Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit builder and actor Bill Bryan recalls his work on the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Living in Japan, I'm afforded many opportunities to meet actors and directors associated with the Japanese film industries. (Makes sense, doesn't it?) Rarely do I get the chance to meet an icon from the American film industry. But, on Sunday, August 14, such an opportunity suddenly arose.
In the wake of the recent remake of Ghostbusters, Japanese fan and promoter Dr. Abbey brought Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit builder/actor Bill Bryan to Japan on a tour of various events and gatherings in the Tokyo area. I attended the event at the JH Cafe in Yokohama, which is home to all kinds of impressive movie memorabilia.
Thanks to Dr. Abbey, I was fortunate enough to sit and discuss a variety of topics with Bill. He shared many interesting bits of trivia from the film. For instance, he built the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit from a variety of concept sketches that had already been prepared. As an in-joke, when the Marshmallow Man is first seen walking behind various buildings and billboards, you can see the creature actually wearing a Michelin Man T-shirt. (In all the times I've seen the film, I've never spotted this.) Bill played the Marshmallow Man in all the shots, except for when the suit was on fire.
Bill told numerous other stories, such as the experience he had finally meeting Bill Murray backstage at The Jimmy Kimmel Show. We also gabbed about numerous other movies and actors. Despite his iconic status, he hasn't done that many personal appearances at conventions. He certainly has the personality for it, and I think many fans would be excited to meet him. We'll see what happens in the future.
I had a blast meeting Bill, and so did his Japanese fans. It's not his first time to Japan, as he has done SFX work here in the previous years. He certainly knew a lot more Japanese than most Americans do when they step off the plane.
It was a memorable evening, and it was one I never expected to happen. At least something quite cool came from the misguided remake. As a lifelong Ghostbusters fan, I'll always remember hanging out with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Yokohama.
Many thanks to Dr. Abbey for making this happen. A big thanks to Bill Bryan for being such an awesome guest. Hope to meet you again someday!