Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

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The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
Stay Puft Marshmallow Man destroying New York in Ghostbusters (1984).
First appearanceGhostbusters (1984)
Last appearanceGhostbusters (2016)
Created byDan Aykroyd
(original concept)
Bill Bryan
Portrayed byBill Bryan
(suit actor)
Voiced byJohn Stocker
Frank Welker

The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is a fictional character from the Ghostbusters franchise, which sometimes appears as a giant, lumbering paranormal monster. It is the main antagonist in the film Ghostbusters (1984) and first appears as a picture logo on a prop package of marshmallows in Dana Barrett's apartment, on a graffiti advertisement on the building next to the Ghostbusters' HQ, and then in the climax of the film as the physical manifestation of the Sumerian deity Gozer. Subsequently, it has been incorporated into many other Ghostbusters media, including the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, comic books, a stage show, and video games.

In the Ghostbusters universe, it is the mascot of the fictional Stay Puft Marshmallow Corporation, much like Michelin's Bibendum (also known as the "Michelin Man") and the Pillsbury Doughboy (both of which it resembles). Within that universe, it is also the subject of a Marshmallow Man cartoon series.[1]

Appearance and character[edit]

Stay Puft is a large white humanoid figure made of conjoined marshmallows. He wears a white sailor cap with a red ribbon attached on top, and a blue hatband. Around his neck is a blue traditional sailor's collar and a red neckerchief.

After images of him are seen on a billboard and a bag of the marshmallows earlier in the film, he is then seen in the climax of Ghostbusters as one of two physical bodies of Gozer, a god who is defeated when Stay Puft is destroyed. Stay Puft's exact to-scale height in the movie is 112.5 feet (34.3 m) tall,[2] while his height in the novelization of the movie is given at 100 feet (30.5 m).

He is then recreated and subsequently captured a number of different times by the Ghostbusters. Although mean and destructive at first, he later befriends Slimer and the Ghostbusters in the animated series The Real Ghostbusters, and helps them out with various problems.

Concept and debut[edit]

Dan Aykroyd conceived of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man for his initial script for Ghostbusters the movie. He created the character to show that "it seems harmless and puffy and cute—but given the right circumstances, everything can be turned black and become evil".[3][4] Stay Puft was only one of many large-scale monsters in this early draft of the script, but after Aykroyd worked with co-writer Harold Ramis and director Ivan Reitman, the team scaled back the intended sequence until only Stay Puft remained out of the original large-scale monsters.

The likeness of Stay Puft was inspired by Peter O'Boyle, a security guard at Columbia Pictures whom Reitman met while filming his previous movie, Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983). According to Sam Delaney of The Guardian, "Stay Puft's familiar mascot combined elements of real-life brand ambassadors the Pillsbury Doughboy and Bibendum (a.k.a. the Michelin Tire Man)."[5]

Stay Puft is seen only briefly in the movie. He is "conjured up"[6] as a new form for the Sumerian god Gozer, who previously arrives atop an apartment building at 55 Central Park West in New York City in the form of an androgynous woman with metallic skin and eyes. After a quick battle with the Ghostbusters she vanishes, and then as a disembodied voice Gozer tells the Ghostbusters that the next thing they think of will be the form it will assume to destroy their world. Ray Stantz (Aykroyd) instead makes the decision to think of this marshmallow mascot when the Ghostbusters are given a choice as to which physical form Gozer will conquer the world in.

As he explains, "It just popped in there", and that he "tried to think of the most harmless thing", describing Mr. Stay Puft as "something that could never possibly destroy us". Moments later, a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is seen walking towards the apartment building. The Ghostbusters shoot at Stay Puft with their proton packs, setting him on fire, but do not succeed in stopping his advance. They then get the idea of shooting at the portal through which the god emerged, by crossing the streams of all four of their packs. The plan triggers an explosion that destroys the gate and Stay Puft, reducing the latter into molten marshmallow cream that rains down onto the roof of the skyscraper and bystanders on the street below.

Special effects[edit]

The character as seen in the movie was created by Linda Frobos[7] by using miniatures and optical compositing with Billy Bryan himself in a latex suit.[8] The suit was made of two layers, an outer flammable layer and inner fire-proof layer.[9] Some of the finished movie's most noticeable errors appear in the Stay Puft scenes: he is seen with and without his bow tie, while in other scenes the optical rendering was so poor that he passes through a church rather than crushing it.[10]



  • In Activision's Ghostbusters (1984), designed by David Crane, small ghosts terrorize the city and gather together in front of the "Zuul Building" and occasionally other locations, where after enough of them have collected they would form the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who could destroy some of the nearby buildings. After enough ghosts have entered the Zuul Building, the player could then go to it and find Stay Puft moving back and forth blocking the entrance. If the player could pass him without being squashed, the player would then climb the stairs and either win the game or find the final boss Gozer at the top of the building, in the form of a woman. On the NES version, Stay Puft is seen again from the roof on a screen just, below the final boss. He is climbing the building and acts as a counter: if he reaches the top of the building the game ends.[11]
  • In Ghostbusters (1990)[12] for the Sega Genesis, "Stay Puft" appears outside a highrise building punching inward as the player progresses through the level and then appears as a boss at the top of the building, but is not related to Gozer. Here he claims to have eaten too many marshmallows, then realizing he had become the Marshmallow Man. In addition to trying to punch the player from the left and right sides of the screen, he also uses special powers such as breathing fire and shooting laser bolts from his eyes.[13]
  • In TT Games' Lego Dimensions, he is a playable character in the game, with archive audio from the first film for his dialogue. He comes in his own Fun Pack, with a terror dog as his personal vehicle. He is also a boss in the Ghostbusters Level Pack and the Answer the Call Story Pack in brick built form.

Stage productions[edit]

  • In the Ghostbusters Spooktacular stage show (1990-1996) at Universal Studios, Florida, the ending battle with Stay Puft has the Ghostbusters destroying him directly, rather than firing at the portal to close the dimensional gateway.[14]

Post-movie appearances[edit]

Outside of appearances in the television series, Stay Puft (seen here menacing the Ghostbusters and Slimer) appeared in numerous issues of the various Ghostbusters comicbook series as well. From The Real Ghostbusters #138. Published by Marvel UK.

Following the original film, the television series The Real Ghostbusters brought Stay Puft back; in fact Joe Medjuck, the executive producer of the show, states that Stay Puft was in the first script they received from Dan Aykroyd on the series.[15] In the episode titled, "Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream", a spectral Sandman creates versions of anything which a person is dreaming of – in this way a new version of Stay Puft is created – however, whatever is created disappears when the person awakens. In the episode "Dedcon 1", Stay Puft appears as a guest of honor at a ghost convention. After another episode, "Cry Uncle", he is accidentally freed from the Ghostbusters' containment system and later recaptured. He reappears in episode 65, "The Revenge of Murray the Mantis", where he is "released" from the Ghostbusters' containment unit to help defeat a giant mantis too powerful for the Ghostbusters to fight on their own. Stay Puft is controlled with the help of Slimer (a green blob-like creature). After defeating the Mantis, Stay Puft floats behind the Ghostbusters in a parade. He later helps them again in the episode "Sticky Business" number 85, when the president of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Company asks the Ghostbusters if he can use their large Stay Puft in a television commercial. Once again Slimer goes into the containment unit to bring Stay Puft out. An episode[which?] explains that Egon took a sample of the marshmallow ectoplasm and positively charged it, thus creating a friendly version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man that would assist the Ghostbusters when needed. When questioned by a policeman in the series about the abrupt personality change, Peter replied that Stay Puft was "all better now". The character was voiced by John Stocker, and later by Frank Welker in this series.

Set two years after the events in the film Ghostbusters II (1989), the Atari game Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009) brings back the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to ravage Times Square while searching for Dr. Ilyssa Selwyn. Stay-Puft has the ability to spawn tiny marshmallow monsters which do his bidding. Peter, Ray, and a new rookie escort Dr. Selwyn to the roof of a tall building. In pursuit, Stay Puft climbs the side of the building while Egon at street level preparing a large trap. The rookie burns Stay Puft's face with "Boson Darts" from an upgraded proton pack, causing Stay Puft to fall to street level, where he exploded upon impact, scattering his marshmallow body all over Times Square and his hat, which hangs from one of the neighboring buildings. Towards the game's climax, the characters realize that Gozer assumed the form of Stay Puft again because he can only have one destructor form for each dimension he enters; he was locked into the form of the Marshmallow Man when summoned back to the Earthly plane. This causes Ray to admit he had not selected such a bad destructor after all.[16] In the realistic version, the player can listen to one of the in-game answering machine messages from an upset member of the fictional company that owns the Stay Puft Marshmallow brand (voiced by Chuck Huber), who is unhappy with the recent Gozer/Stay Puft attack believing it was a publicity stunt by the Ghostbusters. A Stay Puft Figurine appears as one of the collectible paranormal objects found in the game; it is found in the kitchen area of the Sedgewick Hotel and, after being collected, will appear in the Ghostbuster Firehouse's bunkhouse.


The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at the Yankee Homecoming Road Race in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at the Yankee Homecoming Road Race in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

Along with the original 1986 Kenner line of Ghostbusters toys,[17] Stay Puft has been included in:

  • McDonald's Happy Meals[18]
  • Specialized monster kits such as those by Tsukuda, who made models of both Stay Puft and the Terror Dog from the first movie.
  • In 2009, Diamond Select Toys released Stay Puft in 2-inch Minimates mini-figure form[19] as well as 11-inch vinyl bank form.[20] The bank received an angry version at Comic-Con that same year, and glow-in-the-dark versions of both were released in 2010.[21]
  • In 2010, and then (redesigned) in 2012, the Stay Puft Quality brand of gourmet marshmallows were released as official Ghostbusters merchandise with packaging prominently featuring the title character.[22]
  • Stay Puft was not present in Mattel's 2009 Ghostbusters toy line,[23] however, Mattel released him as an exclusive collectable for San Diego Comic-Con 2011 and on after the show. This was the biggest version of Stay Puft to date; he was 20 inches tall, and covered in a soft foam covering.[24]
  • In 2011, Rubie's Costume Co. released an inflatable Stay-Puft Halloween costume as a companion piece for the Ghostbusters jumpsuit costumes they had previously created.[25]
  • In July 2011, Diamond Select Toys (DST) released a seven-inch light-up statue version of Stay Puft.[26]
  • Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is playable in Lego Dimensions. He was released in a fun pack with a Terror Dog vehicle/gadget on March 15, 2016.
  • Several POP! Vinyl figures of Stay Puft Marshmallow Man were released by Funko.
  • In June 2016, Build-A-Bear Workshop released a stuffed version of Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as a part of their 2016 Ghostbusters collection.[27]
  • Circa 2017, Playmobil created a version apparently similar to the 1980s "The Real Ghostbusters" action figure version.


  1. ^ "Episode 90: Interview with the executive producer of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Brendon Goss, where he talks about the game and the "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" cartoon within the Ghostbusters Universe".
  2. ^ "– In the 15th Anniversary EditionGhostbusters DVD interview with the SFX team, Mark Stetson (the model shop supervisor for the film) states that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is exactly one hundred and twelve and a half feet tall". Retrieved 2012-06-09.
  3. ^ Goldberg, Jonah (February 3, 2003). "Incredible, Unstoppable Titan of Terror!". National Review. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
  4. ^ Akroyd, Dan. "Commentary". Ghostbusters: Special Edition DVD.
  5. ^ Delaney, Sam (July 26, 2007). "Brand designs". The Guardian. London. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
  6. ^ Richard Mueller, author of "Ghostbusters, The Supernatural; Spectacular, page 240, Tor Edition
  7. ^ "Linda Frobos". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  8. ^ Vince Lambolito (3 February 2003). "Our Top 20 FX Suits!". Cardboard Monocle. Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2007.
  9. ^ Hutchison, David (October 1984). "The Haunting Special Effects of Ghostbusters". Starlog (87).
  10. ^ "Commentary". Ghostbusters DVD (15th Anniversary ed.). Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  11. ^ Sandler, Corey & Badgett, Tom. Chapter 5: NES Golden Oldies (Ghostbusters section). Ultimate Unauthorized Nintendo Strategies, Volume 2.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  12. ^ Sega Genesis. Ghostbusters. Sega. ASIN B000035XJB.
  13. ^ DeMaria, Rusel & Meston, Zach. Chapter 5, Ghostbusters (High-Rise Building section). Sega Genesis Secrets, Volume 2.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Video archive footage of "Ghostbusters Spooktacular" stage show". 1992-03-12. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
  15. ^ The Real Ghostbusters Complete Collection (Interview). Fairfax, Virginia: Direct Holdings Americas, CPT Holdings. 2008. 80083-Z.
  16. ^ Ghostbusters: The Video Game Official Guide Book (Prima Games, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC version ed.).
  17. ^ "History of Kenner toys in a year by year description of toy series". 9 March 2005. Archived from the original on 9 March 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  18. ^ Losonsky, Terry and Joyce. McDonald's Happy Meal Toys in the U.S.A.
  19. ^ Chuck Terceira (16 October 2009). "Your Ghostbuster Minimate Collection Isn't Complete Without…". Archived from the original on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  20. ^ Chuck Terceira (15 September 2009). "Stay Puft is So Misunderstood!". Archived from the original on 17 September 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
  21. ^ Chuck Terceira (31 July 2010). "Aww, Stay Puft is so cuuuuuuute….wha the? OMG! He's on FIRE!". Archived from the original on 5 May 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  22. ^ "Stay Puft Marshmallows Website".
  23. ^ "Mattel Set to Launch Collectible Line for Classic Comedy Blockbuster "Ghostbusters" - Mattel". Retrieved 2012-06-09.
  24. ^ Joe Moore (18 July 2011). "Full List Of All Mattel San Diego Comic-Con 2011 Exclusives". Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  25. ^ "Rubie's Costume Co. Page for SPMM Costume". Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  26. ^ Julius Marx (18 July 2011). "Ghostbusters Stay-Puft Statue Coming in July; Statue of Liberty in October". Action Figure Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  27. ^ "Ghostbuster's Stay Puft Marshmallow Man". Archived from the original on 1 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Making of Ghostbusters, edited by Don Shay
  • The Return of Mr. Stay Puft, by John Carnell
  • The Encyclopedia of Monsters, by Jeff Rovin