Who ya gonna call?
If you were looking to do the film score for “Ghostbusters” – then the answer would have been Village Studios!
The score for the hit 1984 film “Ghostbusters” was recorded right here at The Village. Composed by the legendary Elmer Bernstein (The Ten Commandments, The Great Escape and To Kill A Mockingbird) and performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra – the score was able to perfectly capture the unique vibe of the film. Interestingly – it was the relatively unknown French instrument “ondes Martenot” that Bernstein utilized to capture the scores “eerie” vibe. The ondes Martenot is essentially the keyboard version of the theremin – an instrument best known for its use in The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”.
“…in a curious way, it was my experience in the Special Services that led to my interest in scoring films-I found myself doing music for propaganda films for the Army Air Force. I’d never done anything like that before and I really enjoyed it. And there was a radio show for which I wrote the dramatic music. After I got out of the service I thought, ‘What an interesting thing to do.'” – Elmer Bernstein on his journey to composing
As was common practice at the time – several themes of the score were shelved in favor of more radio-friendly hits from popular recording artists. Notably – the main theme was rejected in favor of the Ray Parker Jr. hit that is now most associated with the film. Unfortunately – this would condemn Bernstein’s original theme to a more obscure fate. However – the decision ultimately proved beneficial to both the films bottom line and its legacy. The Ray Parker Jr. theme was a massive success – being both nominated for “Best Original Song” and adding $20 million to the films box office take in the process.
When your making money like that – it sure ain’t hard to be afraid of no ghosts!
In the end – Bernstein was truly an artist. When listening to any of his scores – the music always seems to compliment the visual tone perfectly. As it turns out – that ideal was always close to his heart. When asked in an interview how he typically went about writing a film score – he offered the following comment. “When I look at the movie the first thing I ask myself is, “What is the music supposed to do here? If we’re going to have music here, what is it supposed to be doing?” Music is basically an emotional art. I’m asking the filmmaker to consult and tell me what is it that we want the audience to feel. That’s what music is really about.”
Get a feel for what Bernstein intended for the audience in the video below – It features Bernstein’s original theme set to video from both Ghostbusters 1 and 2 (which was not scored by Bernstein).