Compiled by Fritz Baugh
With the advise and consent of the following Ghostheads:
Matthew Riddle/Dr. Riddle/Doc Ryedale
Years One-Five, 1983-1987; Ghostbusters
and The Real Ghostbusters
Years Six-Fourteen, 1988-1996; Ghostbusters 2
and The Real Ghostbusters
Year Fifteen, 1997-On; Extreme Ghostbusters
Back to the Timeline Master Index
The Omnibus Timeline (Classic Version)
This archive is written in the format pioneered by Micheal and Denise Okuda
in their Star Trek Chronology, treating the movies, shows, comics, ect. as though they are part
of one, consistant unfolding saga. If you must, think of it as a sixth, distinct reality mish-mashed from all the others. Or, as I spell out in one of my fan fics, see everything else as incomplete/imperfect interpretations of what "really" happened.
One season of animated episodes is
approximately equal to one year of real time; the sixty-five syndicated episodes
are spread over two different years, placed between the first and second seasons
of the ABC episodes; they actually aired concurrant to the second season, but I
place them before it because of the changes to the characters--most notable
Venkman and Janine--that began with the 1987 ABC episodes were not reflected in
the syndication package. In the "peak" years of 1984-85, an average of forty
stories "happened" an average of one incident every nine days. The sequence
follows the original airdate order as close as possible, though when certain
episodes have to be moved by dating details ("X-Mas Marks The Spot", "The
Revenge of Murray The Mantis") or internal consistancy ("Venkman's Ghost
Repellers", "The Spirit of Aunt Lois", "Cold Cash and Hot Water") I try to note
My goal was to be as inclusive as possible. Not to say that there weren't
problems...but for the most part I wiegh most problems by these standards:
1. The Core Continuity is defined by GB1 and RGB Season One, the latter with
preference to the works of series developer and story editor J. Micheal
Straczynski. These offer the purest visions of the concept, and most would agree
they were the creative peak of the property.
2. If a character or charactorization from a later season of RGB, XGB, or
even GB2 conflicts with the Core Continuity, it is eligible to be ruled Invalid.
Examples would include: the "Duh, Gee Slimer Little Buddy" version of Venkman,
Professor Dweeb, the Junior Ghostbusters, Janine as Desperate Slut, or Janine
and Louis Tully as a genuine "item". If a conflict is resolved or explained
within the stories themselves, it will usually be allowed to stand (ie Janine as
Mommy Figure, explained by "Janine, You've Changed"--and admittedly, being
written by JMS gives it extra weight; Now's RGB#16 canonically downgrades Janine and Louis to "just a fling")
3. Conflicting elements of Core Continuity are judged with as much care to
both as possible. It is the judgement of this writer, for example, that due to
the examples of "Citizen Ghost" and "Take Two", that the Ghostbusters wear the
same proton packs in the movies and the cartoons, even though they look
different--it's just an interpretive matter. It is also assumed that the
nametags are present at all times, just not "noticed" (they are not seen in
"Citizen Ghost" on the grey uniforms, and we know they're really there. A
Season Four episode, "Elementary. My Dear Winston" offers confirmation of this
theorem). Obviously, when a conflict is explained, the explaination stands
("Citizen Ghost" explains the difference in uniform colors and the Containment
Unit, for example)
But what about the 88MPH Studios Comics and the iBooks novels? Where do they fit in?
The 88MPH series is essentially a complete "reboot" of the property, restarting after the first movie. The iBooks series is set in a "nebulous time" approximately two years after the second movie. Neither take the continuity formed by the animation into account (though 88MPH is making at least some minor nods to it by having an RGB-styled Ecto Containment Unit). I've already built in a bit of a dodge in the idea that they exist in the Ghostbusters world much like they do here: a licensed product (though overseen by Venkman instead of Sony). I tried to use as much from them as possible, however, taking the 88MPH stories as "untold stories of Year Two" (1984) and using some bits and pieces of the novel, which was a harder fit due to various subplots and events.
Where are the Video Game, the IDW comics, the Tokyopop manga, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife?!?!
After much soul searching, I decided the best approach was to take all official material released in 2008 and beyond, and place them in a new, seperate canon. Find all of that in the Timeline New Version; Afterlife would be best dealt with in a separate timeline, one including only the three movies with the original cast and any subsequent projects.
Primary Canon Elements
The main elements of the canon are these.
Ghostbusters(GB1)(1984, Columbia Pictures) Directed by Ivan Reitman.
The 1999 DVD release includes a commentary track by Reitman, Harold Ramis, and
producer Bernie Brillstein, as well as deleted scenes. Some of this made it into
Ghostbusters 2(GB2)(1989, Columbia Pictures) Directed by Ivan
The Real Ghostbusters(RGB)(1986-1991,Columbia Pictures Television and
DiC Productions; ABC 1986-1991; Syndicated 1987) Story Edited by J. Micheal
Straczynski (1986-87,1990) and Len Jansen and Chuck Menville (1987-1991)
Retitled Slimer!and The Real Ghostbusters in Season Three.
Extreme Ghostbusters(XGB)(Columbia Pictures Television and Adelaide
Productions, 1997)Story edited by Dean Stephan. Some fans choose not to regard
it as canon, but as it was released with Columbia's approval and is, at the
moment, the "last word" in official stories following pseudo-real time, it is included.
Secondary Canon Sources
The following are "secondary" sources. They were officially licensed by
Columbia Pictures, but not televised. If I followed Roddenberry's Law ("It only
counts if it's on screen") I wouldn't use these.
The Real Ghostbusters(RGB#)(Now Comics, 1988-1993) Now published two
volumes of this series, the first volume featuring stories by sci-fi writer
James Van Hise and art by John Tobias, who went on to be the character designer
for the early Mortal Kombat games. Paul Rudoff, of the currently inactive
Spook Central website, had a letter printed in one issue, and Yours Truly had
some in three (#22,#24, and Vol.2#1)I have not included the
Slimer! comic nor any of the Marvel UK reprints in the continuity at
Ghostbusters: Legion (GBL#1-4) and The Zeddemore Factor (GB#0) (88MPH Studios, 2004-2005)
While not created to fit into the RGB continuity, they're not overly contradictory to it either if allowances are made for Slimer's role and (should the reader so choose) the appearances of the Ghostbusters. Plus it was so kick-ass I just plain want to include it.
Mars Attacks The Real Ghostbusters (IDW, 2013). The first story set in animated continuity since the end of Extreme Ghostbusters, it just simply has to be acknowledged. There are also the occassional nods to other stories published by IDW (2008-Present), but most IDW material is more properly placed in the New Timeline.
Ghostbusters Vol.2 No.1-4 (IDW, 2013) This only applies to the backup story seen in these four issues, which was set in animated continuity.
Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Role Playing Game and
Ghostbusters International (GBI)(West End Games, 1986/1989) The GBI
edition includes character profiles that give the ages of the characters, from
which I derived some conjectural years of birth. I later changed the concepts of
my timeline, but kept the old dates because XGB gives Egon's age in one episode,
and it fit perfectly with the first estimate, derived from the assumption that
the ages given were the 1990 ages. Some "facts" I mention as conjectural were
derived from material that OgreBBQ and I "established" during two campaigns
run on this game system.
Ghostbusters.net, webmastered by
Chad Paulson. You could spend hours just prowling through the
message boards and fan fictions. Its episode reviews included plot synapsis that
were invaluable in preparing this document, and the insight and support of
several members proved invaluable in the fine tuning of this document.
The Real Ghostbusters Fan
Page! Webmastered by Shiela Paulson, (which no longer seems to be online) possibly the most prolific creator of
Ghostbuster fan fiction. Many of the names for Ghostbuster relatives not
originating in the canon come from her works.
Ghostbusters Fan Fiction Review, no longer online due to AOL shutting their hosting down, featured a wonderful Ghostbuster Canon List
(slightly out of date, but it reminded me of things even I'd forgotten!) and
some insightful insights into the characters, including some speculations about
the Ghostbusters' religions and whether Egon has Marfan Syndrome.
Spook Central is run by Paul Rudoff, like Fritz a contributor to the Now comics' letter pages. Spook Central is one of the best GB sites of all, and the scripts to the movies found there proved invaluable to fact checking the spellings of some words and names
Proton Charging is a great
Ghostbusters news site run by Chris "castewar" Stewart.
Epguides.com provided air dates for RGB
and XGB, although my personal TV logs conflicted with their listing of Season
Four of RGB; this document uses the order my personal notes say they aired in.
Real Ghostbusters: Out Of Control. Fan site established by Tory Brown back in the late 1990's, filled with some humorous "interviews'" with the Ghostbusters, some fan fics, and reference works. Matthew Riddle found the list of Ghostbusters birth dates there (though the only one we used as is was Ray's).
Then there were some non-Ghostbuster related works that were nevertheless
Randy McCall and Kevin Simbieda, Beyond the Supernatural (First Edition) (Palladium Books, 1988) While
a part of a fictional role-playing universe, it has a wealth of real background
detail and how the supernatural might work in a "real" world; a bit grimmer in
tone than Ghostbusters, it is nevertheless worth a look if you can find
it. The Parapsycholgist PCC just has "Ghostbuster" written all over it.
Timothy and Kevin Burke, Saturday Morning Fever (St. Martin's Griffin,
1999) This half-scholarly half-uproariously subversive book includes some praise
for The Real Ghostbusters and even interviews J. Micheal Stracyznski.
Especially interesting are the comments about "Russian About"'s use of Lovecraft
and how ABC executives pressured him to "'clarify' the role of a black character
[Winston] by making him the driver--i.e. chauffer--for the white characters"
Don Rosa, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck (Egmont Publication, 1991-1993; printed in the United States by Gladstone Publishing , 1994-1996, and Gemstone Publishing, 2005) This brilliant work by the seldom-disputed heir to the legacy of the late Carl Barks took the disparate elements of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge continuity, not necessarily meant to work together (never mind be still studied sixty years later) and created a coherent timeline of events and a springboard he still uses to create some of the best stories being published today. Not a direct source, more an example of how it can be done.
As of April 2010, I redid some of the little numbers attached to each episode. This was mostly to add the Production Codes now available from the Real Ghostbusters
The Movies are identified by their AMG Work Numbers
The cartoons will be identified by their Production Number, and then a three digit unofficial number related to their airdate order (it's basically the "old" ID numbers I used) after the semicolon
101-113: Season 1 on ABC (1986)
201-265: The Syndicated Episodes (1987); considered either Season Two or part of Season One depending on the episode list. This chronicle considers them somewhat seperate, even though the unofficial ID numbers start with a 2
301-313: Season 2 on ABC (1987) (Alternatively known as Season Three)
401-408: Season 3 on ABC (1988) (Alternatively known as Season Four)
501-521: Season 4 on ABC (1989) (Alternatively known as Season Five). This was the first post-Ghostbusters 2 season.
601-616: Season 5 on ABC (1990) (Alternatively known as Season Six)
701-704: Season 6 on ABC (191) (Alternatively known as Season Seven)
Extreme Ghostbusters is marked similarly, though the Production Numbers and Airdate Numbers are more similar. Where they conflict, the first number is Production, second is Airdate order.
The comics are being marked by a system inspired by that at Inducks.org.
MU: A story produced by Marvel UK
XU: A Story produced by the United States (ie Now Comics, 88MPH, IDW).
The new system provides a better system of referencing, especially in regards to issues with more than one story.