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Baby Don't Fear the Reaper
August 17, 2006 12:01 AM   Subscribe

Casper the Friendly Ghost video One of the oddest animated characters still popular since the 1940's, Casper the Emotionally Needy Dead Boy continues to elicit uneasiness and distress in viewers. On the other hand, his catchy theme song* has inspired some*. *warning: sound
posted by maryh (37 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
More on Harvey comics and their cast of characters here and here.

More on the amazing Famous Studios here. The Internet Archives have a nice selection of cartoons here. Just in case you really needed a Baby Huey fix this morning.
posted by maryh at 12:02 AM on August 17, 2006


Did you ever read (back in the late 1970's) the Crazy magazine (a third rate knock-off of MAD & Cracked) parody of Casper? It was so traumatizing that I remember it to this day; Casper's friend asks him why he is a ghost at such a young age, and how it is that he has no hair or eyebrows, and in flashback... well, I won't go into it, but it's fucking grim.
posted by jonson at 12:27 AM on August 17, 2006


Apparently I wasn't the only one traumatized by this. A quick google search revealed a bunch of other message board posters around the series of tubes with similar Casper parody unease.
posted by jonson at 12:31 AM on August 17, 2006


And finally, for anyone who wants nightmares of their own, I found a copy of the original story online. Warning, it WILL give you the gibblies.

maryh, sincere apologies for the threadjacking. I promise to shut up now, and in the future, gather all my thoughts before hitting the "post" button. That's just how traumatized this story made me (I was 8 when I read it).
posted by jonson at 12:35 AM on August 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Never saw it, but it sounds great. I assume it went into his lack of fingers too, huh? Something about Casper forces you to start imagining all sorts of worst case scenarios...
posted by maryh at 12:36 AM on August 17, 2006


Jonson.
OMFG.

I was just thinking that a lot of the Harvey characters (particularly C., Baby Huey & Richie Rich) have revenge fantasies at the core of their appeal, and then you go and post... that...

(Stares into space long and hard)
posted by maryh at 12:41 AM on August 17, 2006


yeah. I just re-read it. Now I want to go wake my 8 month old daughter & just hold her.
posted by jonson at 12:43 AM on August 17, 2006


Wow, I'm not sure if this is horrible or brilliant children's television, but it moves me emotionally to watch it now.
posted by Rictic at 2:10 AM on August 17, 2006


OMG, jonson, that was just wrong. Like one of the commenters said, I think you broke my brain. Aggghhh. ;)
posted by caddis at 2:56 AM on August 17, 2006


Wow, jonson, that was awesome.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:20 AM on August 17, 2006


i remembered that bit...and I could have sworn it was a mad magazine entry...of course, i was like 5 when i read it...pretty creepy
posted by das_2099 at 5:16 AM on August 17, 2006


I read the first page and quit-I'm a wuss.
posted by hollygoheavy at 5:27 AM on August 17, 2006


Oh, man! I had that issue of Crazy! When was that? Wiki says 1974... is that possible? I would have been 5 then. That can't be right. My son's three and a half... maybe it was a reprint or back issue I got later. There's no way I read that at five years old, right?

Then again, it would explain a lot...
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:29 AM on August 17, 2006


What kind of drugs were the editors taking at Crazy to allow that to be published?

That's astonishing, perfect and horrible all at once.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 5:41 AM on August 17, 2006


On the other hand, his catchy theme song has inspired some

Including the geniuses who created Toonces the Driving Cat.
posted by languagehat at 5:43 AM on August 17, 2006


On the other hand, his catchy theme song has inspired some

Including Wesley Willis and and his song, Casper the Homosexual Friendly Ghost.
posted by banished at 6:16 AM on August 17, 2006


Or maybe he was inspired by the 1995 movie... or the cartoon, or a cereal box... who knows really.
posted by banished at 6:19 AM on August 17, 2006


I can't imagine the thought process that went into that Crazy comic. It just isn't funny.... at all!

Kinda reminded me of the awful "Tooth Fairy Episode" of Robot Chicken.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:31 AM on August 17, 2006


Excellent post and thread.
posted by squidfartz at 6:53 AM on August 17, 2006


The post title is just perfect.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 7:18 AM on August 17, 2006


The "Bye daddy" from one of the panels in jonson's link skeezed me right the fuck out.
posted by Cyrano at 7:24 AM on August 17, 2006


My brother and I used to be fascinated with Caspar, because the Harveytoons episodes were directed by former Fleishman brothers director Isadore Sparber, with whom we share a last name. Sparber is not so common that it is unlikely that we are related.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2006


I don't think all of the stuff published in Crazy is supposed to be funny. Same goes with Cracked and other Mad Magazine ripoffs. I mean MAD was usually on target in the humor department for decades. It's amazing to go back and examine MAD. From the fifties, sixties, and seventies especially. How often they got it right. They made 'funny' look easy and it so is not.

Cracked and Crazy often read like artistic therapy to me. Like the writers and illustrators were a bunch of frustrated wannabes who used these publications to get out stuff in their head, and if they happened to be funny along the way that was more by chance than by talented effort.

MAD was The Majors. The other publications are like little league. All that said, the Kaspar origin story is one of the better things I've ever seen come out of Crazy Magazine, but it's not comedy: it's therapy.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:44 AM on August 17, 2006


Oh, man! I had that issue of Crazy! When was that? Wiki says 1974... is that possible?

I used to pick 'em up used at swap meets and the like when I was a kid. Maybe you too?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:52 AM on August 17, 2006


jonson
Wow! Thank you! I was seven years old when that came out. I laughed my sick little seven year old ass off at it. My mom found it and confiscated it, and forbade me from ever buying CRAZY again. SO I had to hide them under CRACKED covers. Kind of like MAD's marble-notebook cover trick. Anyway, you rule.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:34 AM on August 17, 2006


oops. I was tryigng to do that. =(

"I have been here at my desk for weeks looking at ALL the CDs and have not seen even 1 issue. I have even used my magnifying glass. All I see are little swirls that go around the round disk..."
posted by ZachsMind at 8:36 AM on August 17, 2006


How does that look?
posted by Wolfdog at 9:14 AM on August 17, 2006


I don't think all of the stuff published in Crazy is supposed to be funny. Same goes with Cracked and other Mad Magazine ripoffs.

So that explains why Cracked was never funny.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:21 AM on August 17, 2006


Did you ever read (back in the late 1970's) the Crazy magazine (a third rate knock-off of MAD & Cracked) parody of Casper?

I was thinking about it before I opened this thread. Like others here, I read it as a child and it just stayed with me.
posted by vacapinta at 10:00 AM on August 17, 2006


I just realized that I forgot to add this to the original post:

This FPP is dedicated to the memory of The Ghost of Ken Lay. May he find peace in the Lord's giant sock drawer.

Now it is complete.
posted by maryh at 1:51 PM on August 17, 2006


.
posted by languagehat at 2:15 PM on August 17, 2006


.
posted by cgc373 at 3:46 PM on August 17, 2006


Jesus christ, that "parody" is harsh. It's like a Jack Chick tract literally from Hell.
posted by kenlayne at 4:19 PM on August 17, 2006


Hey! Jack Chick is a saint!

*lightning strikes Zach leaving him a crispy critter*

[looks up] What's YOUR problem?
posted by ZachsMind at 5:06 PM on August 17, 2006


Thanks Jonson. Weird. I remember that.
So, is Caspar like the first goth?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:23 PM on August 17, 2006



posted by maryh at 11:04 PM on August 20, 2006


The parody should have ended with the dad's ghost killing Kaspar and Kaspar's ghost's ghost travelling back in time to before he was dead to possess his then-living father and then kill his boy self to fulfill the already fixed past. That's where I thought they were going, anyway.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:36 PM on September 6, 2006


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