Yesterday I received some of the saddest news: Harold Ramis passed away.
It took a while for it to sink in. As a long time fan of his work, I came to the realization of what a huge loss this was to the world. All over Facebook and Twitter people are posting that they will miss Egon Spengler, but I would submit that Ghostbusters, while a monumental and iconic comedic writing and acting effort from Ramis was only the tip of the ectoplasmic iceberg.
First and foremost, Harold Ramis was a great comedic screenwriter. His movie credits speak for themselves. He wrote Animal House, co-wrote Stripes, wrote Vacation, Analyze This, Analyze That, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day and many other films. In Stripes, he is the man who gave us the "Do Wap Diddy Diddy" cadence scene at the end of the film where Bill Murray steals the show.
He had a gift for dialogue, often taking the most unseen quirks of human conversation to another level, often elevating the comedy to the satiric. Case in point, from Ghostbusters:
JANINE You're very handy. I can tell. I bet you like to read a lot, too.
EGON Print is dead.
JANINE Oh, that's very fascinating to me. I read a lot myself. Some people think I'm too intellectual, but I think it's a fabulous way to spend your spare time. I also play racquetball. Do you have any hobbies?
EGON I collect spores, molds and fungus.
In this very small scene, Ramis is not only lampooning the way men and women flirt with one another, he is also making a comment about the rise of technology and how it has made us insensitive and crass.
As a member of the Central Oklahoma Ghostbusters, I think I can speak for everyone when I say that Mr. Ramis will be dearly missed by all of us, as he brightened our young adulthood with hilarious comedy and biting sarcasm.
My condolences to his family and to his many friends both in Hollywood and across the globe.