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by yo go re

Remember that abominably awful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cereal? That stuff was indescribably inedible, but as kids we must have eaten a metric ton of it - it was the Turtles, after all. That it was produced by Ralston, the folks who teamed with Purina to bring us Puppy Chow, perhaps should have warned the world at large that this was not going to be good food. As Matt over at X-E said, "'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cereal' was a flavor adventure on par with eating Easy Cheese-covered sandpaper."

Fortunately, not all cartoon-celebrity-endorsed foods were as unspeakably horrible as that ungodly mess. Some were downright good, and are still lusted after to this day. Ecto Cooler, for instance, the green Hi-C tangerine drink with a picture of a cartoon ghost on the label. Rare is the child-oriented food or beverage that can outlast the show that spawned it, but Ecto Cooler was still widely available six years after The Real Ghostbusters had been cancelled.

What's the point of all this fond reminiscing? Well, it's a long and circuitous introduction to an action figure of a character who may be better remembered for selling juice than for the movie that created him.

Sure, to the folks who are old enough to remember, this is the focussed, non-terminal repeating phantasm, the Class Five full roaming vapor from the twelfth floor of the Sedgewick Hotel. But to the kids who grew up with, at best, hazy memories of Ghostbusters 2, this is the guy from their juice boxes.

Slimer comes to us from NECA, in Series 1 of their new Ghostbusters line. He's a little larger than 2¾" tall from head to butt, and sculpted really well for a disgusting blob - he's got big folds of flesh and lots of little warts. His mouth is open slightly, revealing his big huge teeth and wrinkly tongue.

The toy version of Slimer differs from his movie counterpart in a few subtle ways. His head, for instance, is too flat and his cheeks are too large. Of course, that's the movie version; the figure looks much better. This seems to be a blend of the evil Slimer seen in the first movie and the friendly Slimer seen everywhere else.

Incidentally, Slimer is never actually named in the movie. The crew called the nasty little green spook "Onionhead" because of its horrid smell, but because the only scene that referred to this was cut from the film, it fell to the cartoon to give him a name.

Slimer's molded from a soft plastic that gives him a great spongy feel, and also allows you to pry his mouth open a bit to jam food in there. His skin is painted with a few different shades of green: plain green base, dark green wash and a yellow-green dry brush. Very nice. Above that, a surprisingly haphazard coat of glow-in-the-dark paint.

His white eyes and teeth are painted cleanly, and his mouth is dark enough that his reddish-pink tongue stands out perfectly. There's a dark wash in his mouth that makes his teeth and gums stand out nicely. Slimer moves at the neck, shoulders and wrists, though the wrists may need to spend time in the freezer before they can turn without breaking. I was too hasty, and now both his wrists are glued. The wrists and neck are swivels, while the other arm joint (which really is more elbow than shoulder) is a swivel/hinge balljoint.

Since the figure itself is so small, NECA had plenty of room to include accessories. The most important is probably the 3" tall base that keeps Slimer from just rolling around on the floor. Molded in translucent green, the base is a big slime trail that curves back over itself. You can imagine that Slimer's just phased up through the floor and is flying toward his next hapless victim. Great work - very inventive!

Additionally, he's got a selection of with which to feed his face - a slice of watermelon, a loaf of French bread, a bottle of wine (Chateau Venkman 1984 Ecto Claret), an apple, a pie, a deli platter and a complete roasted turkey. In a really cool little feature, the turkey's drumsticks are removable, held in place by a peg that resembles a bone. Extra play value!

The paint and sculpt detailing on the accessories are better than some companies give their actual figures. The turkey's got realistic skin, the apple fades from green to red right near the stem, the seeds are all sculpted onto the watermelon and the various meats and cheeses are painted differently on the platter. This is some really impressive work.

This ugly little spud is easily the most popular figure in the line, and a prime example of why NECA needs a generic movie line like SOTA's Now Playing. Slimer? Popular. Two demon dogs? Fans of the movie will buy a set, to everyone else they're forgettable and indistinguishable. A bubble-covered white chick? No, thank you.

People want the Ghostbusters. They want jumpsuits and proton packs. They want Ray and Egon and Ernie Hudson. They want the guys, not the bad special effects. Slimer and Sta-Puft are about as far into "ghost" territory as anyone would care to go, and Series 1 has taken care of that. Unless NECA gets the rights to the likenesses, it's pretty doubtful that there will ever be a Series 2.

-- 09/04/04

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