Stephen Dane was a Hardware Consultant on Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II (uncredited). He helped design and oversee development of Ecto-1 and Ecto-1a and is credited with drawing up fully detailed plans and elevations of the interior and exteriors as well as detailed isometric drawings of the car and roof rack and then oversaw its construction, painting and acquiring of various parts. He also helped during the early design and mock up process of the Proton Pack, Particle Thrower, Trap, Giga meter, Slime Scooper, and Slime Blower.
Stephen Dane was born to work in Hollywood. Dane's father was a Publicity Agent for 20th Century Fox and his mother was a Costume Designer who was honored with three Oscars for her work o"Joan of Arc," "Samson and Delilah" and "Night of the Iguana." Dane graduated from University High School West Los Angeles in 1959 then studied at Santa Monica City College while working part-time at Life Magazine and taking illustration classes with Douglas Aircraft at Santa Monica Airport. The courses taught him how to draw 3D isometrics and exploded views of parts and equipment. He graduated in 1961. Dane then majored in Literature at Bard College and graduated in 1966. He later graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in Architecture.
Dane worked in the field of Architecture for seven years in San Francisco and Los Angeles starting in September 1969. In 1973, work stalled out due to the recession. He went to work on a store interior in West Hollywood but heard Universal Studios was hiring people, who could do period architectural design, for their theme park. From then, Dane rolled into the film industry and worked as both a Set Designer and Art Director. In 1982, Dane was the Assistant Art Director on Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" and supervised key prop design, action prop design, build supervision, vehicle design, and construction supervision. He then worked on other projects like "Brainstorm" and "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai." In 1983 and 1984, Dane worked a lot as a Design and Hardware consultant, specializing in key vehicles and action props.
Ivan Reitman had six weeks to have Ecto-1 built and sent to the New York shoot. Reitman's search for a consultant led him to Stephen Dane. Dane went to an interview with Reitman, armed with his portfolio, and got the job. Dane was tasked with helping with props-the Proton Packs, Particle Throwers, Traps-and the primary vehicle, Ecto-1. Starting on September 22, 1983, Dane would take descriptions from Reitman and references in the script and draw up ideas at home, four to five miles from The Burbank Studios. Basically, over several days, Dane would go back to Reitman the next day and get feedback. Once approved, Dane would buy some parts and fabricate a rough mock-up. One of the first props Dane started on was the Particle Thrower mock-up.
Eventually, the design and build process overlapped. Most of Dane's time was spent on the props. Around the start of October, he started on Ecto-1 then back to props. For the Proton Pack, Dane based his rough sketches on flamethrowers he recalled from military magazines. On October 5, Dane started working on Ecto-1. He visited the primary ambulance in the backlot at The Burbank Studios. He took reference photos and measurements then went home. Dane drew up isometrics of Ecto-1 and its roof rack and various views and elevations of the exterior and interior. Dane spent the longest amount of time in his gig working on the Ecto-1 design. On October 6, he bought a pack frame for the Proton Pack mock-up from California Surplus, on Santa Monica and Vine, and built a rough mock-up of the backpack flamethrower idea. Dane and Reitman talked and refined the design. The working design then went to the prop builders. Dane continued to guide the construction and bought some parts to be used in the early mock-up phase.
After Reitman approved Dane's Ecto-1 design, studio painters and prop makers at The Burbank Studios Mill went to work on paint and detailing. Dane oversaw construction and directed them on building the car based off his designs. After about two weeks, the paint job and details were blocked out. The prop makers also repaired the ambulance to driving condition, cleaned the interior, and installed equipment.
On October 17, Dane bought materials for the Trap mock-up. By the time Ecto-1 was shipped to New York on October 19, the ambulance was about half-done. It was fully painted but lacked the roof rack. Dane bought parts for the roof rack. Once it was done, it was shipped to New York where it was attached to Ecto-1. After one to two days of finishing touches, Ecto-1 was ready for filming. On October 22, Dane bought graphic prop materials to take to New York. On October 27, Dane took a flight to New York. Dane worked on-call during principal photography from October 28 to November 8. He mainly finished work on the props and Ecto-1 but also did additional design and addressed prop needs that came about during filming.
On Ghostbusters II, Dane designed the Giga meter, Slime Scoop and Slime Blowers, revised the Proton Packs and Traps, and redesigned Ecto-1 to the Ecto-1a look. Like in the first movie, Dane used script references and talks with Reitman to design. For the new props, Dane incorporated leftover warning labels and symbols from his work on "Blade Runner."
Retirement and Passing
In 2004, Dane retired from working in movies after "Ladder 49" in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2008, he was an Art Director for a theme park to be built in Abu Dhabi. Dane continues to work on house designs and landscape planning. Dane passed away in early May 2016.
- Stephen Dane is mistakenly credited as Steven Dane in the end credits.
- During the New York City Hall filming, Dane was walking west on Park Row towards Broadway when Ecto-1 drove past him to set up for a shot. Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson all waved at Dane and he waved back at them.
- "Beyond the Marquee: The Web-Series (Episode 70) – The GHOSTBUSTERS Ecto-1 Car and Designer Stephen Dane" 9/18/2014
- Beyond The Marquee's Video Interview with Stephen Dane on YouTube (9/18/2014)