Welcome back Philly Ghostbuster friends, fans, and supporters! We hope you enjoyed the first installment in this series. This time out we bring your our interview with Philly GB member and our most photogenic member, Tony Tuski!
PGB: Tony, tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? What do you do besides Ghostbusting? Any other hobbies or interests?
TONY: Well I don’t drink or smoke, I don’t follow sports or politics, and I’m not big on gambling, gardening, or cooking either. Literally all my interests are in and around the “geek” world.
Action figures, cartoons, movies/movie memorabilia, prop-building, toy customizing, video games, costume making, conventions, you name it.
Some of my favorite interests besides Ghostbusters include Transformers, Star Wars, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones. I’m also a huge 80’s fan in general, so I love the music from the decade, especially 1-hit wonder type stuff.
I like to describe myself as a “renaissance geek” because I dabble in a bit of everything in the realm. That no doubt paints a target on my forehead as being a “loser” to some people, but it will never bother me enough to change who I am. I work a job and pay my own bills, so beyond that I’ll do what I enjoy. I also have a beautiful girlfriend named Rose who is into the same interests as me, so that’s all the further vindication I need!
PGB: You have a massive collection. Tell me about a couple of your favorite geek possessions!
TONY: Hmm… it’s hard to pick out favorites. The DeLorean and proton pack are easily my favorite “non-toy” possessions, but if we’re talking strictly toys, my favorites would have to be Great Mazinga from the Mattel Shogun Warriors toy line, Biotron from the Mego Micronauts line, and the giant-size Stripe figure from the LJN Gremlins line. All of them carry significant nostalgic value for me.
The early years of Transformers also hold a special place in my heart. Shockwave, Jetfire, Soundwave, Megatron… all incredible toys.
PGB: How long have you been with the group and what made you decide to join?
TONY: I’m not sure of my official start-up date, but I originally ran into the Philly Ghostbusters at a showing of the first GB movie at the Ritz at the Bourse theatre in Philadelphia in June of 2009. My girlfriend and I (along with fellow PGB member Jack Doud) went out in our GB gear and we started talking with other people at the show also dressed up. Among them was Nate Paro who told us about the Ghostbusters group he had formed that would focus on doing charity work and appearances at parties, and basically give GB fans a practical reason to dress up in our gear more often and in large numbers. We had done similar type work in the 501st legion (aka the stormtrooper guys), so we thought it’d be fun to jump onboard and join this group as well. We exchanged info and the rest is history!
PGB: When and why did you begin building your GB uniform and gear?
TONY: My first draft of my GB costume was put together in 2004 for my family’s annual Halloween party. It consisted of a bright khaki flight suit, small no-ghost patch, green army belt, elbow pads, boots, and a proton pack that I “MacGyvered” out of a Real Ghostbusters proton pack toy, a paint tray, a napsack, vacuum cleaner parts, and several miscellaneous electronics that I found in the basement and at the flea market. It was nowhere near screen-accurate, but it still looked pretty impressive… at the time. I’ve since replaced every single aspect of the costume.
PGB: So which was your favorite event so far, and why?
TONY: Hmm… tough call. The Dan Aykroyd signing was great for obvious reasons (hint: Dan Aykroyd was there), but I think my favorite event thus far would probably be the MS Walk at the Elmwood Zoo. It was a little rainy that day, but I loved how nearly the entire group was on-hand for it! Basically the walk was a free trip through the zoo, which made for some fun conversations and picture opportunities. And the fact that we raised $1700 towards fighting MS was just the icing on the cake!
PGB: How about one or two of your favorite interactions with “The Straights” (For those not familiar with this expression, “Straights” was how Bill Murray as Venkman referred to the non-busters or normal citizens in Ghostbusters 2)?
TONY: Well, you can certainly run into some strange characters while in the Philadelphia area! Like this woman who came up to me and Paul in Rittenhouse Square. She wanted to prepare herself for a career in being an interviewer, so she proceeded to have a brief Q&A with us… while holding an imaginary microphone.
We also get an inordinate amount of people that sincerely ask if we’re really Ghostbusters, which I always find amusing. I guess it’s a testament to how realistic our gear looks!
PGB: Tell us a little about the creation of your pack? How did you make it? Where did you get your info and supplies?
TONY: My second pack I originally bought on ebay in 2005. It was mostly made of thin styrene with green foam on the inside, with a “tupperware” container for the cyclotron. I was actually pretty happy with it for years, but after getting heavily into Ghostbusters and GB prop-building in summer of ‘09, I have since remade nearly everything on the pack.
Most of my info and part links came from the obsessed folks over at GBfans.com! =D It takes a thick skin to be a regular over there on their message board, but the place really is an amazing wealth of information and reference photos.
Recently I bought myself another pack on ebay and have been refitting it to be my new pack, with my older pack going to my girlfriend for her costume.
PGB: After the proton pack, what other GB props do you have? Which is your favorite?
TONY: Well let’s see, I have a belt gizmo, a Real Ghostbusters style PKE meter, ecto goggles, and a ghost trap. Of those, the ecto goggles are probably my favorite because they’re made from actual nightvision goggle frames and look very cool on the forehead. I’m working on a new and more accurate trap though, so that might take the top spot soon!
PGB: Tell us about the role of Ghostbusters in your life? Your history with the franchise? Why Ghostbusters?
TONY: Unfortunately I could never get my folks or older siblings to take me to see Ghostbusters in theaters back in 1984, but I always thought it was a cool concept! I bought the books, posters, the soundtrack on cassette (which I wore out a few copies of), and anything else I could get my greasy little mits on at the time. I didn’t see the movie until probably later 1985 when it was shown in school one day. Afterward I got the movie on VHS and watched it countless times! From there I got into the Real Ghostbusters cartoon, which I liked better than the movie-verse for years! It was only recently that my interest swayed back towards the movies again. Nowadays Ghostbusters is playing as big a role as ever in my life and I’ve made several very good friends because of it!
PGB: So who’s your favorite Ghostbuster and why?
TONY: Definitely Dr. Raymond Stantz, the heart of the Ghostbusters! He’s a top flight scientist, engineer, and mechanic, but at the same time he has a childlike sense of wonderment. He knows as much as Egon does about the world of the paranormal, but unlike Egon who studies it in the interest of science, Ray does it because he’s truly interested in it. He’s a buff! Also Dan Aykroyd’s sincere enthusiasm for the character and subject material really shines through his performance and makes the character all the more loveable.
PGB: How long do you see yourself doing this?
TONY: For as long as it remains fun and interesting! I’m typically a shy and reserved person by nature, but I’ve found myself coming out of my shell dramatically while being part of this group! “Since I’ve joined these men…” Really though, they’re such a friendly and helpful group of folks that it’s impossible to NOT have fun and cut loose a bit.
Being in the group has also helped me be more at ease with talking to the general public while out at events. I’ve done events like these in the 501st legion, but it was in some ways easier because of the anonymity of being behind a mask. With Ghostbusters your face is showing and you’re basically playing yourself out there.
PGB: What other non GB costumes do you have?
TONY: Currently I have the following outfits (in varying degrees of quality): Star Wars Biker Scout, GI Joe Cobra Viper, a white helmeted Spaceball technician, Billy Mays, Super Mario, and Doc Brown from Back to the Future.
Costumes I’d like to do in the future include Sly Rax from M.A.S.K., a black-helmeted Spaceball soldier, Dark Helmet, and a Galactor goon from the classic anime Gatchaman. I have a self-proclaimed awkward body type, so I usually prefer to do the “trooper” type characters that can be any size, but a few “face” characters still catch my interest.
Thanks Tony! Well we hope you enjoyed the second installment!
Next week: Jack Doud!