Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Ghost Busters: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" (September 27, 1975)

A ghost gypsy, Sophia (Dodrio Dennery) and a ghost werewolf (Lenny Weinrib) materialize in the graveyard seeking an amulet which will end the curse of his lycanthropy forever.

Unfortunately, that prized amulet is already in the hands of Spenser (Larry Storch), Kong (Forrest Tucker) and Tracy (Bob Burns).

Their latest assignment: de-materialize the ghost of the gypsy and werewolf!

“Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” showcases again the awkwardness of The Ghost Busters' (1975) format. Instead of encountering an actual werewolf, the comically-inept ghost hunters go after the ghost of a werewolf, ostensibly so they can de-materialize him at the end of the episode, securing a happy ending and a sense of closure for the youngsters watching.

But the facts that these folks are ghosts, and not just monsters, is disconcerting and confusing. From this story, for example, we must glean that the curse of lycanthropy lasts beyond death, since Harry Albert (Lenny Weinrub) suffers from it even while a ghost.  

Wouldn’t the werewolf curse end with his death?

The episode doesn’t make sense on other grounds, either.  

For example, why wouldn’t the Ghost Busters just give Harry the amulet thus curing him of lycanthropy, instead of all the tug-of-war over it?  But more trenchantly, how come a corporeal amulet cures the lycanthropy...of an incorporeal ghost?

This episode also cements another aspect of the series formula: the relic. This is the fourth episode so far of the series, and we have encountered the “thing” in the first episode (The Maltese Monkey), the Canterville Diamond (“The Canterville Ghost”), and now the amulet, here.  So it’s fair to state that -- at least so far -- these episode tend to involve not just ghost-busting but the recovery of valuable antiquities.

The best gag this week is a modification of a running joke set in the office. Usually Spenser has a tough time with a row of filing cabinets.  This week, the werewolf has an even more difficulty with the cabinets.

Next week “The Flying Dutchman.”


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