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P.K.E. Meter

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*duh duh duh DUUUUH* - I present, the Western N.C. Ghostbusters' PKE Meter! EDIT - now with a slightly sharper photo...

THE PROP-
While the term "PKE Meter" is owned by Sony (as is all things Ghostbusters) it is my understanding that the actual PROP was and is owned by a company called "Modern Props." Yes, I HAVE sent them a somewhat rude e-mail pointing out the fact that they could haul in a LOT of cash by selling working replicas of the Prop, to no response...;) Anyway, this explains why you may have seen this prop in other movies, like "Suburban Commando" I think...

It began life as an humble Iona Shoe Polisher, heavily modified to be the crowd-pleasing sound light and motion show that the P.K.E. is. How the original worked, I don't know and I don't know if ANYone does (outside the fine folks at Modern Props that is). How modern-day replicas of it work vary, there's usually flashing lights in carefully-programmed sequences, and either a mechanical (like a servo) or manual way to get the side wings to move.

Here's a somewhat nasty tip to give to someone who has an old Iona and would like to get rid of it. Put it on ebay, and go around any Ghostbusters board and announce that the auction is up! That will most likely drive the price way up there...! :p Especially since the Iona isn't even MADE anymore!

These days, if you can't find an Iona (or more importantly, if you don't have the skills to do the CONSIDERABLE work it takes to convert it into a P.K.E.) you MIGHT get lucky and find someone willing to sell you a 'cast' of one.

THE GADGET-
In GB lore, the P.K.E. meter measures Psycho-Kinetic Energy, a distinctive energy signature from ghosts and other assorted supernatural nuisances. How they actually READ it (a screen of flashing green lights)...would be good fodder for a Ghostbusters technical writer. Anyway, it seems that it measures P.K.E. in numbers, on the following threat scale (from Fritz Baugh's incomparable Ghostbusters Reference Omnibus/Fact List sites...if you want to know anything Ghostbusters, it's there!)
200-300 - Little or no ghostly activity
301-450 - It's likely there is a ghost nearby
451-500 - If you aren't wearing an unlicensed nuclear accelerator, running would be HIGHLY reccomended!

FYI - the 'river of slime' from Ghosbusters II registered a whopping 1,118 on a P.K.E. Meter, and THAT was from several hundred feet above in the street....!

FYI Part Deux - the closest to a real life P.K.E. Meter that a REAL ghost hunter can use is an EMF (electro-magnetic field) meter. It's theorized that ghosts emit EMF energy. Unfortunately so does anything that uses ELECTRICITY...so, let's just say the EMF is not near as useful and accurate as a P.K.E. would be!

MY REPLICA-
It's not really fair to call this 'my' replica, as I had a lot of help from some good people in the GB Prop community to get this sucker together. The shell came from a freind, it was a cast of presumably one of the best modified Iona PKE's around (as I don't think his was from a cast itself). The electronics from a company called Hyperdyne Labs, that specializes in prop effects. Now while he does top-notch work, he seems to have had a spot of trouble getting some components for this set of electronics...but I'm sure he'll be offering them again eventually.

So, thanks to these two great guys, getting my P.K.E. together was pretty much 'plug and play.' My main work consisted of drilling the attachment holes, mounting the LED's and switches, making some 'silver buttons' for the bottom half, making a green screen, and making a slide switch (which I actually had a lucky break with as well! :D )

Differences - while it does reek of awesomeness, my P.K.E. is not yet 100% screen-accurate. The wings have a cool science-y look to them, but the movie one had grey covers for them. There are 4 sets of the little silver buttons on the real deal, but I left off the bottom two as that section will probably end up as the home for the buttons that control the sound/light speed and wing up and down movement. And I have not yet mounted the servos for the wings to give them push-button automatic up and down motion.

In a nutshell - Halloween was coming up fast and I didn't want to screw up anything I could not fix before then, savvy? ;) It STILL blew people away, with the lights, and sound! It's not the same sound as heard in the movies, but what Hyperdyne managed still sounds GREAT and really makes it come to life!

To all those that have made this Ghostbuster gadget geek's dream come true...through research, sharing of knowledge, or part-selling...I SALUTE YOU! :salute:
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Your welcome 🙏

SharazDestler's avatar
I myself measure PKE in Aykroyds, or AK, in my "Ghostbusters Japan Mythos."

Not named for _Dan_ Aykroyd, mind you, but his grandfather, whose work as a real spiritualist laid the groundwork for "Ghostbusters."
jay-tigran's avatar
5 years later and a working replica has been made by Mattel
CNCGB's avatar
Wow, I'd love to make some of those sometime myself. I've still no idea where to start however. Gray and I prefer the cartoon version, so I might try making a working one of that. Lots of artistic liberty to convert it from toon to real life, however.
CartoonistWill's avatar
Man, I'd like to be getting some GB props and costumes. This looks real nice. I don't really like the looks of the movie P.K.E. meter though. Looks weird, as if it doesn't belong with the pack and trap. I prefer the cartoon P.K.E. meter (I don't know what the GB2 one looked like). But that's just me. Nice job!
CartoonistWill's avatar
Actually, Columbia pictures recently bought back the rights to Ghostbusters.
LonelyImmortal's avatar
I have an idea, at least one that looks good on paper...to have the push-button H.L. wing mechanism working while keeping the look of the two touch sensors on the outside...and if all else fails I'll just mount the buttons there permanantly.

But for now, I'm just gonna leave it as is. So pretty...afraid of messing it up! :o It dosen't show because of the shadow in this pic, but I actually almost drilled through the top front of the shell when preparing the screw holes! :doh:
ProfessorThorn's avatar
Hmm... Not too bad. Exept. It looks like it's missing two lower touch sensors it looks like. but deffinately VERRY well done compared to alot of them that I see.


- Professor Thorn
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