Monday, March 28, 2016

363. Ghost of our Childhood Past: TALKING CASPER

 "Casper, the friendly ghost...the friendliest ghost you know.."
Remember the Harvey Famous Cartoon's friendliest ghost, Casper? He was one of my favorite TV cartoon characters and Saturday mornings aren't just complete without him. To think he was a dead person!! Conceived in the 1930s, by cartoonist Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, he was designed to become one of the most famous properties from Famous Studios.  Soon, comics of him were being published by Alfred Harvey, founder and publisher of Harvey Comics who eventually purchased the rights to the character. New cartoons were created for The New Casper Cartoon Show in 1963,  These cartoons remain important today because of the messages they imparted: the values of friendship, compassion, and acceptance of others.
The popularity of Casper generated many collectible merchandise---from toys, coloring books, gameboards to this adorable 15" Casper Doll,  a 1963 Original by Mattel. It's a pull-string talking Casper who says 10 different things: "My Name is Casper". "Ooooooh. Let's play ghost." "I like you." "I'm a friendly ghost. Don't be afraid of me". "I'm not afraid. I'm cold. Can I stay with you?" "Will you play with". me?. 

Casper was resurrected as a movie in 1995, with live action and voice characters, starring Devon Sawa as Casper in human form. I have seen the movie of course, but it's the Harvey 'toon that I miss. Thank God, Casper  has come back to haunt me in the form of this talking doll--found in a local thrift shop. The voice is a bit garbled, the body shoddy and worn, but he is still loveable after all these years. Unlike grownups, old ghosts never die, they just become friendlier with age!!! !!

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