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Winston Zeddemore/Zombie Taxi Driver

Ghostbusters Minimates
by yo go re

It's always fun to think about what your favorite movies might have been like if the casting had been different. What if Burt Reynolds or Christopher Walken had played Han Solo? What if Tom Selleck had gotten the role of Indiana Jones? What if we could come up a non-Harrison Ford example? Well hey, we can: otherwise we wouldn't have used this opening.

The "everyman" of the Ghostbusters, Winston Zeddemore's military training provides him with the necessary focus and fearlessness required to track and trap ghosts while his practical outlook keeps the team grounded in reality.

Winston Zeddemore ("Zeddmore" in the credits and on the front of the box - whoops!) wasn't actor Ernie Hudson's first role, but it's definitely the one that made him big. However, in keeping with the original "let's fill this thing with all our old SNL alumni friends" idea that permeated the early stages of the writing, the role was originally meant for someone else: specifically, Eddie Murphy. He chose to do Beverly Hills Cop instead, Winston was made into a different kind of character and introduced later in the film, and the world had Ernie Hudson from then on. Everybody wins!

Winston is wearing the standard Ghostbusters jumpsuit and has his proton pack glued to his back. You pick up a few of these sets, and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Not that that's a bad thing, by the way - a bunch of guys in uniform should look similar. Surprisingly, though, the jumpsuit is a bit different from the others. Look, for instance, at Egon's suit: there's a strap running around his stomach that's in an entirely different place on Winston; the straps on the shoulders are different, too, set closer to the neck. And we're talking sculpted elements here, not just paint, so it's clearly not a re-used mold.

This is actually the second Winston Zeddemore Minimate - the first was also a Toys Я Us exclusive, just like this one, but he was wearing the dark Ghostbusters 2 uniform. This version, from the original film, will also be in the second four-pack, if you can actually find it. His face is good, even beyond the simple "of course I recognize him, he's the only black guy" thing. He's got a small mustache, and his eyes have just the right squint. The hair is a new piece, which is a big surprise - it has a part on the side that the GB2 hair didn't.

Since the proton pack is non-removable and the elbows pads are part of his clothes, Winston's only accessry is the translucent orange and blue proton stream that fits on the end of his gun. Interestingly, the proton stream will also fit on the end of another proton stream, allowing you to double (or more) the length of the shot. Bust ghosts from a safe distance! Ghosts such as...

Released after the Ghostbusters containment unit is compromised, the Taxi Ghost resumed its former occupation and began frightening commuters all across the city in the process. He was eventually cited for driving without a license.

Hey-hey, a zombie! Everybody loves zombies. Right now, at least. Give 'em a couple years and they'll be as played out as "pirates vs. ninjas." Like the bio says, this guy showed up after Walter Peck (you know, the man who has no dick) shut off the Ghostbusters' containment unit. A pink cloud crept up into the tailpipe of an empty taxi, and moments later when a passenger got in, this guy was behind the wheel. Of course, the puppet in the film looked a bit thinner and more desiccated, but the Minimate tries.

Cast entirely from translucent plastic, the Zombie Taxi Driver does look quite the worse for wear. He's a smoky tan, with yellowed hands and one dark shoe. There are several rips in the clothes, showing off the skin (and bone) beneath. All the painted details are solid, of course, making them stand out nicely from the plastic. The figure has clawed hands, suggesting bony fingers, and he's wearing a vest that seems to be a new piece - it's certainly not reused from any of the Back to the Future sets, like I suspected it was.

In the movie, the taxi driver wore a typical snap-brim taxi driver's hat. There's no such thing in existing Minimate pieces, but lord love 'em, they tried to fake it pretty well. The hat/hair is reused from Rocky's Mickey, who was wearing a ski cap; to attempt to turn it into the right kind of cover, the front of the hair has been left the same dark color as the rest of the hat, while the sides have been painted lighter, to become hair. Does it work? Eh, not really, but A for effort, guys!

For whatever reason, this set was one of the ones chosen to be designated as a TRU exclusive in this series. It's strange, since technically all the Ghostbusters two-packs are TRU exclusives; you can get the four-packs through any specialty store that ordered them, but two-packs? It's TRU or nothing. The first series sold out quickly, and this second series has only been out for a few weeks, but is moving briskly as well. Winston and the Zombie Taxi Driver are both good figures, and if you want more ghosts for your guys to fight, this is the only way to get him.

-- 09/24/09


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