The Ghostbusters reboot just opened in theaters across the country. So, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit the movie that not only started it all, but also arguably gave Columbia its biggest movie cameo yet.
Don't believe us? Just check out the still (on the left) of the movie's opening title sequence with Columbia's Alma Mater and Butler Library featured prominently. Of course, Columbia looks less gloomy these days.
Keep reading for even more photographic evidence.
Double Take: Columbia on Film
Hollywood has a long history of using Columbia's campus as a stand-in for both fictional and real universities. In Sam Raimi's Spider-man, Peter Parker visits Columbia (Empire State University in the comics) right before he is bitten by a radioactive spider in a laboratory. Though Mona Lisa Smile was set at Wellesley, the lecture scenes were actually all filmed in Columbia's Havermeyer Hall. In the Mirror Has Two Faces and Still Alice, Barbara Streisand and Julianne Moore (respectively) both play Columbia professors and are regularly shown roaming about campus. But Ghostbusters has them all beat in terms of campus coverage.
When we first meet the Ghostbusters, they are working at Columbia, specifically at "Weaver Hall" as researchers in the Department of Psychology. In actuality, Weaver Hall is Columbia's Havermeyer Hall. In addition to this exterior shot, Havermeyer Hall houses one of the most popular lecture halls used on film. In addition to its appearance in Mona Lisa Smile, it was also used in Spider-man, Ghostbusters II, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Kinsey, and Malcolm X. Its stadium seating, wooden structure, and faded green chalkboards just scream "collegiate."
In Ghostbusters, Columbia serves as the backdrop for the conversation that sets the plot in motion. After Peter (Bill Murray) and Ray (Dan Akroyd) are informed that their grant and positions have been terminated - due to the suspect findings from their paranormal research - they drown their sorrows on the east side of the campus.
Instead of wallowing for too long, they decide to go into business for themselves, as the world's first firm for paranormal investigations and eliminations. And with that, we're off on the journey that would later launch a sequel, the new reboot, and an epic mass of devoted fans.
If there was ever any lingering doubt that Ghostbusters is much loved by Columbians, check out the movie madness poll that we held on Twitter. Ghostbusters destroyed the competition.
The Tradition Continues
The Ghostbusters can't seem to stay away from Columbia. In addition to a minor return to the campus in Ghostbusters II, the reboot was also seen filming on campus last year (see photo below). And this one even stars a Columbia alum, Kate McKinnon '06CC!
Let us know on Twitter if you spot Columbia in the new movie.
(Photo: Daniel Friedman, Columbia Daily Spectator)