Friday, October 29, 2010

Spooktober: Casper (1963)

It would only be appropriate, with Halloween this weekend, to feature perhaps the most famous ghost of them all. The New Casper Cartoon Show, Harvey Comics' 1st foray into television, premiered on ABC in 1963, and continued until 1969. In truth, it was a spin-off from Matty's Funday Funnies, where Casper made his television debut four years earlier. Cartoonsintros uploaded the open to YouTube:

Famed voice actress Norma McMillian (Davey & Goliath, Underdog) was the voice of Casper, and to date, the most definitive one. Casper would return to television 10 years after his first series ended, with the theatrical shorts that fueled the series now in syndication---which is how I first discovered Casper in the first place. I was but an infant when the show debuted! Anyway, Hanna-Barbera, having scored a year earlier with Popeye, and, to a lesser extent, Godzilla, went for another license, and obtained one for Casper, but his supporting cast was left behind. Some genius decided to send our hero to the far future in what amounted to a parody of a certain prime-time show on Casper's original network. Impressionist Julie McWhirter, best known as the Family Hour Fairy from The Rich Little Show, was the voice of Casper this time, in 1979's Casper & the Angels for NBC. TVTimeMachine3 uploaded the open:

Hairy Scary was created as an analog, if you will, for Spooky and/or the Ghostly Trio, but those beloved spooks were brought back when Fox picked up a new Casper series, spun from the live-action feature film starring Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, & Eric Idle. Unfortunately, I can't find a clip to add. Suffice to say, the CGI animation put it on a par with the classic shorts. More recently, Cartoon Network has picked up an all-new series, Casper's Scare School, spun off from a DTV (direct to video) movie of the same name, and like the 1995 series, is done in CGI. Scare School airs at various times, and you have to check the listings, because CN changes their lineup on an almost-weekly basis. If you haven't seen it yet, RetroHeroes has uploaded the open:

I haven't seen it yet, so I can't comment. However, I will leave you with ratings for the other shows:

The New Casper Cartoon Show (1963-69)--A-.
Casper & the Angels (1979)--C.
Casper (1995)---A.

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