Casper the Friendly Ghost Animation Art

Casper was created in the late 1930s by New York City native Seymour Reit  and Joe Oriolo (illustrator). Intended to be a 1939 children's storybook, there was at first little interest in their idea. When Reit was away on military service during the Second World War before the book was released, Oriolo sold the rights to the book to Paramount Pictures' Famous Studios animation division.

The Friendly Ghost, the first Noveltoon to feature Casper, was released by Paramount in 1945 with a few differences from the book. In the cartoon , Casper is a cute, pudgy ghost-child with a New York accent, who prefers making friends with people instead of scaring them. He escapes from his home and his brothers and sisters at the Winchester Mystery House and goes out to make friends. However, the animals he meets (a rooster, a mole, a cat, a mouse, and a group of hens) take one horrified look at him and run off in the other direction. Distraught, Casper unsuccessfully attempts to commit suicide by laying himself down on a railway track before an oncoming train (apparently forgetting that he's already dead) before he meets two little children named Bonnie and Johnny who become his friends. The children's mother at first is frightend of Casper, but later welcomes him into the family and sends him off with her children to town wearing clothes after he wards off a greedy landlord.

Casper appeared in two more subsequent books by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, There's Good Boos To-Night and A Haunting We Will Go. These were later adapted into Noveltoons before Paramount started a Casper the Friendly Ghost series in 1950, and ran the theatrical releases until the summer of 1959. Nearly every story in the series was the same: Casper escapes from the afterlife of a regular ghost, tries to find friends but scares nearly everyone due to the random reasons of ghost fears, and finally finds a  friend, whom he saves from some sort of fate.

 

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