Why The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Pops Into Ray’s Head At the End of ‘Ghostbusters’


In Ghostbusters, just after Winston explains that you answer “yes” whenever anything asks if you’re a God, Ray chooses the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man as the form of The Destroyer, and the pillowy sailor begins menacing midtown New York. They were supposed to clear their minds, but he says, “It just popped in there. . . I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft!”

We all know that, and we all know the trivia that the mascot who looks like the Michelin Man’s cousin appears sprinkled throughout the movie (on Dana’s counter top, on the side of a building), and that’s where there’s a far better reason for why Ray just happened to think of Stay Puft.

It’s not just his childhood. It’s that he saw him every single day while working as a Ghostbuster.

That billboard is across the street from the firehouse where the Ghostbusters made their home and base of operations. They slept there, ate there, contained ghosts there. So, day in and day out, Ray had the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man silently smiling and waving at him from the side of a tall building. Every time they rolled out on an investigation, Stay Puft was weaseling his way into Ray’s subconscious. Every time Ray went for a smoke break, he was there, a constant present in the most exhilarating part of his professional life burnt into his brain, a guardian overlooking his entire existence.

No wonder he just popped into Ray’s head. Summers at Camp Wauconda aside, it probably could have been any of the Ghostbusters that conjured Stay Puft up.

Thanks for indulging a bit of Tuesday trivia, but I’ve never seen this theory presented anywhere else, and after watching the movie again this weekend, it seemed like an excellent bit of connective tissue that makes everything make even more sense. It’s like when Agent Kujan finally sees the bulletin board that Verbal Kint’s been using to lie. Except Keyser Soze doesn’t erupt into giant mounds of fluffy white goo.

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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