7 friendly facts about Casper the Ghost

There's more to the little ghost than you think.

Image: Harvey Comics

Who doesn't love Casper the Friendly Ghost? Why wouldn't you? The good-natured specter just wanted to make friends instead of participate in ghostly shenanigans. A character that was originally passed on — as you'll soon read — became one of the most recognizable pop culture figures almost 80 years later. Here are a few fun facts about the affable apparition.

1. Casper dates back to 1939

Though Casper comics were one of the publisher’s biggest sellers, the little ghost first appeared in the late 1930s, as a pitch for a children’s book by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriollo. Though the book fell through, they sold the rights to him to Paramount Pictures’ Famous Studios animation division. His first appearance as a cartoon was in 1945. Harvey Comics started writing Casper comics in 1952 and purchased the ghost’s copyright a few years later.

Image: Famous Studios

2. He’s an East Coast ghost

In the 1945 Noveltoon, Casper has a pretty thick New York accent, and his uncle Stretch has a Boston one. In the 1995 movie, he lives in a mansion called Whipstaff Manor, in Friendship, Maine.

Image: Pixabay

3. Many other supernatural Harvey Comic characters are “opposites” as well

Just like Casper chooses to try to make friends instead of scare people away, Wendy the Good Little Witch uses her magic to do good deeds, and Hot Stuff the Little Devil does nice things to annoy the other demons.

Image: Harvey Comics

4. There has been some controversy over how he came to be

Early Casper depictions showed him living by his gravestone, suggesting that he was certainly once a living boy. However, this depiction was later altered, thinking that the death of a child was too macabre for a twee cartoon about a friendly ghost. Harvey Comics decided to portray ghosts as just another supernatural creature, giving Casper parents, stating that Casper was just a ghost because his parents were already ghosts when they got married. 

Image: Famous Studios

5. Casper didn’t have a last name until the 1995 live-action movie

His name is Casper McFadden, and he’s the ghost of a 12-year old boy who died of pneumonia. This is the first time the story of how he became a ghost was told and the first time he was depicted as a human as well. This gave Casper a darker vibe than the original Casper stories. 

Image: Universal Pictures

6. Speaking of, it was the first feature film to have a CGI character as the lead role

Without Casper, would there have been Avatar?

Image: Universal Pictures

7. Harvey Comics sued Columbia Pictures

In 1987, the comic publisher sued the distributor of Ghostbusters, arguing that the movie’s logo looked too similar to one of their characters, Fatso —a member of the Ghostly Trio, Casper’s uncles. People also thought he was the inspiration behind the character Slimer. However, the court ruled against Harvey Comics, since their copyright was out of date and the fact that there are “limited ways to draw a figure of a cartoon ghost.”

They got over it, though. Dan Ackroyd makes a quick appearance in Casper as Ray Stantz, checking out Whipstaff Manor for specters.

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KevinButler 59 months ago
Mr.Oriolo also created "The Mighty Hercules"TV cartoons in the early 1960's.
RobCertSDSCascap 66 months ago
Never cared for any of the Harvey Toons, but this trivia is interesting nonetheless.
SalIanni 66 months ago
Casper's original creator, Joe Oriolo, was also responsible for another beloved cartoon icon, Felix The Cat.
CraigGustafson SalIanni 33 months ago
No. Felix the Cat was created by Pat Sullivan in the 1920s and was the first cartoon superstar, in silent movies.
MrsPhilHarris 66 months ago
Loved Casper cartoons and Wendy The Good Little Witch comics.
Amalthea MrsPhilHarris 60 months ago
Me, too. My younger brother & I watched the cartoons all the time, and I had a big stack of Casper, Wendy, & Hot Stuff comic books. I still remember a "filler page" where Wendy was looking at a catalog, pretend shopping, and couldn't decide between 2 items. Casper asked her, since she was just pretending, why not pick both? Wendy answered, "Because I don't want to get into greedy habits". (She ended up picking a pitcher, which she liked so much she magic-ed it into existence.)
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