Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Ghost Busters: "They Went Thataway" (November 1, 1975)

In "They Went Thataway," the ghosts of Wild West legends Billy the Kid (Marty Ingels) and Belle Starr (Brooke Tucker) materialize in the local grave-yard and begin their search for new gang members.

When The Ghost Busters learn from Zero about their new nemeses, Spenser (Larry Storch) and Tracy (Bob Burns) respond by watching old TV westerns as research.

Before long, there is a confrontation at the old castle, where Billy and Belle are hiding out. Spenser, Tracy and Kong (Forrest Tucker) pretend to be cowboys (and a horse!) by singing "Home on the Range" to the Old West spirits, before de-materializing the deadly duo.

This is yet another extremely silly episode of the live-action, slapstick Filmation series The Ghost Busters. At this juncture on the program, the series writers were resorting to non-monster-based ghosts, such as Billy the Kid and Belle Starr, and future episodes would involve the Red Baron and his grease monkey, and Eric the Viking and Brunhilda. The thought being, perhaps, that these well-known (and historical or literary) characters were visually distinctive enough to make interesting antagonists.

Nonetheless, "They Went Thataway" qualifies as one of the less interesting installments, even though Belle Starr is played by Forrest Tucker's daughter, and the episode manages to rib some Western movie cliches.  

As is the case in many of these stories, the ghosts don't even qualify as bad, let alone evil, so de-materializing them and sending them to the Great Beyond seems unnecessary and a little cruel-hearted.

Next week: "The Vampire's Apprentice."

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