"We got one!" - A Ghostbusters prop replica


Active Member
Proof that no matter how small or insignificant a prop may be back when the film's being made, that chances are it won't go overlooked by one or more prop replica builders.

In Ghostbusters amongst the things on Janine's desk, is one of her signature props (so much so that it was carried over into The Real Ghostbusters), the activation button for the Firehouse alarm:


On GBFans, a member by the name of jackdoud managed to identify the button section of the piece as being a Square-D controller (9001-TR14 Heavy-Duty oil-tight control unit). Inspired by his replication of the button, and the attempts by others in the topic where it was identified, I was inspired to have a go myself.

The first stumbling block was getting the button. eBay is positively flooded with near, but not quite identical Square-D buttons, the most common results being identical, bar from either having a half-guard, or a full-guard surrounding the button, preventing anyone from being able to imitate Janine by slamming their palm down on it.

Electing to purchase one of the half-guard buttons, one eventually arrived two weeks ago, complete with a full complement of different-coloured plastic inserts for the button piece. The button itself cost $4, plus $30 postage to the UK (ouch).


Next was the dome. Jack had opted to go for a chrome-plated retractable clothesline, and as the shape was pretty close to the screen-used item, I went for the same approach, purchasing the following for a total of £7.49 (including P&P, $12.24):


Dismantling the clothes line, I unscrewed the base, removed the line wheel and unscrewed the chromed cap that the line fed through, leaving only the dome. For mounting the button, I planned to drill two holes into the dome and attach it with a pair of appropriately small machine screws.


With a length of masking tape stuck over the top of the dome, I traced around the ring which threads onto the main body of the button (and you may have to flip over if you decide to purchase one to replicate the button).


I then proceeded to measure the distance between the center point of one of the screw holes in the base of the botton over to another.


I then transcribed that measurement onto the masking tape and marked where I'd be drilling through the dome.



I then fitted the button to the dome with the pair of machine screws I'd picked out from my odds and ends, however they prooved less than satisfactory, being rather loose in fitting.


Turning my attention briefly away from the machine screws, it was now time to see if I could do anything about the guard on the button. Fitting two bits of thin MDF under the flange that was attached to the button via a rod, I was able to hold it in place, and flush with the lower edge of the guard in order to allow me to attempt to saw off the half-guard.


I fitted the guard into a vice, and carefully sawed through it, keeping the saw as level as I could with the button piece. Although the cut wasn't 100% even, it was enough to work with, and a few minutes with a file removed the remaining sharp edges that'd been left over.



Getting ready to put everything back together, I turned my attention back to the screws. Digging out a box of screws and other fittings I'd salvaged from a bunch of computers we'd been scrapping, I managed to locate a pair that had just the right threading to screw into the bottom of the botton, and hold in nice and tight:



There are still a few tweeks to perform, such as gluing the ring in place so the holes in it are lined up with the holes in the body of the button, and adding a wooden base with feet so that the dome, and whatever surface it's sat on aren't scratched up. I may also try cut and file the "post" seen on the right-side of the spacer of the button, in order to make it more screen accurate.



I've also had some thoughts on how the button could even be equipped with electronics so that if you wanted to, you could make it an interactive prop. I'll try detail those at a later date, but for now, a little bit of set dressing:


And the real deal:

Last edited:
Very cool, though the base is on the large side. In the film prop it's quite a bit smaller.

I wonder what they used that has a flat top like that?
This prop never crossed my mind until seeing this and now that I have I can't believe I've gone this long without having one. :lol

Great job on the buildup sir, this is one of the key reasons I love this community because all it takes is one item to trigger a handful of people to set out and make it a reality.
Awesome prop :lol

Real nice job, too.

You have this on your desk at work and slam it all the time, right?

"Oh, they'll be totally discreet."

I think this is just evidence that prop builders are insane. :lol

Why not just use a button? ALLLLL that work to make a button?!!! Are they paid by the minute? :lol

Ha, amazing build. Really love how it looks and a testiment to the fact that no item can escape the amazing deduction and dissection of us replica prop nuts.
This is one of the kind of threads that gives me a nerdgasm :lol

Fantastic :) and thanks for sharing :thumbsup :thumbsup :thumbsup
This thread is more than 12 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. This thread hasn't been active in some time. A new post in this thread might not contribute constructively to this discussion after so long.
If you wish to reply despite these issues, check the box below before replying.
Be aware that malicious compliance may result in more severe penalties.