Love of ‘Ghostbusters’ turns into something more for Martin

Love of ‘Ghostbusters’ turns into something more for Martin

Wooster resident Rhett Martin has turned his lifelong love of the movie “Ghostbusters” into producing props that are being used in the latest versions of the franchise, including the upcoming “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire,” set for release on March 22.


The question is 40 years old, but the answer still comes very quickly. Who you gonna call?


But what if you arethe Ghostbusters? Then who you gonna call?

Well, for one, Rhett Martin, whose name fits the rhythm quite nicely.

Martin was about 7 years old when the original classic supernatural comedy first hit theaters, launching a franchise that is now in the midst of its fifth decade. Now the Wooster resident is a part of it.

“That was one of those movies that my mom had on tape,” Martin said. “It was my first Halloween costume. I saw a picture of it recently. I watched the movie over and over. It’s insane. I still don’t believe that I’m getting to do it.”

What Martin is doing exactly, and what he has done in the past, is create gear seen in the movies and other places and memorabilia that is a hot commodity around the ’Buster-loving country.

He has become among the preeminent producers of “Ghostbusters” items. In fall 2022 he got a call from the producers of ESPN’s “Peyton’s Places,” a show hosted by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, along with Manning’s brother Eli.

The pair of QBs and former NFL and Notre Dame superstar running back Jerome Bettis were doing a little ghostbusting of their own on “Peyton and Eli’s Spooky Adventure,” a Halloween episode that took place on the fabled campus in South Bend, Indiana.

The two Mannings and Bettis all donned full ghostbuster regalia in the episode. The uniforms included imitation proton packs, which Martin created to be much lighter than those donned in the movies so the former NFL stars, now nursing battered bodies, could perform a bit better while toting the gear.

“They did a show where the ghost of the Gipper (legendary Notre Dame player George Gipp of “Win one for the Gipper” fame) came around, and they busted the ghost of the Gipper,” Martin said. “They called and said, ‘Can we rent proton packs from you?’ I made them foam rubber ones that weighed 15 pounds apiece that still looked real.”

Sometime not far from that date, Martin got another call.

“They said, ‘Hey, we’re going to do a new movie. What do you want to build?’” he said.

Martin wound up putting together what he called an initial run of props and parts that were boxed up and shipped over to the U.K., where they were assembled and styled for the new movie.

As teasers and trailers for “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” came out, Martin could see bits and pieces of his contributions, along with longtime Ghostbusting standbys that have been around since Martin was a wee lad.

That included the likes of the Echo 1 ambulance turned ghost assault vehicle, proton packs, ghost traps and, of course, Ecto Goggles — Martin’s goggles.

“A lot of the stuff is spread out over the production,” he said. “The goggles they’re wearing? They didn’t change a thing on those. Those are my big thing on that project. Those were designed, mastered, molded and cast here before going over, and they hardly changed a thing. I did traps, wands and pack parts, as well as helping fill in some gaps in set décor.”

While Martin got to spend time on set with the Mannings and Co., he has had to enjoy contributing to the “Ghostbusters”movie from a distance. Set in New York with much taking place at the storied fire station headquarters, “Frozen Empire” was shot in London, England. Not exactly handy to Wooster, where Martin works his full-time job with INKtastic Inc. and teaches classes at the Wayne Center for the Arts.

As opening night of the new “Ghostbusters”movie approaches, Martin said he is hoping to get to attend.

“If I get to go to the premier, that’s going to be a big deal,” he said. “Prop guys like me, we’re just shop monkeys. We hardly ever get on set.

“I’ve gotten to meet all these guys and be friends with them — the producers, directors and writers, and some of the other prop guys. I actually made a costume for (actor) Ernie Hudson. When he goes to conventions, he likes to have his suit.”

Martin hasn’t met Dan Aykroyd or Bill Murray, but he’s holding out hope. He’s also hoping his name appears in the credits at the end, long after the stars’ names roll by.

“Since it was filmed in the U.K., their union rules are pretty strict.” he said. “There’s a good chance I’m not going to be in the credits. But I took photographs of everything I built and did TikToks and whatnot. And like my mom said, I still have all the credit receipts.”

The film was shot from March through June 2023 and was supposed to be released around Christmas, but Martin said the Hollywood writer’s strike caused that to be pushed back. Martin has been patiently waiting for nearly two years since making his contributions.

The latest installment of the franchise is set to open March 22 in area theaters. The movie is starring all the old favorites including Murray as Peter Venkman, Aykroyd as Ray Stanz, Hudson as Winston Zeddemore and Annie Potts as Janine Meltnitz, along with newer-comers Finn Wolfhard as Trevor Spengler, Paul Rudd as Gary Grooberson, McKenna Grace as Phoebe Spengler and Copley product Carrie Coon as Callie Spengler.

There is talk of more “Ghostbusters”movies. Aykroyd has expressed willingness to do up to three installments, with “Frozen Empire”the second.

As for Martin, he’ll be more than willing to help. In the meantime, the master of Ghostbusting memorabilia will just keep cranking it out for anyone who wants it.

“It’s always been a hobby,” he said. “It’s still a hobby. I see something and I want to make it, so I’m just going to make it. The hobby doesn’t die.”

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