Remembering Harold Ramis on his 75th Birthday.
I was three years old when I watched Stripes for the first time. I remember being confused by the fact that the other two Ghostbusters weren’t there, and was also perplexed over Harold Ramis’ hair at the beginning of the movie. Why was it so big? Those were my two big takeaways. Being born in 1984, movies like Ghostbusters, Stripes, and Caddyshack were constant fixtures of my childhood. Those movies were basically my third parent. I would sit on the couch with my dad and watch him laugh until he was about to keel over, and that made me so happy. As much I adored Bill Murray, and still do, it was always Harold Ramis that put the biggest smile on my face. I could always count on Harold to flash that wry smirk that told me that not only was he the funniest person in the room, but he was also the smartest.
For reasons that I couldn’t explain as a three-year old, and might even have trouble identifying
today at thirty five, I always felt a deep connection with Harold. Maybe it was because we’re both Jewish, or that I was born in Highland Park, the same suburb of Chicago where Harold and his family lived once he left LA. I’m pretty sure that as a child I convinced myself that we were secretly related and that at some point I would run into him at a family gathering or holiday party, and he’d have a proton pack and flight-suit waiting for me in the back of his car. That was the dream.
When Harold Ramis died in February of 2014, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I have never had such an emotional reaction to the passing of celebrity. Over the years, I had made a point to watch clips and interviews of Harold as a source of inspiration, humor, and sometimes even life guidance? I looked to Harold for more than just quotes on the further developments of the fabled Ghostbusters 3. Harold was full of wisdom. His interviews always included real insight into his personal philosophies on comedy and filmmaking and it was truly captivating. From time to time, especially after the 2009 Ghostbusters video game, Harold would pop up in interviews and would always be asked about the prospects of a third movie. My favorite quote came from the interview below where he states “We don’t need to do it...if we only had two Ghostbusters, we’d all be fine”.
I love that quote. It’s everything that I adore about Harold Ramis in one sentence. It’s his entire philosophy on life, packed up in a neat little slightly-sarcastic Ghostbusters sandwich. Take a few minutes out of your day and watch along with me. I bet we all learn something new.
Happy Birthday Harold.