Sire: CH Maitland's Comet
Dam: CH Classique's Hot to Trot
"Casper" & "Wendy"
Casper, the friendly ghost
The friendliest ghost you know!
The grownups might look at him with fright,
But the children all love him so.
He always says hello
And he's really glad to meet ya'
Wherever he may go,
He's kind to every living creature.
Grownups don't understand,
Why children love him the most,
But kids all know that he loves them so,
Casper the friendly ghost!
Wendy, the Good Little Witch
Wendy started life as a companion for Casper. She was not, however,
Casper's first companion. Those honors go to Lu, a female ghost who
made her first appearance in "To Boo or Not to Boo" a Famous
Paramount animated cartoon. For some reason, Lu never really
caught on, despite making a few appearances in the comics.
Possibly because they were both ghosts, the scope of the Casper
stories was severely limited. By having a witch who lived with her
witch aunties, Thelma, Velma, and Zelma, the focus was broadened
and an enchanted forest with a variety of characters and creatures
was created. Also. the witches could play off Casper and the Ghostly
Trio. Wendy made her first appearance in "Casper, the Friendly Ghost"
#20, May 1954, one month after the first appearance of Nightmare, a
female ghost horse. Wendy's appearances in "Casper" helped her to
gain popularity. Eventually, she became a mainstay in Casper's animated adventures as well. In Harvey Comics, this led to supporting features in "Spooky" and his spin-offs, starring issues of "Harvey Hits" and finally securing her own title in 1960. A spin-off, "Wendy Witch World", followed in 1961.
Wendy was originally drawn by Steve Mufatti, then Warren Kremer, Marty Taras and Howard Post. Her title was published continuously until 1973, when her popularity and sales began to wain. The title was canceled, but was brought back the next year when Casper had success with a Cub Scout issue. This issue prompted "Wendy" to be revived, promoting a similar group for girls, the Bluebirds/Camp Fire Girls (this was many years before the organization turned co-ed).
Wendy's Camp Fire issue reignited sales temporarily, but this success was short-lived, and the title was canceled in 1976, making a brief return from 1991-1994.
Wendy is currently in the direct-to-video film "Casper Meets Wendy" and will appear in her own animated series as well as "The Harveytoon Show", "The Harvey Magazine", and "Wendy, Back to Ghoul School".
Casper, The Friendly Ghost
Original Medium: Theatrical animation
Released by: Paramount (Famous Studios)
First Appeared: 1945
Creators: Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo
Casper first appeared in a cartoon entitled (appropriately enough) The
Friendly Ghost, based on an unpublished story written by Seymour V. Reit
(who, among many other things, has written Archie comics) and illustrated by
animator Joe Oriolo (best known for his 1960s work on Felix the Cat). (It's
unclear whether the idea for the story came from Reit or Oriolo.) The
cartoon was directed by Isadore Sparber and released by Paramount's Famous
Studios, as part of its "Noveltoons" series, in 1945. This sentimental tale
of a ghost who didn't want to scare anyone was well enough received to spark
a sequel, There's Good Boos Tonight (1948), also directed by Sparber.
This led to a full-blown series, some directed by Sparber and some by Seymour Kneitel. During the 1950s, Casper cartoons, which all had more-or-less the same plot, followed one upon another with monotonous regularity, outlasting all his Famous Studios contemporaries except Herman & Katnip. The last theatrically-released Casper cartoon was Casper's Birthday Party (1959), directed by Kneitel.
Casper was unusual among Famous Studios characters, in that he wasn't a knock-off of something else. Little Audrey was a transparent copy of Little Lulu; and Herman & Katnip were obviously cribbed from Tom & Jerry. And although Baby Huey and his family eventually became better known than Chuck Jones's version of The Three Bears, the Jones creation came first. But Casper was Casper, and not a copy of anything else. In fact, he spawned comic-book imitators of his own, including Marvel/Atlas's Homer the Happy Ghost, Charlton's Timmy the Timid Ghost, and Ajax's Spunky the Smiling Spook.
In 1949, Casper became a comic book character, when St. John Publishing secured the rights to do all of Paramount's cartoon characters in that venue - and by the way, it was in St. John's Casper the Friendly Ghost #1, September 1949, that Casper first received his actual name. In 1952, the license was transferred to Harvey Comics, which bought the characters outright in the late 1950s. Casper's comics far outlasted his theatrical career - they were published regularly until 1982, and sporadically since. It was in the comics that he acquired his family, the Ghostly Trio; his ghost horse, Nightmare; and his nemesis, Spooky the Tough Little Ghost. It was also in comics that he made friends with Wendy the Good Little Witch, who anchored her own Harvey Comics series.
When, in 1963, Casper's first made-for-TV cartoons appeared, the supporting cast from the comic books came with him. With them adding to the dynamic, Casper was no longer the one-note character he'd been back at Famous Studios. It was now possible to play characters off of one another, and do a variety of different types of story.
But when his live-action feature film came out in 1995, all that went by the wayside. Every character but Casper himself disappeared, and although the story was as complex as it needed to be to fill out the length of the film, in essence, it had the same plot as Boos and Saddles (1953), Line of Screammage (1956), Hooky Spooky (1957), or any number of other 1950s Famous
Does this represent regression? Or is Casper finding his "roots" in a simple, basic, sentimental story, without a lot of paraphernalia? Time will tell - if there is one thing about Casper of which we are certain, it is that he has staying power.
Left: Classique's Friendly Ghost "Casper"
Right: Classique's Hocus Pocus "Wendy"