Julie Tucker
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Who ya gonna call?

Janine: Ghostbusters’ secretary, confidante and occasional ghostbuster herself!

The legendary film, Ghostbusters, was a massive hit in 1984, launching the supernatural comedy franchise, which to date has included two cartoon series and two additional movies.

The original film has been ranked 28th in the American Film Institute’s 100 Years-100 Laughs list of the greatest comedy films of all time.

Nominated for two Academy Awards, in 2015 it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress, who found it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

The film is still as fresh today as it was 34 years ago – and so are its two famous catchphrases, “Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!” and “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”


The script was written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who also starred in the film, alongside Bill Murray. They played Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Peter Venkman respectively – a trio of scientists fascinated by the paranormal, known as parapsychologists.

After losing their university jobs as a result of a botched investigation into ghosts in the library, they set up the firm, Ghostbusters, the American agency that investigates paranormal activity.

They develop high-tech equipment to capture ghosts, and before long, they are dealing with a crisis in New York City as paranormal activity goes off the scale.

Soon, they are dealing with a major investigation: a demonic spirit, Zuul, is inhabiting a cellist’s apartment, and has possessed the unfortunate musician, Dana.

The crisis is much bigger than they could have imagined, as Zuul is intent on opening the gateway to another world, where the evil Gozer the Gozerian (a shape-shifting god of destruction) is waiting to bring about the end of life on earth as we know it.

After a mishap by the Environmental Protection Agency that sees the ghosts already captured by the Ghostbusters released to cause havoc throughout New York, it becomes a race against time, not only to recapture the ghosts but also to prevent Gozer from wreaking his own brand of destruction on humanity.

The Ghostbusters’ secretary Janine Melnitz is a bookish yet sparky individual, who from the company’s office is coordinating their efforts to save the world, while secretly harbouring a soft spot for Egon Spengler.

She is initially employed by the Ghostbusters to keep tabs on their clients, but as the film progresses, she plays a bigger role, interviewing applicants for the job of a fourth Ghostbuster as the business expands and even becoming a part-time ghost-hunter herself.

Janine, the youngest daughter of a working-class family, grew up in Brooklyn Heights and has a sharp and sarcastic sense of humour. She is the glue that holds the Ghostbusters’ team together, not only coordinating all of their efforts but also rushing out to take the guys a proton pack to bail them out of trouble while on their ghost-hunting missions.

As the Ghostbusters’ franchise expanded, the role of Janine also continued to grow.

Unfortunately, her unrequited love for Egon isn’t returned for many years, although sometimes, there seems to be a spark between them. However, his social awkwardness appears to prevent it from being taken further.

Janine is the subject of a major plot when her character in The Real Ghostbusters seems to change beyond recognition. In an episode called, Janine You’ve Changed, it’s revealed that a demon, pretending to be a fairy godmother, has fed off the secretary’s insecurities about her appearance.

The demon begins to change her appearance as she strives to become “perfect” to attract Egon, but in doing so strips away Janine’s humanity. When the Ghostbusters realise what’s happening, Egon defeats the demon’s hold over his secretary by finally confessing that he loves her. After the demon is defeated, Egon asks Janine out on a date.

This development is one that occurs only in the animated series, however; in the movie, the hapless secretary is destined to admire Egon from afar!

Development of a new animated series, Ghostbusters: Echo Force, began in 2016, although a release date hasn’t been set yet. It has also been reported that a new Ghostbusters animated film is in the pipeline.

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© Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

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