To celebrate the 20th installment of New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments, we’ll be joining the Real Ghostbusters once again! Surprisingly, in both their live action and animated forms, The Ghostbusters have a monopoly on NJ references. What has always appealed to me even more about The Ghostbusters is their seamless mix of humor and the supernatural. Whether they’re talking about particle reversal, ionization rates, or crossing the streams, their ideas always seem loosely based on scientific fact.
In the episode “Venkman’s Ghost Repellers,” (aired in 1986) a rash of ships have been disappearing into a part of the Atlantic Ocean referred to as The New Jersey Parallelogram. I suppose the writers of this episode thought “If The Bermuda Triangle was closer to New York, where would it be?” Why it’s got to be the most maligned state in the entire country, New Jersey of course! Ships have been floating along, minding their own business, and then BAM! right into another dimension through a wormhole that looks like something right out of Tron. Mysterious fog and “luminous spirits” were reported before the ships vanished. Inside the parallelogram there was no sign of Jimmy Hoffa, although the battleship Bismarck was spotted.
Also in this episode, Peter Venkman’s con man father pays the crew a visit at their firehouse HQ. He’s been manufacturing ponchos and calling them “ghost repellers.” One old kooky guy, Dr. Mulch, wants to charter a ship directly into the NJ Parallelogram while he and all of his mates wear the “ghost repellers.” They think if they wear the ponchos they’ll be safe from whatever supernatural forces exist inside the parallelogram. Once the Ghostbusters catch wind that the ship has disappeared, and the ponchos clearly don’t work, The Ghostbusters are on the job!