Scene is Believing: Ghostbusters

ghostbusters stay puft

“It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow man…”

All the Ghostbusters had to do when challenged to choose the form of their destruction by Gozer, an evil Sumerian deity, was empty their minds, but  Ray (Dan Ackroyd) couldn’t help it. “I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never possibly harm us. Mr Stay Puft.”

Whoever came up with the idea of a giant marshmallow sailor stomping down Central Park West, I salute you. Topping off a hugely funny comedy adventure about three (then four) musketeers of paranormal science, kicked off their  University Campus who then go on to “clean up the town” as Ghostbusters, with this absurd monster threat, is inspired.

“Ray has gone bye bye, Egon. What have you got left?”

The attack of Mr Stay Puft is a gloriously silly triumph of model, matte work and creature suit design. The suit was made and operated by Bill Bryan. The first attempt was all soft foam, but it made the crotch area look a little obscene. John Berg, who had worked previously on The Empire Strikes Back, suggested a fibre glass shell. Bryan found it too restrictive and cut it in half, but it still didn’t work. Given two days to come up with a solution, he ended up making it out of L200 – a stiffer foam with a 3/4 inch thick layer, that still allowed a squashy, bouncy movement.

staypuft marshmallow performer

The head was cable operated, with a few limited expressions. Some shots were achieved against blue screen inserts of real New York backgrounds. Others showed him walking down a scale model forced perspective street, past Central park. A model fire hydrant sprays sand, which looks like water at the scale chosen. The cables operating the suit were fed beneath the street through a slit, where four puppeteers operated it as Bryan walked.

The team were stuck for model cars at the correct scale (1:18) until they found a police car model at Toy R Us. They bought up the entire stock from stores in the area, converting them into ordinary cars, yellow cabs, and fire trucks. Some were remote controlled, others simply pulled on wires.

ghostbusters staypuft model

“Sorry Venkman, I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.”

The Ghostbusters, on the roof of the building where Gozer has opened the portal, were matched together with the model set. The skyline was a 360 degree matte painting. Three Mr Stay Puft suits were built – and burnt – as our heroes cross their fingers and “cross the streams” of their Proton packs.

“It was a magnificent set, one of the best I’ve even seen…There’s no business like million-dollar make-believe, ” said Dan Ackroyd.




Originally posted 2013-08-04 11:38:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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