June 25, 2009

If you have a dose of a freaky ghost, baby

Time to take a break from teen-angst movies.

The most successful comedy of the 1980s was Ivan Reitman's 1984 film Ghostbusters. Its theme song, by Ray Parker Jr., was one of the most successful hits of the year. You wouldn't think that a mock jingle about a pest control business that gets rid of ghosts would be hit material, but "Ghostbusters" spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard singles chart, anyway.

The video for "Ghostbusters" was also one of the most creative of the decade: a woman is spooked by a translucent Parker in a specially built haunted house consisting almost entirely of neon outlines. It's also notable for the number of celebrity cameos: Chevy Chase, Melissa Gilbert, Al Franken, George Wendt, and many others took a turn shouting out the song's catchphrase, "Who you gonna call?":

[Lyrics]

Parker was sued later that year by the News' frontman Huey Lewis, who claimed that "Ghostbusters" had plagiarized their own song "I Want a New Drug." They settled out of court and the settlement was bound by a confidentiality agreement. In 2001, Parker sued Lewis for supposedly breaching the agreement and implying on a television show that the settlement had involved a monetary payment.