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Western Animation: Casper the Friendly Ghost
aka: Casperthe Friendly Ghost

Casper, a ghost who wants to be friendly but scares people away, debuted in a 1946 Noveltoon released by Famous Studios for Paramount Pictures, adapted from a children's story made by Joe Oriolo. Casper appeared in 55 animated shorts and became Paramount's most popular character after Popeye. In 1958, Paramount sold the character to Harvey Comics, where he frequently crossed over to Richie Rich stories.

In the Harvey Comics line, Casper lives in the Enchanted Forest with The Ghostly Trio, and met many other supporting characters, such as Wendy the Good Little Witch, Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost, and Hot Stuff The Little Devil.

Casper's television debut was on the ABC Animated Anthology series Matty's Funday Funnies, sponsored by Mattel Toys. The Casper shorts were syndicated during the 1962/63 season, after which they returned to ABC, accompanied by new supporting segments, in The New Casper Cartoon Show. In 1979, Hanna-Barbera produced Casper and the Angels for NBC Saturday mornings, with the voices of Julie McWhirter as Casper and John Stephenson as Hairy Scary. Since 1995, Casper has been the star of a Fox Animated Series, The Spooktacular New Adventures Of Casper, and a series of live-action/CGI films, starting with a feature; one of the direct-to-video movies, Casper Meets Wendy, launched the career of Hilary Duff.
    Film Series 

1945

1948

1949

1950

  • Casper's Spree Under The Sea: The first short of the solo Casper series.
  • Once upon a Rhyme

1951

  • Boo Hoo Baby
  • To Boo or Not to Boo
  • Boo Scout
  • Casper Comes to Clown
  • Casper Takes a Bow-Wow

1952

  • The Deep Boo Sea
  • Ghost of the Town
  • Spunky Skunky
  • Cage Fright
  • Pig-A-Boo
  • True Boo

1953

  • Frightday the 13th
  • Spook No Evil
  • North Pal
  • By the Old Mill Scream
  • Little Boo Peep
  • Do or Diet
  • Boos and Saddles

1954

  • Zero the Hero
  • Casper Genie
  • Puss 'n Boos
  • Boos and Arrows
  • Boo Ribbon Winner
  • Boo Moon

1955

  • Hide and Shriek
  • Keep Your Grin Up
  • Spooking with a Brogue
  • Bull Fright
  • Red White and Boo
  • Boo Kind to Animals

1956

  • Ground Hog Play
  • Dutch Treat
  • Penguin for your thoughts
  • Line of Screammage
  • Fright from Wrong

1957

  • Spooking about Africa
  • Hooky Spooky
  • Peekaboo
  • Ghost of Honor
  • Ice Scream
  • Boo Bop

1958

  • Heir Restorer
  • Spook and Span
  • Ghost Writers
  • Which is Witch
  • Good Scream Fun

1959

  • Doing What's Fright
  • Down to Mirth
  • Not Ghoulty
  • Casper's Birthday Party: Last Casper theatrical cartoon.

"The friendly tropes":

  • Alternate Universe: There are multiple universes in which Casper resides, thanks to Continuity Reboot and things of the like.
  • Animated Anthology
  • Art Evolution: Casper's original design was a much chubbier duckpin like shape and had more resemblance to a bedsheet ghost, whereas his later Harveytoons redesign streamlined him into the simpler, big-headed ghost design that we recognize today.
  • Bedsheet Ghost:
    • While not exactly bedsheeted, the ghosts are invariably transparent, pale and not at all detailed.
    • In at least one of the cartoons, many of the ghosts masquerade as sheets in a haunted house, going so far as to cover furniture and serve as pillowcases.
  • Characterization Marches On: In early Casper comics, he actually scared people. But he eventually got bored and wants to make friends. Though in every other incarnations, Casper is apparently friendly from the start.
  • Christmas Special: Casper's First Christmas, a Cartoon Crossover which had Casper and Hairy Scary interacting with Yogi Bear and friends.
  • Crossover: Spunky the Donkey, who originally appeared in several of the Fleischer Studios Color Classics and a Famous Noveltoon, appears (curiously, without his mother, Hunky) in at least two of Casper's shorts, over a decade after his previous roles.
  • Cute Witch: Wendy, who later got her own comic series, Wendy The Good Little Witch.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Oh sure, he looks harmless, but there must be something to make him so instantly terrifying. Needless to say, he's very kind and benevolent.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Wendy is essentially Casper as a witch; she even lives with three wicked aunts. Borders on Men Are the Expendable Gender, though to be fair, she mostly appears in the 1960s cartoon, where ghosts are simply a type of The Fair Folk.
  • Dumb Blonde: Some versions of Pearl.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: Casper's last name (yes, he has a last name) is McFadden. Try saying that without laughing.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: From the way Casper treats it, you'd think scaring people was ax murder or something. Wendy's the same with her aunts, though sometimes they did go farther with their spells than harmless pranks and scares (How does turning a butterfly - remember, all animals are sentient in this series - into a hole in a plank of wood even work?)
  • Functional Magic
  • The Golden Age of Animation
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: This pretty much defines his whole character.
  • Jerkass: The Ghostly Trio. There have even been instances where even Spooky was a little appalled at their schemes, and he idolizes them.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: If Spooky would just lose the hat that never turns invisible with him, he'd have a much easier time. Of course, the one time he did try to ditch it, nobody recognized him without it, and neither human haunting victims nor other ghosts who wanted in on his territory were afraid of him.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: In the Harvey comics, at least, all ghosts have a very specific set of powers, and it is possible to make 'ghostproof' materials that they can't phase through.
  • Monochrome Apparition: The ghosts are transparent, pale and white-ish and not detailed.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker
  • The Movie: There's several movies, the most recent being Casper Scare School.
  • On One Condition: Casper And Friends has several episodes not featuring Casper. One is about a rich cat living large and being waited upon by her butler. It quickly changes as soon as the butler chances upon the will and learns he's the next to inherit. His several attempts to off the cat fail and the last one ends with his own demise. The cat then phones asking for a new butler.
  • Once per Episode: The Famous shorts became increasingly formulaic as time went on. Casper feels lonely, Casper tries to find a friend but everyone runs away from him, Casper finally finds someone who will overlook the fact that he's a ghost and be friends with him usually after he helps them get out of some kind of trouble. The friend is then menaced by a large baddie, at which point Caspar steps in and demands, "You leave my friend alone!" at which point the baddie runs off in fear. All ends well. Rinse and repeat. Famous Studios had a hard time coming up with original ideas for Popeye, too, incidentally. Lampshaded in an episode of Cheers:
    Norm: I don't get it. Start of the cartoon, Casper has no friends. End of the cartoon, he has friends. Start of the next cartoon, he has no friends again. What happened?
    Cliff: I think it's obvious what happened. Casper was quenching his thirst for blood.
    • There is also the phrase "A G-G-G-GHOST!" in just about every short.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Let's start with throwing the idea of ghosts being dead humans out the window (except for the movies).
  • Our Monsters Are Different: In Casper's Scare School, many of the creatures that would normally be former fleshies were never fleshies. Mantha was always a zombie, Ra was always a mummy, etc. The only characters that were confirmed to be formerly human were Fly Boy and his father.
  • Public Domain Animation: His first three appearances have slipped into the Public Domain, and as a result can be found on many dollar store DVD sets.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: In "The Friendly Ghost", when the other ghosts are in the sky and about to fly into the buildings, the music playing is an excerpt of Felix Mendelssohn's "Rondo Capricioso, op. 14".
  • Reluctant Monster
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Shout-Out/Hypocritical Humor: From the 1995 movie: "Who ya gonna call? Someone else!"
  • Slave to PR: Ghosts are supposed to be scary, so Casper is feared by humans for being a ghost and looked down upon by other ghosts for not being a "proper" ghost. Other ghosts enjoy scaring, but also take it very seriously and do it because it's a ghost's purpose in death . There are even scaring experts that the Ghostly Trio have either consulted to improve their scaring, or gone up against to prove that they were the best (in a Good Old Fisticuffs sorta way: the others and their fancy techniques are no match for tried-and-true invisible playing with objects or yelling of "Boo!"). One of the cartoons even featured a ghost school that taught haunting. Spooky protects his reputation as the number one scarer at any cost.
  • Strictly Formula: Nearly all of the cartoons are virtually interchangable from each other save for some superficial settings. One Famous Studios animator, Lee Mishkin, even had a quote about it:
    "With the Casper series, you never knew what picture you were working on, because they were all exactly the same."
  • Terrible Trio: The Ghostly Trio, in every incarnation they've ever been in.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Spooky and Casper. Though not identical, they look similar enough to fool some.
  • The Verse: Frequent Crossovers with other Harvey comics, even Richie Rich (though he's never sure he didn't dream his Casper encounters). Some arcs have brought together all Enchanted Forest characters.
  • Wild Take: The Casper series has some of the weirdest, sometimes outright grotesque, wild takes of the Golden Age cartoons, and the original shorts have them at least once per short. The over-the-top runaway gags or transformations after the takes (a whale scared by Casper runs off on its tailflukes, a zookeeper hides - then runs away - inside a lion, another group of zoo staffers combine together into a wheel when they see him, etc.) are the icing on the cake.
    "A GHOST!"
  • Will They or Won't They?: Casper and Wendy.
    • Funnily enough, Wendy's first appearance had her and Casper on a date.

"Comic Series":

  • Cross Over: Casper had many encounters with other Harvey characters.
  • Darker and Edgier: The "Casper and the Spectrals" comic book reboot.
  • Halloween Town: Spooky Town, a city segregated into numerous boroughs for different supernatural beings that compete with each other to scare normal humans and ensure that the local Sealed Evil in a Can stays sealed.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Casper, Wendy, Hot Stuff and Spooky are good friends despite being different creatures.
  • Power Trio: In Casper and the Spectrals; Casper (ego), Wendy (superego) and Hot Stuff (id).
  • Our Demons Are Different: All the demons from Harvey Comics. being Hot Stuff The Little Devil the main example.
  • Science Is Bad: In "Casper and the Spectrals", the main trouble was partly caused by a human scientist.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Volbragg in the "Casper and the Spectrals" comic book reboot.
  • Shared Universe: Most of the characters of Harvey, including Casper, Hot Stuff and Wendy live in the same universe. In fact, all the monster characters live in a place called "The Enchanted Forest".

Baby HueyCreator/Harvey ComicsHot Stuff The Little Devil
BeetleborgsCreator/Fox KidsPower Rangers Zeo
Bump in the NightHorror Western AnimationCount Duckula
The New Adventures of Winnie the PoohSaturday Morning CartoonNightmare Ned
Baby HueyU.S./Canadian ComicsRichie Rich
PopeyePublic Domain AnimationLittle Lulu
Carry OnFilm SeriesCharlie Chan
BravestarrCreator/HuluCode Lyoko
Barney BearThe FortiesThere's Good Boos Tonight
Cartoon All-Stars to the RescueThe Renaissance Age of AnimationCatDog
Becoming HumanGhost FictionThere's Good Boos Tonight
White HeatFilms of the 1940sThere's Good Boos Tonight
Casper Scare SchoolWestern AnimationCatDog
Herman And KatnipThe Golden Age of AnimationBaby Huey
Brown Bears WeddingAnimated FilmsThere's Good Boos Tonight
Up, Up and Away!ImageSource/Western AnimationWestern Animation
Baby HueyFilms of the 1950sClassic Disney Shorts

alternative title(s): Casper The Friendly Ghost
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