Premiered November 2, 1987.
It's the day before Thanksgiving in New York City. At their headquarters, the Ghostbusters are cleaning their Ecto-1 car so it'll look good when they drive it in in New York's Thanksgiving Day parade. Peter Venkman (Lorenzo Music) is looking forward to the parade, since he thinks it'll be a great place for him to meet women.
Later that evening, a work crew at a warehouse is rushing to finish a balloon in time for the parade. They're being supervised by Anne Lawson (Amy Hill), one of the organizers of the parade. It's a balloon of Murray The Mantis, star of a cartoon series where he protected a garden from bad guy bugs. Anne is glad the balloon will be ready, but she gets a bit unnerved when she learns the warehouse used to be a morgue.
At the parade, Egon (Maurice LaMarche) and Ray (Frank Welker) are excited to see the Murray balloon, since they're big fans of the cartoon. Venkman, on the hand, has never heard of Murray or his show.
The parade is going well until suddenly, the Murray balloon turns into an actual giant Praying Mantis!
It wrecks the parade and sends spectators fleeing in terror. The Ghostbusters snap into action and attack the big bug. Ann informs them the Murray balloon was made in a building that was once a morgue. Ray figures that the balloon must have picked up "death force energy" from the old morgue, which made it come to life.
After chasing the mantis to Central Park, the Ghostbusters realize they won't be able to defeat Murray by themselves. Winston Zeddemore (Arsenio Hall) says if they want to take down Murray, they'll need help from "the Big Guy "- The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man! The Ghostbusters stopped Stay Puft from destroying New York (as seen in the Ghostbusters movie) and he's been held captive in their containment unit ever since.
If they release Stay Puft, he might be able to help them beat Murray. However, there's also a possibility that he could destroy the city. Is it worth the risk?
Will Murray The Mantis ruin Thanksgiving?
J.A. Morris says:
This is a solid Thanksgiving episode of a good 1980s cartoon. In earlier reviews, we/ve talked about how the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is just a big as part of Thanksgiving Day as turkey, pumpkin pie and cranberries. "The Revenge Of Murray The Mantis" puts its entire focus on the parade and we don't get the usual Thanksgiving tropes like culinary disasters or annoying relatives.
The story here is pretty basic Ghostbusters stuff. A parade balloon comes to life, animated by "death energy" and the Ghostbusters jump into action to stop it. The addition of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man makes the episode feel more connected with the original theatrical film, something you can't say about every episode. Slimer, another ghost who appeared in the movie also helps them control Stay Puft.
When I was a kid, there always seemed to be balloons that featured characters who had fallen into obscurity and my only point of reference for them was the Macy's parade. Linus The Lion Hearted is a good example. I believe Murray is meant to represent cartoon characters who have faded from public memory, since Peter Venkman has never heard of Murray or his old cartoon.
The Real Ghostbusters featured a great voice cast and they all do fine work here, even if they don't sound much like their movie counterparts. Frank Welker does double-duty as Ray Stantz and Slimer.
If I had any problems with "The Revenge Of Murray The Mantis," it's that the series' low budget undermines the story, especially its action scenes. The episode features a fight between Murray and Stay Puft, two giant monstrous characters. However, we don't really ever see both characters in the same shot. The closest we get to seeing Murray and Stay Puft onscreen simultaneously is when Ray watches them through his binoculars. I understand it's a cheap cartoon from more than 30 years ago, but it's still disappointing.
"The Revenge Of Murray The Mantis" is an enjoyable tribute to the Macy's parade that features likeable characters, fun action scenes and great voice-acting. It's recommended to all fans of the parade and especially recommended to Ghostbusters fans.
J.A. Morris' rating:
3 pumpkin pies.
I remember watching a fair bit of The Real Ghostbusters back in the mists of the 1980s, partly because my youngest brother was really into the show, but I have no memory at all of seeing this Thanksgiving themed episode until checking it out in recent years.
The action essentially boils down to the Thanksgiving day parade being interrupted by a kaiju battle between the possessed Murray The Mantis balloon and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. High concept!
I like the balloon/kaiju mayhem idea very much but, as J.A. Morris points out above, I do feel that the low-rent animation makes the overall impact a bit...underwhelming.
Still, "The Revenge of Murray The Mantis" is enjoyable enough to appeal to Thanksgiving day parade and Ghostbusters fans alike, even if it's not a "classic."
2 and a half pumpkin pies.