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Casper, a ghost who wants to be friendly but scares people away, debuted in a 1946 Noveltoons 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 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.
- The Friendly Ghost: The first appearance of Casper, as part of the Noveltoons series.
- There's Good Boos Tonight: Second appearance of Casper, as part of the Noveltoons series.
- A Haunting We Will Go: Third appearance of Casper, as part of the Noveltoons series.
- Casper's Spree Under The Sea: The first short of the solo Casper series.
- Once upon a Rhyme
- Boo Hoo Baby
- To Boo or Not to Boo
- Boo Scout
- Casper Comes to Clown
- Casper Takes a Bow-Wow
- The Deep Boo Sea
- Ghost of the Town
- Spunky Skunky
- Cage Fright
- True Boo
- Frightday the 13th
- Spook No Evil
- North Pal
- By the Old Mill Scream
- Little Boo Peep
- Do or Diet
- Boos and Saddles
- Zero the Hero
- Casper Genie
- Puss 'n Boos
- Boos and Arrows
- Boo Ribbon Winner
- Boo Moon
- Hide and Shriek
- Keep Your Grin Up
- Spooking with a Brogue
- Bull Fright
- Red White and Boo
- Boo Kind to Animals
- Ground Hog Play
- Dutch Treat
- Penguin for your thoughts
- Line of Screammage
- Fright from Wrong
- Spooking about Africa
- Hooky Spooky
- Ghost of Honor
- Ice Scream
- Boo Bop
- Heir Restorer
- Spook and Span
- Ghost Writers
- Which is Witch
- Good Scream Fun
- Doing What's Fright
- Down to Mirth
- Not Ghoulty
- Casper's Birthday Party: Last Casper theatrical cartoon.
- 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 much chubbier and bedsheet like, 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. Circa 1995, the ghosts' legs were redesigned to look like the bottom half of a mummy sleeping bag.
- Characterization Marches On/Character Development: 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.
- Darker and Edgier: The "Casper and the Spectrals" comic book reboot.
- 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.
- Freudian Trio: In Casper and the Spectrals; Casper (ego), Wendy (superego) and Hot Stuff (id).
- 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.
- Morally-Bankrupt Banker
- The Movie: There's several movies, the most recent being Casper Scare School.
- 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.
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?
- 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.
- Reluctant Monster
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Volbragg in the "Casper and the Spectrals" comic book reboot.
- 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 "life". 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 Miskin, 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.
- Will They or Won't They?: Casper and Wendy.