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…
I was going to hold this post until Friday, but I’ve got a short week at work, and since today feels a whole heck of a lot like Friday I thought why the hell not! Have I ever mentioned that I really dig Halloween? Oh yeah, I guess I have. Well there are only seven days left until the season starts proper, and I have to say that I’m super jazzed about participating in another round of daily Halloween blogging, my fourth to date. I’ve been prepping for this year’s countdown to Halloween for the last four months, trying to come up with a theme that’ll be fun on a lot of levels, and then it hit me sometime towards the end of this past June. 2009 has been a banner year for a particular 80s film and cartoon franchise, the one and only Ghostbusters. It’s the 25th anniversary of the original film, the 20th anniversary of the sequel, and this past year we saw the release of the complete animated series on DVD (which, by the by, is available on Amazon for only $114), as well as a new line of action figures released by Matty Collector that are pretty darn cool. Also on a personal note, it was just about three years ago that I really began banging this website into a shape that was more along the lines of what I had in mind when I started this whole Branded in the 80s venture with the first official Peel Here sticker column that featured, you guessed it, the Ghostbusters.
So I was thinking back to last year’s countdown and one of the things that I enjoyed sharing were a handful of animation cels from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon. So, for this year’s countdown, in honor of the various anniversaries and releases, I thought it would be fun to dig back into my collection of animation cels and share some of my favorite monsters featured on the RGB cartoon. One of the things that’s really special about the cartoon was the vast variety of monsters, ghosts, and creeps that were in the episodes. I’ve picked up a handful of these over the last year and each day in October I’ll feature a new monster-centric cel (and any accompanying pencil under-drawings) from my collection. My wife and I sat down and tried to order these from least scary to uncomfortably creepy, so it should be really fun come All Hallows Eve. It’s the 31 Days of Monsters!
To give a hint of what’s to come, I thought I’d share an appropriately themed cel from the Real Ghostbusters…
I fell in love with this cel from the first moment I laid eyes on it because it combines two of my favorite things, 80s cartoons and Halloween. When I share these on the site I like to try and use it as an opportunity to try and learn something about the process of animation by investigating contextural clues. For instance, I thought it was interesting that the kid bringing up the rear, the mad scientist or whatever he is, has some weird repaints to him. If you look closely (click on the image to zoom in), his brain/helmet was touched up on top of the cel. Typically all of the painting is done on the back of the cel so that the photocopied black line art sits on top of all the layers of paint underneath. The artist also had to touch up his eye, so my guess is that they painted his entire head and face the same flesh color and had to fix it.
Also, you’ll notice that a lot of the black line work is super faded on the cel, turning to a light purple/brown in spots. I’ve noticed this in a lot of the Real Ghostbusters cels, and it’s one of those aspects to American companies sending their physical animation work overseas to save time and money. Part of what makes it cheaper is the supplies anf materials used. Honestly though, I don’t know how much of this mattered at the time the animation was done, as it’s stuff that could have faded over time, and these cels were certainly not meant to be scrutinized 22 years after they were produced.
I also really enjoyed the pencil under-drawing for this piece. I love it when the animators put that extra bit of effort into the drawings with separate colors and such to illustrate the differences between overlapping characters and where shadows need to be placed in the final painted cel. It’s also kind of neat to pull back the curtain a bit and see any notes, even if it is in code (or sometimes other languages…)
So I hope everyone enjoys the theme, and I can’t wait to start posting some proper monsters. I’m going to update the site each night, 13 minutes after midnight, so check back often to see what’s in store!
Also, this is a perfect opportunity to point to a bunch more blogs that’ll be participating in this year’s Halloween Countdown. As I’ve mentioned over the past month, I helped create a site that will hopefully act as a resource, corralling the sites that are joining in on the spooky fun. You can find it at the Countdown to Halloween or you can click the handy banner below…