Proton packs, ghost traps, Ecto goggles – these are not instruments (or tools) typically associated with orchestras.
On May 17-18, however, the St. Louis Ghostbusters will be the ones who you’re gonna call as they make an appearance before performances of the 1980s classic Ghostbusters. Performances of Elmer Bernstein’s score with the film will open the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Summer at the Symphony series.
The St. Louis Ghostbusters have been wowing people across the region since their founding in 2009. They appear at 25-30 events per year, dressed head to toe in their handmade Ghostbusters gear.
These aren’t just any homemade costumes and props. These are precisely-made, exact replicas of the props used in the film.
Mikhail Lynn, a founding member of the St. Louis Ghostbusters, is a professional prop-builder, bringing years of fabrication skill to his costumes and props.
“I always reverse engineer how the original is made,” Lynn said.
After closely studying prop specifications, he starts from the beginning. The Ghostbusters’ backpacks, for example, began with a wood frame, then on to a rubber mold. Getting all the pieces just right is a time-consuming process, with many of the vintage items difficult to find.
Lynn said he’s searched everywhere from junk yards to antique stores to find prop pieces.
The crown jewel of the St. Louis Ghostbusters, though, is a nearly-exact replica of the Ecto-1 vehicle the Ghostbusters use in the film.
But where does one find a 1959 Cadillac chassis, built by the Miller-Meteor Company?
“In a weird stroke of fate, I knew of one growing up,” said Art Pitchford, another founding member of the St. Louis Ghostbusters.
The only difference is the dual ambulance/hearse Pitchford knew of was a model seven years newer than the one used in the film. Pitchford convinced its owner to sell the vehicle. It’s now the group’s true-to-film Ecto-1.
With such attention to detail, the group is used to reactions that range from wonder to disbelief.
“For the briefest moment, reality is suspended, and the Ghostbusters are here,” Pitchford said. “And you can see that in people’s eyes.”
Lynn said that’s the exact reaction they hope for, emphasizing that Ghostbusters is a universally-adored film for everyone.
Come see the St. Louis Ghostbusters when the SLSO opens its 2019 Summer at the Symphony with performances of Ghostbusters on May 17-18.
Other concerts in the Summer at the Symphony series, presented by Wells-Fargo Advisors, include Live From Here with Chris Thile (May 25), Music of Led Zeppelin (June 1), Ledisi (June 7), Unforgettable: Nat and Natalie (June 9), Women Rock (June 15), Psycho (June 22), Casablanca (June 23), and Béla Fleck & The Flecktones (June 27).
Learn more about the SLSO's Summer at the Symphony by visiting here.