31 Days of Monsters: #1, The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

By Shawn Robare

Alright, welcome to the first official post of the Halloween season here at Branded in the 80s.  This Countdown to Halloween is sort of becoming a tradition around the internet blogging community, and I’m happy to be participating for my fourth straight year.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve decided on a theme this year in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Ghostbusters franchise.  Since I love cartoons, in particular the Real Ghostbusters, and I’ve been actively collecting 80s era animation cels for the past couple of years I thought it would be fun to showcase some of the monsters and ghosts that appeared in the series.  All this month I’ll be counting down through 31 of my favorites culled from my personal collection of cels and animation under-drawings.

Again, as I mentioned previously, my wife and I sat down and did our best to order these monsters and ghosts from the least scary to the "crap-my-pants-creepy".  Today’s entry is as cute as a 40 foot-tall button, and is "..something that could never possibly destroy us…"  Of course, I couldn’t kick this countdown off without talking about one of the most iconic of all creatures that have popped up over the years of the franchise, the one and only Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

Whether he’s the physical form of Gozer the Gozerian (the Sumerian god of destruction) innocently chosen by Ray Stantz (Dan Akroyd) in the first film, or the eventual three-story tall baby-like sidekick of the animated GB crew, Stay Puft is as synonymous with the Ghostbusters as Slimer.  Stay Puft’s concept origin comes from a mixture of advertising giants, the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy.   The eventual design was so convincing to me that for years I assumed there was a brand of marshmallows called Stay Puft.

His appearances in the cartoon are a great example of how weirdly twisted spin-off adaptations can become.   In fact, the Real Ghostbusters is the center of a lot of weird adaptation issues.  Adding Slimer as somewhat of a pet/mascot, making Egon blonde, and turning Janine into a new wave punker are just a few examples of where the cartoon differs from the original flick.  What’s interesting is that some of these changes worm their way into the second film.   I’m surprised we didn’t see a return of the Marshmallow Man in GBII instead of the happy-tized-goo-animated Statue of Liberty.

In the cel above we have Stay Puft strolling along the streets of NY, using what’s probably the corner of the GB firehouse headquarters as a turning point pivot.  There’s also a little Slimer hovering over Puft’s right shoulder, no doubt trying to convince him to help the Ghostbusters take down a big baddy.  I was kind of happy when I received this cel in the mail as it came with a pencil under-drawing from a slightly different segment.  It’s also kind of neat to see how the animator illustrated where the shadows were to be applied to the eventual painted cel.

I’m not sure how many of you GB fans out there love or hate Slimer (I’m guessing it’s pretty close to 50/50), but this tiny version (as well as his E.T.-esque appearance in the cel from last week) is pretty much all the Slimer we’re going to get on this countdown.  There might be one more, but I’m really trying to concentrate on the other creatures, monsters, and ghosts from the series.

Make sure to come back tomorrow for another installment of the 31 Days of Monsters here at Branded in the 80s.  Also, you can head on over to Countdown to Halloween and check out lists of a bunch of other sites participating in this year’s Halloween blogging event…


  • Todd

    Great! Looking forward to your monster line-up from RGB! I have good memories of this show – not from my childhood but skipping class to watch it in college.

  • Chad Paulsen

    I’m looking forward to watching this unfold as well. I hope to see other Real Ghostbusters favorites like Samhein and The Boogeyman.

  • Wings

    Great kick-off!

  • The Pizza

    mark me in the LOVE slimer column. Is it bad that I wanted to eat the stay puft marshmallow man so bad? Also, for the longest time, I thought everyone was calling him the STATE Puft Marshmallow man? I was disappointed when I learned I had been hearing wrong all those years. To me, he had been a dignitary.

  • John Rozum

    Great start. I always loved the design of that character. Count me in on the 50% in favor of Slimer. I even liked his own solo cartoon.

  • Vanessa

    Ghostbusters is a favorite theme in this household! And I definitely like slimer. My husband owns an 80’s Slimer puppet based on RGB. He usually sits at the bar during our parties. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3029/2996208350_ef1215af64_b.jpg

  • Max the Drunken Severed Head

    Stay Puft’s concept origin comes from a mixture of advertising giants, the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy.”” And maybe the sailor boy from CrackerJack? His wardrobe seems borrowed from him. Love your theme for the countdown–and this is a great start!

  • Stephen A.

    The Stay Puft Marshmallow man is truly one of the most iconic Ghostbuster-related images there is and the only real choice to start off this countdown. I’ve always been a bit disappointed that he never spun off into his own series of giant monster ‘Stay Puft vs Fill In The Blank’ type movies.

  • Charles

    Ah man, now I miss my Slimmer and Stay Puft from the old RGB toys. Can’t wait to see the others though, this is going to be great!

  • Paxton Holley

    Love Stay Puft. Great start. I’m hoping and praying you throw down a cell with the Peoplebusters on it. I love those guys.

  • Paxton Holley

    Hmmm, my last comment was cut off. I was just saying that I hope Shawn throws down a drawing with the Peoplebusters. Those were some of the best designs of the series.