October 17, 2007

Animated Manhattan: Casper the Friendly Ghost

Part 18 in an ongoing series looking at New York City in animation.

Casper the Friendly Ghost has been trying to make friends with the living for 60 years now. During the 1950s, animated by Paramount’s Famous Studios, he even made a few visits to the Big Apple. In the short film Ghost of the Town, Casper flies into Manhattan, where he saves a baby from a burning building (by scaring the fire away, naturally). He is awarded with a parade, commendation by the mayor, and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show:

In Boo Moon, Casper’s only 3-D film, Casper rides the subway — it looks vaguely like the Astor Place station — accidentally scaring all the riders:

And in Dutch Treat, Casper decides to visit Holland. He goes to the New York Public Library to do some research (the best place to learn about Old Amsterdam is in New Amsterdam, right?) and scares the lions outside the library:

All of these cartoons can be found on-line. Just do a Google Video Search for “Casper” and the name of the short film (thanks to reader “Art” for suggesting these!).

Sidebar: Some people have wondered, if Casper is a friendly ghost, what ever happened to Casper the friendly dead kid? Well, Marvel Comics answered that question in a 1974 issue of Crazy Magazine, with an origin parody called “Kaspar the Dead Baby in ‘Die, My Baby, Die!’” You can find all four pages here. The dialogue in the third-to-last panel is my favorite.


And here I thought Casper was the ghost of Richie Rich, who had became disillusioned with wealth and took his own life.

Whoa. That Casper back-story is fucked up. Still, it makes sense. I always thought he was a little too happy and slightly manic.


Great post. Just FYI, lots of the IRT stations around Manhattan used to look like the current Astor kiosk (which is a reproduction).

Hi I have a casper ghost doll 4 inches tall when you pull his body away from his head he makes little sayings like ( will you be my friend )( oh I scared myself ) and more- do you know of any more dolls like this? I would be very interested
Thank you Maria