Have you ever noticed that the sinister spirits are 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 we rooted him on in his quest. Today, we thought it was time to give some props to the apparition you couldn’t help but love, Casper, The Friendly Ghost.
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.