|“||So what do we do? Could come here and talk to me for a second? Could you just come over here for a second, please? Right over here. Come here, Francine! Come here. What do we do?||„|
|~ Peter Venkman after seeing their first ghost the Library Ghost/Grey Lady real name Eleanor Twitty|
Dr. Peter Venkman is one of the titular main protagonists of the original Ghostbusters. He has doctorates in both psychology and parapsychology. He appears in all major forms of the Ghostbusters franchise.
Work at the University
While he was employed by the University, Dr. Venkman was not very interested in the paranormal research with which Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz were concerned. He was a scientist by trade, but didn't seem to identify himself as a scientist (unless he was trying to impress someone). His experimental methodology was highly criticized by Dean Yager, who told him in no uncertain terms that he was a "poor scientist." He admitted in the novelization of Ghostbusters II that even his high school grad class voted him "Most Likely to Become A Game Show Host". While at the university, Ray and Pete often shared the same bottle of apricot brandy in private and usually borrowed each other's videocassettes when documenting their findings for research.
Peter Venkman was a professor working with Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz at the Columbia University. The three of them were researching the supernatural but unlike his partners, Peter wasn't as enthusiastic about the topic. The three of them discovered the librarian ghost, but were unable to catch and show her off to the public. The three of them were soon fired from the university after their funding was cut; though Peter seemed happy to look for new opportunities whatever they may be. After being fired, the three of them decided to build some advanced paranormal equipment and go into a career of freelance ghost catching. Peter encouraged and prodded Ray to mortgage his house in order to find the capital needed to purchase the firehouse. Whether motivated by the prospect of becoming rich or just the fact that he no longer had to work under the thumb of the board of regents, Dr. Venkman was very motivated to begin a new career. Peter soon became the first to meet the company's first client, Dana Barrett and formed a romantic interest.
Dana had claimed that there were monsters in her fridge even though Peter could not find any such thing. After that incident, Peter, Egon, and Ray were eating dinner at the firehouse when their secretary Janine got a call. Peter and his team came to the Sedgewick Hotel, where Peter came face to face with the ghost that would one day become known as Slimer. Peter was slimed during his first encounter with the ghost, which Ray greatly praised as "actual physical contact." Peter and his team eventually captured the ghost, which soon made them popular and busy around town with other ghosts.
Peter had stopped by at one of her orchestra rehearsals. He happened upon her talking to a colleague whom played in the orchestra with her that was interested her as well. He asked her, "Who's the stiff?" She answers, "The stiff happens to be one of the finest musicians in the world." Peter has found some answers for Dana, but say they can find out more on another night. Peter continues to compliment and flirt in confidence and Dana reluctantly says trying to keep down commotion, "I'll see you Thursday." He says, "We'll eat and read." As she walks away with her male colleague, he addresses her somewhat jealously, "So, who the hell is that?!" and Dana replies, "A friend. An old friend." She counted smile because of Peter constant compliments towards her appearance which now he was stating in front of her male colleague.
Not too long afterwards, Janine is overran with calls and stressed out. She tells Peter there is a man waiting in his office from the EPA and she has been working two weeks without a break and states that he promised he would hire more help. He pretty much praises her experiences in order to let her know the door is open to discover more opportunities if she was unsatisfied with her present one working for him. As the phone is ringing once more, Peter replies to her, "Are you going to Answer that?". Peter soon met an EPA representative named Walter Peck, who got angry that Peter refused to show him the storage facility.
As Peter was coming to see Dana and take her out on the date, he notice that she was acting very strangely. She referred to herself as The Gatekeeper and was awaiting the coming of Gozer, "The Destructor". Peter replies, "Oh..." and notices the slime around the kitchen door. The possessed Dana and unresponsive to Peters statements but replies, "Do you want this body?" which he thinks its a trick question due to how Dana really is. He thinks the roses worked after all, but then She then says, "Take me now subcreature." Under Zuul's control, Dana became a lot more sensual and sexually aggressive, desperately attempting to seduce Peter under the false impression that he was The Keymaster. Peter steadfastly refused her advances realizing she was possessed, frustrating her to the point she began growling like a beast and magically levitating above her bed.
Peter realizing the seriousness of Dana's condition, sedated her, and called Egon to explain what was going on. He soon learned from Egon that her building was renovated by an evil architect named Ivo Shandor and she was being possessed by Zuul, the Gatekeeper of Gozer. After Peck returned and shut down the Containment Unit, the ghosts all escaped, Peter and the other Ghostbusters were imprisoned for EPA violations. Peter convinced the mayor that an apocalypse of "Biblical proportions", was coming to destroy the city.
The Ghostbusters were released and proceeded to go to the top of Dana's building. They are soon escorted to the building by a police and army motorcade as a dark cloud starts to cover the entire city. The Ghostbusters make it to the top of the building, but are too late to stop Zuul and Vince Clortho from releasing the evil Gozer. The Ghostbusters confront Gozer in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow man(which Ray had been thinking of). Peter and his team then cross their streams and force the door to Gozer's dimension to close, destroying the Marshmallow Man in a blaze of flames and saving the city. Peter also wins the Dana's affections for saving her.
Despite saving the town from Gozer, the Ghostbusters were put out of business due to being sued for all the damage that was done during the battle. Also, Peter and Dana's relationship faltered due to his fear of commitment and taking her for granted. She left for her male colleague in the orchestra, married him and had a child. He unexpectedly "ditched" her for an opportunity leaving her and his son behind.
In the years since, Egon described Peter (even to Dana) as being borderline(manic) until he eventually, "crossed the border." Peter became the host of a psychic reality talk show in the years after the Gozer battle. He and his teammates went to Dana's aid after she claimed her baby stroller rolled away from her by itself, and pinpointed there was something brewing under the street of First Avenue. Egon, Peter, and Ray start to dig under the surface of the road where Ray is lowered down into the hole where he discovers a River of Slime. The three Ghostbusters were summoned to court, where they stand trial on the grounds of violating a restraining order and destroying a section of First Avenue. They got back into business after the slime sample in the courtroom absorbed the judge's negative energy while shouting and exploded out two ghosts named the Scoleri Brothers. After the judge rescinded the order and dismissed the case(while under duress from the ghosts), the Ghostbusters were allowed to put on their equipment and bust the ghosts, declaring to the public afterwards that they were open for business once again. While his teammates investigate the river of slime underneath the city, Peter renewed his relationship with Dana, whose baby Oscar was being targeted by the ghost of Vigo the Carpathian. Peter and his team in the end defeated Vigo and saved the city once again.
Even when paralyzed, Peter's tongue was still as sharp as ever and he still managed to provoke Vigo's ire with a variety of pointed insults, including referring to him as a "dumb blonde".
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
Venkman shows some initial distrust when Ray and Egon hire the Rookie, jealous that he gets issued new equipment and gets a 'title'. However, upon Egon and Ray explaining to Peter that the equipment the Rookie is issued is "highly experimental and if not handled properly, could blow the user clear into New Jersey." Peter immediately lost interest in both the Rookie and his gear. Peter eventually warms up to the Rookie and occasionally praises his developing skills, but his interest is soon lost once they encountered Ilyssa Selwyn who, true to himself, he took an instant liking to. Peter flirted with her, but she wasn't interested. At the end, he won her heart and shared a brief kiss with Ilyssa before she was slimed by Slimer.
Peter still maintains the smooth-talking slacker identity from the previous two movies, willing to jump at any chance to get out of doing work or going into a dangerous situation. He offers to take Marine Ecto-8 to avoid going onto Shandor Island. These attempts are transparent at best, prompting the other Ghostbusters to roll their eyes or glare at him.
Peter is still primarily motivated in his own best interests. He can be goaded into expending effort if an attractive female or a lucrative payoff is involved. But in the end he will still come around to doing the right thing when it's really important.
Secondary Canon History
IDW Comic Series
During a bust of Yakuza Ghosts and American mobster ghosts, Peter's soul was forcibly displaced when Fred possessed his body. Since he was no longer anchored to his body, Peter was shunted off to Purgatory. The other Ghostbusters rushed Peter's body back to the Firehouse. Egon found Peter was still breathing but his RK variances were flatlined due to his soul being missing. Fred took over Peter's body and slept with two prostitutes while Peter, himself, wandered Purgatory. Peter eventually allied himself with J. Edgar Hoover, Elliot Ness, and Jelly Bryce. Since Peter was never actually killed back in the real world, he was not constrained by whatever laws of celestial physics that bound everyone else. This cosmic loophole gave Peter super powers such as flight and incredible strength. Peter ripped two demons apart with his bare hands.
Peter managed to take back control of his body but was forced to battle a more powerful demon whom Fred's bosses made a deal with. In exchange for allowing the possessed Peter to enter Purgatory, the demon would have ownership of Peter to torture, dismember, and disembowel for all eternity. However, once the demon learned someone else was in control of Peter's body at the time of the deal, it decided to eat everyone. Peter blasted the demon while Winston trapped it. Without the demon, Peter asphyxiated. The Ghostbusters rushed him back to the real world and thanks to divine intervention from Angels, the Ghostbusters were restored back to normal.
When the Ghostbusters were attacked by Koza'Rai, Peter Venkman found himself a victim of chronological displacement and was now stuck in the Old West era, circa late 19th century. Peter noticed an unusual amount of ghosts and jury rigged a Containment Unit and Traps with what parts were available to him. He was hailed as a hero and his legend spread from town to town; that of his amorous conquests with women and taking on a dozen ghosts with one magic bullet (another says it was his icy stare). In Red River Valley, Peter trapped The Rudely Mallard Gang and bedded Josie Maye Landers. The next morning, he learned an emissary of the Demon Collective announced reinforcements, in the form of 100 demons, were set to arrive at midnight by train from Hell. Peter confronted the emissary at the Grand Palace Hotel & Saloon only to be saved by a stranger named Rachel Unglighter, armed with a modified Proton Pack. Together, they trapped the emissary and dispersed the Black Train.
The duo then set out to find the other Ghostbusters starting with Ray Stantz. Peter overloaded his Proton Pack and feigned loyalty in order to defeat the newly freed Morgan Le Fay during Ray's plan to rescue the kidnapped citizens of Camelot. In 2060, Peter saw through the Great Defender and found Egon. Once back in the present, they set out to stop Koza'Rai from turning Earth into a Netherworld. However, Peter felt betrayed when it was revealed Rachel wasn't a student of Egon's. In a final bid to save the world, Rachel kissed Peter and revealed her true origins. They toppled Stonehenge and caused all demons and ghosts to be pulled into the nether-realm. Rachel was among them. She and Peter said their good-byes.
While on his way to Las Vegas for Christmas, Peter cancelled his trip when he got word the millionaire Woodrow Wainwright Fraser III wanted to hire them. Peter was further intrigued when Fraser offered them a total of $4 million to capture two ghosts. However, greed got the best of Peter when he cut Janine and Winston out of the lucrative deal. Janine was paid time-and-a-half while Winston, not privy of what was going on until later, a $10,000 bonus. Eventually, Peter was all alone and he managed to realize the Ghost of Christmas Present was possessing Fraser the entire time. Upon wrangling him out of Fraser's body, the other two ghosts arrived with the other Ghostbusters.
On a Valentine's Day holiday, slow business prompted Peter to help Winston investigate the apartment room of Tiyah Clarke. By sweeping Tiyah off her feet, Peter discovered the ghost's protective nature. After the ghost of Ballard Wright dispersed, Peter took Anitra Day to a little corner bistro to talk about an interview with Psychology Monthly.
At an Independence Day Con, Peter and Winston were tasked with distracting D'Orka while Egon tried to get some help. Peter was forced to engage in humiliating negotiations with a group of cosplayers in order to borrow their Ghostbusters costumes.
The manifestation of the ghost of Sam Hain during a Halloween holiday prompted Artie Lester to offer the Ghostbusters $50,000. Peter was more than willing to oblige but Ray and Egon were aware of Lester's cutthroat reputation and refused. Sure enough, Lester attempted to record Janine's attempts to bust Hain and later exploit it for a profit. Luckily, the Ghostbusters were called in and Peter threw the recording into a portal straight to the Nether realms.
During a Thanksgiving case, Peter flirted with Stephanie Fairless, daughter of the man who hired them. Peter also managed to coax Mr. Fairless into revealing a clue about the entity they were facing.
When New York City was infested with Zombies, Peter and Janine mistakenly came up with a solution with both their Zombie and Poltergeist problem. The Poltergeist would possess the zombie, both would change on a molecular level. The Zombie could be safely dispersed and the Poltergeist could now be stored in the Containment Unit. Upon dispersing Stay Puft again, Peter was pleased with the prospect of doubling their fees from recapturing the Poltergeists and dealing with another uptick in supernatural activity from the reformation of Gozer's essence.
After cancelling an appointment with a woman named Marlene, who could use her mind to do things with a golf ball, Peter went with Winston to investigate an apartment complex on behalf of Alan Crendall. Peter was none too pleased the client was a child but things got worse when Peter discovered the entity at large was Slimer. An hour or two later, Peter got the jump on Slimer and trapped him.
While on the job at Fantastic Land, Peter forced Ray to tell him about Egon's latest research endeavor - a method of positively stimulating the cortex of the brain. However, once the Ghostbusters confronted the Hungry Manitou, Peter became a target because his soul exuded greed, desire, and want. The Manitou released its host, Scotty and possessed Peter. Peter's complete lack of fear intrigued the Manitou and he arranged for an audience in Peter's mind, at the center of his being which was a mental construct resembling the Paranormal Studies Laboratory at Weaver Hall. Peter realized the Manitou had ulterior motives, it became addicted to devouring souls of hosts were overcome with fear. Rather than stay and wait for Peter to let his guard down, the Manitou left his body to feed on another but was immediately trapped. However, Peter feel 20 feet onto pavement and cracked four ribs. After being admitted to a hospital, Peter also had to have an emergency appendectomy. Thanks to Egon's request for a full work-up to check for post-possession physiological changes, Peter discovered his health was excellent and faxed the records to Peck, rendering the new physical requirements met. A week later, Janine paid Peter a visit and dropped off a gift from Ray - a doll of Bruce the Fantastic Chimp, mascot of Fantastic Land. Peter was not pleased at all.
Among the four Ghostbusters, Peter was the least interested a cross country trip for out of state jobs. As far as he was concerned they had enough to do in New York and the point of hiring Rookies and franchising was to take care of the rest of states. During the Fort Wayne job, Peter drew the Fort Wayne Army ghosts near Ecto-1a by advertising "Ahgotcha Juice." When the time was right, Peter triggered eight Traps and caught the ghosts. He then cut into Winston's moment with Major-General Anthony Wayne. Ray consoled Winston by reminding him of the time Peter trapped Gandhi right before he could tell Ray the meaning of life. In early July, Peter separated from the others in New Mexico and went to Las Vegas to spend a couple days away from Ray. He got lost somewhere in Oregon and followed directions to take Devil's Bend through to Matheson and back on the Interstate but was unaware Devil's Bend was haunted by a Phantom Truck Driver. On the way, Peter gave a ride to a hitchhiker named Laura Parr. Soon enough, they were attacked by the entity but the Proton Pack had no effect on the truck it drove. Peter switched to a Slime Blower but discovered it was set on Slime Tether. Peter tried to dispense with the tether and ended up causing the demon's truck to flip over. Peter confined the ghost and ordered Laura to activate the Super Slammer Muon Trap. With the ghost trapped, Peter drove Laura to her home in Twin Ridges. After they arrived in Twin Ridges, Laura thanked Peter then vanished. Peter learned from Mrs. Parr that Laura died in an accident nearly 20 years ago.
Peter entered Washington state and briefly spoke to Ray when he reached Yakima. However, he was pulled over by Officer Foley for a speeding violation. Dante Barnes manifested near them. To Peter's surprise, when he shot Barnes, the Proton Streams passed through him. Peter tried to speed along his manifestation and insulted it with singing. Instead of the desired result, Barnes lit Peter on fire. Peter survived with a minor first degree burn and switched to an alternate uniform. After being treated by paramedics, Peter rejoined the other Ghostbusters and they eventually trapped Barnes. After learning from the Mayor of Seattle that the Ghostbusters were being charged for damaged trees, Peter threw his glass at a wall. He advised Egon they would price gouge the Mayor on the next trip and was simply happy to finally return to New York.
Months later, in February, Agent Ortiz came to New York partly to call in the dinner Peter owed her. On his day off, they went to dine at the Ritz Cafe in Central Park but a green demon that oddly looked like Peter manifested. Peter was grabbed and forced into the demon's chest. He yelled out to Ortiz to find Egon and warn him. The demon and Peter vanished. Some time later, Peter awoke on another plane with the other three Ghostbusters. After escaping limbo and dealing with the Collectors, Peter went out on a case to Mamaroneck with Kylie. When Kylie tried to leverage more pay, Peter reminded her he was privy to the fact she hired a functional illiterate to watch over Ray's Occult. Peter was nonchalant about the threat posed by the Phantom Train Conductor and retrieved the Proton Bazooka from Ecto-1a. Upon blowing up the ghost's train construct, Peter and Kylie easily trapped him. Peter considered not telling Egon he was the first to use the bazooka but when Kylie asked for 50% of the cut, Peter concluded Egon could use a little heart break.
Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime
Due to the supernatural activity caused by the Relic of Nilhe, Peter is smitten with the Ghostbusters' bank account soaring. But the rest of the team is exhausted. At Ray's suggestion, rookies are brought in. Peter is against it, as he notes they smell, eat all the leftovers, and have to be paid. However, the junior team surprises him and solves the latest threat to New York, Dumazu. During the victory celebration, he trades quips with Bridget Gibbons, whom he shares several personality traits with.
After the fall of Gozer, Peter and the other Ghostbusters fixed up the Firehouse after it was severely damaged by the escaping ghosts. Upon the completion of the Firehouse, the Ghostbusters adopted the green ghost who had slimed Peter (now known as Slimer) as a pet mascot. Though Peter at first wouldn't forgive the little ghost for their encounter at the hotel, he soon grew to love him like the rest of the Ghostbusters.
Peter is portrayed as the "lazy" Ghostbuster. He doesn't usually take his work seriously, has a dry sense of humour, and flirts with women, including clients such as Dana Barrett and Ilyssa Selwyn. While Peter is a scientist, he isn't as experienced or academically inclined as Egon and Ray, and also tends to be more aggressive when fighting ghosts.
Peter also slacks off on experiments and usually focuses on the women or other subjects, as in the first movie he is testing sixth senses and shocks the boy in the experiment for getting the answers wrong (even though he was really getting a majority of them right) and refuses to zap the pretty blonde (even though nearly all her answers were wrong). Peter is also a very outspoken person, as he back-talked to Peck and provoked him when the discussion shifted to the storage facility. This encounter led the Containment Unit being shut down and all the ghosts escaping over New York. Peter's fast-talking, however, "bargained" the percentage from the broker they consulted in mortgaging Ray's house (in order to lease the firehouse), as well getting their first payday of $5,000 made busting Slimer. His "gift of gab" also won over the mayor's judgment against Walter Peck.
|“||Why worry? Each of us is wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.||„|
|~ Peter Venkman|
|“||Yeah we can do more damage that way.||„|
|~ Peter Venkman after Ray says they should split up after mistaking an hotel employee for a ghost|
- Peter Venkman was originally intended to be played by Dan Aykroyd's friend, John Belushi, with whom Aykroyd worked on The Blues Brothers. However, Belushi died of a accidental drug overdose before the film's pre-production. Slimer was described by Aykroyd as "The Ghost of John Belushi".
- After Belushi's death and before Bill Murray was attached to the role, Michael Keaton and Chevy Chase were linked to the role of Peter.
- In addition to Keaton and Chase, Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Kevin Bacon and the late Robin Williams were also considered for the role of Peter.
- Bill Murray is rumored to have ad-libbed his dialog heavily.
- This is also one of the films often cited as Murray's best comedic performance.
- For a long time, Murray refused to perform in any trilogies of any film.
- Bill Murray played Peter Venkman in the live Ghostbusters films while Lorenzo Music played Peter Venkman in the animated series. Music also played Garfield in the Garfield animated series, while Murray played Garfield in the live action films.
- According to the novelization, Peter put himself through college working as a hawker at Coney Island, where he honed his skill in fast talking.
- In Ghostbusters: The Supernatural Spectacular, Peter entered the study of parapsychology because grant money was readily available and the study of ESP was in its infant stage (and thus, results could be made up). Peter was a carnival barker during his summers away from college. Peter was born on the lot of King City Attractions, in a tent, on a field, in Sedalia, Missouri. He went to school in Iowa City but the family circus toured through the Corn Belt states. He wanted to go to college but couldn't state why to his father.
- Peter has degrees in parapsychology and psychology. Peter makes more use out of his psychology degree as evidenced by the ease with which he can smooth talk people towards his own ends. If Ray is the heart of the Ghostbusters, Peter is the mouth.
- Peter seems to regard his status as a doctor and scientist primarily as something to flaunt and impress people with. Some are fairly skeptical about it due to his decidedly unprofessional demeanor. Dana in particular said he was more like a game show host than a scientist. Peter himself regards other scientists as usually being pretty stiff.
- Peter's line, "Back off, man, I'm a scientist," became a popular slogan after the movie was released. Later it was changed (for children's t-shirts and other memorabilia) to, "I'm a (Real) Ghostbuster."
- In the role-playing game by West End, Peter's motivation is listed as "Fame"
- In the 8/5/1983 script, Peter revealed he introduced Egon and Ray to each other.
- In the 8/5/1983 script, Peter claims 'everyone' hated his grandfather.
- In the 10/7/1983 script, it was noted Peter was an associate professor.
- In the 10/7/1983 script, Peter admitted he introduced Ray and Egon to each other.
- In the 10/7/1983 script, Peter played Dana's cello like a stand-up bass. This was later done in Ghostbusters II.
- In the February 27, 1989 version of the Ghostbusters II script, during the epilogue scene, Peter reveals he's "a little of everything" - some Irish, German, French and Dutch. He adds the women in his family slept around.
- Peter Griffin, television patriarch to the animated series "Family Guy" wears Venkman's uniform with "Peter" on the name tag. He gag references Dana Barrett/Zuul in the cut away scene to 2007's "Road to Rupert."
- His character model in the Ghostbusters: Video Game struts when walking while the other Ghostbusters including the Rookie simply walk.
- Peter has been slimed by Slimer two times. In the first Ghostbusters movie and in The Video Game.
- In Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Realistic Versions), Peter has two messages total for him on the Firehouse's answering machine after Checking Out the Library and Lost Island Rising.
- In Ghostbusters Issue #6, a flyer outside Ray's Occult Books advertised Peter as a special guest at the 13th International Psychic Fair.
- On page 18 of Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #1, Peter's Doctorate of Psychology is more legible and it is revealed he graduated on June 14, 1980.