Casper The Friendly Ghost: The Complete Collection 1945-1963

Casper The Friendly Ghost: The Complete Collection 1945-1963
Despite being a little on the macabre side, a ghost called Casper became incredibly popular when he first appeared on cinema screens back in 1945. He was a reluctant member of the afterlife, one who preferred the company of humans to that of ghosts, and could never understand why anybody was scared of him. Such was his popularity that he was turned into a comic book in the '50s and never looked back; he was joined by Wendy the Good Little Witch, the Ghostly Trio (who were his uncles) and other supernatural beings. This is likely more Casper than any one person will ever need, but its exhaustive approach must be applauded simply because it has every single cartoon. That means there are all of the 55 cartoons released in movie theatres, plus the 26 shorts created for The New Casper Cartoon Show, which debuted in 1963, including one cartoon ("The Bored Billionaire") that's never appeared on DVD before. The problem is that when it comes down to it, watching almost the same story more than 80 times gets a little tedious. There are only so many ways Casper can scare away people and animals then befriend an outsider before saving the day. One or two Casper cartoons in isolation are sweet and charming, but not so much in quantity. Things improved somewhat when the supporting cast from the comic books was added, but it still gets repetitive. The other really obvious problem is with the picture quality, particularly on the earliest cartoons, where Casper isn't even visible, at times, because the image is so bleached out. There hasn't been much of an attempt to clean up or restore the later cartoons, although the original opening sequence of the '60s television show has been included. The extras look better on the slipcase than they actually are. The commentary on ten of the cartoons provided is really dry ― lots of information, but not particularly interesting. The 15-minute documentary is better, thanks to interviews with some of the voice actors from the cartoons, plus it helps to explain how Casper made it from the big screen to comic books and then to the small screen. Rounding things out is a gallery of covers from the Casper comic books. (Shout! Factory)