Casper Unveiled: The Intriguing Origins and Evolution of a Friendly Spirit

Casper Unveiled: The Intriguing Origins and Evolution of a Friendly Spirit

Hey everybody, it's Lisa Morton here with this week's Ghost Report. Back in the middle of the last century, popular culture saw a wave of non scary ghosts who manifested in everything from Noel Coward's play "Blythe Spirit", to the romantic movie classic "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", to the novel and TV series "Topper", but maybe the biggest spirit star to emerge from this time was "Casper the Friendly Ghost."

Casper started his undead life as the hero of a children's book, but when the creators Seymour Wright and Joe Oriolo were unable to find a publisher, they sold the rights dirt cheap to Paramount and the first Casper cartoon was released in 1945 titled simply "Casper the Friendly Ghost." That first Casper tale starts in a haunted house full of spirits formed from white sheets who anxiously await the stroke of midnight so they can rush out of the house to frighten everyone in the neighborhood.

Casper refuses to join in the scaring, though, and eventually heads out on his own. He scares everything he meets on the road until he finds two kids, Johnny and Bonnie, who play with him, and Casper is eventually adopted by their single mom, heading off happily to school with them at the end. Casper went on to become a superstar with his own comic book launching in 1949.

His comics were successful enough to launch Other comic characters including Spooky the Tough Little Ghost and Wendy the Good Little Witch, and he has been featured in many animated series over the years. Now, here's a weird piece of Casper trivia. Fans often debate over whether Casper is the ghost of a dead child or was born a ghost?

The 1995 Casper movie drew the wrath of some critics when it revealed that Casper was the ghost of a boy who had died of pneumonia, but the movie still scared up big box office. Now if we can just get a movie starring Casper's friend Hot Stuff the Little Devil.

 Until next week, this is Lisa saying, hey, you know, let's all be nice like Casper, okay?