Egon Spengler had passed as well. I had hopes to see Harold Ramis portray Egon in Ghostbusters 3 for one last time, but perhaps his illness had a lot to do with the project being stalled. Dan Akroyd, I'm sure, wouldn't want to go it alone without his writing partner overseeing the project and maybe stalled it all together. But why not forge ahead? I would write it as a "years later" film with Egon showing up as a ghost...
His success as a director was something I had not known about until much later in life and maybe it was for the best. I now have a deep appreciation for connecting the film-facts-dots because of my profession and I can safely say that Egon had a great career as a writer and director, from National Lampoon's Vacation to Groundhog Day and all the way up to directing a few episodes of The Office. To me he'll always be Egon Spengler who loves his sweets, making sure that we "don't cross the streams."