Casper, The Friendly Ghost


Sinister spirits always seem to be the ones who get all the press? Meanwhile, for over 65 years, one benevolent soul, Casper, has lived a virtuous (after)life – the Gandhi of the ghost world, as it were. Possessing not a single sadistic bone in his body (nor any other bones for that matter), Casper’s intentions were purely peaceful – he just wanted some friends. And there just happened to be a few (million) kids out there who could relate to his troubles.

Casper, The Friendly Ghost first appeared in the 1940s, a creation of Joe Oriolo and Seymour Reit, who successfully sold their concept to Paramount Pictures. In 1945, he would make an appearance in his first cartoon, “The Friendly Ghost”, and continue to appear throughout the 50s. In 1957, Harvey Comics would acquire the rights to the character, as well as the “Casper, the Friendly Ghost” title, giving him new (after) life on television and in numerous comic books.

His first foray into television would be on 1963’s The New Casper Cartoon Show that ran for six years. The lovable ghost also got his own short-lived Saturday morning kids show in 1979, Casper and the Angels, teaming him up with the popular Charlie’s Angels. In addition, he would become a popular spokes-ghost for a variety of companies, including General Electric, UNICEF, Boy Scouts of America and even NASA, who proceeded to name a white moon rock in honor of America’s favorite friendly ghost.

Over the years, we learned that there was much to admire about Casper. He took the road less traveled, discarding the terrifying traditions of the undead in favor of his friendlier approach. This concerned his trio of unkempt uncles – Fatso, Fusso and Lazo – who didn’t know what to make of their nice nephew’s benevolent ways.

As a result of his non-traditional attitude, Casper found himself somewhat of a loner. But, as we’ve been taught by so many western films over the years, all a man (or ghost, apparently) really needs is a faithful woman and a trusty steed. Casper was lucky enough to have both – a red-cloaked good witch named Wendy, and his gentle flying horse, Nightmare. With their help and plenty of perseverance on his part, Casper eventually achieved his dream, winning the affections of at least a handful of brave kids, who put their fears aside to befriend the not-so-sinister spirit.

Were you a fan of the numerous comic books and cartoons produced over the years, featuring Casper, the Friendly Ghost? Did you sympathize with the poor little guy, who unwittingly sent mortals screaming in terror at every turn? Share your memories in our comments section as we tip our hat to the only ghost that we ever wanted to meet.

10 Responses to “Casper, The Friendly Ghost”

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  1. NostalgiaTV says:

    Dear Eric,

    “Casper’s’TV career actually began long before the premire of”The New Casper Cartoon Show”on ABC TV in 1963.

    The series of old “Casper”movie cartoons that Mr.Orlio had created for The Paramount/Famous Studio in the 1940’s were rerunned on local tv stations in the late 1950’s..”Captain Video & His Cartoons Rangers”on WABD TV Ch.5 in NYC was the first NYC based tv station to screen those films..along with”The Little Lulu” and “Superman”movie cartoons.

    “Cartoon Playtime” and”The Sandy Becker Morning Show”also reran “Casper”on WNEW TV Ch.5 in NYC during the late 1950’s and into the early 1960’s.

    In 1959..”Casper”,along with “Herman & Katnip”,”Baby Huey”,”Buzzy The Crow”etc were seen sunday evenings on”Matty’s Funday Funnies”on The ABC TV network and this tv cartoon show
    brought the adventures of the peacful little ghost and his friends to a bigger audience.

    “Matty’s Funday Funnies”lasted until 1962..but”Casper”would return a year later on”The New Casper Cartoon Show”satuday mornings on
    ABC TV.

    “This third tv revival of”Casper”and his friends was an offshoot of a cartoon show that Ventriloquist/entertainer and cartoon vo performer Paul Winchell and his Puppet pals:”Jerry Mahoney & Knucklehead Smiff”hosted saturday mornings on ABC TV”Cartoonies!”.

    (Ironically? Paul would do the voice of”Hairy Scary”on
    “Casper & The Teen Angels”on NBC TV two decades later)

    Kevin S.Butler Formerley”Nostalgia TV!”.

  2. tcoria77 says:

    i absolutely love Casper, he is so cute, i love the cartoons, i even loved the movie version.

  3. D-Rock says:

    Of the few Paramount Casper cartoons I’ve seen, I’ll have to say that I was thoroughly underwhelmed at the “Agh, it’s a ghost!” storyline that each seemed to follow. The sight gags were pretty poor, and I don’t recall there being much of a story to them. The animation was about as good as any of the other studios of the time, but good animation doesn’t always carry an uninteresting subject. On the other hand, however, I enjoyed the Buzzy the Crow and Catnip stories. They were a good variation on the cat & mouse theme.

    By the way, I know it’s been over 30 years since I’ve seen “Casper & the Angels”, but I don’t believe it had anything to do with “Charlie’s Angels”. I thought they were just two young female space cops that Casper befriended.

  4. ClassicTVFan says:

    John Stephenson (not Paul Winchell) was the voice of Hairy
    Scary on “Casper and the Angels.”

  5. Artytoons says:

    Ginny Tyler played Casper’s voice in the 1960s “New Casper Cartoon Show” tv episodes.

    Julie Dees played Casper’s voice on “Casper and the Angels” and in the 1979 tv specials “Casper’s Halloween Special” “Casper’s First Christmas” alongside various classic Hanna-Barbera characters such as Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, and Snagglepuss.

    John Stephenson (with an Ed Wynn imitation vocie) played Hairy Scarey in the series and specials.

  6. NostalgiaTV says:

    “Casper”was originally conceived by Mr.Orlilo as a children’s storybook character.


    When he couldn’t get any book publisher to accept his idea..he sold the idea to Paramount/Famous as a movie cartoon character.

    He co-produced the very first”Casper”film in the 1940’s..but he lost the rights to the little guy.

    And he was never able to regain those rights..nor was he ever able to share in the wealth from the little friendly ghost.

    Kevin S.Butler Formerley”Nostalgia TV!”.

  7. Jennifer harris says:

    I watched Casper and The Angels,Casper’s Scare School,Casper’s Christmas.

  8. D. Strong says:

    If you want a newer Casper fix, there was a limited comic book series called “Casper and the Spectrals” that was released a year or two ago which pretty much reboots the Harvey universe and it features Casper, Wendy, and Hot Stuff the Lil’ Devil in an updated adventure.

  9. S.Carras says:

    Artyoons:Close about Ginny Tyler as Casper. There IS a connection: Gumby. It was Norma MacMillan, the last Gumby voice in the 60s before its revival 20 years later, and also Sweet Polly., and Gumby’s gal pal Goo, who was Casper.[Tyler can be heard in Gumby shorts].

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