Aug 26, 2023

Dogs And Cats Living Together - Mass Hysteria!

The Spengler TrilogyGhostbusters / Ghostbusters II / Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Mahoning Drive-In Theater - Lehighton, PA
This artwork from the very talented Tom Bifulco commemorates one of the coolest events that I've ever attended at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater.  This Friday and Saturday are dedicated to the franchise that came out of one of my favorite movies from my childhood.  The legendary 1984 supernatural comedy Ghostbusters spawned two fun sequels, several animated cartoon series, and video games released for consoles ranging from the Atari 2600 to the Playstation 5, and just about everything in between.

I've seen all three of these movies in theaters at different times in my life, but I'd still consider all three of these movies a bucket list screening because I never watched any of them at a drive-in before.  Movies hit differently here, and the Ghostbusters trilogy is no exception.

Show banner designed by Andrew Kern

Both Friday and Saturday nights included a triple feature of Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife.  There were also quite a few vendors on the lot selling toys, shirts, animated cels, and other memorabilia from Ghostbusters and other vintage favorites.

Tom Bifulco's artwork was used to create one of my favorite shirts that I've ever seen for sale on the lot.  It has the little baby Stay Puft Marshmallow Men crawling around a radio and a 35mm film reel with Slimer above them holding a Mahoning popcorn bucket and a carton of Hi-C Ecto Cooler.

Speaking of Ecto Cooler, Beth looked up some of the fan recipes that have been posted online and made a big batch of the Slimer-inspired beverage.  She got it pretty damn close!  It was the perfect beverage for Ghostbuster weekend on the lot.  The snack bar also had Ghost Dogs, which were grilled hot dogs with sauteed onions, sauerkraut and brown mustard, and a limited supply of Twinkies.  However, for as cool as all of these things were, the real superstar attraction on the lot this weekend was parked in the grass under the big screen.

Nick and Jay from Ectotech brought their incredible Ecto-1 NJ to the lot for folks to enjoy, admire, and take countless selfies with.  Of course, we were no exception!

This is our third year coming to the Mahoning and I've already had the opportunity to see the Batmobile, Doc Brown's DeLorean Time Machine, and Ecto-1, the latter two of which I got to sit behind the wheel of.  Here are some more photos of the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Sentinel that was turned into a screen-accurate Ecto-1 by the folks at Ectotech.

Seeing this is worth the price of admission by itself!

It wasn't lost on me that Ecto-1 sat in the shadow of the massive Godzilla statue from Godzilla-palooza.  That would be a hell of a crossover!

There were quite a few folks who showed up in costume, some of whom even came with their own proton pack, ghost trap, PKE meter and other ghostbusting devices.  Mark and JT gathered as many of them as they could find to come up to the front of the lot for a group photo.

The trailer reel started at around 8:30 with the first movie hitting the screen at around quarter to nine.

Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies ever made.  It was originally released in theaters a month before I turned four years old, but I watched it countless times on VHS throughout my childhood.  Both my wife and I got to see it in theaters for the first time ten years ago, when it was the first film shown for the Splatterday Film Festival at the Kirby Center.  That event in Wilkes-Barre was fun, but it pales in comparison to the experience of seeing a 35mm print at the Mahoning.  We found out after the screening that Krista ran the film by herself, without any assistance from Rob or Jeff, and she did a hell of a good job!

During the movie, the Ectotech folks snuck up to Ecto-1 to get everything set up to turn the lights at the exact moment in the movie when the vehicle comes out of the firehouse and races through the streets of New York for the first time.  They synced it up perfectly!

Next up was Ghostbusters 2.  My grandfather brought me to see this at Church Hill Cinema in Hazleton when I was nine years old shortly after it premiered in theaters back in 1989.  I loved it when I was a kid, then grew jaded with it in my teens and early 20's, and then grew to appreciate it again in my 30's and 40's.  It's definitely not as good as the first movie, but it has a charm all of its own, and I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to see it at a drive-in theater for the first time.

The final movie of the night was Ghostbusters: Afterlife.  We watched this movie at the Regal Cinema in Hazleton twice during its initial theatrical run in late 2021, and it's one of those movies that I love more every time I see it.  It is still the gold standard on how to reboot a beloved franchise for a new generation, and the end brings a tear to my eye every time I see it.

And that's a wrap on the 2023 Ghostbusters Triple Feature Fan Event.  These are movies that I will never get sick of, so if they bought this back to the drive-in at some point in the future, you can bet that I'll be there.