Thanks largely to the media blitz surrounding its 30th anniversary, Ghostbusters seems hotter than ever. You know how I’m always saying that every Halloween season has “one thing” that ultimately sets it apart from every other Halloween season? In 2014, it’s gotta be Ghostbusters.
Let’s review. The movie returned to theaters. Krispy Kreme made some legendary donuts. There’s more GB merchandise now than ever before, since “doodad makers” have the luxury of catering both to kids and to old idiots like me. Tack on the confirmation of a new movie, and yeah, it’s been a great few months for GB fans.
All of the buzz inspired me to do one last Ghostbusters post before Halloween, so here are five random GB items from my collection. I’ve had some of these things for years, but most were recent pickups. You reading about them justifies me buying them, so thanks in advance!
#1: Stay Puft Glow Mask! (1986)
I admit that I paid too much for this mostly-broken Halloween mask, but how could I resist? It’s Stay Puft! And, to the best of my knowledge, it’s pretty rare.
Cheap, plastic masks remind me of my earliest Halloweens, back when the ol’ mask-and-smock combo was the In Thing. (You know the kind. You’d get a crude plastic mask based on your favorite cartoon character, along with what was essentially an enormous lobster bib.) Had I spotted this Stay Puft gear back in ‘86, I most definitely would’ve been a Marshmallow Man for Halloween.
It’s worth noting that there isn’t a face this mask would fit. Even imagining myself with the head of a four-year-old, there’s just no way. I think it was sold less on the basis of “hey wear this” and more on the basis of “hey buy this because it’s a glow-in-the-dark Stay Puft head.” Challenge accepted, albeit 28 years late.
I can’t envision a scenario wherein I’d ever have a taxidermied deer head in my house, but I’m going to hang this mask in exactly the same fashion. It’s a trophy I can be proud of, and when I get up in the middle of the night to eat half a brick’s worth of Cracker Barrel cheese, Stay Puft’s faint glow will keep me from stubbing my toes on table legs.
#2: Slimer Feeder Game! (2014)
I already mentioned this beautiful thing on Facebook, but it’s way too cool not to archive here. One of the weirdest promotions surrounding Ghostbusters’ 30th anniversary involved kids eating at select restaurants to get their hands on “SLIMER FEEDERS” — those being punch-out paper games starring everyone’s favorite ghost.
That’s what led me and Jay to a HomeTown Buffet a few weeks ago. Thanks to a manager who must have assumed that we’d just finished eating there, we were able to score our Slimer Feeders without having to fill plates with manhandled buffet chicken. Score!
You start with the cardboard brochure seen in the background. (Yes, I took two Slimer Feeders.) Popping along the perforated edges, you’ll soon assemble a game that involves flipping paper food into a paper Slimer’s paper dish. It’s exactly as much fun as it sounds, and I’m not being facetious.
Longtime readers know that “ephemera” is my favorite word, so I’m of course delighted to own what will ultimately become one of the obscurest pieces of Ghostbusters memorabilia imaginable. In 20 years, people will be offering me their souls for this. I will turn them down, because I can do less with souls than I can with cardboard ghosts who eat paper steaks.
#3: Ecto-Plazm! (1986)
I covered this exact can of Real Ghostbusters Ecto-Plazm back in the X-E era, but statutes of limitations are positively freeing. So here, look at my can of Ecto-Plazm again. Ain’t it great?
If you didn’t grow up with this, Ecto-Plazm was kind of the driving force behind the entire Real Ghostbusters toy line. Maybe that’s a stretch, but in addition to being sold separately, smaller cans were packed with several of the toys, and even others that didn’t come with Ecto-Plazm still used it to perform their tricks. It was as associable with that line as any other toy.
I’ve spent a long time thinking about the many slimes I grew up with, and which was the definitive best. As a kid, I think I got more mileage out of Masters of Universe Slime, if only because its mini-comic suggested that I could make slaves out of monsters, simply by pouring it on them. I was also a huge fan of TMNT’s Retromutagen Ooze, which not only had perfect viscosity, but also came with a neat little baby turtle figure.
All that aside, I’ve gotta give the edge to Ecto-Plazm. It came in multiple colors! And with little plastic ghosts! Ecto-Plazm also ages far, far better than other toy slimes. I still have a can of He-Man’s version, and what’s inside looks like dried skin peelings. The fact that this Ecto-Plazm is still perfectly slimy after more than two decades is nothing short of a miracle. It’s even retained the original smell, which I’d describe as a cross between rubber cement and crotch sweat.
#4: Ghost Blaster Pinball! (1986)
We’ve all had games like this. Games involving little balls and some form of firing mechanism. Games where you’re supposed to aim for high score targets, even if it’s much easier to just “roll” the balls into your desired pockets. They’re colloquially known as “oh those games.”
They were usually more fun to look at than play, and this Ghost Blaster was no exception. The balls don’t fire with nearly enough strength, and to be perfectly frank, I just don’t like the handfeel. I’ve held enough toy guns to become accustomed to their typical division of weight, so tacking a Ghostbusters pinball game onto what’s usually the lightest end just completely throws me off. It’s the $2.99 toy version of water torture.
And yet, all is forgiven, because it features a befuddled Peter Venkman surrounded by colorful and punky ghosts. Also, the balls glow in the dark, so if I ever want my Stay Puft mask to don a crude halo, all I’ll need is a tiny screwdriver.
#5: Vile Bottle of Ecto Cooler! (1993)
Last but not least, the newest addition to my ever-growing trove of ancient Ecto Cooler. I know that there shouldn’t be stiff competition for bottled sewage from 1993, but I paid a hefty price for this.
I’ve been collecting Ecto Cooler for almost ten years now. I have tons of the standard-size juice boxes, both full and empty, in several styles. I have small cans and big cans. I’ve even held onto several boxes of Hi-C’s Shoutin’ Orange Tangergreen, since it was Ecto Cooler in everything but name.
In all of that time, I’d never seen a bottle before… let alone a bottle that still had the Ecto Cooler inside! Few times have I scouted an eBay auction’s closing moments with such fervor. (I’d later find out that I was bidding against my friend Adam, so he gets partial credit for making me spend $70 on liquid shit.)
Obviously, it’s only age that’s making this Ecto Cooler look so bad. In its prime, it was as green as grass on a postcard. I also presume that the bottle wasn’t always collapsing on itself. I’ve since become acquainted with the seller who defied many laws of nature by holding onto this, so Julie, thanks for selling me your rotten fruit juice!
And yes, it’s in a place of prominence. Come to think of it, it’s literally the first thing you see when you walk into our apartment. The second thing is a five foot wooden tiki god with coconut hair and a busted foot. Nobody will ever rob this place.
Thanks for reading about my Ghostbusters junk. May your day be full of robots and sherbet.
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