HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
OnTV -- DVD Today's Date:

The Best of Casper

Most ghosts are pretty one-note. They re-enact the same moment over and over, they seek revenge, or they just like rearranging toys. In my memory, that's pretty much how the Casper cartoons go, too. Sad little Casper walks through an environment looking for somebody to be his friend, most people scream "a g-g-g-g-g-g-g-g-GHOST!!!" while losing their teeth and hair in fright. Eventually, somebody is too sad, lonely and/or dumb to be scared.

Strangely, Casper became like the Mickey Mouse of Harvey Comics. On the page, he's much more confident and in charge, truly a hero of his stories. That's likely why his image still moves merchandise and people remember him fondly.

But after watching several Casper cartoons in the recent Best of Casper DVD release, it turns out that on the screen, he's more than he appears. Yes, several segments loosely follow Casper's desire to make a friend - none of the mortals come back, though Casper also befriends various creatures of the supernatural.

Most of the shorts, though, expand upon the premise and demonstrate a character with quick thinking and honesty, willing to stand up against the ghostly forces that insist being dead means you've got to scare the heck out of the living. In a Christmas-themed segment, the friendly ghost impersonates Santa Claus and turns a variety of household objects into toys. Granted, they wouldn't work in real life, but it just might trigger some outside the box thinking from children watching it.

Through the two discs, we also see the evolution of Spooky, the Tuff Little Ghost. Starting out as really a small child (replete with a ghost mommy) with no sense of empathy, Spooky gets taught a lesson in kindness by his older cousin Casper. (The more of these you watch, the more you realize it's a lot like children's television today - without the repetition of the message just to make sure the kids got it.)

Eventually Spooky appears in more familiar licensed form, as the tough kid from the Bronx. Freckled, wearing a derby and thankfully not smoking a cigar (smoking kills, kids), he still needs occasional lecturing from Casper.

These cartoons aren't out and out hilarious, though they do occasionally have slight touches of black humor. For the most part, they're about the level of primary school children and younger. But they are beautifully animated, something kids don't see too much of on television, and there's a gentleness to them that still manages to steer away from being insipid.

The discs are pretty bare-bones affairs - ten cartoons each with "two bonus cartoons personally picked by Casper," but Genius Entertainment did go to the trouble to digitally remaster them, even the bonus ones. There's a depth of artistry here that used to just be the standard. The truth is that these old cartoons don't need any extras. Just present them as they are, and the kids will enjoy them.

Last year, Genius released a Complete Harveytoons boxed set, but these two individual discs make a much better buy. The boxed set was set up like a grab bag. You could go to a chapter and end up with a Herman & Katnip, a Modern Madcap and maybe a Casper, plus a bizarrely edited piece of a longer cartoon when the original broadcast needed to fill some time. It's better to just go to the theatrical releases, as you can here.

Best of Casper, Vol. 1

Best of Casper, Vol. 2

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites