Poor Ernie Hudson. He was a member of the original Ghostbusters in 1984, but he never seemed to get as much attention as his fellow ‘busters, in spite of delivering immortal lines such as, “Tell him about the Twinkie” and “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” To add insult to injury, Hudson apparently wasn’t considered “good enough” to voice Winston Zeddemore — the role he played in the movie, for crying out loud — in the Real Ghostbusters animated TV series. That’s right, they told the guy who played Winston Zeddemore that he wasn’t convincing enough as Winston Zeddemore. Let that sink in.
In an interview with the AV Club, Hudson opened up about getting turned down to voice his own Ghostbusters character in the cartoon spinoff. According to the animated series’ director, Hudson read for the part but wasn’t enough like Winston to land the role. Instead, the part went to his old friend, Arsenio Hall. Hudson explains:
“Yeah, I did, and it was funny, ’cause they said, ‘You don’t have to audition for the part, but the director wants to hear you read the material,'” Hudson said in an interview. “So I went in to read the material, and the guy said, ‘No, no, no, that’s all wrong! When Ernie Hudson did it in the movie…’ And I’m like, ‘Well, wait a minute: I am Ernie Hudson!’ [Laughs.] So when I left, they said, ‘No, it’s not a problem, you’re gonna do the voice.’ They called me about it—I was shooting a film; I can’t remember what film I was doing—and then I never heard anything from them. Then I found out that Arsenio [Hall] was doing it. I was very busy doing other stuff, but I was really disappointed because the thought of someone else doing Winston was not something I felt great about. Arsenio’s a friend, so there’s no disrespect to him.”
Arsenio Hall voiced the role of Winston Zeddemore on The Real Ghostbusters for two seasons, and was then replaced by voice actor Bernie Jones for the last three seasons of the animated series. Despite not being in the limelight quite as much as his Ghostbusters counterparts, Hudson has still had an extensive career on TV and in movies, including parts in The Crow, Full House, and Congo (fans of HBO’s Oz will also remember him as the stern warden of Emerald City). Hudson eventually reprised his role as Winston in Ghostbusters 2 and the Ghostbusters video game in 2009.
Hudson is currently waiting to hear news about the tentative Ghostbusters 3 movie that Dan Aykrod and Ivan Reitman have been working on since 1992. He’s going to have to keep waiting, since production on the film has been postponed to possibly fall of 2013.