19

In Ghostbusters, as they are shopping for a headquarters, Egon says:

I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.

Was he just trying to downplay the building in an effort to get a better price (as Venkman was) or did he have serious reservations about the building?

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  • 4
    Have you seen this pole? You guys gotta try this pole. – Chris B. Behrens Sep 26 '14 at 20:27
  • Well, I've answered it. Unfortunately the main source (the screenplay) is no real help and the other canon sources (the official novelisations) contradict each other. * sigh * – Valorum Sep 26 '14 at 21:00
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Based on the official Richard Mueller novelisation we can see that Venkman really likes the building but that that Egon genuinely thinks that it's a rat trap:

Venkman thought it was perfect, but he had no intention of tipping his hand too soon. “This might do . . . I don’t know. It just seems kind of pricey for a unique fixer-upper opportunity, don’t you think? We’re trying to keep our costs down. You know how it is when you’re starting a new company.”

“Yes, I know. What are you calling your business?”

“Ghostbusters,” Venkman said coolly. The name had come to him in the middle of the night, a flash of inspiration, and he was rather proud of it.

“Oh, well, this place is perfect for it.”

“Perfect?” Spengler echoed sarcastically. “It needs a new floor, rats have been gnawing the wiring, the plumbing’s shot, it looks like hell, probably in violation of at least a dozen building codes, and the neighborhood’s a demilitarized zone. I think . . .”

This is flatly contradicted by the films' other novelisation (by Larry Milne) in which Spengler's less-than-enthusiastic report is more of a ruse in response to Venkman's silent plea;

Venkman signals with his eyebrows to Spengler.

At this rate they're going to have to pay top dollar. Spengler comes to the rescue.

'Miss, have you taken into account this building's grave defects?' he says in his funereal voice, and begins to list them. 'Beam structure faulty, wiring substandard, floors subsiding, dry rot in the wood¬work, plumbing disconnected

Venkman nods happily. This is more like it.


In the screenplay, his wording is slightly different but it's very clear that the building will require a hell of a lot of work to bring it to a usable state (as evidenced by the "moving in" scene) and that it's totally unsuitable for their needs.

In the film version, Venkman asks him for his opinion (in front of the realtor), knowing that he won't be complementary about the building:

PETER : It just seems a little pricey for a unique fixer-upper opportunity, that's all. What do you think, Egon?

EGON : I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone.


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That it may be inadequate for their power needs might be true or not and the statement about the neighborhood might be opinion based, but his observations about metal fatigue and wiring must be objective, or the realtor (who should know about it) would fight those statements, so I don't think he could be downplaying the building around those facts. Ergo, he is speaking the truth.

Also, I fits Egon's character to point everything out methodically, and leave the more "street-wise" Venkman deal with any negotiations.

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Dr. Spengler, uber-geek that he is, just calls it as he sees it. Dr. Venkman tries to use this to haggle for a better price, but then Dr. Stantz (who is, after all, just an overgrown kid) screws the deal by getting excited about the fireman's pole & etc.

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Egon may be exaggerating on some points but not in a major way. He is also seen helping Venkman silently after their first bust, giving him signs for how much they should charge after a clear assessment of where they did the bust.

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  • Can you provide any reasoning as to why you disagree with the accepted answer that Egon was being entirely truthful? – Edlothiad Jan 21 '18 at 18:22

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