By Ashley Bray
This past fall, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a legacy sequel to the Ghostbusters movie franchise, hit theaters across the country.
To celebrate the movie’s release, charity group The Buffalo Ghostbusters raised funds to recreate the infamous Ghostbusters sign that hung over the Tribeca neighborhood, New York fire station, Hook and Ladder No. 8. The fire station is featured in the original 1984 movie as the Ghostbusters headquarters, and it is not only a destination for fans but also designated a historical building.
The Buffalo Ghostbusters have been active since 2011 and are known for dressing in full Ghostbuster gear at community events to raise money for charities such as Toys for Tots, Camp Good Days, Make A Wish Foundation, and of course, firehouses.
At first, The Buffalo Ghostbusters’ plan was to replace the sign with a prop, but when their GoFundMe campaign exceeded expectations, they decided to construct a true-to-life recreation of the sign. And since The Buffalo Ghostbusters is officially recognized by SONY, they had permission to recreate the sign design.
“We expected to raise a thousand dollars for this project,” said Dan Liberg of The Buffalo Ghostbusters, in a press release. “But once donations exceeded the original amount, we decided we needed to do right by the sign and replace it to its original glory.”
So who were they gonna call to get the job done? That would be Signarama Huntington Station in New York.
“We are no strangers to iconic signage,” said Dawn Tiritter-Bent, co-owner of Signarama Huntington Station for over thirty years with her brother Mike Ziccardi, in a press release. “We want our customers to trust that we will get the job done while maintaining the historical integrity of the project.
“Together with our network, there’s no job we can’t complete.”
Signarama Huntington Station immediately got to work on designing the iconic sign, which features a ghost emerging from behind a red “no” symbol. The sign company partnered with Ed Sullivan and his creative team at Hanson Sign Companies in Falconer, New York to create this one-off project.
Signarama General Manager Sal Tiritter designed the 2D vector layout in Adobe Illustrator and worked with the Hanson team in creating the 3D modeling in EnRoute.
Once the molds were created, the vacuum forming of the clear polycarbonate faces was completed.
Graphics were painted sub-surface using Matthews Paint and a full back spray was completed for the white background.
“What made the project unique is that the face is not a mirrored image on both sides. Our fabrication team, led by Ted Dybus, had to problem solve by creating two single-sided cabinets with a two-by-two-inch aluminum square tube inner frame,” says Tiritter-Bent, who explains that the team also had to be careful to close up the back of the ghost’s hand that breaks from the edge of the sign face to ensure consistent illumination.
The cabinet is made of DIBOND® backed with .040 aluminum returns, and it was hand formed around the polycarbonate embossed pan faces.
The faces are secured in the cabinet with Jewelite trim, while the sign is illuminated with Principal LED modules.
In total, this hair-raising sign project took about ten weeks to complete.
FDNY Hook and Ladder 8 handled the installation as part of their group being involved in the project.
“The original plan was for the sign to be displayed projecting from the wall and suspended from support hardware just as it was in the original Ghostbusters movie,” says Tiritter-Bent. “[But] since the building is a NYC Landmark, the code only allows for it to be installed flush to the building.”
Either way, this iconic sign now attracts ghostbusters and ghost-lovers alike for pilgrimages and photo ops—ectoplasm not included.