The second and easily the best-known short in the Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon series, There's Good Boos Tonight, a 1948 Famous Studios short is a popular, nostalgic classic among many classic cartoon viewers and quite a Tear Jerker at that.
The short was directed by Isadore Sparber, animated by Myron Waldman, Morey Reden and Nick Tafuri, and written by Bill Turner and Larry Riley, with background art by Anton Loeb, music composed by Winston Sharples, and narration by Frank Gallop.
The plot of the short is centered on Casper, who
lives resides at a graveyard, uninterested in joining the activities of his brethren as they fly off to scare people. Seeing no future in that life activity, he leaves the graveyard to make friends with the local animals. He's not too successful in doing so until he finally does find a friend in the form of Ferdie, a fox who isn't scared of him like the others. Casper promptly bonds with it, but all is not well, as a fox hunter makes his rounds...
- All Animals Are Dogs: Ferdie, despite being a wild fox, acts exactly like a rambunctious puppy, even insisting on playing Fetch with Casper.
- Anti-Villain: The Fox Hunter, although this owes to his lack of characterization. While we're clearing supposed to be rooting for Ferdie, the Hunter was just practicing his regular sport, and given he's not portrayed maliciously (although his ravenous hunting dogs are) he probably saw no harm in hunting the fox.
- Bittersweet Ending: Casper fails to stop the hunter from killing Ferdie, but to his joy, Ferdie's ghost quickly joins him and the narrator says they both "lived" happily ever after.
- Bedsheet Ghost: Casper briefly turns into one after washing himself (and drying himself in a wringer!) from his encounter with the skunk.
- Break the Cutie: Casper goes through this big time when he sees Ferdie's dead body."Oh, Ferdie...(breaks down sobbing) He was the only friend I ever had, in my whole life..."
- Color Failure: When the hunting dogs see Casper.
- Death by Newbery Medal: Ferdie ends up being killed by a fox hunter.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Casper doesn't want to go out and "boo" people — he just wants to be friends. Too bad he tends to scare most creatures away anyway. And then Ferdie comes along.
- Kill the Cutie: Poor, poor Ferdie...
- Mood Whiplash: Three-quarters of the cartoon is silly, involving things like ghosts turning into a squadron of Spitfires to fly off and scare people, and a bunch of wild takes as animals recognize what Casper is and run off; or it's showing us cute things like the little ghost boy making friends with a cute fox. And then they are attacked by a hunter which Casper (inadvertently) chases off, only to find out that the hunter had managed to shoot Ferdie anyway. So Casper carries Ferdie's corpse off for burial, only to find out that Ferdie had become a ghost so they got to stay together and play anyway. The end.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The narrator basically says this at the beginning.
- Pietà Plagiarism: Casper, when he lifts up Ferdie's dead body.
- The Power of Friendship
- Public Domain Animation
- Pun-Based Title: The name is a pun on "There's Good News Tonight," a popular phrase during World War II. However, it is not a pun on "There's Good Booze Tonight," as one might think. Let's be honest; the title did not deserve to be spoken once, let alone twice.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Ferdie, a fox kit.
- Smelly Skunk: At one point in the short, Casper gets sprayed by one when he tries to make friends with it.
- Stealth Pun: "He was the only friend I ever had, in my whole life..."
- Title Drop: Done by the ghost trying to get Casper to scare people.
- Together in Death: Casper and Ferdie at the end of the short.
- Visual Pun: The part where Casper scares off a mother cow, which zips away at high speed and jumps over the moon. Sound familiar?
- Wartime Cartoon: While the short was made a few years after World War II ended, a few jokes related to it (i.e. the ghosts taking off like planes, the title pun on "There's Good News Tonight!") are included, since their context would have still been fresh on audiences' minds.