Casper the Friendly Ghost
Posted Mei 13, 2009on:
 Creation and success at Paramount
Casper was created in the late 1930s by New York City native Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, the former devising the idea for the character and the latter providing illustrations. Intended initially as the basis for a 1939 children’s storybook, there was at first little interest in their idea. When Reit was away on military service during the Second World War before the book was released, Oriolo sold the rights to the book to Paramount Pictures’ Famous Studios animation division, for which he had occasionally worked.
The Friendly Ghost, the first Noveltoon to feature Casper, was released by Paramount in 1945 with a few differences from the book. In the cartoon adaptation, Casper is a cute, pudgy ghost-child with a New York accent, who prefers making friends with people instead of scaring them (Casper used to scare people but got tired of it all). He runs away from home and goes out to make friends. However, the animals he meets (a rooster, a mole, a cat, a mouse resembling Herman and Katnip, and a group of hens) take one horrified look at him and run off in the other direction. Distraught, Casper unsuccessfully attempts to commit suicide by laying himself down on a railway track before an oncoming train (apparently forgetting that he’s already dead) before he meets two little children named Bonnie and Johnny who become his friends. The children’s mother at first is frightened of Casper, but later welcomes him into the family and sends him off with her children to town wearing clothes after he wards off a greedy landlord.
Casper appeared in two more subsequent books by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, There’s Good Boos To-Night and A Haunting We Will Go. (There’s Good Boos To-Night differs wildly from later Casper cartoons: although Casper trying to find a friend and scaring everyone away before succeeding also occurs in later cartoons, the tone of the cartoon turns dark when a hunter and his dogs appear. Although Casper scares them away, the fox he has befriended is killed, but happily returns as a ghost.)
These were later adapted into Noveltoons before Paramount started a Casper the Friendly Ghost series in 1950, and ran the theatrical releases until the summer of 1959. Nearly every entry in the series was the same: Casper escapes from the afterlife of a regular ghost because he finds that scaring people can be tiresome year after year, tries to find friends but inadvertently scares almost everyone, and finally finds a (cute little) friend, whom he saves from some sort of fate, leading to his acceptance by those initially scared of him. The cartoon series also boasted a catchy title song which was written by Jerry Livingston and Mack David.[citation needed
Casper the Friendly Ghost is the protagonist of the Famous Studios theatrical animated cartoon series of the same name. As his name indicates, he is a ghost, but is quite personable. According to the 1995 feature film Casper, his family name is McFadden, making his “full” name Casper McFadden.