Troll Bridge
Production Number: 75007 [1986 - ABC Season One]

Night time in New York City and a strange, naked little creature swims up out of the East River. Although he is pursed by a taller creature, he manages to escape into a storm drain.

After traveling a ways through the sewers, the creature pops up through a manhole and quickly hides in a trash can. Some guy comes out of a building and conveniently dumps some old clothes into the can. The creature dons his newfound duds so at least we don't have to see him naked anymore.


When he leaves the trash can, the creature sees a small group of people dancing in the street. He attempts to imitate what he sees, and ends up spinning himself back into the alley, crashing into some more trash cans, like a giant pinball. It seems like he is still happy about his situation, though.


The next morning, traffic is tied up on the Queensboro Bridge, due to some more strange creatures jumping on cars and tearing them apart. They're kind of acting like they are looking for something...


Back at HQ, Janine informs the ghostbusters of the events at the bridge being reported on the local news. The reporter screams for help, and they know they have a job to do.

On the way there, Egon suspects that the creatures are trolls, "fabled dwarves living in caves or under bridges". "Like in The Three Billy Goats Gruff!", says Ray. But Peter is skeptical that trolls from a fairy tale could be real, and insists it must be dogs or rats. (Uh, didn't he watch the news report??)


Back at the bridge, the police try to use tear gas to persuade the gang of trolls to leave...


...but they just take a deep breath and blow the smoke right back at the police. The ghostbusters arrive a few moments later. Winston asks Peter if he still thinks it's "dogs and rats". "Very big dogs or very big rats", is his response. They decide to drive Ecto-1 onto the bridge to see what happens, while Egon reminds them that trolls are vicious, fearless, and very mean.


This one little troll who's all decked out in hubcaps sees the ghostbusters coming and jumps to the top of the junkpile. He wakes up the trolls' leader, who is sleeping under the hood of a big, black Cadillac.


The trolls surround Ecto-1, and Egon warns them they shouldn't try to blast them because it could either turn them to stone or make them bigger and even meaner.


They decide that somebody should try to communicate with the trolls, and Peter is elected. Despite his attempt to talk directly to the leader, it's clear they don't speak nor understand English. However, Egon is able to translate their language via Tobin's Spirit Guide.


The troll leader tells Egon that they've lost a member of their group and they want him back. If the ghostbusters don't find him within 12 hours, they will send in the "fireflies". Ray wonders what's so bad about fireflies...


...and then three very large, angry creatures made of fire fly out of the sun. One of them completely obliterates a barge by shooting flames out of its mouth.


So, it's agreed that they'll have to look for the missing troll. Ray thinks that the troll would look for someplace dark to hide, but Winston feels he's come to New York to see the bright lights. They decide to check on both possibilities and split up.


Egon and Peter go to the Holland Tunnel to look for the troll, but traffic is so badly jammed up that they get out of Ecto-1 to look around. Quite coincidentally, they spot the troll juggling fruit in the back of a truck.


They manage to leap to the truck before it takes off, but it's too late. The troll had already spotted an ice cream truck and decided he wanted that more than the fruit.


Meanwhile, Ray and Winston have been searching all of Times Square for the missing critter, but they haven't been able to find him. Winston is hot and tired when he spots an ice cream truck. Yes, it happens to be the same exact ice cream truck the troll hitched a ride on. When they realize the troll is inside of it, they chase after it, but are unable to catch up.


Just at that moment, the Ecto-1 shows up, chasing after the ice cream truck, but they lose it in traffic. The Ghostbusters are reunited, but Egon warns them that time is running out.


And indeed it is...the trolls continue to stare intensely at the dripping sands in the hourglass as the fireflies hover eerily over New York. As night falls, the Ghostbusters have gotten the idea to look for the troll through telescopes on top of a skyscraper. (Except for Peter who is tired and wants to take a nap.)


Within moments Egon spots the troll dancing in an alley behind a street band. They head off after him.


After dragging a sleeping Peter out of the back of the car, Egon says that they have less than an hour left to find him (I guess the troll was no longer in the alley by the time they got down there). However, Ray hears music playing and deduces that the troll is probably where the music is since he was dancing near the band. They peer into a nearby disco parlor.


And, yup, he's in there, alright.


They try to jump on him, but he escapes and does a tango with Peter...


This is one of my favorite sequences in this series. The animators were proud of this, too.


But while they were dancing around, time has run out on the hourglass, and the troll leader orders the fireflies to destroy the city.


The troll leader takes off in a large vehicle that was put together from the remains of the cars and trucks the trolls had smashed on the bridge earlier. Back at the disco, Peter says he doesn't want to turn the troll back over to the others. He feels the troll is having too much fun and wouldn't want to be kept under a bridge now. Ray and Winston still want to return him, but time is now up...


The fireflies rocket into the city. At first, some people seem to think it's just some kind of show...


...but it isn't long before their true intentions are known, as they start breathing fire at people and blowing things up.


The attacks from the fireflies shake the disco building. Even the troll seems to know what's going on. Outside, the flies are frying buildings and causing total carnage and chaos.


The ghostbusters attempt to hit the fireflies with their proton beams, but the monster just sort of laughs it off.


One of the fireflies lands on the ground behind Peter. Ray exclaims that it's after the troll. Peter and the troll quickly dive down an open manhole.


The firefly chases after them and sticks an eyeball in the manhole. Down below, Peter turns a valve...


...and blasts the monster with water. The water douses the fire and leaves the firefly withered and shriveled. This gives Egon an idea... he blasts his proton beam at a water tower above the remaining two fireflies (and makes the most ridiculous facial expression in the process).


The tower topples, and washes away the other two fireflies (and the first one again as well).


Peter emerges from the manhole with the troll on his shoulders and declares the problem is solved. The others aren't convinced, though. They believe there will be more fireflies and it would be impossible to keep fighting them off forever. The only solution is to give back the troll.


But Peter comes up with a plan. He remembers that earlier Egon had said that if they hit a troll with a particle beam, it could either turn to stone or become bigger...


Meanwhile, the troll leader is still driving around New York in his monster truck. He finds the Ecto-1, and investigates it, but it is abandoned.


He spots a proton beam coming out of a lawn decor shop and goes to investigate.


Inside is Peter standing in front of a small stone statue that looks exactly like the lost troll. Peter hands it to the leader, explaining that he wouldn't come quietly. They had to blast him. The trolls are extremely saddened by this news, but walk off seemingly satisfied that their friend was returned.


But the stone troll is not the real troll. It turns out that Peter paid the sculptor to make an identical statue so they could fool the other trolls, while the friendly troll remains free.


The next day, Peter puts the troll on a train to Chicago. He's sending him to a friend of his who loves to party and owes Peter 5 bucks. The troll waves goodbye as the train takes off, and that's the last we ever see him.

Notes & Trivia

It's never really explained why the troll left his own society to begin with, and nor is the connection between the trolls and the fireflies. I guess it doesn't really need to be explained, but it would have been interesting to know.

I'm not sure this was intentional, but when the truck driver turns and sees the troll looking at him through the window of his cab, it was awfully reminiscent of The Twilight Zone episode, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", where William Shatner looks out the window of an airplane and sees a monster staring in at him. The monster proceeds to rip apart the wing of the plane, in much the same manner that the trolls begin ripping apart the cars on the bridge.

The taxi cab with the name "Buster" across the top of it was also seen on the Brooklyn Bridge in the very first episode, "Ghosts R Us". Seems like that cab being on a bridge is a bad omen.


One of the trolls looks an awful lot like ALF.

+ =

And the Troll Leader looks like Rufus from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure crossed with the Genie from Disney's Aladdin.

Ray's line, "There could always be giant ants, like in Santa Clara, in 1950!" is a possible reference to the movie, Them!

The disco scene is clearly a reference to the movie, Saturday Night Fever. Peter even calls the troll, "John Travolta" on the way out.

Amongst other moves, the troll does Michael Jackson's famous Moonwalk at the disco.

Due to the strange language the trolls speak, there are a couple of parts where it clearly sounds like the troll leader says, "Fuck", particularly in the scene where he's watching the sands in the hourglass go down, then turns and points to the fireflies hovering in the sky over New York.

The Tahiti song "Party on His Mind" plays during the part when the missing troll sees the street performers and again at the disco.

This episode has some really strange-looking people drawn in the backgrounds of some scenes, but nothing is as bizarre as this... there's a scene at a newspaper stand just before the fireflies attack. A guy in a black coat is buying a newspaper, and when he turns around to look at the fireflies...


He has a freakin' pacifier in his mouth!!

The guide book that comes with the DVD claims this character is "The Shadow", as in the crime-fighting vigilante from the 1930's radio show, but why on earth would he be holding a pacifier in his mouth?? I think it's more likely a random David Lynch-inspired moment.



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