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DVD Review CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST The Complete Collection 1945-1963 DVD Review (1 Viewer)

Timothy E

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Jul 20, 2007
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Timothy Ewanyshyn

Casper The Friendly Ghost first came to life (if a ghost may accurately be said to come to life) in 1940 as a character in an unpublished children’s story book created by Seymour Reit with character design and illustrations by Joe Oriolo. Oriolo later illustrated the Felix the Cat comic books and newspaper comic strips, and became the producer of the Felix the Cat television series in the 1950s. Oriolo sold the rights to Casper to Paramount Pictures’ Famous Studios while employed by the animation division during World War II.

Casper The Friendly Ghost Collection

CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST

The Complete Collection 1945-1963 DVD Set

Studio: Shout! Factory

Year: 1945-1963

Rated: Unrated

Film Length: 8 hours, 16 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English Dolby Digital Stereo

Release Date: October 11, 2011

The Series

Casper’s official premiere was in 1945 in the theatrical cartoon short "The Friendly Ghost." In 1948, the second cartoon featuring the friendly ghost was released, entitled "There’s Good Boos Tonight." Casper was actually unnamed until his first comic book appearance in Casper The Friendly Ghost #1 cover dated September 1949. The theatrical cartoons produced by Famous Studios flourished in the 1950s with a total of 55 Casper cartoons produced from 1945 until 1959. These 55 cartoon shorts are included on 2 discs in this collection.

Disc 3 includes all of the Casper cartoons created in 1963. The New Casper Cartoon Show premiered on television in 1963 with 26 all new cartoon shorts created especially for this series. These plots for these shorts were lifted directly from the comic book series published by Harvey Comics. The series was designed to show 2 Casper cartoons per episode as bookends for a cartoon short featuring a different character like Popeye or Mighty Mouse. This collection thus includes all of the Casper cartoons created from 1945 through 1963.

Video

The cartoon shorts in this collection are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The video quality is mostly fine, with the exception being the first 3 theatrical cartoons, which are included in the special features menu on disc 1. These 3 cartoons have been in public domain for some time and these shorts have not been restored. On the plus side, the first 2 cartoons have the original Paramount logo at the beginning, whereas the remaining cartoons have only the title cards and credits produced for television and none of the original titles or credits. The video quality on 52 of the 55 theatrical shorts is fine with vibrant colors and solid blacks. The 26 shorts from the New Casper Cartoon Show are also well served. Some minor compression issues are present on a few shorts but nothing too distracting.

Audio

The English Dolby Digital mono track is very good considering the time these cartoons were produced. There is little audible hiss and sound level remains consistent without fluctuations in volume and quality.

Special Features

The special features include all of the following:

Casper Documentary: This nicely produced 16 minute documentary covers the history of Casper features interviews with animation historian Mark Arnold, voice actor Bradley Bolke, and Edmee Reit, widow of Seymour Reit.

Comic Book Cover Gallery(7:18): This feature may be navigated with the arrows on your remote control.

Commentaries are includes with the following theatrical cartoons:

The Friendly Ghost(1945): Animation historian Mark Arnold & Edmee Reit, widow of Seymour Reit.

Boo Moon(1954): Mark Arnold.

Fright From Wrong(1956): Mark Arnold & Edmee Reit.

Which Is Witch?(1958): Mark Arnold & Edmee Reit.

Commentaries are includes with the following television cartoons from the 1963 series:

A Visit From Mars: Mark Arnold & voice actor Bradley Bolke(Ghostly Trio).

The Flying Horse: Mark Arnold & Bradley Bolke.

Double Trouble: Mark Arnold & Alison Arngrim, daughter of voice actor Norma MacMillan(Casper).

The Witching Hour: Mark Arnold & Alison Arngrim

Super Spook: Mark Arnold & Bradley Bolke.

Also included is a nicely illustrated 20 page booklet with an attractive cover identical to the packaging resembling a Casper The Friendly Ghost comic book from the 1970s, complete with Comics Code Authority emblem and price of 25c. The interior includes an article by animation historian Mark Arnold and reproductions of classic Casper comic book covers, as well as an index listing of all of the cartoon shorts in this collection.

Conclusion

Casper The Friendly Ghost The Complete Collection is recommended to fans of this character, in spite of its shortcomings, as the only complete collection of all of the Casper theatrical cartoons, as well as the complete collection of the 1963 shorts produced for television. It is unfortunate that the original theatrical studio logos and title cards and credits were not included with these cartoon shorts and that the first 3 shorts have not received better restoration. Video and audio elements are mostly superior to what might be expected from a public domain release, and the special features, including commentaries and a documentary, are excellent. Casper The Friendly Ghost The Complete Collection on DVD makes a great collection for fans of this character and is great programming for children, in spite of its vaguely supernatural subject matter.

 
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Lord Dalek

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Apr 4, 2005
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Joel Henderson
It's regrettable that we'll probably never see the original Paramount Noveltoon versions of these shorts ever again but that's something I've come to expect regarding this, arguably the second most abused catalog of shorts after Columbia/Screen Gems.
 

David*P

Supporting Actor
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Jan 30, 2004
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Utah
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David
I got this set for my birthday last month. I loved it! Brought back so many memories and I think they still hold up after all this time.
 

ChrisALM

Supporting Actor
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Apr 24, 2009
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Chris
I have a couple of Casper cartoon sets released by Classic Media that I picked up several years ago in the bargain bin. I am looking forward to getting this complete Casper set so I can now watch all of them. Thanks for the review, Timothy.
 

Sa5150

Second Unit
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Mar 12, 2016
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Pingree Grove, Illinois
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steve
Does anyone have the Shout set and Classic media set for comparison ? The Classic media has 4 double sided discs for about 32gb while the Shout set has cramped together all from the older set and added another 26 cartoons + Caspers first 3 cartunes onto 3 discs about 24gb .
 

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