I’m a big fan of the Ghostbusters. I love everything about it from the characters, the equipment, the movies, the cartoon shows and the video games. I can talk, discuss, dream, read and watch them anytime. However, as geeky and as truthful as I am to the franchise, I noticed something very unsettling about the Ghostbusters and it has been bothering me for a few years now. It’s something that may not be a concern to others but as a true fan, I feel disappointed by it. No, I’m not talking about Ghostbusters III, I’m talking about Winston Zeddemore.
Often considered to be the skeptic and spiritual layman of the group, Winston Zeddemore (Played by Ernie Hudson) is a member of the Ghostbusters who may lack any scientific knowledge like his other three members but his supportive attitude and sense of judgement and reasoning is what makes him valuable to the team. From the beginning, there were only three members: Peter Venkman, Ray Stanz and Egon Spengler. All three of them were into the studies of paranormal activities and decided one day to should start a company that deals with busting ghosts- and so the Ghostbusters was born. Business was good but as time went on, they felt the need to hire another person to help increase the manpower and so they advertised it on the newspaper. Winston saw the ad and was hired on the spot- making him an fourth member of the group.
Notice I didn’t mention the word “official”, which raises the following question: is Winston Zeddemore an official member of the Ghostbusters? Well, he was hired by the Peter, Ray and Egon as mentioned earlier, making him seem nothing more than a worker drone. But if you think about it, he is hired to strap onto the Proton Pack and busts ghosts rather than staying at the Firehouse doing desk jobs so that makes him an official member right? Well, not according to the following evidence I found here.
The first evidence I have is a screenshot of a Ghostbusters game for the Sega Genesis/ Mega Drive that was released in 1990. As shown on the left, you can select any characters you want except for Winston. This game is based on the first movie even though the plot and ghosts were altered tremendously but even so, why isn’t Winston being included to the game? I know he joined the Ghostbusters late in the movie but come on, is there a good reason why he shouldn’t be in the game? I really think it’s not fair but thankfully, Winston did make an appearance for all upcoming Ghostbusters games including the most recent one which I will get to later on.
Now for the sequel. Ghostbusters II came out in 1989 and by then, everyone should know that Ghostbusters consists of four members: Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston. The poster on the right is a living proof and I’m sure you’ve seen it before. It was used in cinemas and later found its way as a VHS cover and a DVD cover. It’s all good right? But wait, what about this other version below?
Again, no Winston! What gives? What happened? The eagle-eyes may notice that this picture of Peter, Ray and Egon were taken from the first movie and not the second one. Why use materials that were not included in the movie its presenting? Why not just use screenshots from the sequel itself? And if that’s not enough, check out this DVD cover for the first Ghostbusters.
This DVD cover has all four of them, so why Winston was not included on the second one? It makes no sense at all. In fact, I think they got the covers mixed up. If Winston came out late as a Ghostbusters, the first movie should use the left DVD cover and not the other way around. Whoever’s in charge of this was definitely not thinking straight.
The last evidence I have are the T-shirts. Great artwork, but no Winston:
Frowning face 😦
When I looked at these merchandise, I was convinced that Winston is likely to be just a hired help and not treated as a true member. Reminds me of Jason Newsted of Metallica, a favorite bassist of mine who joined the band to replace a valued member who tragically died in a bus accident. From the beginning, he claimed he was never treated as an official member in the band but as a new guy- hence the nickname Jason Newkid. Even his band members agreed to that fact. There was three of them and Jason. He was often bullied by his band members and the poisons include telling everyone he was gay, charging room service to his hotel room and tricked him into thinking wasabi as mint sauce. This torture had never stopped haunting him until sometime in the year 2001, Jason couldn’t stand it anymore and announced he was leaving the band. It broke my heart real bad. I hope this won’t happen to Winston. Like I said before, I love the Ghostbusters and it makes me happy everytime I see all four of them together.
About two months ago, I played Ghostbusters: The Video Game on the XBOX360 and it’s one of my favorite games this year. It’s a great feeling being able to experience a brand new Ghostbusters after twenty years of absence. I love it. In fact, I’m playing it on the PC three times now. One of the best things I like about this game is how well they treat Winston. He has more dialogue and appearance in the game which really show us a lot more of the character. He interacts more with the Ghostbusters, follows the team most of the time and his ability to think logically not scientifically in given situation (Which he is good at).
This is exactly what I’m talking about. This is exactly how they should treat Winston Zeddemore and I hope they will continue doing so in any upcoming video games or movies.
This concludes my personal thoughts of good ol’ Winston. I’m not sure if this is an existing debate in the Ghostbusters community because I’ve never heard anyone mentioning it so I thought it’ll be a great chance for me to address this. To this day, it still puzzles as to why Winston is often excluded in covers, posters and even T-Shirts? Are these people racist or something? Being mean to black people? Someone please tell me! Winston Zeddemore may not be my absolute favorite Ghostbusters nor the brainiest one in the group but he is definitely a remarkable hero. He’s most certainly a valuable member and deserves some credit for his ghostbustin’ skills. Here’s to Winston, Peter, Ray and Egon.
“Together we stand, Divided we fall!”