Cast & Crew
Jobs are scare after the Bowery Boys--Slip, Sach, Bobby, Whitey and Chuck--graduate from exterminating school, and when the Brown Realty Company hires them to exterminate the Menlo estate, the boys eagerly set off, undeterred by rumors that the place, which was formerly owned by a magician, is haunted. They almost change their minds when they arrive, however, as the house is dark and is located next to a graveyard. Inside the house, the boys are frightened by mysterious happenings such as lights that turn on at odd moments, pictures that move and strange messages that appear on the walls. Unknown to the boys, the house is being used as a hideaway for Dr. Coslow, who, with the help of his prisoner, Dr. Bender, plans to transplant a human brain into a gorilla. The boys receive extra help when Gabe, who has returned from the Navy, arrives with his French wife Mignon. Sach disappears when he plays a tune on a piano, which causes the wall to rotate. Then, Mignon is captured by Coslow's men. While Coslow watches on closed circuit television, the boys search for their two missing friends. Meanwhile, Mignon and Sach both discover that Coslow has built a laboratory in the basement, whose entrance is located in an outside grave. Coslow decides that Sach is the perfect person for his experiment, but before he can carry out the operation, Slip accidentally finds the laboratory as well. With Dr. Bender's help, Slip slows down Coslow's men by dousing them with ether. The rest of the boys eventually break through the ceiling into the lab and attempt to subdue Coslow. In the meantime, one of the gang who has gone for help, finally returns with the police, who round up Coslow and his men.
Edward J. Kay
After working at the Samuel Goldwyn Company, Warner Bros. and Universal, the troupe moved to the much lower budget Monogram Pictures. Leo Gorcey's agent, Jan Grippo, became producer of the series and renamed them "The Bowery Boys." Not surprisingly, he put Gorcey out front as the leader, with Hall as lead supporting actor. Spook Busters was the fourth film in the series. Also in the cast were famed character actor Douglass Dumbrille (Dr. Coslow), and two members of Leo Gorcey's family - his brother, David Gorcey (who often worked under the name David Condon) as Chuck, and his father, noted Broadway actor Bernard Gorcey (Louie Dumbrowski).
"Danger - Spooks Ahead! But you can't scare The Bowery Boys!" warned the trailer for Spook Busters. The film had the boys (now working as exterminators) hired to get rid of some ghosts that have plagued a spooky run-down mansion. There are just about every scary house cliché in this film, like disappearing cabinets, secret passageways, mad scientists, and, yes, that most bizarre element of a 1940's wacky comedy - a guy in a gorilla suit.
Released on August 24, 1946, the film was popular with audiences, as J.B. Stine, a theater owner in Terre Haute, Indiana told a reporter. "[M]aybe the whole outfits is nuts, including the director. Our patrons go for [Spook Busters] in a big way. It is silly, noisy and insane, but thirty-four long years in show business has taught me that giving the customers what they want is the surest way to success." The Bowery Boys would continue to give the customers what they wanted for another forty-four films before the series ended for good in 1958.
The Internet Movie Database
Marshall, Wendy L. William Beaudine; From Silents to Television
By Lorraine LoBianco
The film's working title was Ghost Busters. This was the first picture Gabriel Dell made as a Bowery Boy, although he had previously appeared in the "Dead End Kids" "The Little Tough Guys" and "The East Side Kids" films. According to modern sources, Spook Busters was one of the pictures that inspired the 1984 hit film Ghostbusters. For more information on "The Bowery Boys" series, consult the Series Index and for Live Wires.